Sunday, 7 February 2016

Ekenedilichukwu Ijemba, popularly known as
Humblesmith, talks about his career and the
controversial remix of his hit single, Osinachi
How humble is Humblesmith?
Humility comes from God. It is not something that
can be forced and you can only be humble by His
grace. People started calling me humble when I
was young. According to them, I was humble, calm,
and quiet while growing up. It is a name with
prospects, so I stuck to it.
How did you then coin the name Humblesmith?
Growing up, I listened to a lot of songs by Bright
Chimezie, and I knew I was going to become an
artiste someday. As a result, I began to look out for
a name that would suit my brand. Initially, I was
known as Humblesmart but that changed when the
Master of Ceremonies at a function where I
performed introduced me as Humblesmith . It
sounded very good and I decided to adopt the
name.
Where and how did you grow up?
I was born and brought up in Abakaliki, Ebonyi
State, even though I am from Ideato North Local
Government Area in Imo State. I have seven
siblings and I am the fourth son. Growing up was
very tough. We were not rich and we were not
poor. My siblings and I had to hustle. We all
hawked moi-moi at one time or the other and I did
that from when I was in primary school till I
finished secondary school.
As an Igbo boy, I don’t depend on anybody
because I believe that if you must eat, you must
work. As a child, there were other things I did to
help myself like dancing, acting, and playing
football.
When did you move to Lagos?
After I completed my secondary school education
in 2008, I relocated to Asaba, Delta State, because
I heard the movie industry was thriving there. I
featured in a number of movies like Hypertension
which was directed by Andy Chukwu. The likes of
Mr. Ibu and the late Sam Loco also took part in the
movie. While I was there, I looked out for people
who also loved music. I spent about four years in
Asaba and I moved to Lagos in 2012. Since then, I
have been trying to understand the music
business.
Did you get a higher education?
After I completed my secondary education, I
decided to focus on music because I knew my
parents could not afford to sponsor my education
at the university. I became a professional artiste in
2008.
Do you have an album yet?
No, I don’t but I am working towards releasing an
album in 2017. It is taking that long because music
is not all about you being able to sing. Music is a
business and you have to ensure you have
covered the market. That way when you release
an album, people would buy. I am still working on
my brand. However, I have released several
singles including Chairmo, Na you , Bugatti ,my own
version of Shoki , Love me and Osinachi . Right now,
I am signed on to N-tyce Entertainment Limited.
What are some of the challenges you face as an
up-and-coming artiste?
It has been money. I am signed on with a record
label but things don’t usually go the way you
planned it. It is not easy for you to convince
someone to invest in your career. If I had the
money, I won’t have a reason go after a record
label. Another challenge is having the right team
who would advise you on what type of songs to
sing and when to release them into the market.
Fans could also pose a challenge because not all of
them would like your songs.
Osinachi is your biggest song to date . What
inspired the composition?
Music is life and music is reality. Osinachi was
inspired by what I have been through as well as the
things I am looking forward to. It all started when I
went to church to lament my problems as well as
pray about them. I had done a lot to prove to
people that I was working hard and nothing
seemed to be working out for me. While I was in
church, it occurred to me that instead of lamenting,
I should thank God with the gift I have and use the
same medium to inspire people.
Why did you choose to feature Phyno in the song?
He is an indigenous rapper and a very good one.
Even my fans recommended that collaboration .
They were of the opinion that my kind of music
would complement Phyno’s.
Osinachi remix has been met with a lot of criticism
because you featured Davido.
I was planning big for myself but I never knew God
was planning greater things for me. Osinachi
featuring Phyno was big but the song needed more
recognition and Davido called to be a part of the
remix.
Judging by Davido’s lyrics in the remix, don’t you
think that you have deviated from the original
message of the song?
No, I have not. Osinachi still means ‘From God’
irrespective of the person that was featured in the
remix or the lines he dropped.
But he used your platform to address his personal
problems.
I don’t think he insulted anybody in the song. Music
is life, it is reality. It lets people know what is
happening in your life. Davido said ‘My humble
father sinachi, my loving daughter sinachi, Dele
Momodu sinachi, no be by force to go Dubai’. That
is what is trending in his life. Don’t forget that there
is a place he said ‘I forgive and forget.’
Following the hostile response, do you regret
featuring Davido?
No, I don’t. Davido was the right person to feature
in that song.
Were you aware of Davido’s lyrics before you
went to record in the studio?
Davido is a professional artiste and you cannot
ask to see his lyrics before you both go into the
studio. I can’t tell him what to do because he
knows what to do. When he dropped the lyrics, I
did not feel somehow.
Don’t you fear the backlash might affect your
career?
It is not going to affect my career in any way.
Some people love the original version which has
Phyno in it while others prefer the remix with
Davido. Different strokes for different folks.
There are rumours that money exchanged hands?
That is social media for you. I did not pay Davido
and he did not pay me also.
Who are those you look up to in the industry?
Bright Chimezie is my number one role model. I
look up to Flavour, Tuface and Davido because he
is very hard-working. On the international scene, I
look up to Chris Brown.
How would you describe your kind of music?
I do inspirational music in spite of the fact that it is
songs that validate the female anatomy that is
played in clubs. Even though Osinachi is not in that
category, it is still being played in clubs.
What is your take on the baby mama trend in the
industry?
I don’t have anything to say about it because I
don’t have a baby mama and I don’t even have a
girlfriend. Having a relationship requires a lot of
attention and it can be distracting for someone like
me who is still trying to grow his career.
How do you feel now that your brand is becoming
popular?
I feel blessed and fulfilled. I feel that hard work
pays and I should work harder.

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