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Celebrities’ Rough Ride To Stardom

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In this piece, ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM takes a look at the journey of some celebrities whose fame didn’t come easy.

Their swags, fresh skin and lavish lifestyle today is not without pain. Many who don’t know some of these Nigeria’s famous celebrities are wont to believe they just got it on a platter of gold.

While some Nigerian entertainers got to fame on a platter of gold using their parent’s wealth to rise to the top, there are many others who fought their way to the summit using talent and persistence.

They looked depressed, hungry , dejected , deprived and even abandoned, yet, their goals kept them going as they marched in persistence to victory.

Today, before one could see any of them, it is like an SSCE student trying to pass JAMB.

The lanky looking Plantation Boiz consisting of Face, Blackface and 2Face story is what could be likened to Grass to Grace. They were not from the wealthy homes that amy present crop of artistes emanated from today. Their parents would never thought it right to fund their musical talent with cash, because to them, it was a waste of time. Why won’t they channel that energy to become a doctor, lawyer or any profession that would put food on the table. To them, music was a waste of time. The artistes had to work harder and sponsor themselves to attain the height they enjoy today.

The blings they wear today, the mansion and exotic cars they drive are the results of efforts they have put in after years of working persistently. The group was formed during their college years in Enugu, at the Institute Of Management And Technology (I.M.T Enugu). The artistes had worked and laboured for years before becoming what they are today.

Another artiste is Flavour. He is the first son of a large family. His family wasn’t very fond of his musical ambitions; they often dismissed it as a pipe dream. His mother in particular believed that his musical ambitions wouldn’t amount to anything. But today, he is one of the best contemporary highlife musician Nigeria can boast of.

But the case of Ice Prince is different. In 1999, he began writing rap songs and started performing them at social events held at his school. It was not until 2001 that he began going to recording studios to record. In 2002, he got together with a couple of friends and formed a group called the “Ecomog Squad”. They had few performances as a group and split a year later. In 2004, he connected with M.I, Jesse Jagz, Ruby, Lindsey, Eve, Taz, and together they became what is now known today as the “Loopy Crew”.

During an interview with Adeola Adeyemo, Ice Prince was asked to summarise his story. He said “I started out in Jos in a group called ECOMOG squad. We used to rap and sing together. The group split up after a few years and after that, I joined the choir in my church and started singing tenor. That was about the time MI moved back to Nigeria and we became friends, we became family, we started living together, started making music together. I had a song that made it to Number 1 in Jos, that was when I started getting more attention. Then I got admitted into University of Jos to study Zoology but then I couldn’t really continue because of some financial constraints at the time.”

Ice Prince also opened up about the passing of his parents and the challenges he faced early in life.

He said:”Life was not that rosy. When my dad was alive, life was pretty much rosy but I lost my dad in 1999 and it was my mum that was taking care of me up until she died too. So it was kinda hard to get by, really. I dropped out of school in my 100Level to focus on my music.I moved to Abuja and started living with MI and Jesse Jagz. We were making music, doing some small small shows just to get money. Then we moved to Lagos, we got a chance to chill at Djinee’s house. Djinee gave us some space in his house to sleep. Djinee is like my Jesus. He came through for us. We lived in his house and made it very uncomfortable for him but he took all the pain and accommodated us. This was in 2008. Gradually, there was steady growth. We got our own place, started making music. In 2008, I hosted Sprite Triple Slam. We did 30 shows, 15 in Lagos, 15 in the East. I got some small money off that to buy some new jeans and shoes so that girls would, you know, say hi to me when they see me.”

Patoranking once said that he struggled to even have his CD aired, selling various stuffs just to fund his musical career. Today he is one of the most respected dancehall artistes in Africa.

Timaya (Dem Mama Soldier) also went through hell to get on top. He once said he was proud that his effort and pain were not in vain or else many would have dismissed him as a successful failure. If a top act is named in Nigeria today, certainly , Timaya would be among. Wizkid, Harrysong, Wande Coal, Olamide ( The Street Goon) and many others sweated to be where they are today.

It is a sign that hard work pays and persistence also pays. Upcoming artistes today want to make it by all means, forgetting that it takes a lot to ‘blow.’ Rugged Man once said he walked kilometres to sell his CDs in the past, that was before the advent of social media Nigeria is enjoying. Today an artiste could communicate with his fans in seconds and response from songs he posted on line would generate likes and go viral.

The opportunities the present generation of artistes have shouldn’t be misused because they have everything at their disposal. Don’t hasten to be like 2Face, rather up your game to be you and tomorrow would surely be a gracious atmosphere for you.



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