American-based Nigerian musician Ikponmwosa Ogiugo has expressed how a drum in an African church in America inspires his music career.
The artist, who just released a song titled “Life Long Love,” expressed this while describing his life journey to inspire younger ones.
Born in Nigeria, Ikponmwosa Ogiugo moved to the USA after concluding his secondary school education. He is known by the stage name Prince Iyke.
Prince Iyke hailed from a Royalty background and a polygamous family. His father, Edugie Ogieriakhi Ogiugo – is the king of the Ugo-Niyekorhionwon community, while his mum Evbu Queen Ogiugo is a farmer.
“I came from a Royalty background. My family – is made up of five wives from my dad – I am the second son of my dad. My dad has about twenty-six kids. One of the wives (my mum) has divorced my dad. They divorced while I was young, like age 10.
“My mum is a farmer. She finished secondary education but did not further her education. My dad also finished secondary school and did not attend tertiary education.
“When my dad was about to further his education – he asked to return to the village to become the king.
The American musician faced several challenges growing up with his mother. His mother had to do a lot to ensure he finished his secondary school education.
She had to work harder on the farm, sell foods in the market to raise money to send him to a private school in Benin City. Prince also assisted his mother on the farm and had to sell water on the street to raise money – during his time at Bowe Secondary School.
“My mum was the person doing the hard work on the farm to ensure I attain secondary school education in Nigeria in the village.
“When my mum saw me growing up – and thinks I was getting older. Then she thought – that I need to go to school – a better school in the city.
“So, my mum has to work harder, go to the farm and raise money. Then, I go to the farm with my mother. She sells food in the market to raise funds – that was how I moved to Benin City. Then, she enrolled me in a private school named BOWE High School.
“During that period, I lived with my uncle. I went to school and was very focused. After school, I have to sell pure water to get funds.
Journey to the USA
After secondary school education, he lived with his dad, who was impressed with his result.
Prince and his dad have a good relationship because he helped him with some chores.
He felt surprised when his father promised to get him a passport and Visa.
“That was when my dad asked me to come – he was impressed with my result and asked me to stay with him.
“Within a year, my dad promised to relocate me to the USA. Before then, he has been traveling to European countries and America to visit.
“When he said he would relocate me to the State, I could not believe it even though I have a good relationship with him because I wash his clothes, clean his cars early in the morning, and perform other house chores for him. That builds a better relationship with him.
“He went to the embassy and came back – and I was able to get a visa after my interview. They asked me, what are you coming to do in America, I said I want to become a pilot?
“The person looks at me and says that it is a good career.
Arriving in USA
After arriving in the USA, Prince felt surprised to see his musical idols 50 Cent, Jay Z, and 2 Park. While he was in Nigeria, he watched videos and listen to the music of these celebrities.
Prince began his musical journey in the USA – although he had nowhere to stay.
“When I came to America and – I saw 50 Cent, Jay Z, and 2 Park. These – are people that inspired me to music. I watched their video while I was in Nigeria.
“While we are returning from school, people that hawk CDs are on the street and play the music. I like them, and I will stand on the road to listen to the music. Then we could not afford the CDs, and we have to watch the videos.
“When I came to America and land in New York, that was when – I decided to go into music. I came here, and I did not have a place to stay. I was struggling – I had to live with one of my uncles for a couple of years.
“After that, my uncle registered me in high school despite completing secondary school education in Nigeria. During high school, I play soccer, and I was good at it. I play other sport too and hang out with some Americans to sing.
Journey with the Drum
Living with his uncle and aunt, Prince attended an African church in the neighborhood. Most Africans and Nigerians attend the African churches.
During his first service in church – he was inspired by a drum. The drum was different from the ones in Nigeria because it is three sets.
In the church, only the pastor’s son plays the instruments. The church is small – with about thirty members.
“In my first week of coming to America, Nigerians, the people I live with, and Africans attend the African churches every Sunday.
“The church I attended has less than twenty members. When I got to the church, guess what inspires me?
“There was a drum that was left out – nobody was playing the drum. There were other instruments; Keyboard, Piano, and Guitar.
“The pastor’s child is the only person playing the instruments. He was at the Piano – nobody was playing the drum. So, I just challenged myself to play the drum even though I have never played the drum before because it has different kinds of sets. The one we play in Nigeria is just one set.
“So, I saw the American set – I was excited as I attempted to play the drum. I was confused and messing up their music, their choirs were upset, and they tried to stop me.
“But my aunt told them to let me try, but I don’t know what to do. I gave my efforts – I tried the best I could.
After service that day, Prince Iyke thought about what happened earlier in church and felt disgraced. He prayed that night – and God gave him the wisdom.
He went back next Sunday and performed above expectation. The members were enjoying his music, and he felt motivated by their reaction.
Because of the drum, he attends service every weekend, and the drum became his hobby. He also had a good relationship with the Pastor’s kid, and their music got better.
“Guess what, after the service, I went home and started thinking about it – I felt embarrassed.
“I did not perform well. I don’t know what happened – I prayed that night and guessed God gave me the wisdom.
“After a week, I went back the – next Sunday. As I started playing the drum and the choirs are singing – things changed. I was playing the drum well, and the members were looking at me inspired.
“Wow, this kid is doing good. I was motivated because the people were liking the kind of talent I was putting in. I became better. I could not miss a service in a year. Because every Sunday I have to be there to play the drum.
“That drum became my hobby. I was better at it because – I and the pastor’s child – were so cooperative, our sound became better, and we began to entertain people for years that I became a drummer.
After becoming a drummer in church, he got arrested. Prince gave his life to Christ while he was in prison.
While he was released from prison, the Nigerian celebrity has to sleep in the studio because he had no where to stay.
“After I became a drummer, things happened – there were some circumstances, I got arrested. I went to prison and spent like four or five years. But I learned my lesson. While I was in prison, that was when I gave my life to Christ. I got baptized, and I told God, lord give me another opportunity.
“My talent, whatever talent I have in me – use it to do things – when I get out. I became very inspired by music because I listened to music – while I was in prison because I don’t have what I am doing.
“When I got back, I had no place to stay – that was – about 4 or 5 years ago. I had to stay in a studio, from there I started recording, then I recorded my first song, ”Better man”. I referred to the – song as one of my experienced songs.
That was how I started music, learning from it until things get better with the entertainment.
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