He may be younger than his colleagues in the industry but Tripple MG’s Oku Udoka aka Selebobo with his awesome vocal and producing gifts are the reason for his rising success.
In this interview – Selebobo, the brains behind “Johnny” sits with Happenings’ Nneka Agbanusi as he dishes on his career as an artiste, artist, and producer and why he loves to wear black.
Happenings: Who is Selebobo?
SB: my real names are Oku Udoka Chidozie and I hail from Anambra state. I was born in Enugu, into a musical family.
Happenings: was it your background from a musical family that inspired you to be an artiste because not everybody born to a music legend that eventually threads the same path what really inspired you?
SB: I’ll say that’s one of the reasons but luckily for me it was something that I have passion for.
Happenings: So how did you start out professionally?
SB: When I was little, in primary school, it’s kind of funny (laughs) but I grew up knowing that I can always go to a studio; my dad owned a studio – he still does. Every time I finish from school, he takes me to the studio before I go home, so that has been my life. I found myself playing with some of his instruments – he didn’t like it at first but I was stubborn, he eventually let me be. When I finished secondary school I decided to take it to the next level.
Happenings: You have siblings, where you the only child your dad took to the studio?
SB: Ok let me just say this, we’re 12 (laughs) and we are all musically inclined; we didn’t miss it, that’s something we got from our parents.
Happenings: So are you the only one who took it up professionally
SB: No I’m not, my elder brother, Okey Oku is into music and still does his thing although he’s more into cinematography right now. My other elder brother – Elochukwu is also a music producer based in Abuja, my dad is still producing music up till date.
Happenings: do any of your sisters do music?
SB: (Laughs) no, those ones didn’t get it.
Happenings: did you start out first as an artiste, producer or vice versa
SB: I actually started out as both, because I was producing my songs. That’s how I started.
Happenings: Generally, how has music influenced your life?
SB: it has influenced me positively. Everything around me is about music and art. That’s the life I’m living, that is the life I chose.
Happenings: You’ve produced for some artiste, what quality do you look for if you’re considering working with the artiste?
SB: I look forward to uniqueness. It’s not about knowing how to sing, its having that commercial value in you, what you can sell to the people and they will like it. I like to work with talented people not just singers. I like to work with artists who understand what people like; this business we’re doing is all about understanding what people like because down here in Africa our music is different from what is practiced in other countries. The person must have something prolific.
Happenings: are you still in school?
SB: I’m done with school now; I studied Fine and Applied Arts in Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka.
Happenings: how do you balance your music career?
SB: it wasn’t easy at all. Honestly I must say that music and school is not something that can go hand in hand well but we always find our way out of it (Laughs).
Happenings: what production would you say was your best?
SB: well I’ve done a couple of works, one is my single “Oyoyo”, “Johnny” by Yemi Alade, “Ada Ada” by Flavour – I’m really proud of these works and more are coming.
Happenings: You wrote and produced “Johnny”, what inspired the concept?
SB: from my own point of view, I felt that the female artistes in the industry weren’t really kicking the guys in the “ass”. So I really thought of Johnny because the guys have been known to use hardcore female names like; Ifunanya, Carolina, Uju – and I was like come on why haven’t female artiste done something like this. I looked for an English name that we pronounce in a local way, that’s why I chose Johnny – I believe that’s why it stuck.
Happenings: you seem to enjoy working with Yemi Alade a lot, there seems to be some sort of chemistry between you two, we don’t know about outside the studio but, tell us about it
SB: (laughs) actually, before I work with anybody there has to be a chemistry, if there is none, there is no way I can work for you.
Happenings: What was it like working with Yemi Alade?
SB: she’s a talented artiste, she has everything – that’s why I worked with her in the first place; she’s a good dancer, singer. She has all the qualities in an artiste that I like to work with.
Happenings: You dropped the video to your single, “Selfie”, how did you come up with the concept?
SB: Actually, that was shot by Matt Max and it’s one of the songs on the Tripple MG album, it’s a dope video with a comic relief in it. It’s just a song about taking selfies. We featured Mc Galaxy, Uch Baby and the whole Tripple MG artistes.
Happenings: Tell us about your leaked single “Oroma baby” ft Davido.
SB: Oroma Baby is a song I did in 2013 and I was looking forward to having Davido on the track and he finally recorded on it. I didn’t want to drop it yet but somehow it got to the wrong hands and it leaked.
Happenings: What is it like being a Tripple MG act?
SB: Amazing, it’s been great. I like team work so joining Tripple MG has been positive to my career. We’re family man. We have fun, I mean people from different backgrounds coming together so it’s been cool.
Happenings: How many singles did you drop before joining Tripple MG?
SB: seriously I can’t count, I recorded so many songs all my life
Happenings: What is Selebobo’s signature fashion style?
SB: let me just say I love black and anything that fits me. I also love looking cooperate. As for my hairstyle, I change it a lot and it will keep changing
Happenings: Fans have gotten a taste of you as an artiste and they are hungry for more – what are you cooking up?
SB: I love my fans and they love me to and I’ll keep giving them good productions but I’ll say that what you see it’s what you get. I’ll be dropping a new single and video soon. I think I want to surprise my fans because I like surprises too.
10/10 With Selebobo – I hate roaches and the sight of blood
Who knew Selebobo could swoon at the sight of blood or run and the mere shadow of a cock roach? He’s human like the rest of us after all. Read how he gives a peak of his relaxed self in Happening magazine’s #10/10 with Selebobo
Happenings: What is your favourite quote?
SB: “if you don’t make something happen, something will happen to you” this second one is from 2baba “if anybody tell you say e easy, omo na set up, na ambush”
Happenings: How many languages do you speak?
SB: I speak two; English and Igbo. I’m lucky to know how to speak 2, some people speak only one or none. Some theirs is just pidgin.
Happenings: What do you do in your free time?
SB: that’s hard, at least I draw, I do pencil work you can see some of my art works on Instagram @Selebobo1, it will be coming live soon. I also love swimming.
Happenings: What is the funniest prank your friends have played on you?
SB: I’m sorry I can’t remember. I also play pranks too. The funniest prank I’ve played on my family is coming home unexpectedly
Happenings: What attracts you to a man/woman?
SB: (Blushes) come on do you have to go there. I like my woman, fine, pretty and have the right figure.
Happenings: What’s the worst style ensemble you wish you never wore?
SB: I believe everyone has that but I can’t remember. I’m not saying I’m always on point, I try to n=be any way but I can’t remember.
Happenings: What is your most annoying moment?
SB: when I’m bored, I feel empty. So I usually sleep or see a movie.
Happenings: What are your phobias?
Everyone does, I don’t really take note but I hate roaches. I don’t like seeing bloody images – I’ll pass out.
Happenings: Who is your style mentor?
SB: I love Usher and a little bit of Chris Brown
Happening: What steps do you take to protect yourself from Ebola?
SB: actually (laughs), I shake everybody, why won’t I shake my fans, because of Ebola? But I use hand sanitizers and I don’t abuse its use too. Stay safe.
Happenings: How do you sleep, Butt naked or not?
SB: anyhow I find myself I sleep men but I can’t sleep fully dressed. I don’t know why. You should sleep free so that there’ll be ventilation but it’s not like I have a sleeping style or something