Friday, 20 April 2012
Storm records-signed Yung6ix is a rap artiste that has grown to become a household name in the Nigerian music industry. His video featuring Wizkid, ‘follow me go’ got him major attention and he has not looked back ever since. In this interview with Rotimi Ige, he speaks on his rise to fame, his love for Warri and his plans to dominate the music world in the nearest future.
Tell us about your background.
My stage name is Yung6ix, and my real names are Onome .L. Onokohwomo. I am from Warri, Delta State, Waff-Gidi or Wafftown as i call it. I am a student, an artist/songwriter and also a producer. I was raised in the South-South. I spent most of my childhood in Warri and neighboring cities. Then, it wasn’t easy being the eldest son of my mum because I had so many responsibilities. I learnt almost everything i know today the hard way. My childhood is pretty much the frame for the picture you see right now which defines Yung6ix. I am probably gonna need a book or a movie to emphasise on this particular question.
What was growing up like?
Growing up was fun, Warri is a very Interesting and fun place. Contrary to what people think, Warri is simply amazing to grow up in. I grew up in Warri and believe it or not, it is the best place ever. Everything was fine and rosy till the crisis started in 1999. I lost my cousins and we had to move away from our area and migrate. It was hell. War is a terrible thing. I dont wish it again for my city. I pray It never happens again.
How did you come into music?
My music career started the day I was born. Whatever song they played that day definitely had an effect on my life that I couldn’t control. I am still trying to figure out the other end of that story, but I started music while I was in high-school, F.G.C Warri. Being a young chap and a juvenile, music was an addiction, rap music to be precise. Back then, we hardly listened to our local music, we only had a few musical icons from Africa. So I listened to a lot of foreign music and would rap about everything I heard them say. At a certain point, I knew every-line to “Get rich or Die trying” track by 50cent who was my favorite rapper at that particular time. I mimed his songs in school and at parties to an extent that everybody started calling me 50. Back then, people didn’t know that I could do my own thing so it was like a nickname which everybody started calling me.
So how did you become Yung6ix?
On a particular weekend at school, a friend, who was stranded in school, was in need of transport fare to go home. Luckily for him, I could help out and he was so grateful, so expressing himself, he told me that this favour that I had done for him adds 10 to my name and he just called me sixty. Funny enough, from that day on, everybody started calling me 60 (SIXTY). I wasn’t really crazy about nicknames so I just played along with it and answered whenever I was called because then, it was cool to have a nickname. I was about 13 years old at that time.
Then 60 was spelt Sixty and it wasn’t really creative in terms of defining me. Knowing how the name came about, I switched up on and made the name unique by replacing the letter S with the figure 6 in the word sixty, which then made it. By the time I was becoming a professional with my music in college, whenever I looked at myself in the mirror, I wasn’t seeing 6ixty, I was seeing this young artiste with so much determination and dreams. So, I put the guy in the mirror and the guy looking at the mirror together; that’s how I became Yung6ix.
Also, my popularity spilled over from school to the streets of Warri, Port Harcourt and Benin. I started by winning a lot of talent hunts and shows. I kept grinding musically, recording songs almost every week and just put it out on the streets until I met my current manager, Gbemi Ereku. He signed me as soon as he heard one of my songs, “Am an African” and here we are. I must have recorded over 250 songs and about 100 features.
Any particular inspirations?
The Carters, Jay-Z, Lil wayne… Out here in Nigeria, Naeto C and M.I, have been so inspiring and are models to me.
What kind of music do you do?
I call It Carter music. It defines good music, content and sound message. Its a collaboration of epic ideas and creativity.
Music is art, it is inner expression. When I make music, I need people to feel connected to be able to relate.
Tell us about your first stage performance?
My first performance has to be back then in school. I was nervous but super excited to be able to share my music with people that appreciate it.
How have you grown from your first performance till date…
I have grown in leaps and bounds, haven recieved tips from my big brothers in the industry and my label boss, Obi Asika. I have learnt how to work a crowd. I look forward to every perfomance, it is bliss to see the smiles I put on people’s faces. I was at a concert recently, and after perfoming, a young dude who should be like 10 years old ran up to me and said, “I want to be like you when I grow up”, It was so touching, I almost cried.
Your biggest show thus far?
I think It was at a huge concert in Warri with a crowd of about 15,000 people. It was crazy
What can you give up music for?
Nothing, There is Nothing I can give up music for. I sleep, breathe and eat music.
Not even for love?
I think if you love me, you’ll let me do music. That’s why I love my parents so much. They let me pursue my dreams.
Tell us about your first song?
Ha, I can’t vividly remember that now. I think it was just a freestyle I ran through. One take, back then in a local studio in Warri.
What song gave you your big break?
Oleku (Warri remix). When I dropped that, it was like the pandora’s box opened, M.I and Iceprince hailed me on twitter and the response was crazy,. Everybody said I was “The special one” and I had five music labels jostling for me to sign for them.
Since then, what is the reception to the brand you’ve become?
It has been beautiful, I can’t complain. It’s not where I want to be, but I am working hard at that.
What has music given you?
Everything, mostly joy. I have learnt a lot, about life, about the business, relationship and mostly about affecting lives.
What would you have been if not music?
A Scientist. I love to ask questions and solve problems.
Your greatest performance?
The Wizkid album launch concert was tight. I can’t say it was my best but it was dope.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I am a really shy person.
What is the worst rumour you have heard about yourself.
That I am now a member of the Illuminati. That is ridiculous.
What’s your normal day like?
I wake up to requests from media houses and show promoters which I attend to with my manager. I then hit the studio, make good music and strategise with my team. Its all about work.
What is good music to you?
Music that people can relate to, that effects/affects society, inspires and brings hope .
Can you say that Naija entertainment scene is where it should be?
Not yet. But we are getting there.
What are the challenges?
The Industry is not a bed of roses, Its tough, it is a business so you have to get funding and invest. But we are getting there.
To you, is music a passion or a business?
Both, But first its an undying passion that we are trying to monetise.
Since the music industry has come a long way in Nigeria, is anything still missing?
More corporate involvement, government backing and infrastructure.
Where do you see your craft in the next five years?
I must have broken into the international scene in five years time. I am talking world music. My music must have transcended Africa by then.
Who inspires your music videos?
The message behind each song does, so we sit down and write a script that matches the theme of the song. Shout to Bobby Boulders on this one…
They say women in Nigerian entertainment are yet to break out in. What is the reason for this?
I think they are coming up strong.
Tell us about your fashion sense?
Urban, 21st century urban, You know Hiphop is a culture and we dress and walk it.
Your most expensive fashion item?
I can’t remember. Maybe my gold Jesus piece I bought in South Africa.
CH BY cHANNEL.
Favourite fashion item? How many do you own?
Sneakers, I should have about 20 now.
What puts you off?
Hate. We should be able to appreciate each other regardless of sentiments.
What turns you on?
Your favourite 9ja artistes?
M.I, Naeto C, Iceprince. Wizkid, I have mad love and respect for all my industry people.
Your most memorable collabo?
Yet? Wizkid. You Know that was my first mainstream single, When it dropped, It was crazy. Girls loved it. Wizkid is a genuis you know, I mean we were just vibing in the studio and he just came up with the hook. It was magic. Samklef produced the joint.
Favourite foreign artiste?
What projects are you into right now?
I am working on my album and we are about 10 songs deep. Its amazing what we are doing. I cant wait for you all to hear it.
Your plans for your future
To take Over the world, I mean spread my music to every corner, put my city, Warri on the map, go back home and invest heavily in its resources and people.
Any collaborations in the future?
I already have one with Naeto C, the one with M.I just dropped, also Jesse Jags. Internationally, I have worked with South African Hip Hop group “Jozi’, Navio from Uganda and some other great names.
Album this 2012?
Yeah, Before December.
Who are your icons or role models?
Jay-z, for his strong business acumen and Lil Wayne.
Your word for upcoming performers?
Work the stage, work the crowd.
How do you handle admirers?
I love my fans, I treat them like friends . If You love my music, I am your friend.