Mike Okri gave the reasons why Nigerian music artistes will find it difficult to make it in the United States of America in a 2011 interview over a decade after he had ventured there and returned with a gospel album. He had quit the Nigerian music industry while the ovation was still very loud for him and his music but alas, America did not get him. He however said the movement was worthwhile. One of Nigeria’s finest musicians, he dominated the airwaves in the 1990s with hits that include ‘Omoge’, ‘Romba style’, ‘Okpeke’, and ‘Time na money’.
The movement, he explained, was something that he believed would help his career. “It meant new moves to change the way I reason, become more business-oriented, have deeper understanding and become more knowledgeable about my profession,” he had said.
As to why Nigerian artistes have trouble making it in the US he said the problem is huge and in his opinion it all depends on a combination of factors, one of which has to be that in the diaspora, Nigerians are so disunited. Also, that Nigerians in the diaspora do not control the industry and those who are part of the success in that industry do not even identify with Nigerians as a core group.
He added that for an artiste to cut it on the international scene, he or she has to do collaborations. The music too has to be grand style. He said that age is a major factor in the US and there is a lot of politics as well.
Since his return to the country, Mike Okri, who together with his wife of over 30 years have five children, has been working on remake of some of his old songs in a collabos with Omawumi, Sheyi Shey, Yinka Davies, Christiana – the Ozigizaga crooner, Benita Okoje and some of his children.
Also involved in resource management, Mike Okri describes himself as a businessman who does research, write proposals for companies and by virtue of his psychologist qualification in the US, is into counselling.
Bet you didn’t know that he started singing when he was only six in spite of his father’s refusal to accept that path for him.