BREAKING SILENCE AFTER 15 YEARS IN BRITAIN:
‘GREED Killed Nigeria’s Music Union, PMAN’-Edmund Spice, Africa’s Music Star
..Says Lucky Dube, Orits Wiliki, Ras Kimono, Amachi Dede, Mike Okri are my Contemporaries
*Recounts Evergreen Awards, World Concerts
HE’S a very talented Nigerian musician whose music became a household song in the early 80’s. Highly creative and ingenious Edmund Okoduwa, better known as Edmund Spice by fans steadily wears a unique hairstyle that easily stands him out from the crowd. This native of Emu in Ishan, Edo state has been playing concerts and huge shows in Italy and United Kingdom for over a decade. Edmund has not granted interview to any media organisation since he relocated to the Queen’s enclave. In this Exclusive Interview with GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU, he decides to x-rays the problems facing Nigeria’s music union-Performing Musicians Employers’ Association of Nigeria, PMAN, his Concerts Overseas, How he met his beautiful wife and details to releasing a new hot single titled ‘Jaguda’.
Q: What inspired your relocation from Nigeria to United States of America several years ago?
A: My brother first of all, I am not in United States, I only visited. I am based in United Kingdom but most times shuttles Italy. My main reason for relocation was because we were making music and we were not getting what we were working for.
Q: What are the challenges you faced in overcoming racial bias against Africans at those periods?
A: I was always and still I am a focused person in life. I am very consistent in my beliefs. Just thanks unto God for His faithfulness.
Q: How were you able to conquer accent language barrier when you arrived Britain?
A: Of course, music is a universal language that cuts across every color, language, ethnicity and tribes.
Q: As a famous Nigerian musician in the UK, how were you able to integrate your brand of music into global acceptability over there?
A: Quality African music is really cherished here in Britain since it tells African story, reflects African heritage and celebrate African culture.
Q: It is believed that most African music production are sub-standards compared to developed countries’ music studio, how were you able to make your music blend and fit into British style?
A: I must be sincere with you,we are still working on that even though live shows has been what is keeping us going. Well you can not conclude that as at today, truth is production in developed nations are better.
Q: Can you recall any concert or shows you have performed in UK or Europe?
A: The last concert I had was in a city call Faenza in Italy
Q: How will you describe the acceptance of Nigerian music in UK or Europe?
A: The Nigeria music is really doing great today nearly all over the world and that gladdens my heart.
Q: Can you remember some of your popular music that were hits in Nigeria in those years?
A: Some of my famous albums then were ‘Yeah, baby can I hold you tonight’, ‘Iyeniye,’ ‘Dear mama’ and ‘Cherenren’.
Q: Has there been anytime you were embarrassed or almost embarrassed by your music fans Abroad?
A: Oh yeah, it happened once in a Sapele show many years ago.
Q: Tell us about your present music projects in UK or Europe?
A: As at now I am working with Fame Music on some projects.
Q: Are you having any plan in staging a World Music Tour?
A: We are planning to have a World Music Tour soon that will shake the African entertainment industry.
Q: What are some of the evergreen moments and awards you have won in your music career?
A: The first one was the PMAN Award, Fame Magazine Award and several others.
Q: You are a very sharp dresser. Who designs your costumes and where do you shop your designers’ clothings, shoes and jewelleries?
A: My wife is the secret behind it. She buys me designers’ costumes, clothings, shoes and jewelleries everywhere she finds something good that she thinks must be good for me.
Q: How much do you spend on your designers” shoes, clothes and wristwatches monthly?
A: I can’t say. Truth is, I don’t keep records of how much I spend on shopping.
Q: As at today, who is Edmund Spice?
A: Edmund spice as at today is the very same Edmund Spice that you have always known. Actively in music always. Let me add here that Lucky Dube, Orits Wiliki, Ras Kimono, Amachi Dede, Mike Okri are my Contemporaries in music.
Q: Most Nigerian musicians are complaining of poverty, finding it difficult for them to work on their music projects. Will you say President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has failed Nigerian musicians?
A: Well, I don’t think I would want us to talk politics now since like I said before I am keeping my mouth shut for now.
Q: What do you think killed Nigeria’s music union, Performing Musicians Employers’ Association of Nigeria, PMAN?
A: It has only been greed that killed PMAN.
Q: Aside professional music in the UK, are you into other businesses or projects?
A: Yeah, I do other things. I take care of my children which is the sweetest business.
Q: How many years do you think you have spent presently Abroad after you relocated to the UK from Nigeria?
A: I have spent 15 good years now and I m grateful to God Almighty for giving me the opportunity.
Q: What surprises should Nigeria expect from you musically now?
A: Plenty of surprises because by next year, I am coming out with a single titled ‘Jaguda’.
Q: You obviously love your wife as you celebrate her on social media always. As a music star, how do you turn down female fans or female admirers running after you in shows?
A: Hahaha (laughs). Georgy, don’t get me into trouble. Well it is right for every man to love his wife. So I should not be different.
Q: What messages do you have for your fans across the world?
A: They should keep believing in me the they have always done. I love them all.
Q: Why that title ‘Jaguda’?
A: Hahaha, the song is actually a love song but unstable ‘kind of love’. It is about the other party cheating on the other.
Q: How old are you today?
A: Georgy, I am an old man now. In the next three months, I will be 52 years old.
Q: What is the secret of your looking so young?
A: Well that God’s power and I thank Him always for keeping this way
Q: What is your choice of delicacy?
A: I eat spinach with nearly every meal and shrimps
Q: Tell us the beautiful story behind how you met your wife?
A: That was a long one in 1986 while I was 21 years old by then.