“Don’t Charge Less Than N3m To Perform At A Concert”-Oritse Femi

Ajegunle born dancehall/raga artiste, Oritse Femi has had a smashing return to the top of the music charts after a hiatus and the ‘Mercies of the Lord’ crooner graces is back with a bang!

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His powerful return with the massive hit track, ‘Double Wahala’ this year has promoted him from a ghetto star to an acclaimed crowd favourite almost overnight.

In an interview with Jayne Augoye of Punch Oritse admits that his luckiest moment came when he chose to record the remix of the song originally recorded by Fela Ankulapo- Kuti.

He says,” I was almost frustrated because my career had over the years failed to generate the desired response from music fans. I prayed to God first for inspiration and basically retraced my steps. It was then it occurred to me that my fans actually want something dynamic for a change. Consequently, because the music we are doing is Afro hip-hop and since Fela was the king of Afro hip hop, I decided to begin by paying homage to him.”

A man of few words, the story of the singer, who insists that he is still an exponent of the original Ajegunle/Konto music, is as emotional as it is inspiring.
Although he was born into a polygamous home, the self styled ‘true ghetto ambassador’ says he has tasted both sides of the divide.

“I attended Mayday Nursery School in Ikoyi, Lagos when my dad’s business was still thriving. But things took a turn for the worse and he had to take me back to Tolu Primary School in Ajegunle. Later, he enrolled me in Army Children’s School and afterwards, I proceeded to Randle Secondary School. My singing career actually started in secondary school. By the time I entered the Delta State University, Abraka, I had recorded and released my first album. I decided to withdraw from DELSU and face my music career. I was studying law then,” he recalls.

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The artiste claims that he was taught how to play Reggae music by a Jamaican in Ajegunle. Sharing what he describes as his trying moments, he says, “There were times when I had no money to pay studio fees and I would ask my friends for a loan. After paying the studio fee, I would be left without the fare for my transport back home. When I eventually trekked home, there would be no food to eat.

“At that time, the fee was N2, 500. I could remember that August Studio in Apapa charged N5, 000 per session. That was where the Plantashun Boys produced all their albums. But I could not afford to go there. So I used Mighty Mouse studio in Ajegunle where the fee was N2, 500 per session.”

The former member of the band known as the Jingolist says the turning point in his career came in 2006 when a marketer paid him N5m for his first single entitled Flop Politician.

“Things have definitely changed. Nowadays, I don’t charge less than N3m to perform at a concert. Sometimes the concerts are funded by multinational companies and we have to tour 20 states. Multiply N3m by 20 states and you will understand what I am saying. The situation has indeed improved,” he says.

The Delta State-born artiste, who was bred in Ajegunle, wants upcoming artistes to work harder than they have ever done.

He says, “They must learn to discover their unique selling point because failure to do so can mar their careers in the near future. In the Nigerian music industry luck is all that matters. Sometimes you may be very talented yet poor, while some others who have little or no talent end up successful. At the end of the day na God hand everybody dey.”

Watch Double Wahala 

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