Sunday, 28 February 2010

Though he’s making his mark in journalism working as an entertainment reporter with The Sun newspapers for years and now with the National Life on the same beat, music making is another side of Tony Ogaga Erhariefe, which many do not know about. In fact, he actually started out a musical artist before delving into journalism. Today, Ogaga, as he’s fondly called in the entertainment industry, is gradually retracing his steps back to his first love, even as he remains a journalist.

OGAGA developed special interest in music at a very tender age after listening to the New Edition’s Candy Girl. For him, if the group, which was made up teenagers, could come up with that album, then he too can. Luckily, he had an elder brother, Ese, whom he describes as his greatest musical influence.
“Though he has no album to his credit, he always sang with me at home those days; I’ve always wanted to sing like him.”
Teaming up with the likes of Justice Atigogo, Yomi, Lilian and Ola in Festac Town, Lagos, Ogaga started Gold Feet, an Afro-Pop music group. Though they had the dreams of becoming recording stars someday, the group failed in its effort to come up with quality recordings.
After Gold Feet went into limbo, Ogaga hooked up with his elder brother, Eduvie (Lord Flash), who’s now a Dominican Priest, and they started another group, Fire and Fury, around early 90s.
“That was the age of the reel to reel recording; software was still a long way off then. We recorded tracks such as Boat of Love, When She Says No, Party Night, Are You Ready etc.”
The group later re-branded into Heart & Soul, with R&B singer, Steve Ferguson and Thompson Okonobi, popularly called Tommy Smart, joining. They spent long hours rehearsing their songs, but the dream was short lived as they all got admission into school and faced their individual academic pursuit.
Ogaga was at the University of Benin between 1992 and 1996, where he studied Linguistics, before heading for Nasarawa State for his National Youth Service. It was after his NYSC that it dawned on him that of all Heart & Souls members; he was the only one still willing to pursue the dream.
“It was heart breaking,” he frowns. “We did everything together, shared our dreams together, and they abandoned me halfway. I was particularly mad at my elder brother (Lord Flash); he’d always done everything for me.”

AFTER a brief stint with a group led by African Prince (Victor Iketubosun), Ogaga went solo again, with the aim of recording his works someday. As at that time, his elder brother had joined the seminary school.
“For a couple of years, I was just drifting. Then in 2001, I did my first R&B recording, Giant In U, at Strong Towers Studio. The job was produced by Joe Ojas, who later emerged Best Producer AMEN Awards 2002,” he recalls.
It was while working on his second track that Ogaga met Rabbi of the now defunct Def O Clan, who co produced his track Bandits in Uniform, alongside Remi. The track focused on corrupt security officials but the amateur video shot on camcorder by DXF, was equally controversial. “Within its first week on air, the song got to number 4 on Emma Ogosi’s MBI Top 10 Countdown. However, due to its controversial message, most TV and radio stations did not air it and it was later withdrawn from circulation.”
With his song out of circulation, Ogaga withdrew from music and joined The Sun newspapers in 2002 as a reporter, but later moved to National Life in 2007 as the Deputy Showbiz Editor.

AFTER a long break from music, the journalist/musician has completed work on his debut album, which he tentatively entitled Shakara. The 20 tracker Afro-pop work has songs such as Bandits In Uniform (remix), Giant In U, Party Tyme, Kiribumbum, Wahala De, Allah Na Gode, Ya Kpe Obaro, But Why, Baby Wuye, No Fear and others. Aside from Giant In U, which was produced by the duo of George Nathaniel and Forster Zeeno; Remi produced all other tracks, with Ogaga co-producing.
“For me, music is purely a passion; I’m not into it because I want to make money. I see music as a veritable tool of expressing my innermost feelings and ideology. Most of my songs are either motivational or touching on social issues. I use my music as a tool in preaching about the need to discover oneself and one’s potentials. I tried running away from music, but something keeps bringing me back. I’ve finally accepted my fate knowing that my future would not be complete unless as a singer.”
Meanwhile, The Down Syndrome Association of Nigeria (DSAN) has endorsed Tony Ogaga’a Giant In U as its theme song. In a letter addressed to the artiste signed by the group’s Media & Publicity Officer, Kanu Ahaoma, the group says, “we are glad to inform you that your song, Giant in U, has been adopted as the theme song for DSAN. We find the lyrics inspiring hence our decision to identify with it. Henceforth, the track would be performed at all DSAAN events both locally and internationally.”

His music is change

Though an upcoming artiste, Moses Paul, otherwise known as MO, could simply be described as a gospel singer with different flavour. He’s in love with soft rock, just as he’s attracted to hip-hop and other genres of music. In fact, he describes himself as unconventional.
With two albums to his credit, while work on the third is on going, MO prefers touching people’s lives, singing about love and life, rather than the usual songs about Jesus.
“About 20 to 25 years ago, gospel singing was only about Jesus, but we can actually sing about life, love, and giving; God is all of these. I’ve always believed that the gospel means good news, not only about Jesus.”
He continues: “If you sing about love and bring healing to homes, that’s good news. Whatever it is that can put smiles on people’s faces is good news. I’m a gospel artist not because I sing about Jesus but because I sing about love, life and change,” he says.
Mo’s unconventional view about gospel singing began during his days as a choirboy in church; he joined the group at 10, but later took over five years later. It was in the group that he learnt the basics of singing.
For sure, Mo didn’t like the usual way songs were rendered, so, he decided to change the style.
“I took over the choir and brought in people, who thought they could not sing because my idea of singing is different.”
Professionally, Mo started singing eight years ago when he released his first solo effort, Make A Difference, followed by Shakabula. The works are a fusion of soft rock, hip-hop, rap and dance hall.
For the third album, Be The Change, the gospel singer is working with some notable Nigerian artistes including the self-styled Area Fada.
“I’m working it at the moment and I’m bringing Charley Boy, Samsong and others on board. I opted for Charley Boy because I like his kind of person; he represents change. I’m for change, Jesus is about change.”
The geographer turned musician also has a dream for Nigeria.
“I want to see a N100 shop, where products will be sold for N100. I want to see people buying their houses at young age. I want to see corruption dead. I want to make a difference in the music world with quality and excellent works. I want to see Nigeria being able to use music as a tool to make a change.”



Blacktribe denies feud with Faze
Though it’s yet to get to the public domain, there are feelers that the long-standing relationship between the Kolomental crooner Faze and hip-hop group, Blacktribe, has gone sour.
This is not unconnected with a verse in one of the lyrics in the group’s (Blacktribe) new album, Addicted. The track, which is rumoured to be causing controversy in Festac Town -- where the acts reside -- is titled Wondale featuring 2Face Idibia.
In a bid to put things straight, Young Chief, a member of the Blackribe, has finally opened up on the matter.
“We don’t have any problem with Faze; the concept of the song is for everybody to dance and be happy. The verse that is currently causing this controversy is where I sang; “why you dey stand alone, abi your name na Faze? We don’t want any maga wey go dull the place!”
Asked why he described Faze in such context, Young Chief claims that, “Faze is reputed for doing his things alone, moreover, his first solo effort was titled Faze Alone, while the second one was titled Independent. So, since the lady in the video had decided to stand out from the crowd, I described her as Faze. With all due to respect to Faze,” he concludes.

Soforte partners Sony Music on distribution
Sony Music UK has entered into an agreement with a Nigerian automated distribution company, SoForte Entertainment Distribution. According to the terms, Sony has been authorised by the outfit, to make available whenever there is a demand for Nigeria music anywhere in the world.
The working relationship between the two outfits for international retail distribution was sealed few days back at the corporate office of Sony Music in the UK. The relationship covers international standard packaging for labels and artistes working with Soforte Distribution. Sony on its part would ensure product supply to its partner retail stores worldwide, as long as demands come from them.
According to Gbenga George, CEO of Soforte, this is the beginning of the dream Soforte has for the industry in line with its blueprint.
“Nigerians living abroad can go into any major or minor media retail store anywhere in the world to request for their favourite Nigerian artistes’ works from the stable of Soforte. The standard of works in Nigeria of today is of international quality, and that should reflect in the quality of our CD/DVD packaging.”
Meanwhile, the company plans to roll out an advance distribution technology system this year, which promises to take the industry to a whole new level. This involves the introduction of an automated CD/DVD vending machine, which is similar to the ATM machine. These machines would be deployed at strategic places around the country to make CD/DVD purchase easier for consumers. The good thing about the initiative is that it guarantees original CD/DVD, as well as royalty payment to artistes and labels.

Kingsley (KC-Presh) is engaged
It all started like a rumour, but it has finally been confirmed that Kingsley of the music group, KC-Presh, has finally engaged his new heartthrob, Cynthia Ijeoma Oduah.
Gist has it that the Sokoribob singer proposed to Ijeoma -- a former VJ with Nigezie -- earlier this month, while both lover were on a trip to Dubai.
“Ijeoma is the only one for me,” Kingsley confirmed when contacted.
It was later discovered that the musician actually planned the trip as a way of creating a special experience for his bride to be. He finally proposed while they were on a balloon ride, gliding across the Dubai skyline.
Ijeoma first said, “Its a lie!” Then few seconds latter, she responded, “yes!”
Both lovers had dinner together and latter lodged at the seven-star Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah. They have already completed their official family introduction, with a brand new car for Ijeoma as an engagement gift.

Lara George, Timi, Efe and Eric for Keep Moving launch
Lara George, Efe, Timi Dakolo and Eric of Idol West Africa, will be performing today at the official launch of Onos Bikawei’s debut album, Keep Moving.
Billed to hold at the Grand Ball Room, Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, the event, which will be anchored by the duo of Steve Onu (Yaw of Wazobia FM) and Mc Abbey, will open with a special red carpet reception/cocktail at 4pm, while the event proper starts at 5pm.
“I’m happy that at lat, we are coming up with album. But the most important thing is that the product is worth the efforts. I thank all the people that worked on this album and also my fans that have waited so long for this album to come. Keep Moving is finally here,” she said.
Meanwhile, some of the tracks in the album, such as Dance, are already on air in most radio and TV stations across the country.

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