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10 MINUTES WITH MIKE OKRI



Mike Okri is one artiste whose loud presence in the Nigerian music scene positively impacted and turned-around the music stage in the 1990s and early 2000.  Albeit his relocation to the United States of America, his songs, most of which remain evergreen (e.g. Time Na Money, Omoge, Rhumba Dance, etc.) are still being enjoyed by old and young generations of Nigerians.

In a very brief interview with Vwede OVERAH, he spoke about music, and his plan to establish a massive entertainment empire in Nigeria.

You departed Nigeria just when everyone was enjoying your music and looking forward to having more from you. You were doing well with you career. What informed your relocation?

Thank you for having me on this interview Vwede.
Nothing I could say particularly prompted my relocation. I could say I was spirit-driven to make that change and have no regrets.

What happened to your music? Did your relocation affect your music?
Nothing has changed about my music. What happened is that my being outside the shores has made me a better artist/musician. Though some could see it differently, having not been physically present. But remember, I was one of the pioneers who started what the young artists are doing today.
The only difference is that what they are selling now, lack depth and hold no brighter future for the industry. Hence, I could admit that the absence of the likes of me has affected the music of our golden dreams. That is why we must all come back to contribute our quota and/or start where we left off to build an evergreen bridge across a murky swampy cacophonous riffs and rhythms we parade as music in Nigeria these days. (No offence please. My opinion).

What has life been like outside Nigeria?
Life has been good with family and my desire for little gigs here and there. Not big time though, I just like globe-trotting if you ask me... (smiles). After all, I don't need to also worry about the fact that we don't have regular electricity, pipe borne water and even security in  Nigeria like we do in the U.S here... (giggles).


How would you rate the Nigeria music industry?
Like I said before, we need brace ourselves for tougher times ahead. We need more creativity to meet greater challenges and not just being mere copy-cats. We need to be originators of music that would last a lifetime. However, I duff my hat for a few young folks (producers and singers without mentioning names) who are working hard to preserve a true Nigerian music legacy.

What do you miss the most in Nigeria? Why?
At the moment I couldn't say I miss anything. I only believe that if my ways are ordered by God, He would direct my steps coming home to contribute my quota in his own due time. Truly, I'd be glad to want to come and add more spice and possibly choose a better musical path for our youths to tread and embrace.

Any advice for younger generation of Nigerian musicians?
My advice is that, anything that is worth doing, is worth doing well. If you as a youth is not cut out to be an artist, don't force your way doing it, only to miss your divine destiny. Besides, there's no short cut to anything. Get educated to better understand your bearing and also add value to yourself and what you do.

Looking back, if given another opportunity, what would you do differently.  Why?
Looking back? Looking back to where? Let me ask you, who can turn back the hand of a divine clock as ordained by God? Listen, what is done is done and cannot revert. Opportunities come and go. You can only give account of those within your grasp. You know what we all should be grateful for? That we are alive and still breathing to testify of what is to come. So to answer your question, as long as God still keeps me alive, I know I still have so much to give in the near future, musically...to God be the glory...(laughs).

Do you have intentions of permanently relocating to Nigeria? If yes, when?
Yes, I come home every year. So my desire is to come and establish an empire that will help build a formidable entertainment industry. It takes the divine favour and grace of the Almighty God and money and not just mere word. Thank you.... 

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