Africa continues to churn out impressive talents especially in entertainment.
What is more evident is the self-belief that forms the bulk of the drive that keeps them going, ever-evolving to navigate the industry challenges and keep them on their track towards success as musical artists.
This Nigerian Singer-songwriter, OCJ is one of such talents doing all it takes to gain the attention of the world and shine the spotlight on their art.
Like many music stars, he fell in love with the music in church. Being a preacher’s child, he had access to the instruments. So, as a young boy, he would take the keyboard home and practice with it, making covers of his favourite songs.
He did not record his song until 2019 when he came into the limelight with his single, ‘Rain’, featuring Erriga.
When we first met with OCJ, real name Odekhian Ehinomen Osborn, to discuss profiling him for this episode of Candid with MC!; his confidence, openness to growth and focus stood out for us. He was certain of what he wanted for his brand. He was certain of how he wanted to portray his art. He was certain our team would appreciate his music.
He walked into that meeting at The Harvest in Lekki Phase 1 exuding an air of authenticity and authority. One would assume he had been making music for years and had definitely learned from experience, albeit good and bad, as many are forced to.
As he spoke to us, we saw brilliance and dedication to one’s art as we learned that he had taken 13 months to work on his EP to ensure he,” Gets it right before putting it out for the people”. You could see a star who was intentional about putting in the work to grow himself and his music.
“I woke up in this city,” he said repeatedly, describing how he was inspired by the hustle and bustle of Lagos on one of the tracks, ‘Halley’. He told us the EP is one we would love and after we gave it a listen, we sure loved it. This writer has some favourites – ‘Jamaican Princess’ and ‘Halley‘.
Beyond his music, one thing that quickly caught our attention was his fashion sense. OCJ knows his fashion. For an artist who was casually stepping out for a quick meeting, we expected the usual pair of white socks, pair of slides, track pants or shorts and a tee. We were surprised to see him dressed in an uber-stylish distressed grey sweatshirt, pants and sneakers.
This inspired the styling for the photoshoot and interview where we pulled pieces that aligned with the artist’s style and he loved the looks as he came on set for his photoshoot.
For his first look, he wore green pants, a multi-coloured cardigan and green fashion boots accessorized with hair cowries, a pearl neckpiece, rings and fashion glasses.
While he struck confident and stylish poses which seemed to come naturally to him, he spoke to us about the inspiration for his music and his obsession with fashion.
“Everything around me inspires me. Basically, my life and my life reflects on a lot of people. So through my music, I speak for myself and the others who cannot speak for themselves”.
OCJ confidently told us that people should listen to his music because “My music is life. It’s something that doesn’t exist anywhere else. My music is something that you can love. I love my music.”
‘AFRICAN PRINCE’ EP
We delved into his EP, ‘African Prince’ where he candidly let us in on what the project means to him.
“African Prince is a new birth, it’s a new Africa, it’s a new generation of Africa. I am the new birth of Africa and I am the new interpretation of Africa. I am the African Prince”
Taking us through the creative process of making his soon-to-be-released EP, he explained that he made the project in his home.
“I wanted to be intentional, it took me 13 months and it was a journey for me. I got a better version of me.”
When asked about his favourite track, he was visibly spoilt for choice and excitedly told us he had no favourite. He asserted that his songs are in tune with African sounds,
“When you listen to my songs, you listen to enchantments…Those enchantments are not just me, they are what drive me to sing. I am a representative of the ancestors that chose another one to present music. In my song, there are spaces where they speak their language. There are spiritual sounds. I give them room for expressions.”
We asked where his passion lies and he told us that he enjoys playing musical instruments and he deeply loves art seeing as ‘it is an expression of one’s feelings and helps one tell the story which the universe picks up.’
The intimate session progresses to his second look where he dons a pair of coffee-coloured pants, a red turtle neck shirt and a multi-coloured sweater.
We go on to discuss his fashion sense which he seems to invest a lot of thought into. He described his style as, “a mixture of style, swag and a sprinkle of Africa”
Unsurprisingly, he tells us that his favourite fashion icons are Prince and Kanye West.
The self-published artist is set to release the 9-track African Prince EP globally.
Styling: Swazzi for The Lifestyle Lagos
Styling Assistant: Muna Ella
Creative Direction/Production: Oby Okeke
Photography: Micon for ModaCulture