Africa, African rhythm, CD baby Music Store, Challenger Magazine, Daniel Winans, Fela Kuti, Iyawo mi, Lagbaja, Mon Jade, Mr O aka Onome Ovwori, Mr O Naija Go Better, MrO_Onome, MUSON (Musical Society of Nigeria), Naija Go Better, Negativity about Nigeria, Nigerian Artist, Onome Ovwori, Temple of Praise International Church, Wunmi & Tunde Obe
Some of you might have heard the song ‘Naija Go Better’ by Mr O. He is a musician who has released other songs such as ‘Mon Jade’ and ‘Iyawo Mi’ to name a few. You can follow him on twitter: MrO_Onome
- Tell us a bit about yourself
I go by Mr O, coined from the first and last letter of my names Onome Ovwori (pronounced “owori”). I am from Delta State, Nigeria (but I reside in the United States). The third child of my parents. I am a husband, a father, an artist and a friend of God.
- How did the journey of being an artist start for you? Was this always your dream?
Well I started playing the piano at about seven when my Dad bought it. I developed more interest as I grew older and I met people like Hezekiah Ezo, Bright Gain, Micheal Chidubem Ebere etc who shaped my musical ability. I also attended a brief course at MUSON (Musical Society of Nigeria). In the course of my musical journey, I have been privileged to play with and alongside various top Nigerian and American artists like Wunmi & Tunde Obe, Daddy Showley, Paul Play, Lagbaja, Kirk Franlin, Deitrick Haddon, Daniel Winans etc.
I have always loved music and I wouldn’t say I have always wanted to be an artist but I guess my love for the arts has brought me here today.
- What genre would you say your type of music is?
Well, my preferred genre will be Jazz because of course, I play the piano but I’m diversifying into Afro-pop, hip-hop, R&B…so as to reach a broader audience. They say variety is a spice of life, so I am branching out and spreading my tentacles. I have always been in love with African rhythm and style so I always try to infuse it in whatever kind of music I do.
- What was your first song?
Hmmmm, my first song was never recorded.. It wouldn’t make sense now if I did because I wrote it when I was a child. But my first recorded song was actually co-written with a good friend of mine, Akin Eboda. The song is titled ‘Iyawo Mi’. (You can check it out here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i1qs8b3_z8 )
- What inspires you when you start working on a new song?
Personally, for me I always get the music first (probably because I’m a musician) before I get the lyrics. I get inspired by anything, from current events like politics, something I see, someone I know, a beat I heard, something I don’t like, something I like etc.
- Any artist(s) that has and still do influence you and your music?
Yeah I have several influences like Hugh Masekela, Wayman Tisdale, Fela Kuti, Art Alade, Oliver De Coque, Bright Chimezie, Ramsey Lewis, Russel Ferrante. That being said I also appreciate and follow the works of folks like Tuface, Tim Godfrey, Don Jazzy, Darey, Sammy Okposo, Jay Martin, Jumbo Aniebiet, Cobhams etc. I also learn a lot from listening to most Nigerian artists.
- Your recent release ‘Naija Go Better’ has gotten some good popularity especially with Africans, what inspired this song?
I just get tired of all the negativity about Nigeria and Nigerians. Yes, we can’t count all the bad things going on in Nigeria and Africa. Yes, we can’t deny there are unscrupulous Nigerians. Yes, we can’t deny that the government continually fails the people with their policies. Yes, we can’t deny the fact that terrorism, tribalism, religiosity has become an order of the day BUT amidst all these (which by the way has been going on for years now), Nigeria is still together. We have not plunged into any kind of civil war even though it seems like all the ingredients for it is at play. This makes me believe that like most Nigerians we agree that the country isn’t going in the right direction but it can be fixed.
The hope we have for a better tomorrow pivots on how we see Nigeria today and how we treat her.
Nigeria is a blessed country and like other countries, we are faced with major impediments. Our quest for a better tomorrow resides in the hope that after all we have been through and in some cases still going through…Nigeria still has the propensity to do better and be better.
- Where and how can others get this song?
- Lastly, any project(s) you are working on that we should all look forward to?
Yes I’m currently working on a couple of projects. First is the video for Naija Go Better which should be out in September 2012 and then I’m back in the studio working on new joints and putting finishing touches to my album titled “Mon Jade”. Also I’m producing some tracks for others too.