LEADERSHIP entertainment Editor, Solomon Nda-Isaiah, caught up with Abuja-based, fast-rising musician, Ozee, who has released another two singles ‘Double Double’ and ‘Down Down’, preparatory to his debut album, set to be released hopefully, before the end of the year. Ozee, who graduated at the age of 19 in 2010 from Nasarawa State University, Keffi, in this interview speaks of his passion for music among other issues. Excerpts
What genre of music are you into?
I do a blend of rap and R&B. I classify myself as an afro hip-hop artiste.
Tell us about your new singles?
My new singles are ‘Double Double’, produced by Magik and ‘Down Down’ produced by Sam-mix. I featured the Chocolate City Producer and rapper, ‘Jesse Jagz, in ‘Double Double’ while ‘Down Down’ was a solo.
What was the experience like working with Jesse Jagz?
Actually, it was more of a learning process for me, since I was working with someone who has been in the industry for a long time, not just as an artist but also an award-winning producer. It was a wonderful experience.
Apart from Jesse Jagz, which other artiste have you worked with?
Apart from Jesse Jags, I have featured Slow Dogg, who is based in the Eastern part of the country in one of the tracks in my debut album that is soon to be released. Those are the big names for now, even as I have also worked with a couple of upcoming artistes.
Are you currently signed on any record label?
I am not signed on any record label at the moment but I am being managed by Tazu Entertainment. I have had offers from different record labels but at the moment I am not in a rush to sign any record deal. I am not satisfied yet with the ones that have been approaching me because they have not met my expectation.
Does this mean that you have your eyes on a particular record label?
Sure, I have got my eyes on some, like the popular saying goes, if wishes were horses. I have my eyes on some record labels in the country that every upcoming artist would be glad to work with. The likes of Kennis Music, Chocolate City, EME Records among others are in that category.
Is there any improvement on your recent work compared to the former ones?
My new singles are definitely an improvement on the work I had done in the past. After the release of my first single last year, which is titled ‘Designer Girl’ and ‘Shack Me’, I made up my mind to work harder for a better result in my next outing.
I believe that the more you give; the better you are expected to become. So I expect my fans to be able to say yes, he is giving us something better than the last time. So I will keep giving out my best.
Where do you hope to be in the next five years?
In the next five years, I hope to be among the top ten artistes in Africa and in addition be known as an award-winning artiste. Definitely, I am doing my best and by the grace of God, I might be the first Nigerian to win a Grammy award.
How have your fans been appreciating your music?
The feedback has been good. My fans have been making comments like Ozee, you are good, and you are cool. Despite the commendations, I know I still have to work harder for better music but so far it’s been good.
What motivated you to become an entertainer?
Actually, music has been my passion; I am naturally talented and gifted to sing. Music is just a part of me that I cannot shy away from.
When did you start singing?
Professionally I started singing at 15, when I was still in my first year at ‘the university. I released two singles then, the Distant Husband’ and Zero Per Cent. But when it became obvious that my music career was clashing with my studies, my dad insisted that I put a hold on music until I graduate from the University.
I am now a graduate and back to music full time, even as my family is solidly behind me all the way. My parents were only against allowing music override my education. I have even bought a form for my masters degree programme, so it is all good.
If you were not a musician what career would you have chosen?
This question is a difficult one because with music being a part of me, I do not see myself as being involved in anything else. But if I had no other alternative, I would have been a journalist in a radio station. I have always been a lover of entertainment.
Having come this far, what word of advice do you have for aspiring artistes?
I would simply advise that before embarking on anything, they should get an education first. Most people today often neglect their education to pursue a career in music, which is not right. Your talent would always be a part of you but you have to accord your education the foremost place to justify your music career.
They should also be committed and diligent in their works and come out with worthwhile music that would make positive impact on the listeners.
What are the challenges that upcoming artists face in the industry?
If you are not singed or managed by any company, it is always difficult for an upcoming artiste. But the basic thing is to search your soul and make sure you have the talent, drive and passion for it. But you have to be sure that this is what you want to do and listen to other successful artistes, learn from them and get to know what would appeal to your listeners.
Then the next thing is promotion, which is where most up-coming artistes get stranded. You may have a good song and have the talent but if it is not well promoted nobody would get to hear it. So it is all about having good song and a good promoter.
Who are your role models in the industry?
In Nigeria I look up to Tuface and MI because they started from the scratch and gradually moved up to where they are today. And apart from the fact that they are successful in their music career, their lyrics are meaningful with positive message. On the foreign scene, I admire John Legend’s image and Drake for his passion for music.
Who is Ozee?
Ozee is my stage name while my real name is Ozotu Godwin Attah. I am from Doma local government area of Nasarawa state. I have a degree in Mass Communication from Nasarawa State University, Keffi.