By Vivian Onyebukwa
Nigerian American Artist, Charles Chiemezuo O’Kehie, has joined the list of young composers for major studio picture in Netflix film “Clash.”
Popularly known as Mezuo, the young artist who is based in Los Angeles in America, is said to have composed the original Film score for the entire movie which was released on Netflix on May 18, 2021.
The movie was directed by award winning filmmaker, Pascal Atuma and it is expected that Mezuo’s music will add elements from both the United States and Nigeria.
A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business with a Minor in Screenwriting and Directing, Mezuo who recently released his debut music video for his song “30” spoke to about his passion and what the Netflix means to his budding career.
Why did you choose music as a career?
The music surfaced early in High School for me when I rapped in a cypher during a summer program at Columbia University in New York City. I started writing, making beats, and performing within the next year and some change. I ultimately made the decision to fully pursue a career in music during my 2nd year of college at The University of Texas at Austin. The journey’s been wild but fast forward through a lot of heartbreaks, triumphs, and Hollywood hurdles from my teens through part of my twenties…and here we are. I’m now embarking on the biggest deals and activities of my career thus far.
What was the reaction of your family and friends when you announced your desire to pursue a career in the music?
It’s very common in a Nigerian household for an entertainment pursuit to be met with confusion or even outright disapproval. For me, it was staggered in that I had some immediate support from my closest sibling which in turn led to a broader understanding across my family. The biggest factor was that academically I left very little to discuss because my grades were as high as they could be consistently. Obviously, this is a sweet spot for African households at large. I kept this in mind and continued to run my own race until family and friends alike were able to assess my talent through the lenses of my merit. They were able to draw a parallel to other points of success in my life and essentially put one and one together. I thank God for all of the support to this point.
Tell us more about the Netflix deal and how you feel about it.
I’ll start by saying when I got hired on to score the film, I had no idea where it would end up. I just saw the picture and went to work. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic as this is a major achievement for me early on in my career. It sets the tone for what’s to come and simultaneously opens up more doors for me across the broader entertainment industry.
Nigerian music industry then and now, what has changed?
There’s more connectivity now. We’re as connected as ever to the Nigerian music industry from the United States as ever thanks to social media. With that, the sound and influence are spanning across the globe both ways. More American artists have been experimenting with Afrobeat driven music because it’s become more prominent. There are also more international collaborations across the board as a result of all of this.
Several Nigerians in the music industry who were born and bred abroad tend to succeed more in Nigeria. Why and are we expecting you to tow the same part?
Operating from North Hollywood but having my roots in Nigeria gives me unique leverage because I’m foreign, yet familiar in the Nigerian market. There are aspects that will build curiosity because of the distance and shift in culture; however, there’s inherent relatability as a Nigerian-American. Moreover. I’ve personally made it a point to incorporate the Nigerian market in my career pursuits because I noticed that opportunity pretty early on. I’m excited to be digging deeper in the Nigerian market and ultimately giving my native land something to be proud of with the international strides I’ve made thus far in my career.
What should the world expect from you in 5 years’ time?
Big business and more elite company overall. The global market should expect to hear the name Mezuo ringing across music, film, and television in that span of time. There is no ceiling that I can place on myself career wise but I fully intend on being in every conversation as far as generational leaders in the field go. God will ultimately tell the story better so I continue to call on him to provide the light on my vision.