Music found Nnacheta Umenze aka Cheatx at a tender age. Today, he’s a music producer and sound engineer. The University of Lagos undergraduate, who describes his sound as a blend of hip hop and Afro pop, here opens up on the journey so far.
How did your journey into music start?
I started by listening to other artistes. I had elder brothers that used to buy CDs back then and they listened to all kinds of songs including Wyclef Jean, Lil’ Wayne, Lil Kim, DMX and Biggie. Talking about Nigerian artistes, I liked 2Shots and Ruggedman. They made me fall in love with music at the age of 12 when I started writing my own songs. I was in JSS2 then but it made a lot of sense to me and that was how I got the name Cheatx.
You are an artiste, producer and sound engineer, how do you manage all of these?
It has not been easy, I must say. I always lock up myself in the room just to be more focused. I acquired the training at Broadcast Training School, Ikeja, Lagos where I studied Production and Engineering. I am still learning but I know I have come a long way.
How do you hope to break into the industry?
I have been doing music for the past nine years and I must say that I have studied the game. For me to be able to penetrate, I need to follow the trend and also change my style to suit what is needed in the music industry, because there are a lots of artistes out there and every one wants to be an artiste; everyone wants to sing and rap. I think you have to be different for you to be recognized.
Have you ever performed on stage and what was the experience like?
Yes, I have. It was at Ibis Royal Hotel, Lagos. The audience was impressed with the way I sang. At first, I was nervous, but as time went on, I got into the mood and it was a blast!
As an up-and-coming act, what are your biggest challenges in the music industry?
Hmm… I think the biggest challenge is (competing) with the talented, established artistes.
How many tracks have you released so far?
I have been doing freestyle but presently, I am working on three tracks namely ‘Copy My Style’, which is coming out next week, ‘Come Into My Room’ and ‘Efiko’.
What inspired Copy My Style?
Copy My Style is an Afro pop party song, a club banger! It is different from what I have been doing in the past. It simply means you are copying someone else’s style, if you understand what I mean. For instance, Wizkid might release a track and other singers might want to copy him just to mimic him, using his lyrics. I featured an artiste in that song; his name is Exceeda. It is one of my favourite tracks and the other two songs just came into my head naturally.
How supportive is your family?
They have been wonderful. My elder brother especially has been very supportive. My parents are late and it has not been easy for my siblings and me, but God has been faithful. The demise of my parents a couple of years ago was a big blow to me, most especially that of my mom.
Are you in any relationship presently?
I am very single and not ready to mingle for now. This is because I feel ladies are a distraction. I need to be focused, that doesn’t mean my heart isn’t open for relationships. I am actually avoiding issues.
What is your ideal woman?
If you have a good character, you are good looking and ambitious, I think you will be good for me. But character is everything.
As an artiste and producer, where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see myself performing in the Bahamas or somewhere in Europe; it has to be somewhere big.