Guchi  Debuts with ‘No Be Jazz’

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Twenty two years old Ugochi Onuoha is poised to take the music scene by storm. Young with beautiful voice so captivating and a good number of songs in her cache, the new artiste who has just come out with a single titled ‘No Be Jazz’, might just have confirmed her calling. The talented singer who goes by the stage name ‘Guchi’ seems to be in safe and stable hands with her management team as she makes her debut in Nigeria’s entertainment industry. 

Ferdinand Ekechukwu reports

As petit, preened and pretty new artiste Ugochi Onuoha steps out straight into the waiting hands of arts and entertainment writers, only she could tell exactly what was on her mind seeing unusual faces stare at her for the first time in a setting she’s not used to. Though she immediately stepped back into her room in an executive suite at Raddison Blu to pick up stuff (it seems her phone), one could tell she doesn’t seem anxious; she appeared prepared for the session with newshounds.

At the moment, she has recorded a good number of songs lined up for release; unlike they say in the industry, ‘she will be releasing them back to back’. But right now, she has just come out with her first single, titled ‘No Be Jazz’. The video of the song already shot and directed by Unlimited LA. A first hand listening and viewing of the work was availed to the team while her management crew from Media Viva Production (MVP) watches from the fringes of the private lounge.

She sounds very impressive and promising. The viewing session over, the chat with newshounds began. Cheery with rays of smile and looking into the faces around her, she explains first her state of origin and then her stage name ‘Guchi’. ‘I’m an Ibo girl from Imo State’ . . . So the ‘Guchi’ is derived from her real name ‘Ugochi’.

She started doing music in 2012 and has been in the background for seven good years. In someone’s opinion, Guchi strikes some voice semblance with Nigerian singer Simi.

But she doesn’t agree to any likeness to that comparison. “I don’t think so. There’s no relationship. I think I sound like me I don’t sound like anybody else. I sound like ‘Guchi’. I don’t sound like Simi.” Presently a Theatre and Media Arts students of University of Lagos, she could have been a lawyer, a doctor or something. Why music? Her foray into music was inspired by her passion for music. “I have always had passion for music. Right from growing up I started from the choir in church. And so from the very beginning I have always had passion, the love for music.”

Everybody seems to start from choir that is if it’s not mum a chorister or dad a guitarist or a singer. For ‘Guchi’ where did she draw her music instinct from? Growing up her dad was always playing Michael Jackson when she was still a kid. And she has always heard Michael Jackson and has always loved Michael Jackson. “So, I would say my dad is a music lover and I got it from my dad,” she said laughing.  The second child in a family of four, Guchi feels cool speaking a little more about childhood and her family.

She grew up in Abuja and was born in Kaduna. She had to relocate to Lagos to pursue music. She doesn’t see much challenge doing music and schooling as her course and act are somewhat interrelated. She says she has got the support of her parents to do music. In fact, she recalls precisely at the age of seven being the only child among other extended family kids singing for her grandfather during a feast. “. . . My granddad has a lot of grandchildren, great grandchildren and we are having a get together with my grandfather and I was the only child that could come out and sing in public. So I started singing at the age of seven per se. I could come out with a mic and sing.”

Really, she has got a nice video and lovely song but it’s no child’s play out there in the music scene. The competition in the industry, for a choice of a mild word, is stiff. How prepared is she? Like she had anticipated that question, her response followed thus swiftly: “Very prepared”, she said repeatedly. “Okay like I said earlier I started music in 2012. I didn’t come out 2012 that’s because I have been preparing for this.

“Yes  I am very prepared I have dozens of songs recorded already. Not like I’m going to record more like I don’t have songs. I have dozens of songs we are going to drop this year like back to back. And I’m still going to record. So I think I’m very prepared. I didn’t come out last year, I didn’t come out last two years, and I didn’t come out last three years. For me to be coming out now and I started music in 2012 I’m very prepared.”

Afro-beat seems to be the in thing in the Nigeria music now and as far as even to the African music industry. For Guchi’s genre of music she plays Afro-pop, dancehall and highlife. That’s eclectic. “Basically, I would say I do Afro-pop, dancehall and highlife,” she reveals. 

“I’m very good with highlife, I’m very good with afro-pop and I’m also very good with dancehall. So, whatever it is, whatever instrument that I listened to maybe afro-pop, dancehall or highlife, I can still murder it. So I don’t need to really be in the afro-pop that everybody is doing. It depends on what inspired me doing afro-pop music. I don’t think I’m everybody’s kind of afro-pop.”

For her No Be Jazz song she draws inspiration for the song looking at the modern and traditional kind of love that existed. 

“The girls are more interested in the money and the guys are more interested in sex. But the No Be Jazz is preaching patience, more of the old kind of love that women get married to their husbands not because of money but because they really loved genuinely. I would say that. In the good time, in the bad time my mother was with my dad. So, I would say my mum inspired it.” That sounds deep, but contradictory coming from a non-conservative young looking lady. “I sing base on what I can imagine, what I can feel, what I see around me, what I see people doing. So it’s not just about me,” she said.