Okwe Obi, Abuja
After seven years of absence from the music scene, United Arab Emirate-based Nigerian artiste, Ugoh Onyeocha popularly known as Don Coleone, has staged a comeback.
He opens up extensively on the reason he left music in the first instance. He also talks about his career and feature plans among other issues.
Can you briefly tell us about yourself?
I am a spontaneous businessman, very versatile in so many facets of life. I have grown myself over the years with knowledge about different cultures, having travelled so wide. I have been able to develop myself with creative ideas as an entrepreneur and still kept my passion for music alive.
What inspired you into music given your finance and accounting background?
Music for me is a passion. I was raised in an Anglican Church and spent my childhood as a chorister. At some point, I became a choirmaster, throughout my secondary school days. So, I didn’t come into music by accident.
At what point did you decide to go professional?
I decided to do music professionally in 2019. When I had my first shot at music in 2012, it was like testing the waters. Then, I lost a huge amount of money, as most people I worked with were mediocres, who did not have love in their hearts. They only came to exploit me financially, which they actually did. I lost a reasonable amount of money and it was like a mirage. I was so discouraged and decided to quit. So, I counted it as a wrong investment, learnt from the mistake and now I know better. I can say at this point that I have attained some levels of financial freedom and I can give my passion another try.
Why do you have interest in Afrobeats and not other genre?
I am versatile when it comes to music. I can rap, sing and as well play dancehall music. But as you know, Nigerian music has metamorphosed, and with the likes of Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy doing big things with this genre of music, I believe I can take the baton and run along in the Afrobeats relay race.
How did you come about your stage name, Don Coleone?
I am an ardent fan of Marlon Brando, the Don Coleone in the ‘Godfather’ movie. I have a desire to have such kind of great influence, running a well co-ordinated business empire and be like the godfather himself. So, I decided to nickname myself Don Coleone. And if you believe in what they say about vision, if you can dream it, you can achieve it.
Do you intend to relocate to Nigeria in pursuit of your music career?
A Don Coleone cannot rule the Nigerian music space from abroad. So, it is my time to rule and it is crystal clear. I have a good team now far from what I had in my first foray into music, and we are not here to play. The brand is taking its place already.
How would you rate the entertainment industry in Nigeria?
The entertainment industry in Nigeria has come to stay. You can only compare it to the US right now. It’s not a child’s play anymore; it has grown over the years to become an entity of its own.
How was your growing up?
It was challenging coming from a humble background, but God got us from the start. We can testify to that now, we don’t talk much.
Are your parents in support of what you are doing?
My dad is late for over 20 years now, and my mum is like my daughter now, so what do you think?
How many albums have you produced?
I have five singles; three collaborations and the rest are solos.
Your music label, Coleone Cribx Records, was established in 2012, how is it doing?
We dropped three singles with three videos, all shot in South Africa in 2012, and as I mentioned earlier, I left the music industry in 2014 given the bad experiences and losses. But I am back now to do better. So far, I have one artiste on my label known as Tall Cheezy.
Where do you want to be in the next five years?
The goal of every artiste is to be a brand or name to reckon with, and I believe sooner than later, we will get there.
You are also into real estate; do you have any intention of abandoning it to focus mainly on music?
No, I will still be involved in real estate business while pushing music to its maximum.