EmmaOhMyGod needs no introduction. From his rib -cracking skits and comedic music remakes on Youtube and Instagram to his witty bants with Chigurl on Ebony Life's El Rated, to his hilarious delivery in The Wedding Party, he's a comedy hit back to back. I caught up with him recently and got him to tell us about his journey. Enjoy
Pls tell us your story, we know it’s an inspiring one… how did you get into comedy, acting, singing and producing?
They was just more or less habits, things I just did for fun when I was younger so it wasn't like a conscious effort or something. On singing, I have a Christian background, I grew up from CAC church and I was part of the choir, although I didn't sing directly, I used to play instruments and was part of a band; I liked music a lot so I used to listen to different types of music. I think the variety of music I listened to settled somewhere in my subconscious, helping my skills. When I was in the University I set up an Acapella group and I used to write songs, I wrote all their songs. It’s a long story though but music has always been part of me. On Comedy, I grew up with a single mum and my mum went through a lot and I always cracked jokes to make her laugh and cheer her up as I wasn’t given to soothing words an speeches. NaturalIy, I just didn't like my environment to be dull,; when people are sad around me, I will just do things to make them happy. So I think that's where the comedy stuff thing came in. OAP, producer, everything just fell in line. On being and OAP, I never thought I would be an OAP, but when I was younger, I loved to listen to the radio and also record the songs they played. I would increase and decrease the volume and speak like a presenter intermittently. When I worked with Wazobia FM I wasn't an OAP, I was a producer but I’m currently a presenter on Ebony Life TV. On Music Production I came across Adobe Audition in the University, I arranged the music for my Acapella group and would sing the songs first. I needed and found a way to record my voice so a friend taught me how to record Adobe Audition then it became my toy! I even missed some classes, and I think I even had a carry over because of it, I thought I was playing around; I didn't know it would come handy. So during my NYSC, I got into the radio station and found that that was what they used, every other thing came in place. I just thank God because these are things I just do normally to play, for fun. But the fact that God just aligned them as a source of revenue for me, I thank God.
You have been able to cultivate your many gifts and talents and monetize them, basically make a career out of them. How exactly did you do it? How long did it take you.
I don’t how I did, it was basically God. It’s not like everything fell in place immediately oh, I was broke for a very long time, there was a time money didn’t come out of it. Even I graduated and was very broke, but whenever I did these things I just feel very happy.When my mom died, I was so sad and when I started working at the radio station, I would immerse myself in my work, spend some much time beyond my shifts, losing track of time. I incorporated music into my productions. I recorded over 500 jingles for Wazobia FM so automatically, they retained me. That’s how much I loved what do.
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What do you enjoy most about your job?
The fact that the job now is just like am playing normally and am making money out of it, although it's not play oh, because it is a lot of work.
What do you hate most or struggle with about your job?
What I hate most is some negativity that comes ,on the outside, a lot of people know me and love what I do, but there are just definitely one or two people sometimes that just want to bring you down sometimes.
So I hate the fact that, in as much as a lot of people like what you are doing, and some will just be like “I just want to hate this guy”. Over the years, I have learnt to ignore and use the "nylon bag" approach. When you pour water on a nylon bag, it doesn’t make any difference. If there anything to hate, that's it.
We know what you have succeeded at…what have you failed at? Every success story has some failure, which is a part of the journey.
So far , it’s the taking music seriously part, people like my music once I attach comedy to it. A lot of people say I sing well and should make a record, but I have made a couple of trials and those things cost a lot of money which I have spent myself as I’m not under any label. I dropped a couple of singles, videos and people love them, but I have not gotten the strategy to just put it out there and have it go as viral as comedy. If it’s comedy I do, once I put it out it goes viral, but once it's serious music, the virality reduces, so the acceptance of that, I’ve not been able to succeed with it. When you check my comments everyone will be like “You are good, why don't you take this thing seriously and give us an album?”. Once you drop a single, they go all “yeah it’s nice" and they go all cold especially when they need to download on iTunes and pay. So far, I won't say have succeeded in my music but I’m moving closer to success by God’s grace.
We are fully aware you have a crazy schedule and a lot goes into what you do. Give us an idea of your typical day.
I don't have a typical day, everyday depends on what comes, because the way my work is now, it’s very very spontaneous. I get different requests from different clients, especially the corporate bodies. Some might ask me to act a skit for their brand or campaign or produce a signature tune or jingle or a proper musical event.
Some want me to MC their events or just to be a comedian at an event. And some might want me to develop a content for them. I resigned from my 9-5 so it’s not like I just go to work it depends on the type of work and most times, I’m at my studio everything I need I available their In office. But when the quality of the work as to go higher then I go way way higher, I employ some hands and get some equipment.
Sometimes I might need to work on something else entirely like to be part of a project or act for instance. The Wedding Party. Right now, I’m in the UK on the set of Ay’s movie coming next year, the Accidental Spy. My schedule is more or less spontaneous.
Pls share with us your daily or even weekly habits, which have contributed to your success today.
I like to align with trends and news that I have potentials of been viral.
The Comedy industry, especially on Social Media has come a long way with recognition and representation here and in the diapsora, what do you think is really responsible for that?
We ‘re in the Social media age and its taking over from radio, TV and is the best form of advert, best way to can showcase yourself. Once you do well, everyone will come to terms with you and you become recognized.
What’s next for you? What’s the next big thing you want to achieve?
I don't really like talking about that, just watch out and pray for me. God is working on me definitely I have things am working on but I don't really like to count my eggs before they hatch. When the things am working on comes through, you are all going to know.
What advice would you give to those looking up to you, to activate and monetize their talents?
First thing is put God first, pray a lot and believe in God. Then don't worry ( I don't mean you should go and relax) . I mean believe in yourself and whatever you are believing in yourself over must be something you are really good or the best at. Once its something you are good at, it must be something you like and it won't be difficult for you for you to work hard at it. Just keep working and working and working, some day it will come through.
Your work is really tasking, how do you relax?
While working itself is relaxation, especially with the music bit - I love music a lot and I play music to relax,so working is relaxing for me. I like to spend time with my wife, just listening to her helps me relax. I sleep but when I sleep a lot I get tired of it.
I like movies but not necessarily going to the cinema because I will just sleep off, but Africa Magic once in a while (lol) or even watching videos from other comedians etc
Tell us a fun fact about you, something people don’t know
Fun fact about me is, if my mum were alive I will still be sleeping on her bed, I was very close to my mum. If she were still alive, I would still her baby (last born around her) not like I won't be by myself but whenever I go to her home I will sleep in her room . Yeah, I’m a mummy's boy.
Interview conducted by Ayodotun Rotimi-Akinfenwa