By Agatha Emeadi
When growing up, Ibezim Okehi had dreamt of becoming an artiste, which materialised about two decades ago.
Popularly known as Sir IB’, he was the last child among 12 siblings. He grew up in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, but now resides in New York, United States of America. Okehi said that music has always been his passion.
In this interview with Sunday Sun, he said: “I get inspired by good music and have recorded a couple of songs both in US and Nigeria.”
Talk briefly about your family?
I am the last child in a family of 12. We hail from Mbieri, Imo State, Nigeria; but grew up in Port Harcourt and now lives in New York, United States of America. Apart from being an artiste, I am also into business. My fond memories while growing up was a Nigeria where things worked with relative peace and security unlike what we see and hear from the same the country today.
What attracted you into music?
Music has been a passion for me for over two decades. I get inspired by good music and use music as a therapy to relax. I have also recorded a couple of songs in the United States and in Nigeria and they include: “Fire in Nigeria”, “Work” and “Africa. I was attracted to dancehall and reggae musicians as a young growing boy and developed the passion to become one as time went on.
What is your brand of music?
My brand of music is dancehall and afrobeat. These genre of music blend with all other genres easily. You have dancehall artistes around the world, like Bennie Man, Sean Paul, Mavado and others collaborating well with even Rap and R&B artistes. This is no different here in Nigeria.
Has the ‘music bug’ bitten any other person in your family?
My elder brother loves jazz music and has a collection of different old school records like Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis.
How do you see the Nigerian music industry?
The Nigerian music industry has evolved over time from when I was growing up in Nigeria. Now, our music is globally recognized and accepted unlike yester-years. Then, one couldn’t hear Nigerian music when I moved to the US, but presently, one cannot go a day without hearing Nigerian music blasting to the admiration of music lovers. The early Nigerian artistes paved way for the younger generation to take it to the next level and I am proud to be part of the early generation of Nigerian artistes.
Where do you think the Nigerian music industry occupies in global music space?
We are right at the very top of our game, and this is the honest truth. We have artistes winning international awards like the Grammy’s, B.E.T Awards and many others. Nigerian music is right up there with the rest of the world. We have gone global.
Where do you think you will be in the next five to10 years?
I definitely see myself being the CEO of a major record label in the Nigerian music scene. I also have a flair for developing young talents that will eventually dominate the Nigerian music industry. This is certainly my plan for the future.
What are your plans to meet those plans?
I am already in the process of setting up a record label and opening a recording studio. The label is called ‘Pack Song Entertainment.’ We are also going to venture into Film Production, Promotion, and General Entertainment Services as time goes on.
Who among the established musicians would you wish to have a collaboration with?
That person would be Tiwa Savage. I like her work and her growth in the music industry since her debut. She was also based in the United States and has been able to make a solid mark in the Nigerian music industry since she came back to Nigeria. She is a very talented young lady.