By Shout-Africa.com Correspondent Chinyere Ogbonna – A member of the 6Team musical group, Mr. Uddy Samuel, has gone solo and is ready to launch his first musical album.
Uddy has been trilling his audience at various events lately including churches and at various festivals in Nigeria.
The launch of the new album is expected to be before the end of the year.
Our correspondent cornered him in Lagos and had a thirty-minute interview with him.
Below are the excerpts.
CHINYERE: Tell me about yourself
UDDY: My name is Uddy Samuel (full name Udeme Samuel) an inspirational singer from a family of seven, if you add my mom and dad, then its nine of us, five girls and two boys. I am the second son. That’s about me.
I am a singer. I started with a group 6Team way back, we were known for a song we used to do back then entitled “Jesu mi – mu mi de le oh!” We used to sing in church and presently, I am working on my solo project entitled” MOTIVATED” It is an album that will be released sometime this year. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed for the best.
CHINYERE: How did you find yourself doing music?
UDDYSAMUEL: For some strange reasons I found myself doing music when I was in primary school and before I left primary school, in JSS 1, I met a friend of mine Edmund Benson, we were in the same class. I was always singing while he was always hitting the table and most of the times I was punished for that. People knew me as that boy who always sang in class and when I entered into the SS class, that’s the senior, class in secondary school they also knew me for that.
I used to play a musical instrument- the drum and gradually started going to events to sing and entertain people.
I also joined the choir in the Apostolic Church and later on I left there for Redeemed Christian Church of God where I also joined the choir and served as a worker in the church.
At some point I formed a musical group which we all know as 6Team with a friend Edmund and we both brought in our brothers into the group and another friend of mine and we became five. May be I should say I have been doing the singing thing from birth because when I came out, I cried (laugh aloud). That’s pretty much it.
CHINYERE: What happened to 6Team?
UDDY SAMUEL: When you say what happened to the 6TEAMbut the fact remains that nothing has actually happened to 6Team. 6Team is still there. We are all doing our solo projects at the moment. One of us is into cinematography, the other one into production proper, while one of us is into management and business and of course, I chose the music part because that is my first love apart from photography and I think I should still stick by it to keep the fire burning. We still come together when we are called to come do songs. It however does not stop the fact that I can also do my own solo project. 6Team still stands.
CHINYERE: Why did you choose music and not something else and why inspirational songs?
UDDY SAMUEL: May be because of my background. My dad can sing though not as much as my mother. Each time my mom was on her sewing machine, she used to make these unique sweet melodies from the machine as she sewed and I used to lie there and the music used to send me to sleep. From there the consciousness of good music started coming into me as a little boy and I tried to mimic what she sounded like and by so doing, I realized that I was training myself for a singing career.
For the inspirational part that I chose, I think it could be traced to my background. I grew up from a Christian background and I think that my choice of inspirational songs was just about the morals and pretty much information that I was born with. I truly do not know anything other information than positive things because most of the things that came out from my mother’s mouth while we were growing up were basically encouraging words that groomed us well from gospel background. Of course, you know that Gods words are quite inspiring and most things that are used in inspirational songs are also backed up by God’s words.
CHINYERE: I was thinking that it was because of the monetary aspect because there seems to be demand for inspirational songs.
UDDY SAMUEL: In fact I will not say so. I remember telling a friend of mine only yesterday that if he truly wanted to do music, first and foremost he needed to have the right mindset, have a passion for what he has chosen to do and if he doesn’t have the passion for whatever he intended to do, he would run into problem. If one goes into music because he or she wants to make money, no doubt, he will definitely make money if he does it the right way, but if he concentrates only on the monetary aspect, as a primary focus, then he is bound to have a problem because when the challenges that come with music set in, he will find out that he will chicken out because he simply did not come into the business with the proper mindset.
However, that there is money in inspirational songs than the circular music; I do not think that is absolutely correct.
CHINYERE: Now that you are coming out with your solo project, would you say are coming out with a bang?
UDDY SAMUEL: I try as much as possible not to sing my own praises. I have a very good team of friends that can give me a good verdict of my songs and if they say that it is not good to them it cannot go. There are about fifteen tracks in the album and from what they have said I believe it is what the world will be ready to hear. And so far they have given me a good assessment of all the tracks in the album. It is not about me but about them.
I have got my manager, Michael, Uche my friend and some children around me on holidays; I also have to look at it from the children angle, older people and the youths as well. You and if they do not give me a good report about the songs, then I will certainly know that I am not on the right path. And so far their reports have been overwhelming.
CHINYERE: Tell me about the new album, what informed your choice of that title MOTIVATED?
UDDY SAMUEL: Initially, I did not really think about a title for the album. I only knew that I had been led to work on an album and while I was working on the album, the title of the album came in at a later stage when I came back from London where I met a producer friend of mine, and I had a song that I said I loved the message, because it was inspiring and I recorded the song with Simeon, the same Simeon that we all know about. And as we played the song, I realized that the title was quite catchy and I went to God in prayer about it and he said to me that it could go and because I got a confirmation from God, I chose to go with the title “MOTIVATED” because God had said so.
CHINYERE: Okay! Tell me about your shows so far.
When I came back from my tour of the United Kingdom Last December, I was on tour of the United Kingdom (London, Manchester, Liverpool and some other areas in the UK) to weigh acceptance for my songs over there, apart from the fact that I knew how Nigerians back home had accepted the songs, it was like a test run for songs in the album and the ovation was quite mind blowing.
On My return to Nigeria, I performed at the National Stadium here in Lagos, the Calabar annual Festival and I am glad to say that following my performance at last year’s Festival in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, Nigeria, the Cross River State government has again invited me to perform at this year’s festival. And the story still goes on and on because I know that this is just the beginning. I believe that more invitations would come from the United States, Canada and elsewhere in the world.
CHINYERE: What do you mean when I came back were you based overseas?
UDDY SAMUEL: When I said I came back to Nigeria, I meant when I returned from my UK tour.
CHINYERE: Do you also write your songs?
UDDY SAMUEL: Yes, eighty-five percent of my songs were written by me and I also get ideas from people that I respect their writing ability and also willing to accept any good work.
CHINYERE: Do you also play musical instruments?
UDDY SAMUEL: Hum! I fiddle a little with musical instruments- I also play the drums. I play guitar, though not professionally but because I use it to write my songs most of the time.
CHINYERE: Who were your musical influences?
UDDY SAMUEL: From my group days in 6Team we had Kaycee and Jojo. People say when I sing I have a high pitch. I listen to Whitney Houston. Most times I find it difficult to listen to the male folks because I thought that my range was a little higher than theirs. Mostly, the major female artistes were my role models. You will be shocked that I mentioned mostly female singers
CHINYERE: What advice do you have for the up-coming singers?
UDDY SAMUEL: The advice I can give to the newer talents is firstly, is to have a vision. If you have a vision, then you know what you are going into, you work hard towards achieving that. And again, the principle that I work with is, do not start what you cannot finish and for a perfect start to finish, you need the God factor. In essence, in everything you do, always put God first.
CHINYERE: Any plan for collaboration with other artistes in future?
UDDY SAMUEL: Yea! I do have some people that I am looking at working with both locally and internationally. Some of such artistes are Innocent Idibia popularly known as “TUFACE” if I mention TUFACE as a local artiste; I think that I will be messing it up because he is not just a local artiste. Okay let me say TUFACE local and international (laugh laugh) – I will like to do stuff with him. I will also love to do something with “ASHA” because of her knowledge of music.
And on the international scene, I would love to collaborate with John Legend and some other renowned singers.
CHINYERE: So when is the album going to be formally launched?
UDDY SAMUEL: We are looking at the later part of this year. My management team and I are planning a tour of the country and other African nations like Ghana, the United Kingdom and the United States of America etc. to promote the album the way it should be.