Babajide Awoyinfa EmmyACE

NEXT TO BLOW: Home is where the music is – Ketchup [@iam_ketchup]

Friday, September 20, 2013Omobaswagz H

Babajide Awoyinfa
He was a young, talented Nigerian yearning to have a career in music in faraway foreign country. He saw the wisdom in leaving Malaysia to come home to Nigeria to play his music for his people. Today, he has no regret. His music career is up and flying. His hit track “Show Me Yuh Rozay” is club favourite and his fan base is expanding at a geometric pace. In this interview, Ketchup gave Entertainment Express the complete lowdown about his career. Read Excerpts Below

How did you come about the name “Ketchup”?

Everywhere I go, I make my presence known, and I have been known to bring life into a gathering. A couple of my friends used to call me ginger, but I didn’t like the name. I wanted something smooth. Then one of my friends said “Men, you be like Ketchup, see as you just dey make things sweet.” It wasn’t funny initially, but after a while I embraced the name. When my friends and I go out, they just sit around in the VIP playing with their phones, while  I’ll step into the limelight and just spice up the place. We all know the huge difference ketchup makes to chips. When music started for me, I thought, since everyone calls me Ketchup, then Ketchup it is.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Onyido Emmanuel Nkemjika.  I am a regular down-to-earth guy. Unlike what people think, I am Nigerian, not Jamaican. I am the first out of four siblings.

What university did you attend?

I started my university education at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife,  where I got a diploma in Local Government Studies, then I went on to study Mass Communications but due to ASUU strike in Nigeria, I had to travel to Malaysia where I furthered my Mass Communication studies at Atlantic College, Kuala Lumpur.

I started singing in Malaysia but then it occurred to me that I couldn’t really project my music properly to Nigerians while resident in Malaysia, so I took the initiative to return home.

Were you able to gain some grounds in Malaysia?

Yes, I was gaining some grounds but people back here in Nigeria didn’t really know me till I came back.  I am of the opinion that any aspiring artiste abroad who intends to make a name for himself in Nigeria should come back home to successfully accomplish this. You need to be at home to feel and understand the kind of music people want to hear.

Looking back at your early childhood, what was your first experience with music?

I have always been a music junkie. I listened (and still listen) to all kinds of music - from R&B to Pop to Country music, from Reggae to Dance hall. I am a music lover, anything goes for me, which is why I am inspired by Magazeen, Ebenezer Obey, Tuface, Shaba Ranks, Bob Marley, Movado, Missy Elliot, King Sunny Ade, Vybez Kartel. You will notice that they all do different types of music.

Has music always been your first love?

No. Music was not my first love, it was actually dancing. I used to dance a whole lot back in high school at Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos, with Wande Coal who is a very good dancer. During the weekly social nights, we would display our stunts and the next school day you’d feel high when other students started talking about your moves. It was basically dance; but dance goes with music. I started by miming people’s songs, rewriting the lyrics etc. Then I didn’t have any special preference for beats - I can dance to practically any song (even to Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On!”). 

I continued dancing even after high school. But I had to calm down because people rarely dance in the university. Nevertheless, I did danced at some parties, and then music came along. I decided to start writing my own songs two years ago when I met this producer, Micah, and I mumbled something into the mic - and you know how these producers are - he did his magic and it made me think to myself “dude you sound good”.  I used to be of the notion that you need mega lessons or take a course before you can sing. I was inclined to write another song, “Nuvo” which Dj Jamjam featured in and it became a hit - everybody liked it. That was when it dawned on me how easy it was. That was how it started. I didn’t have to throw a huge bash or make public declaration before my music career took off.

How would you describe your kind of music?

Normal Afro Hip hop with a touch of Jamaican twist to it.

After you relocated to Nigeria, how did you make an inroad into the music industry?

It has been tough, but it is paying off gradually. I remember those days at Industry Night, when I’d just attend to see how it is done in the Nigerian music scene. No one knew who I was. I was pushed, stepped on. Some people will just step on you, look at you and continue walking. There was even a time when I just released “Show Me Yuh Rozay,” the bouncers at the club won’t let me in. Two weeks later, I visited that same club and my song was playing, the response was unbelievable, and then they started pointing at me. “That’s the guy”.

As an artiste who is already gaining acceptance, what are the basic challenges before you?

Every day I wake up, I pray to God and challenge myself that I don’t want to be a flash in the plan, hence myself and my team keep trying to put things in place for the long term. Ketchup is here to stay, I am not going anywhere.

What is the inspiration behind your club-banging song Show Me Yuh Rozay?

One night, me, my producer and a friend “Y billion” were in the studio and thought to do something different that would get people going wild and before it was morning we had the song ready.

I have been to several occasions when “Show Me Your Rozay” comes on and people that weren’t  drinking Rose or Champagne feel biased and out of place. I didn’t mean the song to be that way. Back then, then some peepz used to ask me “Where is your Rozay”? And I replied them, “Show me your Rozay” as a comeback.

For me, it felt a little too hard at first till the DJs started showing love and it went viral.

What has been the toughest challenge for you as you break into the music industry?

It isn’t easy to come out of Nigeria and gain grounds as an artiste here. You come in all fresh and you think you have arrived, not knowing you have a pile of work right in front of you and the sooner you notice the better. That was really a tough time for me but I am finally getting there.

You came from a rather tough environment, how did you remain positive with so much adversity around you?

I learnt at a very young age that what makes a man is not the number of adversities, but how he handles the adversities. I also learnt that with hard work and prayer, the sky is just a starting point, so I conquered with prayers and hard work.

What lessons did you learn from your upbringing that has helped you navigate the music business?

Character counts - stay humble, be real, and above all never give up, because when it all comes crumbling, all you have is you.

Tell us something exclusive about you

I am not really an alcoholic person contrary to public opinion. I can have a really good night out with my friends without drinking and we will just diss each other and mess around (laughs). It does not always have to be about alcohol. I like girls a WHOLE LOT, especially those with very big hips plus good kissers. I don’t have a particular type because I don’t go with looks but instead I focus on Brains, Hips and the Lips.

Tell us about your record label

I am on PoshHills Entertainment, the same label my producer EmmyACE is signed on to.

When will your album dropping?

I can’t really predict that because dropping an album involves a lot of hard work. I don’t want to drop one and it will be just few people listening to it. I need to work on my fan base and get the love first. I have two albums I’m working on already. It’s just picking the right songs. I write songs and record a lot at my leisure when I am not busy with interviews and other activities.

How can your fans follow you on the social media?


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