CHINEDU Okoh (born November 23, 1983), better known as Flavour N’abania is a prolific Nigerian recording artiste, dancer, songwriter and performer. In an exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the versatile singer whose songs Nwa Baby, Adamma and Oyi Remix are huge success opened up on his success secrets, pains and gains and exclusively on his rumoured proposal to Beverly Hills.
You just came back from an international tour, how was the show?
It was a huge success. It was a massive turnout of fans. It was quite successful than the previous one. It was a total lockdown. It started from Dallas to Houston, Texas and New York City.
It is interesting to know that you have become an household name in the entertainment industry, how would you describe the journey and what’s the secret of your success?
The secret of my success is simply originality. Right from when I joined the industry I have determined to distinguish myself by my originality. I knew it was going to take some time and that I would have some hurdles to cross but I decided to stick to my originality all the way. And right from my first album there has been improvement. I also ensure I do quality and ingenious videos to distinguish my brand. I know that people love and accept originality. Thus, I stuck to that. When you are original and down to earth, you will definitely attain greater height in your career.
You started rough from the East and even when you sang with late MC Loph, what kept you going through those period?
It’s the passion. I have so much passion for the art. I am not just a singer but a musician. I started early at the age of 13 and went through the right process. I had a company that gave me scholarship and trained me musically. That influenced me to become a better musician and not a wayward act. My director told me that people have the impression that musicians are wayward, irresponsible acts who squander their money on flashy things and live false life. He taught me about being responsible, disciplined and pruning my talents. Thus the driving force has been the passion for music and the determination to be responsible. I want to be a legend. Thus, I learnt to stay humble, focused and disciplined. I really don’t care about the money but the art. Thus, I rehearse every day. I am always at the studio to work on myself and learn daily.
We learnt your name Flavour N’Abania was given to you by fans during your growing days as a singer in the club where you churn out different genres of music daily and ask them what flavour do you want tonight, where do you draw your inspiration from as a versatile and creative singer?
I draw inspiration from people around me. I move with talented and experienced people who are versed in the issues of life. I don’t move with my age mates. I always associate with matured and elderly people who can influence me positively. I like listening to real, original and creative people who are also thinkers. They tell me the truth. That’s where my inspiration comes from.
You were recently endorsed as Glo ambassador, how do you feel?
I have a lot of other endorsements but internationally, I don’t like blowing my trumpet. When they endorsed you, it’s for a purpose. Thus, it’s a privilege to associate with such a brand.
What are the pains and gains so far?
The pain is that I go through a lot but people don’t want to know. They are only interested in your cosmetic smile on stage. The other pain is staying on top of your game. Getting to the top is not the issue but the pain of maintaining your status. We go through a lot but people don’t know. However, if you stay focused, the pain would become a blessing. Also, stardom takes a lot away from you. It deprives you of your real life experience. I love simple life but stardom has deprived me of that. However, no pain, no gain. The gain is that I am achieving my dream.
We learnt you are coming up with a reality show, can you shed more light on that?
It’s true but I don’t want to divulge the plans yet.
It’s a competitive industry, how do you cope with competition?
Your style stands you out. Also, you have to be a musician and not just a singer to cope. I come up with new ideas and study the market. I have a lot of fan base outside Nigeria. That alone keeps me on check.
What has kept you out of scandal?
It’s about being responsible. There are things you don’t do. Once you start doing them, they will take you off the track. Don’t show off, stay humble. You are a messenger. Everybody loves women but discipline is the key.
How do you feel about the rumour that you were dating Tiwa Savage because of your collabo?
I didn’t feel bad because I know people would still talk even if we didn’t kiss. The director of the video said we were playing love song and we have to do something intimate to portray that. I looked at her and she gave me the signal to go ahead. That’s just music, we were not dating.
You were alleged to be engaged to Beverly Hills?
It is not true. I never proposed to anybody. I am still single. Marriage is not on my mind now but my career.
What are the qualities you look out for in your ideal woman?
She has to be a natural woman. I love a real woman who complements me. She has to know the difference between Flavour and the real me and love both personality. She should be God fearing.
You have a tight schedule, how do you unwind?
I relax by watching football or play station. If not for music, I would have become a footballer.
There is something peculiar about Flavour, your lyrics, where do you get the words from?
I go so deep when I compose my songs. I am never in a hurry when composing my songs. The problem with musicians while composing beats is that they are always in a hurry. A great artiste who desire quality beats must learn to be patient. If the words or lyrics does not touch me, I won’t release it. I won’t drop a song until I get the right words. I always want for the right inspiration, I don’t write because I just want to release a song. I go through the words and lyrics every day. If I don’t have the right word for a line, I don’t gamble. I keep making the sound until I get the right beat for the missing link even if I don’t know what I’m saying. I don’t patch up my lyrics.
Can you tell us the high and low points of your career?
The low point would be when I first came to Lagos. I was known in the East and I have a car but left everything to make a success in Lagos. Thus, I came with just a bag. I had nowhere to stay and I trekked most times to locations. My girlfriend then had to send money from the East to assist me. It was rough and tough. A star in Enugu becomes a nobody in Lagos so as to become an international star. I suffered.
The high point is when I travel to some African countries for shows and the stadium fill up and fans cry and faint when I perform. It humbled me that a nobody could rise to become somebody.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, October 1, 2013