“My fond memory growing up was a Nigeria where things worked. There was relative peace and security unlike what we have in the country today”, Ibezim Okehi, stage name Sir IB recalls his days back home over two decades ago before he moved to New York. That was about same time his interest in music picked. Growing up in the City of Port Harcourt, his father was an employee of the old Nigerian Railway Corporation and ventured into business after retirement.
His mother was mostly a housewife but also did a little trading. The last of 12 siblings, the Mbieri, Imo State born singer, interestingly, is not alone musically in his family: “My elder brother loves Jazz music and also had a collection of different old school Jazz records like Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis”. For him, music has always been a passion. He gets inspired by good music and uses music as a source of therapy to relax.
He has also recorded a couple of songs both in the United States and in Nigeria which include “Fire in Nigeria”, “Work” and “Africa”. His brand of music is dancehall and afrobeat. “I always had an attraction to dancehall and reggae musicians as a young boy growing up and developed the passion to become one as time went on.” These genres of music, he opines, blend with all other genres easily.
“You have dancehall artists around the world, like Bennie Man, Sean Paul, Mavado and others collaborating well with even Rap and R&B artists. This is no different here in Nigeria.”
Sir IB believes he has put in so much work into developing his music as a business and an entertainment product. Hence his dream in the next 5 to 10 years definitely to be the CEO of a major record label in the Nigerian music scene.
In addition, “I also have a flair for finding and developing young talents that will eventually dominate the Nigerian music industry.
This is certainly my plan for the future, moving forward. I am already in the process of setting up a record label and opening a recording studio. This label is called Pack Song Entertainment. We are also going to venture into film production, promotion and general entertainment services as time goes on.”
Reminiscing on the music industry, the businessman cum artiste noted that the Nigerian music industry has evolved over time from when he was growing up. Our music is now globally recognized and accepted. You couldn’t hear Nigerian music when I moved to the US many years ago but you cannot go a day without hearing our music now. It’s everywhere.
The early Nigerian artist paved the way for the younger generation to take it to the next level and I am proud to come from that early generation of Nigerian artistes.”
He looks forward to working with Tiwa Savage. “I like her work and her growth in the Nigerian music scene since her debut. She was also based in the United States and has been able make a solid mark in the Nigerian music industry since she returned back home.”