Multi-talented Nigerian XmondT, whose birth name is Samuel Adetoye Ogundimbola, is a singer, songwriter, rapper, entrepreneur, cinematographer, On-Air-Personality, careerist and a record producer. Focused and dedicated to his arts, XmondT is a motivation to quite a lot of fledgling talents. Starting out as an artiste was quite challenging for him, but he braved the odds and remained true to himself. His moniker, XMONDT, means “Xtraordinary Man of No Denomination Toye.” XMONDT says it means “I can’t be predicted”. In this conversation with Ferdinand Ekechukwu, the Canada-based artiste opens up on his musical journey, life, challenges and chances as a resourceful creative
What’s your background like?
XmondT is from Ifon in Ondo State. Both parents are from Ifon, Ondo State. I was born in the early 80’s. I am from a Christian family of 9 children. I am the last born. I was born in Ajegunle, Lagos State. Parents relocated to Ifon when I was 4 years old. My dad is alive ‘chilling’, mum passed on at the age of 71 in 2016. I was raised in a family named ‘The Book Family’. Dad was very strict on us all. He hated all sorts of lagging behind attitudes. Parents were always bent on making sure we had the best education. I have a master’s degree from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State and also bagged my Bachelor’s Degree in Banking and Finance from Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State. I also attended Ifon Comprehensive High School, Ifon, Ondo State for my secondary education. I am married to the most beautiful woman in the whole world. Kindly find out who this special goddess is.
Were your parents supportive of your choice of career starting out as an artiste?
I hid it from my parents for a long time. Like I said earlier, am from a family named ‘The Book Family’. All we know how to do is becoming engineers, top bankers, top IT analysts and CEOS. They actually got to know while I was a banker in Nigeria. They were surprised…. So painful my mum is dead. It hurts badly.
Take us through music journey?
It all began in 2001/2002 when I relocated to Festac Town in Lagos with the intention of writing JAMB. My immediate older brother (Adesope Ogundimbola) was fond of playing many American songs. He would sit close to the disk player listening to songs and was fond of dubbing songs directly from FMs’ to cassette via cassette players. I watched him closely and suddenly had the thought of me composing and recording songs like American stars, but how to achieve it was a problem. Same year, I was watching a music programme on TV and I heard a specific group of Nigerians rapping with the American accent. I was so impressed and decided to go search for the group. Guess the name of the group? Trybes Men. (Eldee, Freestyle and Kaboom), including their signed artistes. I began making enquiries on how to locate them. It was so difficult to meet them as they were on tour outside Nigeria.
While on the move searching for them, I met Big Lo, OJB Jezreel and Joe Kenny. I recorded some demos at Big Lo’s studio and OJB’s studio at Surulere. It’s so painful both of them are deceased. It was not easy paying studio fees all the time. Due to the go getter lifestyle, which was impacted into me by my parents, I decided to learn production. Most times, I visited BigLo and OJB purposely to stand behind them to secretly learn the craft as I had no money to pay officially for the skill learning. Big Lo and OJB noticed my intentions; they smiled and encouraged me to come out openly on what I actually wanted. I did and today the rest is history. I am now a certified record producer. I eventually met Legendary Freestyle Da Shogun who schooled me (Still schooling me), I met Timi the black one (now Dr Timi) who accommodated/fed/advised me while I was searching for Trybesmen. I also met 2shots. Another great icon that had a positive impact in my music career is Keji k-Show Sowoolu. Some Nigerian popular artistes also had negative impact in my career. They treated me like real shit.
What discouragement have you faced in the industry?
The major discouragement is the monopoly in the Nigerian music industry. It’s not like that here in the western world. Industry is full greed in naija.
Starting out here in Nigeria as an artiste wasn’t that a good experience for you. Share with us those early moments and what lessons did you learn?
My experience in Nigeria as a starter was hugely the combination of 30% good and 70% bad, but honestly wasn’t that favourable. Have you ever asked yourself why is it that we have like minimum of 5 million talented artistes and in a year only 3 or 4 new artistes become super stars or excel in their music career? The challenges these 5 million artistes are currently facing are what I faced while I was in Nigeria which am going to list out. Nigerian entertainment industry is not well structured. Recording a quality song is expensive from A-List producers. I recorded songs in Nigeria, met some OAPs who collected my hard-earned money from me promising to play my songs. For days I would sit in front of the radio expecting to hear my song. Lolz… but never got played. Except the very extreme few good OAPS who played my song without collecting a dime from me. Shooting an average quality music video, you hear them requesting for N4 million.
How do you expect an up-and-coming talented artiste to afford such huge amount? I wasn’t allowed to perform in shows because I could not afford to pay the organizers. I am a music producer because I learnt the craft; I am a certified cinematographer because I learnt the craft here in New York. I am an On-Air-Personality because I attended Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). All these were because I was trying to cut cost. I almost ran mad learning all these crafts. OK… The funny thing going on Nigeria is once you become a star, you excel… You are supposed to invest in another artiste. But hmn hmn, ‘Them Go Wan Die There Till Them Fade Out’. Big ups to Banky W, Big ups to Olamide, big ups to Davido (too glaring), big ups to ELdee the Don, big ups to Don Jazzy, big ups to Mr Eazi for his Africa Empowerment.
I sent messages to all the Music Stars in Nigeria, let them check their DMs, till today 90% of dem no answer. God dey ooooo. Only Uncle Paul IK Dairo and legendary Eedris Abdulkareem responded. I recently spoke to some top music directors in Nigeria concerning me training many guys on how to shoot music videos and learning how to edit. Their response was ‘you want to come and spoil business for us abi?’ One even jokingly said ‘i will poison you oo.’ I knew he meant it. Government is not the only problem we have. We are also our problems. Major lesson I learnt is all hands must be on deck. We all have to help and encourage ourselves. You can’t reign for ever.
Growing up as a child and as an artiste you must have had quite a couple of role models who inspired you. Who are they?
Trybes Family, for their style factor; Fela Anikulapo kuti, for his critically reasoning factor; and Wole Soyinka, for being against all moribund conventions
What are you presently working on?
I’m recording new songs, features on new movies here in Canada and America, bagging more degrees and creating foundations to help the extreme jobless in Nigeria.
Which Nigerian artistes have you worked with and which would you want to work with in the future?
I have worked with Late Big LO, K Show and Freestyle Da Shogun. These songs are yet to be released into the market. I recently recorded a song with Seriki Omoowo which is presently the rave of the moment. Song was produced by Soso Beats. I also recorded a song with legendary Eedris Abdulkareem which am about to drop. Big ups to the legendary Eedris for the fatherly love and encouragement. Concerning future recordings, I would love to work with Davido, Tubaba, Olamide, Tiwa Savage, Medalz Medallion, Zlatan, Dbanj, Don Jazzy, KOS G, Yemi Alade, Moriento, Chellz, MI, Wizkid, Burna Boy, Mr Eazi, Blu Drimz, Naira Marley, Teni, Tekno Miles, Kizz Daniel, Flavour, Gracy Soul, Kakadu, Patoranking, Banky W, Ice Prince, Wande Coal, Seyi Shay, Mendulla, Timaya, Falz, Phyno, Mr Eazi, Slimzee and many more.
Can you share with us your memorable experience performing as an artiste?
The first week I relocated to Canada; I performed a new song in a club here in Canada. The love from the foreigners was so great. I was approached by a Canadian named Albert Ngwa but Cameroonian by birth. He was interested in my music career. He bought my first brand new car for me…. Can you imagine? First week I relocated to Canada. Kindly check my Instagram page @xmondt. He has been doing lots of giveaways to Nigerians. That’s the love am talking about. A Cameroon/Nigerian…
What motivates you as an artiste?
The final financial outcome, flyboy and artiste lifestyle, love, the urge to create new music always and women with big ass (for looking sake)
You have a new song and video Simifimigara. What’s the inspiration behind that song?
Simifimigara actually came out from my true-life story. I dated a girl named Simi many years back. We were getting along really good. She introduced me to her parents, but her parents declined. I had no job then. It took me eight years to get my first job after university. Her Parents said I looked like monkey. Simi suddenly changed to me, I begged her on a daily basis. Most times I would kneel down on public grounds to beg her. People mocked me. This continued for years. She is married now; she is doing well. She admires me a lot now because God has blessed me and the monkey of then now looks like a real human being now. My experience with her actually brought about the song Simifimigara. Naso e be oooo.
How would you compare Nigerian artistes with those abroad?
To be candid, Nigerian artistes are the best in the world. Go to any club in the western world, you would hear Nigerian songs. Abroad artistes respect us a lot and they are trying to imbibe our style which is the Afrobeats.
What makes you different from the other artistes who are into entertainment doing the same thing?
What differentiates me is the ability not to give up. I don’t care how long it will take me to achieve something, I don’t give up. Most Nigerian artistes give up easily. I hear some even commit suicide. Another factor that makes me standout is the fact that I am a producer, a cinematographer, an experienced OAP, a movie actor; an educationist (am working towards achieving my PHD).
How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected you?
Concerned personalities are not making money that much. No shows, people are scared recording or shooting videos because we all feel like the next person might be having covid-19. I can’t attend any shows or concert for now. We are presently on Lockdown here at my base. Everything is strictly based on online for now.