On the evening of Saturday March 27, 2021 the Mike Okri Entertainment Company hosted guests at a Lagos location to set off the release of Mike Okri’s Extended Play (EP) record. The legendary singer, songwriter, producer, novelist, and humanitarian's EP comprises very entertaining, original, fascinating and meaningful songs for the general entertainment and education. Likened to a profound beautiful piece of art on canvas, blended in uniqueness of Afrohigh-life and western style, Mike’s music has strong musical lyrics in simple poetry, uplifts and heals the human spirit. An original Mike Okri trademark is backed by rhythm, harmony and soul which he calls “AFRO-MYSTICSOUL”.
Easily viewed as the bridge between the old and the new generation of Nigerian musicians, Mike made great musical impact among the young and the old from the 1980s; all through the 1990s; 2000s and he is still very much active and waxing stronger. In the course of his career, he has won for himself several categories of music awards; including but not limited to: The Nigerian Music Awards (NMA), Fame Music Awards (FMA) and the Pan African Music Awards (PAMA) in Ghana. The Crooner he is ready to conquer the world in ways that are musically compelling and sweet has four music albums to his credit: Concert Fever, Rhumba Dance, CRACKS and Rhythmysticals. Tuneafrique piqued the pioneer's thoughts on his current project and insights on his view of the Nigerian music industry.
1. How excited are you for your new project? (tell us about it)
I am very excited with this project cos of the passion I have for the music profession. When you love what you do, you get excited easily. Having my younger colleagues on the project makes it more exciting as they have shown professionalism and respect towards me.
2. Is this a comeback, a relaunch... Or will you say you have been active but on a low?
I never went anywhere. I am just continuing from where I stopped some years ago. I have been very active both in Nigeria and abroad where I play gigs.
3. What is the plan moving forward on this project?
My plan is still to give out good evergreen songs and make people happy. We are in the digital era where everything have gone online. I want to make sure I am on that space and deliver good music by any form.
4. "Lend a Hand", what is the story behind the name?
The story behind this is the need to always show love not by giving money alone. There are lots of people that need love to overcome depression, poverty and many other mental issues. Let us not abandon people who need all the help and attention possible. The first and only most important law from God is to love one another.
5. What are your thoughts on the current Nigerian music industry, especially as a pioneer like you, looking back on the time you started your career?
The younger ones of today are doing very well in terms of music business where they are making a lot of money. I am only concerned about the lyrics that are put out for people to listen. We need to censor our music so we don't get our younger ones addicted to drugs and sex.
6. Do you have any favourites - amongst the new crops of artistes?
I like a couple of them who play good and clean music that has longevity
7. Do you think the fans have a say in the direction of the industry now?
Yes they do. Every fan has a favorite genre of music they like. The fans are great influencers.
8. Recently some Nigerian artists were nominated for the Grammy Awards, some won... Share your thoughts on this i.e how it made you feel /how far we've come in your opinion
I wish I could give Burna boy a great big hug for this great achievement. This is great for Nigeria and the music industry of Africa. This is just the beginning of our Grammy story.
9. So will we be seeing more of Mike Okri on the scene?
Sure. In a period of one year, I shall be releasing some singles with Seyi Shay, Yemi Slade and Omawunmi. I am here for good.
10. What advice do you have for artistes, especially those who are just starting out?
My advice is that they should stay focused and believe in themselves. Hardwork always pays. Don't cut corners just because you want to make it quick. Also churn out content that can stand the test of time.
Hembadoon is a Singer, Songwriter and Artists & Label Services Director NG and Anglophone West Africa at TuneAfrique distribution. Her songs are available on all digital platforms. She writes from Lagos, and is on all social media platforms @hembabubba