Uprising artiste, Chidey, just hit the waves with the latest song titled “Ogbodo”. Listening to the Igbo cum pidgin rap song produced by Synx , has a lot of lessons encompassed within . The scintillating jamz Ogbodo is all about friendly foes, friends that have no usefulness in one’s life, never pushing you to be a better form of yourself. Chidey tells us all about Ogbodo and life growing up in this interview.
Tell us about yourself, Who is Chidey?
Chidey is a young Nigerian from Bende LGA of Abia State, though born and bred in Enugu. My real name is Chidiebere Kalu, my stage name is just a stylish way of saying my first name. I’m the third son in a family of four. I’m a graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria.
How was your childhood?
My childhood was crazy, the best you can find. I grew up in Enugu, Gariki to be precise. My dad was a civil servant, my mum a petty trader. Grew up in the hood, but my dad made sure we had all the good things of life, attended the best schools, everything nice, till we lost him to the cold hands of death. May God bless his soul. I had two elder brothers and a kid sister and they are the best people I could ever ask for. My childhood was filled with play, laughs, food and of course music. As early as when I was 3, I was the house musician. They gave me a nickname, “Nkwa” back then, they still call me that though. (Laughs).Music, movies, football, books where my thing.
Forget the music, I was super brilliant and brainy too. I was the kid always coming first in class. The family wanted me to be a lawyer, but deep down, I knew I must pursue a career in music someday.
What was growing up like for you? Did it develop your penchant for music?
Yeah, My dad was my biggest source of inspiration growing up, not just in music, in everything. When I was a kid, my dad was my bed mate. He had so many albums, both in vinyls and radio cassettes such as Bob Marley, Don Williams. ABBA, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Michael Jackson, Oliver De Coque, Dolly Parton, Bright Chimezie, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Chief Osita Osadebe, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Jacksons, Mike Ejeagha, Peter Tosh, Don Carlos, Brenda Fassie. Nick Mbarga, Michael Bolton etc.
Thus, early in the morning, he would wake up and insert any of them inside the big radio player in our room (two of us share his room). Other mornings, he’d go to the sitting room during that wee hour of the morning and play some good ol’ music in the monstrous Sony VCD 3-loader. I’d always creep out of the bedroom to join him in the sitting room and enjoy this private sonic extravaganza.
As time went on, I started copying him, I’d wake up around 4 am, insert a radio cassette while we’ll lay down and enjoy. And Bob Marley was always my go-to man.
What was the level of parental support you got when your delved into music?
As the brilliant kid always coming first in class, I didn’t really start up with the “I want to be a musician” stuff. Though somehow I always felt my folks knew already. I remember performing in a cousin’s wedding back in Abuja as a teenager. But I really kick started my music career with my first two singles in 2014, and my parents loved it. There was a day I was playing music and my mum approached me:
“Chidi, everyday you have earpiece stuck on your ears listening to other people music. You have your eyes on the TV watching other people music video. Everyday you are singing and rapping other people songs. When are you going to start writing your own songs so we can start playing and enjoying them?” That question inspired me a whole lot and I had to take the music stuff serious. So they were there for me and my siblings too.
What gave you the inspiration for Ogbodo, What is Ogbodo all about?
Ogbodo is a song about a friend. a friend that is not your friend. He is there for the good times, for the drinking sprees, for the gossip, but contributes no positivity to your life.
I got the inspiration for the song during my NYSC days in Ota, Ogun state. I was in a Keke Napep playing music through my earpiece, then I got a brainwave. I started humming the hook, next thing I was freestyling the lines. I composed the song there and then in that keke. By the time I got home, Ogbodo was 70 per cent ready. So that’s how Ogbodo was birthed.
Ogbodo is a feel-good hip hop song where I give a lesson on friendship without being so preachy; I like treating morality in a breezy and comic manner. It’s a combo of Igbo language, pidgin English and English. The beat is groovy and everyone likes it.
Have you ever encountered an Ogbodo in your life?
Uhm (laughs) Well, what can I say? It happens. We all have that friend who is not really adding any positive thing to our lives, financially, morally, socially, psychologically or otherwise. I didn’t have any particular friend in mind while writing the song, but it’s something that is very relatable.
Who is your role model in the music industry?
Wow, a whole lot, I won’t be able to list all of them, but let’s see. I love Jesse Jagz, his lyricism is on another level. I admire him a whole lot. Cassper Nyovest of South Africa is another guy, the way he mixes English and his native tongue is something I admire a lot. With hiphop, he touches on different themes like humanity, abuse, family values, etc. His song “Hope You Bought It” is one of the biggest music inspiration I have.
I love Falz too. He came with his own unique style and sense of humour and I love it. And boy is he one helluva lyricist. Obviously I love Phyno too. That’s a legend as far as Igbo rap is concerned. Reminisce, M.I, Illbliss, Yung6ix, they all inspire me in one way or another. For the foreign guys Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Rick Ross, Nas, I love them.
As an artiste, a creative personality and a lover of Falz, you must know that his latest release ‘This Nigeria’ has come under criticism, what is your view?
I don’t know what others think though, personally, I think Falz is a creative enigma. What he does is simply more-than-just-amazing. When Childish Gambino did ‘This is America’, everyone was in awe, then he brought it down to the Nigerian level. Yes, it might not be an original idea, but covers are still part of music. He did so well in touching parts of our lives that many people are afraid to talk about. You know we are a hypocritical bunch down here in Nigeria (laughs), Falz is someone I admire his “table-shaking” ability. And for me, ‘This is Nigeria’ is perfect. I love it 100 per cent.
Have you released any other songs prior to the birth of Ogbodo?
Yes, I released my debut EP titled ‘Allow Me To Be Frank’ back in June, 2017. It was an EP of seven tracks. With the EP I tackled different issues and shenanigans of human beings, with my witty punchlines and amazing sense of humour. The EP got rave reviews from numerous quarters. Even a national newspaper published a track-by-track review of the EP. Likewise many magazines and music sites. The EP really got my music career rolling, albeit in the right direction.
Is there any other post-Ogbodo release in the offing, your fans might want to know when to expect another one?
Well uhm, first of all, I don’t think I’m so much into the whole “fan” thing. I see the lovers of my music as “friends”. And I have these friends scattered all over the world. So, it’s Chidey & Friends kind of thing. Yeah. I have a lot in my creative bag, by the grace of God, I’ll be releasing a new song by next month. And that one would be way better than Ogbodo. You know, I bring in different and eccentric concepts. You can’t predict what my songs would be about, you can only anticipate the release. I have so many good songs in my creativity bank. With time, the world will hear.
What do you think about the music Industry and the state of things in the country?
The Nigerian music industry, though a budding one, is really fast rising. It’s employing millions of young people both directly and indirectly. And that’s really something commendable. Our artistes are really doing exploits globally. The continent is ours already, you know, the Wizkids, the Davidos, etc, they make us proud. One of the problems I think we have is the music management. It’s all in the hands of record labels, there’s really no space for indie music artistes to strive. And because of this, some artistes after gaining fame run into contractual troubles with their labels. Guess it’s like that almost everywhere though. I’ll like the industry to devise more means to spot good talents and help them grow and not necessarily exploit them. Also, the award organizers should find a way to bring their awards down to the upcoming guys in order to encourage them. With proper research, that can be done. With time, our industry will get bigger and better as It is so promising already.
As an upcoming artiste, what is your strategy to blow in the music industry?
First of all, I don’t like addressing myself as an “upcoming artiste”. Never. I don’t use that appellation on me. Not because I’m proud or something but because how I see myself matters a whole lot to my confidence. Yes, I’m not yet a big deal, but I will be, soon. Tagging yourself an “upcoming artiste” is something that may make you comfortable where you are. You be like “wow, I’m an upcoming artiste, wow”. Other times, it makes you limit and underrate yourself. But I see myself as an artiste, just an artiste. A young rap artiste, destined for greatness. My forte is my lyricism, sense of humour and ability to mix Igbo, English and Pidgin English seamlessly. I touch on topics mostly ignored. My music is not just about “sex, breast and waist”, neither is it about “my enemies, my haters” or “I get money, I get Bugatti”. I believe there are a million and one other things to sing and rap about. As for the “blowing” part, well, what can I say? I’m just going to keep doing my thing, using music to entertain and educate people, basically using my music to spread happiness. I hope to get a good record deal before the end of the year with a label that’s ready to invest in my all-round growth and development as an artiste.
What do you do, when you are not recording or writing music?
I love music a whole lot; R&B, pop, hiphop, reggae, country, highlife, rock and roll, funk, everything. I’m a music freak. I’m always listening to music. I’m an ardent cinephile too, I love movies a whole lot, I don’t just watch movies, I study them; the directors, the producers, the scripts, everything about the movies. I am a Chelsea fan (winks) and I love football so much. I love reading and surfing the internet for good stuffs Finally, I love being on my own, being with myself, listening to myself. Thinking, analyzing and planning my next move and I also love putting smiles on people’s faces.
What other ventures are you into apart from music?
I’m something like a jack of a trade and a master of many. I carry our research works for both individuals and corporate bodies and get paid for it. I also moonlight as a Master of Ceremony in events. I’m also into broadcasting too. I have my eyes on acting likewise. Basically, I’m a hustler, so I’m into everything and anything so far it brings money and is legit.
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