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Princess Okoh Talks Life, Music, And #WomanEP + Visuals

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In preparation for her new EP, I caught up with Princess Okoh—the 19-year old singer who officially debuted in 2015 with the soulful hit “Heartless” and then launched her well received EP Dear Cupid—to get to know more about the person behind the music, the girl behind the words, the woman behind the voice. We spoke about a variety of topics, ranging from the deeply personal, to the somewhat irrelevant.

 

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Princess Onyinye Okoh. I am a 19 year old Nigerian singer and writer  from Delta State but I grew up in Lagos. I am a law student at the University of Nottingham in my final year.

 

Who is your life inspiration?

My mother.

 

How would you describe the relationship of your parents with your music?

My dad was extremely supportive of my music and I’m sure he’d have been so proud of what I’m doing now. My mum has always been a bit reluctant because she didn’t want me to be distracted or lose focus, but she’s slowly catching on.

 

Who is your music inspiration?

I have SO many, like the list is endless. But I’d say Whitney Houston, Rihanna, Omawumi, Luther Vandross, Alicia Keys, Banky W, and Emeli Sande.

 

Your last compilation was Dear Cupid, tell us a bit about that.

Dear Cupid was a collaborative EP with Moyo Fuga. It was made up of 3 songs which were about different things relating to love and relationships, hence the title. We literally recorded the whole thing in a weekend, it was absolutely amazing to create and I really enjoyed working with Moyo. Even though the reception wasn’t like what I had hoped, I was really happy that people enjoyed it.

 

In what ways have you grown since then?

I’ve grown immensely since then, in terms of my sound and lyrics. I’ve become very experimental with the music I make and I’m really excited for you guys to hear it!

 

Tell us about the forthcoming project, and how this growth ties in.

“Woman” is my first solo EP and I’ve been working on it for about two years. It’s been the most wonderful, stressful, exhausting and hands down hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life but I’m certain it’ll be worth it. Woman has been a personal stretch for me, I’ve had to explore genres and speak on issues I usually wouldn’t but it’s been an enjoyable process and I’m very sure the listeners will appreciate the growth and the effort put into it.

 

What do you aim to achieve with this project, both musically and commercially?

Really and truly, at the very top of my list, I aim to inspire someone. Putting out “Woman” is such a bold step for me, it’s almost like giving people a preview to my life and my experiences, so I really want people to be able to relate to the songs and feel what I was feeling when I created it. I also hope that the EP will bring my highest number of plays, but as long as people are inspired, I’m fulfilled.

 

What are your thoughts on the new age of Nigerian creatives? How do you think we can rise from a catchphrase to the main event?

I’m a huge supporter of the “New Age” movement. Although I feel the phrase is used a bit too much and mostly out of place, but I’m 100% here for supporting creatives of all sort. To be honest, nothing comes easy and overnight, creatives just need to keep doing what they do, one day it’ll be their turn to be in the limelight.

 

You have the power to change one thing about the music industry, to make it better, what change would you consider the most effective to make?

The pressure put on artistes by labels and fans to release music ever so often. I really hate that and it’s one of my biggest fears for when I “blow”. I know how inconsistent my creative process and how hard it’ll be for me to put out “quality” music ever so often, and the truth is, a lot of the big artistes out there are just like me.

 

Now for the big question, did you like Daddy Yo? and bigger still, Davido or Wizkid?

Daddy Yo didn’t really catch on me at first, but after a few listens – Issa JAM!. Wizkid all the way, I’m offended you’d even compare.

 

50 years from now, you look back at your life, what’s your greatest achievement?

50 years, wow. I want to be a living legend. I want to be one of the biggest people in the entertainment industry, reaping the fruits of my labour and receiving lifetime accomplishment awards.

 

What’s been your greatest achievement so far?

I actually haven’t thought about this, probably having my song starred on the Nigerian series “My Best Friend’s Wedding”.

 

What’s been your lowest moment?

I’ve had many, but losing my dad was probably the lowest one.

 

On those bad days where the strength to carry on making music is almost nonexistent? How do you get through it.

Days like that are horrible. I always get through it by reminding myself why I started and how therapeutic it is for me to express myself through my music. Talking to friends and supporters of my music also helps me.

 

If your life was a movie, which would it be?

I actually can’t say. I’m not really a movie person.

 

In high school, where did you fit in?

I had different stages to be honest. Most of junior secondary school, I was just loud and bitter, so I wasn’t really part of the “popular” people. But moving schools towards the end of my senior year, I began to care less about being ‘popular’ or ‘cool’ and I started to really discover myself and, ironically, that’s when I started getting popular.

 

If there was no applause, no criticism, no fear of poverty, who would you be?

Honestly, I would just keep being who I am and doing the things I do.

 

I’m looking forward to the Woman EP which drops soon.

Below are visuals which give a little more insight on what to expect from Princess’ EP, please check it out:

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Buying Soundcloud Plays: An Opinion

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Is buying Soundcloud plays bad? Well, yes and no–as with almost everything in life.

Cue pitchforks and torches.

The year is 2017, Soundcloud has become a hunting ground for labels and a battlefield for artistes looking to get worldwide recognition. It is no wonder that this is such a popular question amongst artistes still trying to make it to the big leagues.

In a world run by public perception, and in an industry trading in the currency of hype, numbers are the holy grail. Regardless of your magnificent talent, if tons of people aren’t talking about you or your music–or to put it more aptly, if it doesn’t seem like tons of people are talking about you or your music–you might as well pack up your emotions and guitar and head home, because you don’t exist to the industry.

A few months ago, some Abuja based new-age artistes were ‘exposed’ for having bought Soundcloud plays, and the backlash and scorn aimed at them was interesting to behold–not unexpected.

Now before we go ahead, let me tell you the story of Jerry in the window

Jerry was having a bad day, which became slightly better after seeing the new Wonder Woman movie. On his way home, Jerry decided to take a walk, hoping that maybe he’ll run into someone that’ll make his day much better, his crush perhaps.

His legs move to a rhythm he’s only now aware he’s been strutting to; his mood, lifted. Following the music, he comes upon a bar, and looking from the window, he sees a band performing–Gillian and The Poverty Band. The song is great, the performance is MJ level amped, and the sound is pristine; but there’s only a handful of people there. Jerry thinks; these guys are great, how come only so few people are here? I guess maybe they aren’t that popular. Jerry ponders going in, but he doesn’t want to be seen like one of those losers inside, cheering with no crowd.

Just down the road another concert is going on, and catching sight of the crowd, Jerry walks on over. He pushes through the crowd to get to the window on the other side, closer to the stage. The little hall is packed, blocking Jerry’s eye-line to the stage. Jerry thinks; this artist performing, he must have skipped vocal exercises for weeks on end because his pitch is incredibly mediocre, but maybe the show he’s putting on is worth––SAM!

Jerry sees Sam inside, along with most of the cool kids from his school. To hell with the cool kids, Sam, who Jerry has a huge crush–the size of Nigeria’s problems–on is all that matters. Jerry shells out ₦1,000 for the ticket and squeezes in.

The 19yr old boy watches the performer–whose stage presence is as commanding as Donald Trump is intelligent–while he cooks up the courage to walk over to Sam, who seems to be having a good time.

The performer takes off his shirt and the girls go wild, including Sam. This is the point where Jerry would roll his eyes, but he is too stiff for that, and so he sighs; if he has the courage to take off his shirt to reveal THAT body, why am I still standing here?

Jerry strokes his non existent beard in confusion; he may not be a good performer, but all these people are here to see him, so he must be famous. And it sure beats cheering along without a crowd, and Sam is here. With that final thought, Jerry says “hi” to Sam.

The band in the first bar are new in town with only a handful of friends–who were kind enough to attend, although Matthew couldn’t make it cos there was no electricity in his area for him to iron his shirt. They got this gig from the manager in a bid to grow their fan base, believing that people would pay for tickets once they heard the sound and saw them play from the window; that’s why they set up the stage as close to the streets as possible. 

Our artist in the little packed hall schools in the city; he’s always been really popular in school and when news of his performance hit twitter, all his friends came out to support. His friends invited their friends, who invited their friends, and so on. Cynthia isn’t his friend, but it seemed like the whole school was going and she didn’t want to miss out.

I think the point is obvious.

The music industry is a hype train that depends largely on numbers as opposed to just talent–this is our reality. People are wired to take you ‘more seriously‘ if they see that other people do too. It’s peer pressure all over again, and as an artist you’re at the mercy of this basic human flaw.

Owing to what school they attended or their background, some lesser known acts already have a sizeable audience that can get them a much larger one. Some have those amazing friends that constantly share their music to whoever they come in contact with. For these people, growing their audience on any platform isn’t as difficult as it is for those who didn’t attend certain schools, or come from certain backgrounds or have great friends, because word of mouth is still the best marketing tool there is.

Regardless of your talent, if people don’t perceive that you’re popular, the odds are stacked firmly against you, because; if he was so good, more people would be listening to him.

It’s a numbers game, and everyone wants to back the winning horse.

So should you buy Soundcloud plays? I’ll weigh in on that next week.

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