Oghenerukewe Olotu aka Ruky Olotu a promising upcoming musician, started her music career in 2014 in the reality TV show, Project Fame. After emerging first runner up, she released an EP in 2018 titled “Brave Love”. In this interview with SOLOMON NDA-ISAIAH, she recounts her experience in the industry, as well as the hurdles upcoming artistes are made to go through to make waves in the country
Why did you take a break from music?
There was so much going on with my life, so I wanted to define what I really wanted to do and to be sure as well. When I took a break, I was also trying to get a job on the side. While waiting for that, I just had to come back to what I really love to do which is music.
What is the title of your latest single and when did you release it?
The title of the song is “Voodoo Love.” It was released about a month ago, and so far, people are liking it. It’s playing on several radio stations and it’s being uploaded on YouTube, and has a few thousand views on Spotify as well. The streams are coming up gradually, especially with doing the rounds (interviews). The more promo I do, the more streams I get. People now go to my YouTube page to see the video. Interesting enough, it is doing quite well. And I think it will do well with the amount of effort I put in for the promotion. Also since the people that have listened to it so far said they like it. I am more encouraged to do more.
What kind of music do you play?
I want to define my music as Neo-Soul Afro-Pop. It is more of an eccentric type of sound that is still in touch with my grassroots, which is Africa, which is Nigeria, just to represent Africa in my sound.
The music industry is saturated right now due to a lot of people releasing different types of singles and albums. How do you intend to penetrate and make waves in the music industry?
A lot of it is hard work, especially when you are an upcoming artiste, you have to find a way to create a brand that defines you. So I would say, I have to find a way that defines me that is different from the likes of Tiwa Savage, different from the likes of Yemi Alade, so the difference would be, you know, playful youthful. I definitely don’t want to sound like, them. I want it to be a new type of sound. I try to do things that are different too. That is why I took some time; I had to experiment with different sounds, I had to try not to sound like different artistes even if I took inspiration from them.
What are the different sounds?
Like Majek Fashek, we know he sang reggae but he brought in pangolo rhythm. In that pangolo rhythm, he used the talking drum. Other reggae artistes don’t use talking drum.
What are the type of innovations you are bringing to make your own different from the likes of Yemi Alade and co?
The difference, I think, would be infusion of different sounds. We have the African, then we still have this soul in it and there is still R&B. So it’s going to be obvious because I love to infuse house music. As for this new song, it has Afro mixed with house. That is how you know I want to still break the difference between international and African so when you are from South Africa or when you are from maybe the United States you would actually relate to it because you hearing house music, but then you still hearing pidgin or you are still hearing Afro African sound. So I think that is the difference.
Who is your mentor in the music industry?
I like a couple of artistes; I like them because they inspire my sound. It grows. Way back it used to be Brandy, Whitney Houston, it used to be Beyounce. But now I am getting in tune with new sounds of artistes like Jhene Aiko, Ceaser. I like to mention those types. Then I really like her sound as well, Tems, she has this new sound that I am also liking. Those are the sounds. She (Tems) has that thing.
What are your challenges in the music industry?
There are various challenges. It’s countless (laughs), it’s plenty. From finances to even the current economic situation, and the fact that you are upcoming. So you have to really put in lots of capital to move around and connect with the various key players in the music industry and also, once you connect you have to actually now present your music to the world and say okay this is what I do. The challenge can be also getting people to like your music, it is not so easy in that aspect and then finances. So those are the two major challenges – apart from the economical or security situation
What are your aims and aspirations?
I aspire to penetrate into the homes and the hearts of music lovers around Africa and the world and to connect with them whereby they want to go into their safe song and listen to my music and actually find solace, find comfort or happiness and some sort of relief from my sound. And they want to find out more about my music, I find a way to inspire them through my music and art. That is more of my inspiration and aspirations.
Where and how do you hope to see Ruky in the next three years?
Wow! I hope to see and I pray to see my songs being played round the world and that I am performing on several stages and I am being invited to perform on several stages in various countries. You know just to definitely just perform around. I see my music going very far and people loving/streaming it. That’s what I see. (laughs)
And after project fame, have you performed in any event?
Yes. I have performed in a few. The most prominent I could remember is felaberation. There’s also this thing we used to do in Lagos – artiste night. It was really big. I have done some things that they invited us to come, Beat FM, Temple Management, and some stages. I should try and remember those because it is a while back, almost three years ago or so. I have to remember.
Do you intend to participate in any reality show, anytime soon?
No. I don’t think so because it is not aligned with my brand.
How do you relax? How do you spend your leisure hours?
I don’t know… I stay mostly indoors. After working in the studio, you relax for sometime. Maybe you just sleep, rest but then you have to get back to work. I go to the gym, I work out although I haven’t worked out for the past one week. And then we have to get back into other things like moving around, going to restaurants. But yeah at home I usually just go swimming or gyming basically.
Right now, what do you do outside music?
I do a bit of business which is marketing, promoting the art work to people that can appreciate good art.
Some female artistes have complained of harassment. As a female artiste have you encountered it?
That aspect is always there but the thing I like to tell people is that it is actually everywhere. It is not only the music side, it is in the business side, the offices and banks. It is everywhere concerning women. It is something that we have to make women aware of, and that way they will be able to find that this is a general problem so they don’t keep it to themselves. They are able to be confident and defend themselves and fight it and say no and threaten to come to the public. In those ways they are enlightened about, they are aware so this is what you should expect. If this happens, don’t be afraid, come out, speak about it. Report and all that.
We talked about Burna Boy, and we pray that a Nigerian female artiste will win the Grammys anytime soon.
The Grammys! Amen oo…
Most musicians have their style, their kind of dressing. What is your own style of dressing?
The interesting thing is that music has gone far in Nigeria, and fashion also, has gone far in Nigeria. I am still trying to connect to that fashion aspect but I am a bit restrained about it (laughs), I will need to take my time with that. Because It is on another level. Music is evolved but fashion has evolved very far. I am still trying to even get to that point where I am creating something original with my style. That would involve me putting a lot of work to research fashion designers that I would like to even align with; and define it on a more grand scale that expresses my artistic grand scale. As an artiste and as a person who loves art. I like fashion, but I feel like I am still learning in that department. I want to put more effort into so that I can show that side of me. I need a little bit of work with that to get more confident. I am still trying in the fashion department (laughs).
What advice do you have for young upcoming artistes that will want to be like you some day or young ladies who want to be like you, venture into music some day?
It is very simple, I think, encouraging. Girls nowadays are really doing a lot. If you like something, it is very easy because once you have a passion for this thing nothing will stop you. You can do it. There would be a lot of discouragement, challenges, but so long as you have a serious passion for it, it is something that you should focus on and build, and harness it and you will get there. Nigeria is a place where you can grow. That is why I appreciate our country even if we have a lot of difficulties in the country generally, I have come to see the fact that there is still a little bit of opportunities to grow and to become who they want to be as opposed to in other places or other countries. We have good opportunities here also.
What are your hobbies?
Painting, even if it is abstract expression. I love creating a get together where you will bring creative people together and then you meet new people and you do something out of it. I like to create artistic environment where people come together and do something nice. I love creating gatherings. (Exhibitions)
What did you study in school?
Business Information Systems.