Chief Nonye Mojekwu says she knew even as a baby that the boy would be a star. At four, the boy had already started telling her he would be a singer. Initially, she didn’t take it seriously until at same four years old, he won ‘Kids Got Talent Competition.’ It was a new dawn for her. And gradually, she began without even knowing it to give up every other thing to realise the big dream for the boy. As she says, ‘Every day of my life is now channelled to developping him.’
From the ‘mini studio’ in her home at Opebi area of Ikeja, Lagos, OzzyBosco at seven, now operates from a corporate office in the same area. In this interview, Chief Mrs. Nonye Mojekwu says, ‘the dream has just begun.’
In recent past, did you ever have anything to do with the entertainment industry before OzzyBosco’s birth?
You said before OzzyBosco? No, I did not. I am and have always been in real estate business. I was never in the corridors of entertainment until I found myself there two years ago when OzzyBosco came to limelight. I found myself in it and have to do what every responsible loving mother would do for her beloved child, nurture the child’s God-given natural talents.
As the mother of OzzyBosco, at what point do you think the music talent in him sprouted out?
OzzyBosco started before he became three months. I can still recall one recording I did of him with my camcorder when he was barely three months old. I did the recording two days before he became three months. I recall that the nanny place him on my lap after his morning bath and we sang his popular song, Jacko Jacko, meaning Michael Jackson and the baby danced his heart out using his hands and head since he could not make use of his legs.
He was just beginning to learn to sit, notwithstanding he would dance to anything that made sound such as television, radio, even sound from an airplane on air. Oziomachukwu exhibited his natural talents quite early in life.
Was he able to sing or say anything then?
No he couldn’t. We were doing the singing and he was always entertaining everybody with his dancing. So way back then, we knew he was going to become an entertainer, what we failed to realise was the magnitude of his versatilities.
At what point did you decide that he should take a shot at it?
It is pertinent to state that we had and still have the habit of singing and dancing in my bedroom before we retire to bed; hence, we nicknamed my bedroom “Mini Studio.” I recall that our favourite song was P’Square’s music, Chop my money. Till date, OzzyB and the rest of the children love P’Square’s music, which helped him to climb the ladder. You may wish to know that OzzyB has two older siblings, brother and sister as well as two others who are two years older and members of his dance team. The kid star happens to be the baby of the house and the whole family are united in nurturing his awesome qualities.
Back to your question, when he was four years old, we saw on television a promo from “Kids Got Talents Competition” inviting kids to register. We were reluctant to register him because the competition was for ages four to 14 years. When we eventually did, I taught him a song in my bedroom which we called Obey your God. I also taught him intro and outro on stage which he delivered marvellously on the D-day. At Muson Centre, OzzyB, who was the youngest competitor, took the place by storm and got a standing ovation from everybody; the judges, spectators and even fellow contestant and carted home “Best Entertainer Trophy”.
You should have seen the small four-year-old OzzyB standing in between two 14- year-old girls when they all gathered to collect their winning prizes. Clearly, his swags, charisma and stage craft became obvious as the media besieged us at the venue. From then on, there was no stopping for this kid dynamite who continues to dazzle the high and mighty whenever he mounts the stage to do what he does best. Special thanks to the media who till date supported and followed him everywhere he went.
As the mother, where do you think OzzyBosco got this talent from?
It is coming from God Almighty who deposited so much talent in this child. Although in the family, we love to sing and dance, nevertheless, I will not ascribe nor claim that it came from the family, his is simply amazing.
Nobody in your family has been into music before?
I cannot recall any member of the family doing music. In fact, my bigger children are professionals and have excelled in their various fields.
He went on to get more fame, wining more and more recognition. But amidst all that, how does he cope with his education and entertainment?
I wish to state clearly that we don’t pressure him with the music career. His classroom education takes precedence over every other thing happening around him which includes entertainment. The classroom education continues at home where a special study-room is built for the children with a home tutor who not only has been tutoring them for six years but goes everywhere with them. As you could see this evening, his home teacher was busy with them when you walked in and that happens Monday to Friday.
Nevertheless, we have also created time for piano, music, dance and voice training lessons. Importantly, for the total development of the child, time for rest and relaxation are given serious attention. OzzyBosco is a fast learner; tell him one thing and when he delivers it, he gives you double. For a kid his age, he possesses an unbelievable retentive memory. Last year, for instance, he was the class captain of a very competitive school. He is also exceptional in graphic arts, hence, he is made the art master this year, a position he still holds.
So how does that affect him in school? What is the feeling like among his peers, his classmates?
They see him as their idol and motivator, because he is very kind and loving; he is very much loved by his peer. Initially, we worried about this but not anymore because he blends very well with other children in and outside the school. He enjoys being at school, hence he would ask me at weekends, mummy is tomorrow school? And if I query him why the question? He would reply: ‘I want to go to school.’ We are so glad he loves school.
I am sure his friends call him; some may even want to perform with him. How do you handle that?
We don’t give him all the calls. Occasionally, we allow him to speak because the calls just keep coming. At other times, we take their calls. Although they are always so anxious to speak with him directly, but we came explaining to them that he is still a kid. Though we talk to them nicely because after all they are his fans who love what he does.
When he has an event booking, what preparations does he get into before going on stage?
He has a dance instructor. I believe you must have seen him a while ago here because of the big event we are having over this weekend. Actually most of the time, we are usually more particular about getting the chorographers ready, not OzzyBosco because he gives them a 110 percentage. Whenever he is given dance instructions, he goes on stage, does what is expected of him adding his own colouration. On stage, whatever he does comes out so beautifully well. We don’t really bother much about him; we rather concern ourselves with his choreographed dancers being a tighter team to reckon with as it regards stage craft.
How did you come up with the creativity that meets up with what he has?
His dance instructor is a professional who knows his onions. Mine is to look at it and say this will work or this looks like it will not work, or this one is good. I just put myself in the position of a spectator. Ours really is to advice.
How long are you going to keep the group as one?
The choreographed dancers are already part of the team. Whenever we travel, they travel with us. We just came back from Calabar carnival. They are permanent members of the team. Many more are itching to join the group, one of them just called in your presence, but for now we want to keep this group together. However, we hope to start a dance crew for the group leaving the window open for prospective dancers to join because they all have been craving for a place to express their dancing talents.
How many events has he participated in so far?
Wow, OzzyBosco has done 121 stage performances, I mean serious stage performances and that is because we don’t accept every invitation. His brand positioning directs the events he honours. Mark you, he doesn’t perform for kids only, he also performs for adults. Not too long age, he performed at the Imo State governor’s daughter’s wedding. He was the only artiste there. You need to have seen him blow their minds.
He also performed at ‘Ovation Red carol;’ he actually won an award there. He also performed at the just concluded ‘Lagos Countdown’ and he was the only kid star that was on stage. He was also at Nigeria Music Video Awards, where he carted away the newly created video category created for kids, beating all other five contestants to win the best video by a minor. We are already applying for the Guinness book of records; he has been invited to audition for Desperate Housewives in Ebony Life TV.
Are you a manager?
No, we have a team managing OzzyBosco, people that have agreed to come together. I am not an entertainment guru, so I can’t help myself in a line that I do not know much about. I am somebody that hates failure; that’s why you see me the way I am working with him. There are beautiful people around me, they all have their businesses and some of them are in broadcasting also. We all agreed that we need to mentor this boy.
Who creates the songs?
I create the songs, everybody creates the songs. Nobody in particular writes the songs and sometimes, he OzzyBosco gives the chorus. He comes to my room and says, ‘Mummy I dreamt of this song last night, let me sing it for you.’ I put my recorder or phone on and record. I give God the glory.
Every child grows up, wakes up one day, tells the parents ‘I want to be this, I want to be that,’ what did OzzyBosco tell you?
He said, ‘I want to be a singer, a dancer.’ And I said cool, fantastic, work hard because if you work hard, you would be who you desire to be. That is our slogan here, ‘you must work hard.’
What is the size of your team like when you travel for shows?
Usually 16, yeah, that’s because OzzyBosco and his dance team are 7, with me it makes 8, his bouncer 9, his media man 10, his nanny 11, the teacher goes with us everywhere because at every given opportunity they’ve got to open their books. That makes 12, the driver 13 and extra hands.
Who creates the costume? And the design, where does it come from?
I create and the design comes from my head.
Lets look at a technical industry problem. OzzyBosco is already going places and he is growing bigger than this, you are already doing this job with your crew and you are doing a fantastic job so far, what if he is hijacked by industry people?
We intend to leave him in such care, but not immediately. We need to groom him a little more. It is just that we want to take so much stress off the person because look from where we started from, there is no manager that could have coped with that. But I could cope with the stress because he is mine.
This is another industry issue which you are going to face at a point in time. For instance, use of hyper-active drugs and all that, how are you going to handle that?
I would do whatever I can as a human being and a duty mother to protect these little kids and leave the rest for God because even if OzzyBosco is not into music or entertainment or even my child, true many children are derailed, I can only play my part and protect my baby and leave the rest for God. I didn’t start it in the first place; he started it all, so he knows how he wants to go about it.
What the challenges you are facing right now?
The challenge is lack of time. I don’t have enough time for myself right now. I don’t attend to a lot of invitations because they keep clashing with his. And of course my first choice is his programme. Many things that I am supposed to be doing, but I cannot be in two places at the same time.
How about late night outings?
We don’t actually encourage him to take late night events unless it becomes very important like the Lagos Countdown. Countdown means till January 1st. That is once in a while, but ordinarily we don’t allow it.