Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Interview: Mr O (Onome Ovwori)

Mr O aka Onome Ovwori
Some of you might have heard the song 'Naija Go Better' by Mr O. He is a musician who has released other songs such as 'Mon Jade' and 'Iyawo Mi' to name a few. You can follow him on twitter: MrO_Onome

  • Tell us a bit about yourself
I go by Mr O, coined from the first and last letter of my names Onome Ovwori (pronounced "owori"). I am from Delta State, Nigeria (but I reside in the United States). The third child of my parents. I am a husband, a father, an artist and a friend of God.

  • How did the journey of being an artist start for you? Was this always your dream?
Well I started playing the piano at about seven when my Dad bought it. I developed more interest as I grew older and I met people like Hezekiah Ezo, Bright Gain, Micheal Chidubem Ebere etc who shaped my musical ability. I also attended a brief course at MUSON (Musical Society of Nigeria). In the course of my musical journey, I have been privileged to play with and alongside various top Nigerian and American artists like Wunmi & Tunde Obe, Daddy Showley, Paul Play, Lagbaja, Kirk Franlin, Deitrick Haddon, Daniel Winans etc.

I have always loved music and I wouldn't say I have always wanted to be an artist but I guess my love for the arts has brought me here today.

  • What genre would you say your type of music is?
Well, my preferred genre will be Jazz because of course, I play the piano but I'm diversifying into Afro-pop, hip-hop, R& as to reach a broader audience. They say variety is a spice of life, so I am branching out and spreading my tentacles. I have always been in love with African rhythm and style so I always try to infuse it in whatever kind of music I do.

  • What was your first song?
Hmmmm, my first song was never recorded.. It wouldn't make sense now if I did because I wrote it when I was a child. But my first recorded song was actually co-written with a good friend of mine, Akin Eboda. The song is titled 'Iyawo Mi'. (You can check it out here )

  • What inspires you when you start working on a new song?
Personally, for me I always get the music first (probably because I'm a musician) before I get the lyrics. I get inspired by anything, from current events like politics, something I see, someone I know, a beat I heard, something I don't like, something I like etc.

  • Any artist(s) that has and still do influence you and your music?
Yeah I have several influences like Hugh Masekela, Wayman Tisdale, Fela Kuti, Art Alade, Oliver De Coque, Bright Chimezie, Ramsey Lewis, Russel Ferrante. That being said I also appreciate and follow the works of folks like Tuface, Tim Godfrey, Don Jazzy, Darey, Sammy Okposo, Jay Martin, Jumbo Aniebiet, Cobhams etc. I also learn a lot from listening to most Nigerian artists.

  • Your recent release 'Naija Go Better' has gotten some good popularity especially with Africans, what inspired this song?
I just get tired of all the negativity about Nigeria and Nigerians. Yes, we can't count all the bad things going on in Nigeria and Africa. Yes, we can't deny there are unscrupulous Nigerians. Yes, we can't deny that the government continually fails the people with their policies. Yes, we can't deny the fact that terrorism, tribalism, religiosity has become an order of the day BUT amidst all these (which by the way has been going on for years now), Nigeria is still together. We have not plunged into any kind of civil war even though it seems like all the ingredients for it is at play. This makes me believe that like most Nigerians we agree that the country isn't going in the right direction but it can be fixed.
The hope we have for a better tomorrow pivots on how we see Nigeria today and how we treat her.
Nigeria is a blessed country and like other countries, we are faced with major impediments. Our quest for a better tomorrow resides in the hope that after all we have been through and in some cases still going through...Nigeria still has the propensity to do better and be better.

  • Where and how can others get this song?
The song Naija Go Better is available on the CD Baby Music Store You can also get a download by visiting my bio page on twitter:

  • Lastly, any project(s) you are working on that we should all look forward to?
Yes I'm currently working on a couple of projects. First is the video for Naija Go Better which should be out in September 2012 and then I'm back in the studio working on new joints and putting finishing touches to my album titled "Mon Jade". Also I'm producing some tracks for others too.

Mr O in the studio

Mr O featured in the CHALLENGER magazine (Temple of Praise Int'l Church) second year in a roll

Onome Ovwori (Mr O)

What's going on

What's going on?

I have heard a number of people say they don't want to watch the news on TV anymore, because all they hear is sad news everyday, every minute. Now we can't blame these people. (but it is good that we are aware of what is going on around us). Many people are dying. I know from beginning of time people have died and even till the world ends people will die and death is a part of life.

In the last few months alone, we have heard of these deaths; Tony Scott, a famous British producer committed suicide by jumping off a bridge, Chris Lightly according to reports also committed suicide. A recent shooting at the Empire State Building caused 2 death and 9 injuries (the killer had been let off from work and was going to kill his former boss). We all know about the shooting in Colorado Movie Theater that killed at least 14 people and injured several people. There are many other stories we have heard but these are a few.

People turning away from God, people turning away from therapy or it doesn't seem work anymore. People turning to drugs, to guns. People don't care about one another anymore. It's all about SELF.

I ask again! WHAT'S GOING ON?

Was listening to this song; Kirk Franklin - Are You Listening. "Is there anybody out there listening? And does anybody know my name? My Friend we were not there, but we're here and we care. And yes we feel your pain" (You can listen to the song: )

You see we can't always know what pain someone else is going through. We can't always understand or feel the magnitude of pain or stress a person feels BUT sometimes just being there, being supportive, encouraging people can help and goes a long way.

Everyone claims to be so busy yet you see many people on their phones constantly. We always seems to find time to text about new gossip but we find it hard to take a few minutes to send a warm text to one another, an encouraging text. Yes! Yes! sometimes we are genuinely busy but there are other ways we can reach out to others. Smiling and saying thank you to the lady at the counter after giving you your order might just make her day and make her feel appreciated and I have good news for you--It doesn't cost you to do that. You might be listening to a song that motivates you and uplifts you; why not share that song with a friend.

Loosing your source of livelihood, source of income, a roof over your head or loosing a loved one is sad and painful. People deal with sad painful situations differently and we can't very well justify anyone dealing with it by killing another or going out to shoot at a movie theater or any other place. However don't we think there is something one could have done to help those people before it got to that point?

If you remember Lean on me by Kirk Franklin, the lyrics say "Friends are there to catch you when you is my shoulder, you can lean on me". When was the last time we were truly a friend to our friends. Everyone easily calls everyone and anyone a friend but who really is a friend?

Do we pray for one another? When we hear or see an opportunity that would be helpful to a friend, do we let them know or do we shun it? When we know that a friend or someone going into a place, or getting themselves into a situation would cause them harm, do we warn them or shun it? How much do we really care about people around us, about our friends, about our family members?

We live in an egocentric society. Everyone wants everything for themselves! and themselves only! It's all about 'ME'. As long as 'I' am ok, as long as 'I' have what I need, then everything is ok, nobody else matters, nothing else matters. If 'I' don't get what I want, if 'I' don't have this my way then all hell would break loose.

I grew up always seeing my mom helping others. I saw people come to her to talk, and I saw her listen, talk and pray with them. Sometimes I hear my parents on the phone encouraging another person going through an unpleasant situation. I saw and heard my mom always praying for others. You see all these has helped shape me today. Sometimes when I'm praying, I find myself having the name of someone come to mind and without hesitation I pray for that person too. Sometimes when a person comes to mind, I just send a text to encourage them about school or an exam or just for the day.

We need to start caring about others and not just by our words but by our actions! Pray for others. Encourage others. When you see someone post their depressing state on their status on FaceBook, reach out to them. If you are in high school and you always see someone sitting alone at the cafeteria, say hi. If a friend of yours misses class three times in a roll, reach out to them, know what's going on. If you know someone going through a situation and they need someone to talk to, you can suggest counseling and therapy and if they would rather talk to you instead, give them a listening ear.

Everyone needs a helping hand. Everyone needs a friend that cares. Everyone needs a friend that listens. Everyone needs a shoulder to lean on sometimes. We are not always strong, some situations we can't deal with on our own.

Let's all learn to have a caring heart and not just to our friends but even to those that despise us (Luke 6:27-31)

Most of all let's not get tired of doing good (1 Thess 3:13)