In late 2012, Omotola Jalade flew to Atlanta for a series of recording sessions with an array of musical talents that included Drumma Boy and Bobby V to mention a few. It was in preparation for what would be her third studio album. The album never made it out of the studio. Yet her previous two albums and her gradual transition into music highlighted an age-long scenery of Nigeria’s movie personalities honing their crafts in the music industry.
In that light, here is a list of six other Nigerian actors/actresses that fiddled with the microphone at some point in their careers.
Tonto Dikeh’s rise to stardom in Nollywood had a fairy tale feel to it; a beautiful and talented young woman who became the eye of Nigeria’s on-screen obsession. Yet her charm wasn’t exclusive to just the movie settings. In 2013, she delved into music with her release of a duo of singles, HI and Itz Ova. It didn’t stop there either; in 2014, D’Banj signed Tonto to his record label, DB records. She left DB records the next year and has pretty much been under the radar in terms of her music career in the years that have followed.
Regardless, music from Tonto is something her large fan base will certainly look out for in the future.
Genevieve Nnaji has proven herself to be many things over the course of her long career; producer, director, and actress to mention some. Yet her music career didn’t quite seem to cut it in the limelight. Genevieve had a full-length album – One Logologo Line, with the lead single being a song titled No More. After the album dropped in 2004, Genevieve didn’t do much music. However, she went on to create a hall of fame-worthy acting career that largely defined her success and fame.
Mr. Ibu’s persona easily seeped into his songs and it was one of the many things that made him amusing and entertaining to watch whether it was in film or music. He is probably the one person on this list who could be considered a seasoned actor AND musician. Because he released a lot of music as one half of a duo he formed with Dede, and he also has solo material.
Mr. Ibu (John Okafor) made music that was characterized by upbeat chorused back-ups, humor-inclined lyrics, and a loose approach to his delivery and style.
Of all the names mentioned on this list, Charles Okocha could be said to be the one person that’s still well immersed in his music career. While in the past year, he has a decent collection of films under his arm, My Crazy Sons and Pound of Flesh being the most prominent of them, he still released some standout tracks like Accolades and has been featured on a handful of songs as well.
Going by the Alias of “Amoshine”, Charles has also added comedy to his inventory of entertainment forms. His social media platforms are host to several of his skits and comedy-themed rap battles. He doesn’t have a full body of work yet, but that is a significant possibility with the promise he is showing.
Mama G created an era of her own. But it wasn’t just in movies. She released an album of hit songs that were instrumental components of mainstream music at the time. Her album, National Moi-Moi, featured heavy back up vocals, choreography-laden visuals, cameo appearances from Tonto Dikeh, and a rap performance from Charles Awurum. The album was a major success that eventually prompted a follow-up of the same name.
While her acting career has seen her produce some of the finest Nollywood performances, her short-lived stint in music was a creditable effort.
Nkem Owoh (Osoufia)
I Go Chop Your Dollar
Know Me When I’m Poor, Not When I Am Rich
The list goes on. And as it goes on, we realize that Nkem Owoh could have had two separate careers of music and movies, and he would at least break the ‘decent’ mark on both of them. At least.
What stands out in his music was how well it spoke to the times. Nigeria was coming into the advent of the scamming age, and women admiring men on the basis of their wealth is an age long popular culture trope. Not to mention the tailored soundtracks in his hit movies, plenty of which he personally recorded. Essentially, his music was always aligned with the common men and their plight. This was why it fit so well into diverging societal contexts at the time, and still does.
It causes you to look at things in retrospect. Whether it was Omotola, Jim Iyke, Stella Damascus, Julius Agwu, or whoever. There was always a deviation from their primary art forms to incorporate others because they were entertainers at the core and everything else was just a channel. It’s like using music to create moods on-screen and using visuals to bring life to a song, entertainment lies at the core. And while several of these actors didn’t exactly make chart toppers, they strived to entertain and that was enough.