Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mixed feelings as Omotola takes another shot at music

8:15 AM

Like a cat with nine lives, Nollywood actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, is not giving up yet on her musical ambition. Ignoring calls by many fans, industry players and critics alike, to quit delving into music and concentrate on improving her acting career, Omo-Sexy is not bulging.

To prove that she means business, the 34-year-old is  in no way holding back details of her music sojourn from anyone that cares. This time around she has enlisted the help of producers from Akon’s Konvict Music label. But the question is: will this translate her musical dream into a reality?

“I am currently working with Grammy award-winning producer Kendrick Dean and Verse Simmonds from Konvict Music and we are looking to feature a special guest,” she revealed in a recent interview.

 Besides, right from the debut season of her ongoing TV reality show, Omotola: the Real Me, she has emphasisesd her love for music and the desire to forge ahead, no matter the volume of knocks she receives. Regular viewers of the show have seen clips of  the Nollywood star undergoing voice training in the UK, a visit to the late Reggae Icon, Bob Marley’s studio in Jamaica and record sessions with a Ghanaian and British music producer.

 But just when one is about to wave these aside as nothing more than mere hype, a recent tweet of a photograph taken at the Patchwerk Studio in Atlanta, US, where she is seen recording a track with American star, Bobby V (formally known as Bobby Valentino),  raises many questions.

Although it is  not clear if she is collaborating with Bobby V or not, one thing is certain – she sure means business.

Just like the scenario that played out late last year  when fellow actress-turned singer, Tonto Dikeh, announced a decision to venture into music/drop two singles on Twitter, despite warnings from fans, memories of Omotola’s  2010 album,  which was pegged at N1000 and  therefore beyond the reach of the average Nigerian, remains fresh in the mind .

Also, word on the street has it that the poor sales of her  2006 debut album, Gba , ensured that Sound Factory, the record label that had invested so much in the deal, could not break even and subsequently went bankrupt.

Although she argues that the album was sold-out, the claim remains questionable as not only are there no records to prove the claims, Gba is only remembered for its ‘funny’ hook.

As though failing to learn from past mistakes, Omotola appears not to realise that it takes much more than a musical collaboration – both local and international – to make a hit. Besides the need to be armed with a good voice, catchy tunes/hooks, a brilliant producer, mass-appeal as well as a generous dose of hype, any collaboration ends up being just another ‘musical affair.’

 It is worthy to note that while Gba featured stars like Ruggedman, OJB Jezreel, Pasto Goody Goody and Rymzo De Gusto, the album failed to receive a five-star rating. The sophomore album had Mode 9, Paul Play, Teeto and Harrisong on it. Yet very little or nothing is known about the songs in it.

Omotola’s latest venture brings to the fore the success or otherwise of the growing trend of international collaborations between Nigerian and international acts. D’banj and his erstwhile partner Don Jazzy could be said to be the ‘first’ to take Nigerian and indeed African music fans by storm with the Mr. Endowed  remix  with American superstar rap artiste, Snoop Dogg.

 Then came the Koko Master’s Oliver Twist video, released in the Post- Mo’Hits era,  featuring Kanye West, as a cameo in the video. Also, with the huge success achieved by  Psquare on two occasions,  via  Chop My Money Remix featuring Akon and Beautiful Onyinye remix  featuring Rick Ross, several other artistes have been embracing the ‘international bug.’

In the past, there have been claims  or promises of collaborations – like Eedris Abdulkareem’s purported collaboration with Busta Rhymes and Rita Marley; Psquare’s failed attempt at securing a duet with Busta Rhymes; Twin-X’s recording with Lil’ Wayne; and Freestyle’s T-Pain collaboration hoax. As a result, some fans are sceptical whenever an artiste announces an international collaboration.

Another point is that  it has not always been a rosy story when these collabos come up. When news of Duncan Mighty’s collaboration with the lover man, Shaggy, leaked, it was swallowed with a pinch of salt. Thankfully, it did come to pass but not without the Port-Harcourt based singer parting ways with Watch maker and Hollywood Jeweller to the stars, Chris Aire,  shortly after the latter helped secure the deal with Shaggy.

Others that did not quite make an impact despite the foreign input, include J Martins, whose Jukpa remix with Congolese Soukous musician Fally Ipupa, is more of a success in the East and South African market.

Also, Omo Baba Olowo, David O’s Da Mi Duro remix with Akon failed to make an impact ditto for Ice Prince’s Magician remix featuring the Jamaican Hold Yuh crooner, Gyptian.


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