¹UI FAMZER Meets a Celebrity in person of Adedamola Akin-Onigbinde. Apart from being a 500 Level student of Faculty of Law, Eri ife, as he is popularly referred to as is a musician and song writer. You might know him as Calderon too.
UI FAMZER:- Can we meet you?
Eri-ife:- HI. My name is Adedamola Akin-Onigbinde. Some people know me as Calderon. Some people know me as Eri-ife. But Calderon and Eri-ife are one and the same person.
UI FAMZER:- But there isn’t Eri Ife in your given names
Eri Ife:- Eri Ife was a name I gave to myself in 2011. It’s personal in that it was a name I gave to myself after a lot of introspection. I had a couple of struggles growing up. A good number of them; Health wise, Academic wise and so on. It wasn’t as if I struggled in school what happened was that I didn’t pay attention. Down the road, God sent a couple of people who got me back on track and God does that only to people he cares about. I just concluded that my life up until that point was a testimony of God’s love.
UI Famzer: When did you discover yourself?
Eri-ife: I didn’t discover myself until after I left high school back in 2012. Although I was making music from ss2 with a bunch of guys. We would just gather and somebody would be playing on the locker and I would be singing and my friends would be rapping. We used to gather a lot of people especially on Fridays. I went to an adventist secondary school, Babcock High School and on Fridays, you’re not allowed to read. You’re meant to just play. We would all gather in a room and by the time we realize what was happening, the room would be full. Every Friday night. So, that was when music started for me. But personally, as a solo musician, music didn’t start until 2012 when I tried making my first song and since then its been step after step. Growth, revolution and all
UI Famzer: What was your parent’s reaction to your choice?
Eri-ife: Lucky for me, both my father and my mother love music and my father actually has a special interest in Music. My surname is Akin-Onigbinde which means the brave drummer has come so there’s a natural interest in Music on my father’s side. My mum also enjoys listening to music. When I actually started making music, they were skeptical. They didn’t reject the idea but they were skeptical like “everybody wants to do music, everybody wants to rap and sing these days”. They didn’t particularly say that I have to prove myself but as the years went by in 2012, 2013, 2014. By 2014, my mum had warmed up to me being a musician but my dad didn’t get completely sold out on the idea until he heard one of my personal releases in 2015. I call it personal cos it’s one of the songs that most reflects the type of musician that I am right now and the type of message I pass across now. So, as at right now, they all support it. My father finance the studio I work in right now. A lot of my works have been financed by my mother. All in all sha, I’m thankful. I’m luckier than most.
UI FAMZER: What department are you?
Eri-Ife: I’m a 500 Level student of Law.
UI FAMZER: well don’t you feel being a law student is sort of a set back for you?
Eri-ife: well I say it a lot that if I had the chance to go back knowing what I know now, I would most likely not have picked law but you know God’s Word said all things work together for the good of those who love him so I’m assured that there’s a purpose in my studying law.
The fact that I have studied law is advantageous because it has shaped my thinking faculty. Secondly, it helps me to see certain issues in different light and funny enough, it helps my song writing. And thirdly, I get asked that question whether or not law is a setback primarily because of having to balance law and Music but it’s only hard for those looking for first class and then mi o wa first class. I’m not looking for first class. I’m looking to graduate with a decent degree, a 2:1. I’ve never looked for a first class. Even before I started taking music seriously. There’s way too much pressure associated with first class and I I don’t want that.
UI FAMZER: So, basically, we’re looking at the next Falz the Bahd Guy. Cos he Studied law and he’s Falz now.
Eri-ife- well I heard that too but I mean, people will be able to juxtapose but there’s going to be a complete difference. The type of my music is completely different. My vibe, my sound, we usually talk about similar messages, social situation and all but otherwise, you could say something like Falz.
UI FAMZER: you’re not going to practice, are you?
Eri-ife: it’s highly unlikely. I doubt if I would practice.
UI FAMZER: Don’t you feel your parents would have another opinion about that?
Eri-ife: as I said earlier, I’m very lucky cos my parents realized that time’s changed and society changes with the time. The rules have changed. It’s no longer, go to school. The people from the generation before us are seeking selfie sticks online even though they studied engineering. Somebody stayed Konga, somebody started Jumia. Our generation is not one that can be bound by the general rule of go to school to get employment anymore and my parents listened to the type of music I make and agreed that I have a message to spread so they make allowance for me that I should finish with my degree program then I can go ahead and do what I want.
UI FAMZER: Do you have plans of going to Law school?
Eri-ife: Yes, I made that decision last year. By 200Level, I had decided that I wouldn’t be going but after 400 Level ended, over and over again, the part of the Bible that says “whatever your hands find to do, do with all your strength” kept coming coming to me and it means that if you’re going to start something, follow through. Finish it even though I’m most likely going to laminate my certificate and hang them,there’s no point in me not going to law school and besides, I’m not going to pay for it. It’s a free offer and an additional opportunity to cultivate myself. Who knows who I’ll meet in law school that’ll help my music career cos I’ve met a lot of people in the Faculty of Law that have helped my career including some of my lecturers.
UI FAMZER: Have you ever thought of dropping school for Music?
Eri-ife:- Never. Not once.
UI FAMZER: Why?
Eri-ife: I enjoy school a lot and it’s on two levels. One, academics have a way of defining a thought process. Humans are usually led to react on instincts. When you learn in a formal system of education, you’re taught to detach yourself from your instinct and to address issues logically, objectively and that has to be helpful. Then two, campus is a giant experiment field. People start businesses here. You can try an idea. You have 4 years, you have your cash coming from your parents, you have school that is handling education for you and most importantly you have freedom. So I believe school is not just academically inclined but a place for you to grow all round. They things. Expose yourself to new experiments. Go out. Go for a night party. You don’t know. Try everything. Well , almost everything. DON’T DO DRUGS. No place offers you better opportunity to try new things than the campus. That’s why I would never even once consider dropping school. I’ve been to a show in University of Ibadan where they said “introducing one of UI’s best…….. You might know him as Calderon.” immediately they said Calderon, people had started shouting. Why would I give up that kind of crowd?
UI FAMZER: what is the idea behind your choice of Music? Because you rarely have University artists with that Genre of music. they all find comfort in singing about girls, cars, fame and so on
Eri-ife: I believe everybody has a message. The guys that sing about girls and cars that’s their message. They want to sing about jaye. Sure, I dance a lot of that music myself. I sing along to a lot of that music too. But is that the kind of message I want to carry across? Is it the kind of music I want to be identified as a creator of? Not necessarily. I believe that a lot of people need to realize that the Nigerian situation is not only the situation that exist in this life. That everything is bad around you doesn’t mean you have to be bad with everything. Secondly people should make music you can relate to. Think about Asa, think about Cobhams, Bez, Dare Art Alade. These people make music that has a distinct message. They are trying to say something, one. Two, they are trying to relate to people at the same time. so, I find joy doing my kind of music. The Guitar is a beautiful instrument and most of my music comes from God through the Guitar.
UI FAMZER: who would you refer to as your role model?
Eri-ife: Asa, Cobhams, Darey Art Alade and Bez.
UI FAMZER: do you feel like if you had a better orientation you would have studied music?
Eri-ife: definitely. Most definitely
UI FAMZER: how has the journey been so far? Because for every musician, there has been some funny, annoying, embarrassing moments.
Eri-ife: (laughs) Yeah. I’ve had those. I’ve been booed off the stage before. I’ve gone to a show that I was promised payments but didn’t get paid before. I’ve gone to perform in other universities and had to sleep in a room with like 12 other people. I’ve been harassed while going on stage before. I’ve been booked before and they’ll tell me there’s no space. People have spelled my name wrong enough times. I remember when I was in hundred Level, I used to beg for spots for shows but now I don’t think have to stress. If I want to perform somewhere, I’m going to perform there. I think what I enjoy most is when people hear my music and can identify with it. I released a song in 2015 titled nobody. somebody came to me in 2015 and said yo damola I have to thank you. your song got the through exams. I’ve tried Afro Pop, contemporary American pop, soul, hip hop, RnB, before I settled for a little bit of RnB and soul with an afro infusion. 2016 was the year I started my own record label, 309 entertainment.
UI FAMZER: what’s it like having a record label?
Eri-ife: it’s a lot of work. Because not only am I responsible for myself I’m responsible for the other artists under me. And right now we have 3 singers and 3 rappers, so 6 musicians in all and three producers as well as the administrative team, the marketing team. Because I’m younger than some of them I have to thread the fine line between respect and command. So it’s done a lot to shape my approach to things. The way I think about things. Having to take charge of certain situations and what not and having to take responsibility for someone else’s excesses as well as failure of the label. But you know, we’re new. We’re less than a year old so we have bright hopes.
UI FAMZER: What genre of music would you categorize your kind of music under?
Eri-ife: uhm primarily Afro soul. It’s a mix of three-Afrocentric music, soul and pop. Soul because of the lyrics, the depth that I think I have behind the lyrics. Pop because a lot of times, it’s upbeat and the music is something that is catchy and can be easily learnt by people.
UI FAMZER: Apart from music and law, what other path would you like to thread?
Eri-ife: Guidance Counseling, I guess. Because young people need role models and there’s no better set of role models for teenagers than people in their early and mid twenties. They’re not too far from the teens so they can easily relate to their problems. Help them know the difference between this and this so they know the consequences.
Sustainable development in that technology and infrastructure. I’m very interested in that. To be a facilitator not a technician cos I don’t know the knowhow. I also have an interest in agriculture.
UI FAMZER: If you had a show on the same day with one of your exams, which would you go for?
Eri-ife: ma lo ko exam now. Kini mo fe fi show sé?
UI FAMZER: Irrespective of the pay?
Eri-ife: No. Actually it doesn’t I know the exams will come and go.
UI FAMZER: But don’t you feel you’d be disappointing your fans?
Eri-ife: Any fan that does not understand the importance of my getting an education is not a fan. Say for example my final paper in 500 Level, Jurisprudence, and you’re telling me to come and do show because of 2.5 million naira. If you can give me 2.5 million naira today, they can pay me 2.5 million naira next week and by then, my final exam would have passed. I also believe so much in prioritizing. Do what you have to do now. Mi o fe ni carry over now. So why will I skip? I’ll now skip ma wa gba 2.5 ma ma wa range Rover, they’ll now put it on somebody’s blog that Eri-ife ni carry over. For what na?
UI FAMZER: So you’re scared of the gossip flying around.
Eri-ife: That’s just secondary. I don’t want to be thinking about exam twice. I just want to do it once and go. Every time exam period starts, I put up posts on all my social media accounts that myself and my label are going on break for the next two weeks so as to complete exams. I also require a particular grade point average from my artists because most of my artists are University students.
UI FAMZER: Would you or have you ever considered Modelling?
Eri-ife: yes I have. But I face a couple of challenges as a model. Number one, Mi o fine. And number two I never took it seriously because of Music. It’s very demanding.
UI FAMZER: what’s the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
Eri-ife: The funniest thing that has happened to me recently. There was this time I went for choir practice and 30 minutes to the end of the choir, I found out that my zip was down. The other was the day I was driving to ring road to pick my cousin up and in the middle of the road, moto mi de taku. I felt like Tony Tetuila cos I was just thinking to myself, Mi o ma le ti moto.
UI FAMZER: What’s the dumbest rumor you’ve heard about yourself?
Eri-ife: (laughs) The rumor was I think that my father was a senator and because of him, I was getting all the opportunities musically. But he’s a lawyer.
UI FAMZER: How do you handle your fans
Eri-ife: The idea is so funny to me because I don’t believe I have fans. I’ve been asked for an autograph before so maybe I have fans and I’ve been told that people like my music. Fans are other people the same way I am another person. If you like a really good poem and I tell you I like your poem and you write like 50 more and I like all of them, I say oh I’m a fan of your work. So I just think k it’s a person that likes another person’s work.
UI FAMZER: How do you handle the ladies?
Eri-ife: Ohh. I’m a married man.
UI FAMZER: I mean proposals from the ladies. Cos there definitely will be a lady out there saying she has a big Crush on Eri Ife and she’s just waiting for him to pop the question.
Eri-ife: Number one, If there is a lady out there she hasn’t come forward yet cos I’ve not found any girl that has said that. Then I have had an awkward surge with people that I call friends over the past couple of years. As regards to girls, I just tell them straight up that I’m in a committed relationship.
UI FAMZER: what about the challenges so far?
Eri-ife: Promotion is more complex and actually more expensive than making music. But we thank God, new doors are opening, New ideas are Coming in. God has really been linking us up with people that are high in event planning and management. It’s getting better now but it was a lot of struggle. Before, all I had was twitter but I have mine and other people’s social media accounts. I also have a couple of radio stations that are more than ready to play my stuff.
UI FAMZER: If you were a new addition to the crayon box, which color would you like to be?
Eri-ife: I would definitely be black.
UI FAMZER: Why?
Eri-ife: Na black go show on anything. If you paint green crayon all over somewhere, if you put a black stroke on that grern crayon, that black will show and that’s how I want to be in this life. Anybody can say whatever they want, Once I say my own e ma gbo temi no matter what. Whether you like it or not.
UI FAMZER: If you were an animal, which would you be?
Eri-ife: a cat
UI FAMZER: Why?
Eri-ife: They’re proud. I had a cat once and Leon was a dick, I agree but he wasn’t evil. Leon was annoying. There’s a superstition that follows cats that they are evil. Cats have reflective eyes that’s why they see and glow in the dark. They’re natural predators. There’s nothing cuter than a kitten to me. But I would not be a domestic cat. I’d probably be a Panther or a lynx or a tiger or a pub cat.
UI FAMZER: What should your “friends” expect from you in the next 5 years?
Eri-ife: Let’s even talk about next three months. I’m working on a project y’all are going to enjoy. My first EP is coming out. It is self titled, “Eri Ife, The EP” I’m re-releasing Nobody but this time, it’s a live version that y’all are gonna enjoy. I actually have a a bunch of projects lined up but let’s pay attention to “ERI IFE, THE EP”. So y’all keep your ears down cos you’re gonna enjoy every single song on the EP.
UI FAMZER: Where do you see Eri Ife in the next 5 years?
Eri-ife: We for don blow. 309 for don blow wella. I can’t talk about myself without talking about my label. 309 is my baby. Proof, my main artist would have blown like mad because you guys aren’t even ready for the guy yet. Me I would have blown. I would have finished school, Law school and service. Thank you Jesus.
UI FAMZER: You’re not planning to come for masters?
Eri-ife: I’ll do masters but I don’t like book like that so don’t think I’ll finish my degree and just dive in for masters like that.
UI FAMZER: And there would be a ring on the finger already?
Eri-ife: Yeah. 27? There should be a ring on the finger before then, by then by God’s grace.
UI FAMZER: Thank you very much for your time
Eri-ife: You’re welcome