Nigeria: My Mission as a Gospel Artiste - Obus
Daily Independent (Lagos)
9 June 2011
Obus Zalee is one multifaceted artiste, who believes that happiness is the route to success. Currently, one-time leader of the group, DC Envoys, is into music, comedy, voiceovers, motivational speaking as well as modelling. The graduate of Social Science Education from Delta State University, with over 26 years of music and comic experience, has extensively travelled round Nigeria, trying to touch the lives of youths from diverse ethnic background. He recently spoke with Snr. Reporter, Ovwe Medeme, on his upcoming album, experiences in the entertainment industry and a host of other issues. Excerpts:
Presently, what is Zalee up to?
We have come to the point where we have to release the work of the brand, Obus Zalee. Presently, Zalee is focusing on his career as a comedian, singer as well as attempting a little fashion statement. We want to create a world for it. That's what we are trying to come out with. The title of my upcoming album is Unimaginable, to be launched on June 12, at the Coral Hall.
What is the idea behind the title of the album?
Unimaginable is something I call a two-in-one opportunity, to demonstrate to the people that there are many sides to this artiste, Obus. I say this because everyone has a spill-over. Basically, I am a singer, a comedian and happen to be regarded as a very creative person. I am also a designer and have been designing for sometime now. What we are trying to do is to come up with an outfit that is really all encompassing. Bezalee Style is the mother company for our music, comedy and fashion labels. We even have a consultancy arm where we consult for people but we are not where we want to be yet. We really want to be the best in the industry. Unimaginable however, is a different story entirely. It is a comedy and music album. Also, we have something very unique we want to introduce to people. It is a show that we plan to hold every month. It is a show that we have titled Take the Stand. Take the Stand is a non-profit making arm of Bezalee Styles. It will be a charitable arm where we will discover people with raw talent, develop and display them for their talent and ability. But basically, it's the music and comedy we are releasing on first June 12.
What is the concept behind releasing a comedy and music album?
It's aimed at encouraging humanity and the youth in particular to "live their dreams," not compromising their integrity and moral standards.
When do you hope to berth with Take the Stand?
A month after the release into the market of Unimaginable. As soon as we release the album and we get the approval of our elders and mentors, we will be good to go. At the moment we are planning to use the same venue. The structure is already in place, all that is left is for people who think the have something special to offer, to indicate their interest. We would audition them, if they are good enough, we would give them an opportunity. I really don't want to give the details now.
How long have you been in entertainment?
I've been into music for 27-year and comedy for over five years now. All these while, I've been restricted to doing my job based on recommendation. I believe everyman has a different call on how to operate. Once a person is good, irrespective of where that person is, he or she would outshine the others to get the well-deserved recognition. I did that at it paid off.
Why did it take you so long to release an album?
This is not my first album; it's the second. I made my debut in Lagos at the Terra Kulture as Zalee brand, about two years ago, but didn't really push the work out, the people who handled it did poorly and we couldn't get to the level that we wanted. But this time around, we are not only releasing an album, we are also prepared to push it out, so that people would know we have not been wasting our time but have been working. I have done a lot of jingles, and promo works for individuals and companies. I also did a soap opera called the Cross Road.
With this number of years in entertainment, what are your experiences like?
I started out as a professional Master of Ceremony, Stand-up Comedian and a gospel artiste. My first big show was Made in Warri 1 & 2, I was involved in Night of A Thousand Laughs, Laugh For Christ Sake, Fire Works Charity Concert, Nigeria Bankers' Games Draws Event 2008, Shell Nigeria Oil Product Company's get together, Lababidi Holdings New year party 2011,Sosaco Industries (makers of Gino tomatoes and Jago milk) dealers reward party 2011. After Campus Youth Conference with the Commissioner for Information and Strategies, Lagos State, Bright Talent Competition for Secondary School in Lagos, Education Fundraising for Onigbongbo Local Government schools 2010, EDS Dinner an affiliate of Pan-African University, Governor's Dinner for NBA, 10th Calabar Christmas Carnival 2009/2010, Transocean Family Party. Also did Television commercials and voiceover for the telecom giant, Globacom, Star Times Decoder, Family Connect, Oceanic V-Pay, Typhoo Tea, the Experience and others.
With all these activities have you ever considered going into acting?
Of course I have done a little bit of acting. I was featured in the soap opera Cross Road. That was actually my first experience as an actor but after that I did other soaps. I also did a short film with Dickson Iroegbu. It is regarded as the shortest film in Nigeria and goes with the title, the Mad Man.
During the last election you did a TV ad for your state governor, Uduaghan. What informed that?
I'm a professional freelance model and I get paid for doing my job. I was paid for being a professional. Also I did it because I was convinced by the pictures I saw concerning the activities of the governor, which is what the advert was meant for. In the jingle, we focused on some of the activities the government has done that helped the downtrodden, the pregnant women, students who are brilliant but don't have school fees. I think I was more motivated by the conviction of what I saw concerning the documentation of that particular programme, and then the money was also good.
Do you intend to go into secular music against the background that it pays more than gospel music?
I will always remain a gospel entertainer. My core values are: whatever is godly, moral and good, keep to them. Also it depends on what you mean by it pays more. If you listen to my comedy CD, I made a statement that success is not the route to happiness but happiness is the route to success. In any situation you find yourself just be happy, your mood once you are happy affects everything including your environment.
In your opinion, what should a true gospel artiste be made of?
Gospel artistes need to define who they are. I won't do what a D'banj is doing because I want the money. I believe that God will give me the grace not to go for the money and leave the core values. I want to establish an exemplary visionary company that thrives on core values, and I don't want to deviate from that. What gospel artistes should concentrate on is their mission. Once they can define that they can create industry from it. I think if gospel artistes could become good writers, men of our words, passionate about what we are doing, have the spiritual intelligence to go for something moral, somebody buys something that's good. Somebody will definitely locate your need. Have the passion and compassion, once this is solved you already have made some money.
Are you in any relationship at the moment?
Leave relationship alone. I am too involved with the dream I am trying to build.
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