“When you’re the only sane person, you look like the only insane person” – Criss Jami
“Just because a person chooses to express themselves in an extreme way doesn’t mean they have an extreme personality” – Susane Colasanti
“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before” – Albert Einstein
Etcetera – real names: Pascal Uche Ejikeme. A musician, a writer, a critic and whatever terms you’d use to refer to a person that doesn’t give a single phuck. He is the nightmare of a lot of celebrities.
I actually got to know about Etcetera, the musician sometime in 2009 while going through Bellanaija’s website. I was so impressed when I actually read that he was a soft rock artiste signed to X3M music group. Soft Rock in Nigeria, I asked myself. That’d be splendid if it were to be true. Being an unrepentant lover of Rock and Metal (plus other similar genres and sub-genres), I proceeded to download a couple of singles he had released. Lord knows the awesome emotions I felt when I listened to Biafra (Land of the Rising Sun). I felt like I was born and lived in the land of Biafra when I heard the lyrics to the song as he struck the strings of his guitar. I also listened to Hello, Michelle and This is Not a Song. Afterwards, I kept tab on him to find out when his debut album would be released.
In 2010, I copped the album Yes I Am. I’d be lying if I said the album was simply good; the album was awesome and such tracks as Ghost Workers Beside Ikoyi Cemetry were overwhelming. His voice reminded me of the much younger version of Rod Stewart or rather, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith (on the track Postcard). The mix of traditional drums and guitar riffs in some of his songs were breathtaking. Up till this moment, whenever I embark on a long trip, I include some of the tracks on the list of songs I’d play throughout the journey. I guess I wasn’t the only that took notice of this guy because he was nominated for Hip-Hop World 2009 Awards in the following categories: Recording of the Year, Best Vocal Performance (Male) and Best RnB/Pop Album.
Fast forward to some years later and I didn’t hear any other material from him. I googled Steve Babaeko, who was running (and still runs) X3M Music and all I got was that they had signed a new artiste fresh from MTN Project Fame West Africa – Praiz. Where was Etcetera then? Nobody seemed to know. OK! I’d have to let that one slide and keep listening to his songs while hoping more Soft Rock artistes would spring up in the country and in Africa as a whole.
In the year 2014, I came across an article that was published by several popular blogs in the country. Surprisingly, the article was written by the one and only Etcetera. He was no longer Etcetera, the musician but Etcetera, the writer, the critic, and the no-giver-of-phucks. Where has this guy been hiding since, I thought to myself?
In the article, he took time to expose some ills in the music industry and why it is tough for budding artistes (especially the ones doing the unconventional type of music) to succeed in Nigeria. In the article, he also went hard (no pun intended) on On-Air Personalities, accusing them of taking cash and other gifts before giving new songs more air play on the radio.
A lot of people took him serious because they felt since he had been in the music industry, he was in a good position to speak about the rot in the industry. Others (the ones that felt slighted) didn’t waste any time in labeling him an angry person. Others called him a failed musician. But as usual, he didn’t give a phuck.
Weeks passed and he still churned out more revealing articles. His victims weren’t just musicians and OAP’s; he also targeted politicians and religious leaders. I guess he also got himself a job as a columnist on The Punch newspapers.
In my opinion, I don’t think we should only speak the truth depending on whose ox is gored. We should always speak the truth at all times. And that’s exactly what Etcetera is doing. People actually prefer the ones who follow the crowd and in Etcetera’s case, he is walking on a lonely road which many are scared of taking. He decided to make Soft Rock music when a lot of people didn’t do such. Whether he failed or not is an argument for another day but he succeeded in getting people like me hooked on his style of music and inspired through his songs and meaningful lyrics. He made me believe that our country’s music industry would witness diversification in terms of music genre and not sticking to the same club bangers and shaking-ass songs.
But I also have an issue with his style of writing. Most times, he tends to generalize and make hurried conclusions. For example, accusing all OAPs of taking bribes before playing songs on the radio is not right. I believe that there are still honest OAPs with integrity in the industry.
In conclusion, we need more people like Etcetera that would look one in the eye and speak the truth, no matter what the consequences are. That’s the spirit we need in this nation to move forward. We don’t need to be sweeping the truth under the carpet anymore.
Hasta la vista!