Can we meet you?
Hi, I’m IKSTARR pronounced (IYKE STAR) my government names are Bennie ‘Ike’ Opene. I’m a British Nigerian producer, music artiste, and creative.
What led you into Music?
Well, I come from a musical home. I would wager that my dad had arguably the biggest private record collection in Nigeria at the time. My love for music led to forming a band in college with some friends. When I had the opportunity to travel to England I studied music production professionally because I’m a perfectionist and I need to be hands on with my sound. It’s a passion and a talent that has to be expressed.
How would you compare Nigerian artistes with those abroad. Is there any difference?
Nigerian artistes are the cream of the crop in my opinion. Not only regarding talent, production values and sheer hustle but also in content and raw energy.
With the right investment from the government and private investors Nigerian artistes can potentially be head and shoulders above even their European and American counterparts.
I have a dual citizenship but Nigeria has always been my first love. And I respect what artistes like Wizkid, Fela, Davido, Tiwa Savage , Burna boy and a host of others too numerous to mention have achieved.
Can you share your unforgettable experience as an artist?
When WILLEMINA my lead single came out it was quite unforgettable seeing Europeans mouthing the lyrics at a show I performed in London. They didn’t even know what most of the vernacular meant but seeing how music can unite people of different races and creed is always an unforgettable experience for any artiste.
What’s your parents reaction when they learnt that you want to become an artist?
I made sure I satisfied my parents first. You see I basically achieved two first degrees. One of them from an Ivy League university in the U.K. It took my time but now I can concentrate on what really matters in life. Which is finding, pursuing and fulfilling one’s purpose and destiny. In my case it’s being creative. So yeah, my parents were and are supportive. They know I can’t fail.
What motivates you?/What are the things that motivate you?
I am not religious because clearly most of it is just a big scam and control mechanism anyway. However, I am spiritual and my motivation, strength and success I attribute to the divine now and always. I’m also motivated by other great artistes, and of course seeing the effect your creative work has in uniting people.
Since you became an artist, any discouragement from anyone?
Generally most people are supportive. But typically it’s only when they start seeing success that they fully show support. As a rule I don’t discourage easily. I’m here to stay so I’m my own biggest encouragement.
What are the projects you are presently working on?
Where do I start? I’m working on new music, a feature film and a reality show format.
My second album AFROASMR is out now on all platforms. So if you love great music support it.
We are also working on new videos to support the album. The music video for the lead single WILLEMINA is also currently enjoying airplay. As a creative I’m interested in investing back into Africa. So in addition to the music we are working on a new reality show called UGLY DUCKLING. Watch this space.
Many people are into entertainment industry doing the same thing. Will yours be different from others?
There’s nothing new under the sun per se. But as artistes we must add our own sauce to our projects. Hence my music, style and delivery consistently reflects my unique viewpoint on life. It’s fun, fresh, deep, melodic artistic and refined. Where my music excels above others is the production. As a professionally trained producer I am also a perfectionist.
What do you think about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Entertainment industry?
It has forced us to look inwards and come up with fresh ideas and monetisation models for our creative output. Yes, it’s taken money from the mouths of many artistes, but we’ll get it back 100 fold.
Who is your role model?
The man in the mirror, he never gave up on me. My parents come a close second.
What advice do you have for someone like you who is planning to venture into the entertainment industry?
Be smart. Create alternate streams of income and go in big. Pay attention to detail. That’s where the devil lives. Make super high quality content and they will come. Finally put the divine first