Music star Kingsley Chinweike Okonkwo, popularly known as Kcee has stayed relevant on the music scene since his days as a half of KC Presh. He recently released two new music videos, Ogadinma and Ogaranya. ORUKPE NELSON met the hit maker recently where he shed more light on the songs, his experience as a musician, his reunion with ex-band mate, Presh and other sundry issues. Read on…
What are you working on presently?
Well, I’m working on quite a couple of stuffs. I just released two videos – Ogadinma and Ogaranya, both songs are actually two different kinds of music, Ogadinma is a song that encourages people to work hard and believe in themselves, while Ogaranya is a song that talks about wealth. It’s a song for the big boys.
Why did you go the traditional way in the Ogaranya video with Davido?
Yes, it’s because part of the song is in Igbo and the word Ogaranya means “the wealthy one”. We just decided to pass across a traditional message, and really most of my other videos have been more of western content, so I just decided to give them something different.
What inspired the lyrics of the song Ogadinma?
If you listen to most of my songs, it is either I am singing about my love for women or money. But I realised there should be a song in my album that will inspire and encourage people. Looking at my life as an example, I grew up in the ghetto of Ajegunle, and here I am today. So, Ogadinma is all about what happens everywhere and everyday in our lives. You see people going through a lot of hustle. Young people dreaming of a better future but because their parents are poor, they are faced with different challenges. The song was passing a message across that they shouldn’t be discouraged. It tells them they should be confident that everything will be okay. And the video explains it better. It shows that life is a process. The story line teaches and makes the younger ones learn that no matter how difficult life is, there is always hope. It was a deep message that I felt I should let out.
Why is your album concert still on hold?
As I speak, the venue has already been paid for since last year because we were supposed to do it since last year. But I can’t complain because God has been faithful and he’s been blessing me.I’ve been too busy, I travel every other weekends. Since last year, I can’t remember spending any weekend in my house. We’ve been busy making a lot of people happy around the globe. It’s still going to happen, but I don’t want to give a specific time or date yet because work is still in progress.
Would you say Limpopo has brought you to limelight?
Honestly, Limpopo was the biggest breakthrough. Before then, I had been doing shows and recording music. I only had 60 per cent relevance before Limpopo. But I never went below. There was always something big each time there was a show. Infact, our first album was a good one because we were travelling to different parts of the country after which we did Sengemenge and Shokori Bobo. We have had big songs really and we were busy making our money from music. There was never a time we were quiet, but Limpopo was like the biggest song that took me to the A list cadre of artistes in Africa, Nigeria and beyond. The song has taken me to so many places across the globe. I really believed in God’s plan. He used that to take my career to another level.
So far, how would you describe the success of the album?
Well, for me it’ been great, my career has changed and moved to a bigger level, I’ve also commanded a lot of respect in the industry and so far, people have rated me above the way I was rated in previous years. So it just proves to them that this guy actually knows what he’s doing. And from here it can only get better.
What led to Presh and you parting ways?
We needed to do a separate album and not because we quarreled over anything. We wanted to make more money and create new ideas as individuals. So we felt it was okay doing different albums which will eventually give us the attention we needed from people.
In a recently interview Presh said that you both are likely to reunite.
We might work together, it depends because our break up wasn’t planned. We didn’t see it coming, so I cannot say we won’t work together. We can always do something together, but for now we are still doing our separate projects.
Do you miss him?
Well, we are friends and we still see once in a while, but I wouldn’t say I miss him or I don’t miss him. But as regards working together, I don’t regret it at all. I would be honest, I’m enjoying the fact that I’m working alone,and really we can’t be together forever, even married couples don’t stay together forever, it depends on God’s plan for you. So, for me I think I’m more comfortable and happy. I have no regrets or complaints before the Lord Almighty gets angry with me.
What’s your take on Wizkid and Davido saga?
Well, I really don’t know what to say about it or where it’s coming from. It happens though, even in America; you need stunts like this to keep the industry burning. So, I don’t think it’s a big deal, afterwards they’ll eventually make peace.
Which one of them is your favourite?
I can’t choose any one because both of them are my friends and they have got huge talents. Wizkid has been there before Davido, and Davido has proven himself too. I’ve worked with both of them, so for me I can’t chose anyone above the other. Whether we like it or not, they are doing good.
What motivated you to donate heavily at the Jimmy Jatt book launch?
Jimmy has been helpful and supportive to the industry and to me personally without asking for a dime. So donating to him wasn’t difficult, it was just like trying to give back to someone that has always been giving to you. On the other hand, he has helped the industry in a very big way, he has supported the industry and has given hope to a lot of DJs and musicians. He’s very straight forward and all through his 25 years journey, he never went down at any point, he was always on top.
What’s next for you?
Well, I have a lot of songs and videos that I don’t even have time to release. That’s why I dropped two videos at the same time, because there are more videos shot already and there are more collaborations done already.
Let’s talk about your alleged collaboration with Nicki Minaj
Yea, at some point there was some discussion going on, but I don’t like talking about it. The truth is I hate bragging, I like action. For me, it’s not a big deal working with Nicki.
Has a song been done already?
What I want to say is simple: I’m doing something with some foreign artiste, so everybody has to watch out, they’ll see it when it comes out soon. I thank God I never came out to say that I’m working with any one in particular, it just came out as a rumour. But if she’s the one I’m working with you’ll know soon.
Aside music, what other things do you do?
I am into other businesses. It is just that I don’t want them to overshadow my music career. That is why I do them underground. I don’t want people to see me from the prism of a businessman. I want to remain the musician they know me as. We have to secure our tomorrow because music might not always pay off and if one stops music, you can continue to live your life. If you don’t build a very good, solid foundation for yourself, there will be problem later. Because the kind of life entertainers live is very expensive and loud.
When one stops making hits in music, if care is not taken, one might go back to square one. You won’t be able to maintain the kind of lifestyle you are known for and with time, that person may begin to beg.
You’ve been criticised for your dress sense; how would you react to that?
As far as I’m concerned, those that are complaining about my dress sense don’t even know what fashion is all about; they just want to talk. As a celebrity, people just want to pick on you and say what ever they like. For those that know me very well, if there’s anything that I can boast of, it’s fashion, I don’t joke with it. Most of these talks actually started from pictures I posted on Instagram, and really I got the buzz I needed at that time. I even went onto post more pictures so people would talk more, and guess what; my followers have increased drastically with all these fashion talks. I don’t even respond to them, I don’t take it seriously; I’m happy and making more money. So I’m not losing anything.
If you come to my wardrobe you’ll know what I’m saying, I’m a fashion icon and I can brag with it. Sometimes there are some things you can’t brag of, but for me I can brag about fashion, I don’t have a problem with my fashion sense.
Do you have a stylist?
I don’t have any stylist, I style myself. These same set of people who talk negatively about a certain outfit would commend me on another ones, so I just see them as confused people. The truth is I don’t get angry at them, rather I get inspired.
What is your take on the lyrical content of your contemporary singers?
The fact is that Nigerian music is different from the way it used to be. Looking at most songs of 20 years ago, there are a lot of content and messages. However, the society we are in today has changed, the kind of songs we sing is not an exception. We are in the era of commercial music and that pressure is really affecting the content of music in Nigeria. Because everybody wants to make money, they have messed up everything. People out there also are not ready to listen to stories. We are being pushed to sing the kind of songs that will make them happy. They just want to dance and ease themselves. They are not ready to take time to listen to the message. Once it is ‘danceable,’ every other thing is inconsequential. The creative ones among us that write songs have tried severally to write songs with good messages, but it doesn’t sell like the street-hop, dance songs. So, what do we do? Sing about boobs, bum and booze, they are always happy. It is not like we can’t write good content but the society should also understand that music is business too. We want to feed from it. We have to do what will put food on our table. We are not more on 80 tempo but 130. This is not applicable to Nigeria alone, it is affecting other parts of Africa. Music is simply business. However, like the meaning of Ogadinma, everything will come back to normal.
What’s your greatest fear?
My greatest fear as a person is poverty.I don’t ever want to be poor. In short, I will never be poor by the grace of God. Poverty is the only thing I have phobia for.