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‘I will probably retire at Cool FM’ – Freeze opens up about his life and career…

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After a few years spent in the University of Ibadan studying Computer science and Sociology, Ifeoluwa Olarinde has become a voice to be reckoned with among his contemporaries, and is one of Cool FM’s longest serving OAPs. In this interview with NET, ‘Daddy Freeze’ as he is fondly called, reveals the many troubles he went through before becoming who he is today. What are your experiences while growing up? I grew up a bit in Romania, I am half-Transylvanian and half Nigerian. I tell people there are two different sides to my coin, the Nigerian and European side, but most people only see the Nigerian side of me. Whether they like it or not, I’m European, and that is an important part of my life. I wouldn’t say I had the best of both worlds, but I enjoyed it. I grew up mainly in Ibadan, Oyo state in Nigeria. I was about four years old when I first came back, and regular travels took me out of the country, but most of the time I was in Nigeria. What was the experience coming all the way from Europe to come live in Ibadan, Nigeria? It took me a while to adjust. First I started with illness; I was constantly falling [so] sick that it got to a point they thought I was going to die, but eventually I [was fine]. The next challenge was how to adjust to the Nigerian way of doing things but although I was born in Europe, I’m more Nigerian in my ways. I remember when I was trying to get into university in Europe, I couldn’t really blend. I was too Nigerian, I was the kind of guy that wouldn’t go to class but [would instead] get someone to sign in for me and go and do the tests and exams, but all those things didn’t work over there. The only problem I had with Nigeria was that the basics don’t work; Nigeria is a beautiful place, I don’t see myself living anywhere else because I like the Nigerian mentality. A Nigerian man will have ten million naira and go and buy a car worth eleven million Naira, borrowing one million. Inside the hustle there is always a smile, whereas, Europeans are mourning groaning people, they complain a lot and expect the government to do everything. Tell us about your parents My parents are great people, they made growing up fun. My mom is European, my dad is Nigerian and I have three siblings. The first two were born over there and the last two were born here, in Nigeria. What is your educational background? I attended Maryhill Convent School in Ibadan for my primary education and moved on to International School Ibadan, and then the University of Ibadan, so basically, I went through it all in Ibadan. You decided to study sociology. What is the link between sociology and your job right now? Initially I was one of those who vehemently opposed education. I believed it was just a waste of time. Nobody wants to be educated to add value to themselves or their society, only a very few people, especially in Africa. Abroad, people follow their passion and choose their education in their chosen fields. My parents are educationists. My father is a doctor and my mom, a provost of a college of law. It was really hard then to prove my point. I wanted to be an entertainer right from when I was young, but my parents said ‘if you are not going to school then you will have to learn a trade’ which I didn’t want, but they couldn’t understand me. They thought I was sick and retarded and even took me for an IQ test and I was certified super smart; [then] they thought it was possession, we went through that one again. I am sure they still believe that there was some level of possession, or some family members in the village must be doing [something to] me, but I believe that everyone is cut out to be different; I can be the best me, but I can only be an average you. That is really important. I got into sociology because I just wanted to get a degree so my parents would allow me do what I wanted to do. When I was 19 years old, I got a job at a local radio station in Ibadan. My mum encouraged me but my dad didn’t really understand what I was doing. At the end of the day I went in to study computer science, but I couldn’t cope because I was never in class. I failed all my courses and couldn’t proceed to the next level. Then I had two options; resit 200 level or change my course. I did and I loved the [sociology] courses even more than computer. With sociology, it was less difficult, but I still graduated with a nice 2.2 second class lower in 2001. School was a hustle and I have promised that I would never bother God about it anymore. Seeing what you have become, has your opinion changed about education? Even when I was in computer science I added value to myself, and a lot more studying sociology. It made me understand how things are done from a scientific point of view, especially with regard to people. Education is something I believe in, but the problem I have is with the manner that it is being given in Nigeria, which I would say it is wrong, I totally have no belief in the Nigerian education. I believe that most children are not discovered, they are pushed into fields in which they won’t be comfortable and be able to excel, simply because we don’t have a proper educational system that can discover a person’s potential, talents, and abilities. There are a few success stories here and there, but [if] six PhD holders and Master degree holders could apply as a driver to Dangote’s company then our educational system has failed. What kind of entertainer would you have become had your parents allowed you then? I wanted to be a rapper; I have always seen myself on stage entertaining people. I felt it was something that came naturally to me. I started entertainment when there was no money, so the people now are the ones enjoying, we built the industry for them. When we started, it was rough. We had to pay a lot of dues, a lot more than what people are paying now. I started at 19 as a rapper, but it was pretty hard back then. I couldn’t continue with my rap and then I moved on to broadcasting. Tell us how your journey into radio began. I was in Romania for two months, doing nothing. I have a cousin called Gina, and one day she came to my place and asked if I could help with a 15 minute show she [used to] do on the radio, called Radio Galaxia. One of the officials there got interested in me and told me they had been looking for people to read stuff. Throughout my stay, I did that in Romania and when I returned to Nigeria, I was interested in continuing. It sounded okay to my mum, [so] I auditioned for and got a job with Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) and I was with them for 5 years. As I was rounding off school, I came to COOL FM and got a job with them. I resigned from BCOS and that’s how it has been. And so far, how has your experience with Cool FM been for the past 11 years? It’s been good. We all practically built Cool FM; I started when the station was 3 years old. I was part of the building process and the station also built me. My bosses were wonderful people; with my behaviour they should have been much harsher with me. I can’t believe I have worked here and I have never been suspended once. I have been shouted at a couple of time, [and] they might have actually had some money deducted from my salary, but I know I deserve more punishment than I have gotten considering the kind of person that I am. Cool FM has been wonderful to me, they are my family. I’m probably the longest serving broadcaster in the company. A lot of people who stayed have left after seven or eight years. Nobody has stayed 10 and I have stayed 11, I guess that’s why they are lenient with me. It’s been quite a journey and Cool FM is my brand. And when do you plan to leave? Well, there’s time for everything. Others have left because they wanted to, and thank God they are all doing fine, but as for me, I am not considering leaving soon. I will probably retire with Cool FM. When you say retire, do you mean hands off completely? Is that possible? Broadcasting is something I think I am going to do for a long time. You put me in front of the microphone and I talk. Broadcasti
ng is not a job but a way of life. No matter how old I am, I will still wanna play music, make fun of people, gossip. I don’t think it is something I want to stop. You have spent a total of 16 years of your life as a broadcaster. What is next? I take every day as it comes. I am not the kind of person that plans. Some people are very good with plans because it works for them, I just work with what I have and I thank God that I can wake up every morning. I just want to be happy. I hate stress. I just like a laid back life, but [even though] I’m laid back, I also still want to make money, because I like the good things of life. I’m like a woman, I like things that shine. Sometimes it’s just about the money because I like the good things of life.  Share with us some challenges you face as a Nigerian broadcaster in the 21st century. It’s been rough. I am a different kind of brand. Broadcasting [rules] may say you shouldn’t have an opinion, and [I think] if you don’t want an opinion then get a robot; as long as I’m human I will always have an opinion, it gets me into a lot of trouble with so many people because I am not expected to have an opinion. I do not succumb with broadcasting without opinions. I also have a problem with traditional Nigerian broadcasting rules and ethics, they are a bit harsh and unreasonable, but apart from that everything else is okay. What will you say are things necessary for a successful broadcaster? Firstly, you need to be lucky. In my opinion, life is 10 percent skills, 10 percent talent and 80 per cent luck. When I got my job at Cool FM, the very first assignment I was given was to compile all the auditions of people that wanted to get the job. I listened to them and I don’t think I was as good as half of them, I was just lucky to get the job. I was blessed, and of course, there is a God factor involved. You need to have a good voice with good diction and must be able to speak good English or pidgin, depending on the station. Skills, Talent and God and you are on your way to success. Speaking of which, you have spent 16 years of your life as a broadcaster. Would you consider yourself as successful? I think I am and that’s because I wake up at 11 O’clock every morning, and since I was a child, I hated waking up early, now if I can still wake up at that time and still be able to feed my family, I believe I am successful. I could be making a lot more money, but I can pay my basics and survive. Success is a funny word. Some are successful in business but failures at marriage. It depends on how you see yourself. I do believe I am, primarily because of the reason I just gave. You have your hands in TV, radio and MC-ing, which of these do you feel most comfortable with? Trust me, I enjoy all, but which makes me the whole money, I really can’t tell. I know it’s not TV, it’s most likely MCing, working with brands, then secondly radio. TV is the least when it comes to making money, maybe because I don’t have many shows on TV. You mentioned your wife was your class mate. Can you tell us a little about her? I try to shy away about talking about my family. I have a beautiful wife, she is wonderful, beautiful and intelligent, we don’t fight much, I take her out, but I keep talking about her very minimal. I am one of those people who gets a lot of bashing from the public, so I don’t want to join her in it, they should just leave her for me, she’s my darling. Why do you think people bash you a lot? I bash them a lot too so I expect them to bash, and I don’t care. The problem is that the people around me don’t have the crocodile skin that I have, because if it hits me and bounces off, it hits them and they feel it, so I would rather prefer everything just be about me. Talking about bashing which of the bashes has ever hit you? It never hits me. I cannot be bothered. When my radio station asked everyone to [join] twitter, I [told them] ‘if they talk, me I will talk my own back and when I talk it will cause problems.’ Of course, they put me on twitter, and once in a while when somebody says something stupid, I have an answer for every fool. What about the feud between you and Don Jazzy? There is nothing going on between Jazzy and I, I think they should interview him too. He is my person, we have come a long way and we communicate well; I’m close to most people in the entertainment industry, I knew Jazzy from when D’banj introduced me to him in 2004-2005, we never had a problem, it was just a frenzy thing, the more you look, the less you see. You seem to be a very fashionable person. What’s your take on fashion in Nigeria? There are two ways to look at fashion; there is of course the classy fashion and the ghetto fashion, and there’s been a lot of ghetto fashion around in Nigeria. It might look trendy but it’s still not classy, which is my problem with Nigerians. I can do crazy things but I have limits; for instance, you will never catch me in a pair of pink or red pants. There are some things I wouldn’t do. Like I said, I can go borderline, when it comes to sunglasses, I opt for the female sunglasses because they are more blinged out and larger. This is because I have a big face and I need a big pair to do justice to my face. Again, I could also do a female belt. That’s the farthest I can go; no colour clashes, no colour riots….

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