By NBF News

Oritse Femi is a budding musician who is popular for his hit track, Mercy of God. Born into a polygamous family, the Delta State indigene tasted the bitter side of life while living in the ghetto of Ajegunle in Lagos and had to struggle to carve a niche for himself. In this interview with Blockbuster , the Unfadeables exponent narrates the story of his life and music. Excerpts:

My name is Oritse Femi. I am from Delta State. I was born and brought up in Ajegunle, Lagos. I started my music right from my primary school days. I got my inspiration from the street because I had the opportunity to hang out with the underprivileged in the society. I am very happy today because I have been able to pick one or two things from them to compose my songs. It was not only tough but also rough. It was not really easy because of my background.

I come from a polygamous family and with so many children. My father being an engineer wanted me to follow his footsteps. My mother being a church worker also wanted me to be in the house of God. All these were a diversion for me. I never thought I would ever climb to where I am today. But I thank God that I have been able to get a good packaging from my record label, Shining Entertainment, which was a different level from the way I was before. In the past I had a lot of good music but there was nobody to project me. Now, I have got a lot of opportunities to show to the world the creativity that I possess.

I have got a lot of fans and everybody wants to hear about Oritse Femi and his music, which was not the case in those days. So, it is really a great opportunity for me to showcase my talents to the world.

How it all started
It all started when I was still in school when we used to have music clubs. Those days when we used to have get-together party, I was always performing. When they saw the talents in me, people advised me to keep practising because constant practice makes perfect. That was how I became enthusiastic about music. But professionally, I got my experience from the Cherubim and Seraphim Church in Ajegunle, Lagos. I started as lead vocalist in the choir where I was also playing bass guitar. It was there I actually picked a lot of musical ideas. The greatest opportunity I had musically was when Shaba Ranks, Keppy Ton and others came to establish a Ragga Dub School in Ajegunle. They were brought here by the late Johnny Nap.

That was where Daddy Showkey, Daddy Fresh, Father U-turn, Baba Fryo and a lot of other stars had their breakthrough. My associations with them made me know much about reggae, which became the genre I was playing in my early career. But later, with my reggae experience, and the experience I had in school and church, I started projecting my own kind of African music called, Reality or Conscience music. It is a kind of music that touches or arouses the feeling of the people. Some people call it hip-life because it has all the elements of different brands of music including our popular highlife. So, whether I am singing about ladies, money and other issues in the society, it always arouses the consciousness of reality.

The Unfadeables
When I was in a group called, The Jingolist, we released two albums. It was a joint project with my colleague, Chibudo. The first album was entitled, Boys Dibinu, that is 'boys are not happy'. The second album was Money Na Time and they had eight tracks each. Later I went solo and released an album, Elewon, which means 'chase them'. That was when I started singing about the flopped politicians and the need to chase them away. It was released in 2007/08 during the elections and turned out to be a hit. My second solo album has just been dropped into the market entitled, Unfadeables. I was motivated to release this album because of the wickedness prevalent in the world. One of the hit tracks that is making waves on radio and TV is Mercy of the Lord. It has a remix featuring the late Da Grin, Rhymzo and also my record label chairman, Shining. We have already shot the video and it would be out any moment from now.

The Unfadeables has fourteen tracks. It is going to redefine the Oritse Femi people have been hearing about. Apart from the artistes I mentioned before, I've also featured in my works 2face, Pasuma Wonder, Nico Gravity, B Kleen and some other popular artistes in Nigeria. It is a thank you album to my fans who have been urging me on. The fans have been there saying that Oritse Femi cannot fade. That is why I entitled the album, Unfadeables. It is a street lingo narrating how people neglected me when I was not known.

Life as a celeb
As a celebrity, those places I used to go to before, I can't go there anymore because of attention. Everywhere I go people always want to associate with me. They always have one or two things to say to me. The advantage is that anytime I go to the market or stores to buy something, I am always given discount because of my personality. The same thing applies when I lodge in a hotel. So, my life as a musician has been very interesting and I see it as God's favour.

On the music industry
I think the industry is growing very well. The era whereby artistes were regarded as never-do-well or drop-outs has elapsed. They are no longer regarded as hunger-stricken or wayward people. The hardship of the past has been substituted with a life of affluence and glamour. Our artistes are now winning awards worth millions of dollars. These are indications that the industry is on the move. That is not to say that there is no other side of the coin, especially marketing of the album. It is sad that musicians cannot monitor the sales of their albums. Royalty is another issue. The succour now is live shows which many artistes are living on. Thanks to the enthusiastic fans that prefer our music to that of our foreign counterparts. I know that by the time the majority of our artistes start reaping from endorsements and all that, the sky would be the limit.

Coping with female admirers
Honestly, I love my female fans a lot because they are the ones who patronize us most. If women love your music, be assured that their boyfriends would buy it to soothe them. That is why I am always very careful not to have problem with women, especially when it comes to sex scandal. I thank God that I am into a very strong relationship, which I hope by the grace of God would lead to marriage. So, the relationship I have with my female fans is just a platonic one. But then I love a slim, clean, sweet lady. My woman must have a bit of buttocks. I love girls that have buttocks. That is not to say I don't like fat ladies but my kind of girl is the one that is slim with big buttock.

Role models
My role model is Sizzler Konaji. But as for my kind of music, I love Fela Anikulakpo- Kuti's music. And for my stage performance, I got the idea from Daddy Showkey. I believe one can hardly beat him when it comes to stagecraft.