Sesoo Ugor Ongu, known by his stage name U.Y is the newest break-out star in the Nigerian music entertainment industry. Having ventured into music entertainment industry at age 15, he released several mixtapes, a video “Vote for Me” (which aired on TV stations like Soundcity) and more recently a 9-tracker hit album titled rising star. He has also appeared on TV talk shows like AM express and has been interviewed in radio-stations like Rhythm 94.7 and Hot 98.3 both in Abuja.
Aspire Magazine had a chat with him Wednesday 26th January on his passion and the journey so far.
You are an intriguing person so I can’t help wondering, where did it all begin?
[Laughs] Actually, I grew up in my state of origin Benue State. I’d always wanted to be a pilot until my SS1 at a Cross River senior secondary school. I wrote a song which my friends liked, so we performed it in church and formed a group called JNS Cube. We did a studio album called Immortal which was unsuccessful due to poor funding and publicity.
And what happened to you JNS guys?
We separated after our SS3. All of them live in Ebonyi State! And I didn’t have any plans of heading there since I was applying for Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State.
Okay. And what did your parents have to say about the music thing?
I don’t think many Nigerian parents would be overjoyed at such news from their child. My mom! She didn’t find it funny but when she saw I truly had musical talent, she even sponsored 2 of my songs!
Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
I see myself as a shy person and I am a bit too reserved for my own comfort. Sometimes this traits are mistaken for pride and arrogance. I’m currently in 300 level Quantity Surveying in Federal University of Technology, Minna.
Talking about your songs, what kind of music do you sing? How would you classify your music?
A little bit of this and that, but in the end it’s basically contemporary naija hip-hop with elements of RnB and Rock.
So where do you get your inspiration from?
Ah, I love music, so I’m naturally influenced by the variety of music I listen to. My music player has almost everything from Jazz to hip-hop.
Okay. So it doesn’t necessarily come from real life experiences. You don’t need your heart to be broken before you can write a song.
[laughs] nah…no girl needs to break my heart for me to get inspiration and no girl ever will.
Eh, immediately I finished secondary school, I started my own label called Ramstand Entertainment. I own it but a pal of mine Willy runs it – all the administration and stuff.
So which artistes would you love to work with in the nearest future?
Actually, I’m trying to work with Ice Prince. We met at a show recently oh, nothing soonest, but right now I’m concentrating on marketing my album.
Wow! You’ve come quite far, but I’m sure you met some challenges along the line.
Ah [he leans back in his seat and sighs deeply]. A lot my brother, a lot. Mostly it was the finance. Then getting a manager proved to be even trickier. But by the grace of God, working with afro-best entertainment right now.
So you mean the guys that marketed Yahoozee and Gongo Aso?
So what do we find in this album?
Almost everything. There are love songs and some things about our country’s governance, but that’s all I can say.
Which icon do you look up to growing up?
Generally, Dangote, but in music, I deeply respect Tuface Idibia and it’s not just because we’re from the same state…You’ve got to admit he’s good.
And what do you have to say to Nigerian youths out there?
If you’re waiting for opportunity to walk up to you, I’m terribly sorry. Maybe in some other countries, but definitely not naija. If you think you are too young to use your talent, you are only limiting yourself. And finally believe in yourself even when no one else does.