Dice Avenue is a four-man band of talented young men with mindset on stardom. Listening to their pieces left Bennett Oghifo with a strong feeling that this band would rock the Nigerian music scene with the right hand at the controls
Nothing captivates listeners like strong vocals driving enduring lyrics. The rendition grips, leading to the next question; who are these?
They are: Chukwuka “JUDE” Frederick, Delta State indigene and UNILAG graduate of Economics who is a singer/songwriter and the band pianist; Edwin Terlumun “ED” Yisa, from Benue State, a Business Admin graduate of UNILAG who is a singer/songwriter; Anambra State indigene and professional graphic artist, who is also a singer/songwriter, Onyedikachi “HENRI” Okonkwo; and Choir trainer, singer/songwriter Donatus Nsima “DON” Effiong from Akwa Ibom State.
They have big dreams also, because they see themselves holding large crowds spell-bound at the O2 Arena in London, as well as being nominated for Grammy and winning it for Nigeria, they told THISDAY, excitedly.
They plan to stay together long enough to realise their dream and then mutually agree to disband at a time they will choose.
Exuding so much confidence and versatility, Dice Avenue are the newest addition to the incredibly talent ridden Nigerian music industry and it appears they have vocal tricks to unleash that which the industry may have needed for over two decades now.
The 4-man band members met as choristers in St Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos, and they have had a combination of over 18 years of musical practice and involvement. Okonkwo join the others after they met at X-Factor audition where he appeared as a solo artiste. Their union was electric, and since then, they have been blending and have been able to define their type of music as Afro R&B.
The name Dice Avenue represents the dynamism of the group in its ability to deliver smooth, high quality tunes of various music genres ranging from A cappella to hip-hop and R&B and the greatest pride of its members is their ability to read and interpret score music which has helped the team greatly in composing all their music.
Dice Avenue was formed in 2013 and ventured into mainstream music same year participating in the auditions for X-Factor Nigeria. Although they didn’t progress beyond the final auditions, the group went on performing and miming songs of other Artistes within and outside their environment for two years, before recording their first single “One Life” in 2015. In October 2017, they recorded a follow up single “Biye Biye” which has been a hit everywhere they have performed.
On December 1, 2017, the group released a Christmas song Afro Christmas; which enjoyed playtime on major radio stations in the country as it as seen as a new and refreshing addition to music loving Nigerians. In May and June this year, Dice Avenue released unique boy band styled cover to Reekado banks single “Like” featuring Nigerian Hip Hop Queen & songstress Tiwa Savage as well as Davido’s Assurance. These covers flow from the original with a smooth blend of A cappella vocals likened to sounds heard from international bands like Boyz II Men and Nsync. Very recently, they were back at their home base, where they cut their teeth as a group with a big self-sponsored concert titled “DICE AVENUE Unleashed’. This concert which attracted a large crowd had people wondering who these boys were after listening to the various tracks dished out by them.
Dice Avenue whose philosophy is to combine hard work and persistence are set to serenade music loving fans in Nigeria and the rest of the world with their brand of music for years to come.
So, how did a band that originated from the church, like most musicians, end up doing Afro R&B? It is not a conflict of interest, and here is why, according to Jude: “The issue with us as a people is we cannot distinguish our service to God from our career. The service to God is different from career; for instance, I’ve worked in the bank, but nobody asked if I were a gospel banker or a secular banker; that is my job for now, my career, it doesn’t have to be what defines my spirituality. We play instruments and sing in our church on Sundays, but this is our work. People say secular music has a lot of explicit language and all that but lyrics are clean. Love is love everywhere and as Christians, if we see something bad happening in society and we are not able to talk about it and I come to church to shout hosanna, hosanna, then what am I saying. We should be able to tackle what is happening in the society.”
Individually, the four members have their mentors, including Kanmi DA-SILVA, Director/Creative Lead 1201 Brandsway Limited, but regarding role models they tend to agree on Boyz II Men for their professionalism and longevity; Westlife that stayed for 15 years and mutually resolved to go their separate ways.
On collaborations: “We will like to work with Tu Face, Patoranking, Simi, Tiwa Savage, and M I Abaga.”