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I am not in competition with Michael Majid –Ken Erics

By Cena Mayor
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Another budding Nollywood actor, Ken Erics seem not be sleeping on what he knows better of doing; in this interviewing with UGOCHUKWU FAVOUR-MAYOR, it was awe-inspiring hearing him ponder his academic intense and vast experience.

Engaging him for this interview at one of the movie locations in Asaba, Delta State, it was quite a busy one no matter the too many movie scripts heaped only for him, all yet to be produced. For him, he discovered the underlying reasons for the interview as wasn't an airy-fairy one, successfully he granted it and that won him the interviewer's delight.

Excerpt:
Let's know you?
Ken Erics is my name; I'm from Enugwu- Ukwu in Njikoka LGA of Anambra State, Nigeria. I hold a degree in Theatre Arts from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. I am the sixth child of my parents. A liberal minded person. I am more of an introvert. I hardly hang out except when necessary and I keep a small circle of friends. I'm a Nollywood actor and musician.

Let's discuss Nollywood?
Well, Nollywood is an industry I'm proud to be part of, an industry that has come to stay. I mean from absolutely nothing it has grown into a global phenomenon with immense potential for revenue and human resources. I'm particularly overwhelmed at the abundance of talents the industry parades. And I think that is the main reason for the growth. Though we cannot be said to have arrived, I still think we have made a good impact and with recent collaborations with our counterparts in other climes we have a good springboard from which we can thrive! I'm really glad it is happening. Moreover talents are discovered everyday and the zeal is there. I believe what we need mostly is training. Every practitioner should endeavour to upgrade his or herself with knowledge and skills. That is the fulcrum of any successful industry. I'm glad most aspiring actors and technical personnel have begun to enroll in institutions to sharpen their drive, and I see that translating into more improved productions in the nearest future; such that would earn us global recognition.

How did you find yourself in Nollywood?
Let's say I always had the conviction that I would be in the entertainment industry. I had a very interesting and entertaining childhood. I was raised in a home where one was exposed to the beauty of arts in all forms. And I'm lucky to have very liberal minded parents who would allow you pursue your dream. My mum had always been in the choir since I knew her. Till date she's a choir mistress, same to my siblings. I remember as a child I always came home after school to listen to various kinds of music which mum would be listening to before we got home. And that has greatly influenced us all. We've all been engaged in one form of church activity or the other, music and drama wise. Even as a child I was always improvising stuffs like microphones and drum sets and would imagine myself as a rock star singing on stage. I could remember I often sneaked out to watch life bands performances because I was so drawn to anything performance, and I would always be part of the church drama and school performances. So, it wasn't a surprise to my folks when I chose to study Theatre Arts as a course. After my graduation I went for my youth service in Kaduna state. While there, went for an audition and got a role in a soap opera titled 'Webs'. So when I was done with service I pursued my dream and attended as many auditions as I knew about, the rest is history. My first encounter with Nollywood was in my first year in the University. There was an audition close by, I went for it and was picked for a minor role, which I did. That was the movie, Holy Prostitute. After that the passion grew so I always kept my ears on the ground for audition notices and made sure I attended any audition I heard about. I really could travel miles just to attend an audition. In my third year in the University, I got wind of an audition in Lagos that was Teco Benson's film, Danger Signal. I left school in a commercial luxurious night bus, in which I stood half of the journey and slept on the floor of the bus, in between the passengers, because I couldn't pay the complete fare to secure a chair. When I got to Lagos in the morning, I rushed to a friend's house and showered, then headed to the national theatre for the audition. Luckily for me I made it and was given a role to play as Desmond Elliot's friend. Though it wasn't a big role, I still gave it my best. After that I didn't do any other movie until after my youth service. When I was done with NYSC I started attending auditions again in Enugu, Asaba, and Abuja. I still went for Teco's audition for an epic, Silence of the gods, in Enugu. Got a good role and did it well. Then I went for another audition for the movie Eran and Erak and I got the lead; from there I picked up.

Life as a celebrity?
(Laughs) Honestly I don't see myself as a celebrity yet. I might be popular, fine. But I don't have the notion that I'm a celebrity or go around expecting to be recognized and all that. I still live my simple life the way I have always been. The only difference is that the exposure had forced me indoors; I hardly visit where I use to be. Then one tends to find it difficult to go to certain places and do things you ordinarily would do without causing a stir. Plus the fact that people expect more from you forgetting you are just like every other person. The life of an actor is really not an enviable one. It pigeonholes you into a certain stereotype in public, always grinning even when deep down you feel terrible or depressed. However there are good sides to it. I mean it's heartwarming to hear people tell you “you are their role model and they love you”. It gives me a kind of fulfillment knowing my little contributions really touched lives positively; and for that I'm grateful to God.

Which movie would you say brought you to limelight?

Actually I got the exposure from Silence of the gods. Then Eran and Erak gave me the recognition I needed. The movie Evil Intention with Kenneth Okonkwo actually stamped my presence.

Scandals?
I have really been lucky with that. No scandal yet. But that is not to say I am a saint or holier than anybody. We all are humans with numerous shortcomings. Moreover this is entertainment. The fact that there isn't a scandal today doesn't rule out the possibility of one. I just keep praying and doing my job, which is all I owe my fans.

Who is the act you always prefer being on set with?

I don't really have preferences regarding my colleagues. But I sure wouldn't enjoy working with someone who isn't going to bring out the best in me. As long as the artiste knows his or her craft, I'm good. Acting is a collaborative effort. Much as we as actors have our unit objectives to deliver the character as real as possible, the super objective which is to tie all our efforts into a complete whole matters a lot. So if I'm good and the next person isn't, the whole effort would have been futile; that's why I'm an advocate for excellence irrespective of sentiments.

Challenges?
The challenges are there. I mean transforming yourself into another person's persona is in itself a huge challenge. And that is the greatest for every actor. The ability to switch from one character to another within a specified period of time intensifies as the case. Outside the screen there's also the challenge of trying to please everyone you come across, which of course is almost impossible. But you just have to be as polite and as civil as possible, even to rude and irritating remarks and actions.

Dream?
My dream is to be a successful entertainer, to be the best I can and to really impact lives. Someone I would be proud to read about if I could. Someone my children would really be proud of. I hope to delve into various genres of entertainment as regards movies and music. I just keep working hard and praying to God for fulfillment.

Relationship?
I'm currently in a relationship with someone so unique to me. She loves and understands me very well. She is from Anambra State, and she just finished her youth service. She is a complete African woman, and she doesn't like publicity, so I'll leave it at that.

Embarrassing moment?
That should be the day I fell into a ditch and got carried away by flood while trying to impress my colleagues. How did it happen? I had gone for a music show with my group, on our way back there was heavy rain and the road was flooded. No car could move. We had to alight and cross a ditch into a nearby store till the rain subsided. There was a wooden bridge, my friends walked over, in my stupidity I decided to jump over only to land inside the gutter and the flood carried me along immediately. God just saved me as I held onto some metal poles before they came to my rescue, already then I was muddy from head to toe.

How about the competition you were accused of having with Ghana artistes, especially Michael Majid?

That's far from the truth. I can't compete with anybody, not at all. Why should I? Every one is unique in his or her way. I mean every actor brings certain individuality to the table, and as such there isn't any room for unhealthy competition. Moreover I respect my colleagues and I think they do the same. Acting is symbiotic. I learn from every single person I come across irrespective of status. For me, there's always something to pick up from every individual; so there isn't any competition whatsoever with Ghana artistes or even Micheal Majid as earlier mentioned.

What should your fans expect?
My fans should expect a couple of wonderful movies I did lately. They will soon hit the cinemas and the shelves. The details would be out soon. I thank all my fans for their immeasurable love and support, and I promise never to fail them.