OC Ukeje is a Nollywood actor who broke into limelight with the Amstel Malta-sponsored movie, White Waters. In this interview withÂ Tosin Clegg, he talks about his new movie, marriage and fame
My latest movie
IÂ t is about a relatively recent divorcee that has his perspective on life and love and family. I played the role of Tony Gyampo, who believes in his concept of happiness and has borderline selfish motives. Heâ€™s largely successful in other aspects of life, but not as successful with love. It was a hectic couple of days, because I was only available for a pretty small window. But I enjoyed working on the film and with the team and part of the fun was trying to develop some of the scenes and the necessary dynamics required for the type of relationship between Tony and Lulu. Again, Shirley Frimpong-Manso and her team are a joy to work with.
Playing the role of a divorced man as a married man
Well, I do know that experience helps a lot when acting some characters and their scenarios. But I also know that they donâ€™t have to be personal experiences. You learn from a multitude of experiences and stories and a wealth of knowledge you glean off people you know or have heard of. So, I just held those close to my interpretations. I think the character and the movie generally portray another dynamics of relationships and I believe one of the messages is that peopleâ€™s issues are valid. I also think that it speaks to people trying what they can to make their differences work. Weâ€™ll see more about the dynamics when we see the film.
What has kept me on top of my game
Well, to begin with, I need to say Iâ€™m immensely grateful for the successes I have enjoyed. Wanting my career shaped in a particular way has played a huge part in making me who I am today. I have always been consistent when it came to what kind of work I wanted to do irrespective of the fact that I wasnâ€™t doing a lot of work anyway. I choose my roles and films based on the story and its rhythm. Iâ€™m sure that there are other actors here who may have the same philosophy. I just think that I have worked smart, probably and most importantly, my time had just been waiting for me. I have enjoyed an immeasurable amount of favour. Plus, I just havenâ€™t settled for popularity over performance.Â
My role models and mentors
I always enjoyed films that were made by RMD and Ramsey Nouah over the years. AndÂ in five years, Iâ€™d like to be a mainstay in the biggest movie industries across the globe.Â
â€˜White Watersâ€™ was my first attempt at being on screen
And it gave me great visibility. Before that, it was all stage. So, yes there was definitely a measure of breaking into Nollywood. Then came â€˜Two Brides and a Baby.â€™ It definitely cemented the entry into the market.Â
Managing fame, women
I think we keep learning how to manage it all. Thereâ€™s no one answer that tells you how to control it all. Itâ€™s a privilege and a responsibility that I have to manage well. But, I have managed to deal with each scenario as best as possible. Marriage has been interesting. Itâ€™s an institution that teaches you many things. I intend for it to stay that way and keep happy.Â
Challenges as an actor
Established actors all over the world are dealing with different measures of challenges and I know in Nollywood, people deal with the next best step or the idea of sustained relevance or the need for a healthy bank account or the will to make your own movies or the control of success. Itâ€™s not a thing of the past at all. Â
Actors home and abroad I would love to be in a movie with
I think that RMD and Ramsey are people I have yet to work with as Iâ€™d like, even though Iâ€™ve done one film with each of them seperatelyâ€“ for their craft, longevity, re-invention of self, influence. Iâ€™d love to work with Leonardo DiCaprio and Denzel Washington because of their intensity and art in executing their characters. My mantra is that thereâ€™s a place .
African BeautyÂ Queen Pageant
Last Sunday was all glitter and glamour as the African Beauty Queen International Pageant was unveiled in Lagos. The event was hosted by Renowned Comedian, Ushbebe and Co-hosted by Big Brotherâ€™s, Uriel. The event had a colourful red carpet thrill with celebrities and guests taking turns to have interviews and photo shoots. Several musical performances serenaded the event with the highlight performance of the night from comedy big names, Akpororo and Shakara. Notable Nollywood stars were all present as well.
The unveiling served its purpose which was to enlighten the public on what to expect from the pageant. Itâ€™s African centered and one that is designed to celebrate the African woman.Â
â€˜The Experience 2017â€™ Showcases Donnie McClurkin,Â
Don Moen, Travis Greene
The House On The Rock Church has announced the 12th edition of its annual gospel concert, The Experience. It is scheduled to hold on theÂ 1st of December 2017Â fromÂ 7pmÂ till dawn at the Tafawa Balewa Square Lagos. The theme of this yearâ€™s edition is â€œJesus our Kingâ€. Speaking on the all-night worship concert, the Convener and Senior Pastor of House On The Rock Church, Paul Adefarasin, says â€˜The Experienceâ€™ is a focal gathering point for the Christian community and its many constituencies from across Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world. â€œIt features the very best of indigenous and international artists leading hundreds of thousands of people in worship and praise to our King and also provides an uncommon opportunity for all Christians regardless of creed, doctrine or ethnicity to offer prayers for our nation.â€
This yearâ€™s edition promises to be no less exciting as Don Moen, Donnie McClurkin ,Travis Greene, Tope Alabi, Chevelle Franklyn, Chioma Jesus, Sonnie Badu, Onos, Micah Stampley, Tim Godfrey,Â MidnightÂ Crew, Frank Edwards, Eben, BeeJay Sax, Nathaniel Bassey and The Lagos Metropolitan Gospel Choir take centre stage and minister worship and praises to Jesus our King. As usual attendance is completely free for all!
As the name implies, The Experience, is indeed a one of a kind experience and with hundreds of thousands of worshippers recorded in the past editions, we can only anticipate with bated breath what the attendance at this yearâ€™s edition will be, given the upward progression in the number of participants over the years.
The Experience team has given assurances that adequate crowd management and security measures had been put in place to ensure everyone can worship in a conducive and unencumbered space. â€œEveryone, regardless of colour, creed, doctrine or race is invited to join us as we worship Jesus our King,â€ said a statement from the church.
Celebrities Gear Up for â€˜The Wedding Showcaseâ€™ in Enugu
Top Nigerian celebrities likeÂ Ebube Nwagbo, Uti Nwachukwu, Bryan Okwara, Melvin Oduah and more are all geared up for the third edition of The Wedding Showcase Nigeria.
The event, which is slated to hold on 24- toÂ 26th November, 2017Â in Enugu, has undoubtedly been dubbed the largest event fair holding in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria, bringing together top brands in the event industry, especially those in the wedding industry. According to the organiser, Dr. Kachy Ugwa, the exhibition fair is essentially the melting pot for top Nigerian fashion icons and parades, event, media and logistics vendors from all parts of South Eastern Nigeria. Shedding more light on what is expected of this yearâ€™s edition, Ugwa assures that the two-day exhibition, business dinner and fashion show would be topnotch.
â€œFor Exhibition, customer should expect more vendors; they would have lots of varieties and would be spoilt for choice with amazing prices for people who book vendors at the fair. And for the vendors, there will be double the traffic from the last edition based on the increased level of publicity.
â€œThe fashion show is focused on wedding attires and we have been able to attract the very best in the fashion industry like of Mai Atafo, Ouch, Weizdhurmfranklyn, James brandan, Habana bespoke and lots more. This year we expect to see the finest brands in the industry with entertainment from Nedu Wazobia (sister nkechi), Wow of the Voice Nigeria. We also have our usual squad of celebrity models with some additions,â€ he stated.
While the Exhibition would be at The Golden Royale multipurpose hall, Enugu, Business dinner and Fashion Show would take place at The Base event center, Independence Layout, Enugu.
I Cherish My Originality
Palmira is a gospel artiste of distinct style and appeal. She is a graduate of Music and recently released her first official debut single, Glorious in my eyes. In this interview withÂ Tosin Clegg, she talks about music, education and career
ow long have you been in the industry?
Iâ€™ve been singing professionally for 17 years now. I have done back up for a couple of artistes before I went solo for three years. I do Gospel according to the various genres of music. But I would say Iâ€™m versatile but I love Ballardâ€™s, soft rock and jazz.
Who are your musical influences and role models?
When I discovered I could sing, I literally listened to Whitney Houston a lot, Celine Dion, Mary-Mary, Yolanda Adams, Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, and lots more. Some of my roles models were and are still Whitney Houston, Mrs. Ige Dupe Kachi, Yolanda Adams, my Late Parents, Rev NkechiÂ Anayo,Â Pastor Kingsley and Mildred Okonkwo, Mrs Lara Odebiyi, my siblings and more.
Whatâ€™s the flavour you are bringing into the music industry and what should your fans expect from you?Â
I love fusion a lot and I wonâ€™t particularly say itâ€™s this or that but one thing is sure – my originality, my uniqueness, and the good message I have to always pass across to the nations of the world – which are very important.Â
Where do you see yourself in a few years?Â
Well, generally speaking, I see myself married to my better half, though Iâ€™m not seeing anyone at the moment, lol! See myself with my beautiful kids by then, excelling in my purpose, always relevant and evolving with time, I see my NGO-Freedom in Christ Initiative registered and functioning beyond my expectations. Right now itâ€™s all about visiting and rendering arms to prisoners, but we also hold musical and comedy concerts.