‘Entertainment and The Law’ got a chance to interview one of Nigeria’s most promising acts. Undoubtably an eclectic singer with an amazing sound, Eri ife already has the ears of many Nigerians, so much that he was once featured as Bella Naija’s Artist of the Month . With his song, ‘Let me’, currently playing on our airwaves, it’s almost impossible not to love his music. Eriife, shared his journey with us, as well as some insightful ideas about the music business.
E.A.T.L: Eri Ife, thank you once again for your time. First, who is Eri Ife and generally, why music?
Eri Ife: Eri ife is Adedamola Akin-Onigbinde. Eri Ife is a boy that was called to make music. Why? It’sthe only thing that makes my heart genuinely feel full when I’m involved with it. It feels fully right in a way nothing else quite does.
E.A.T.L.: What has the journey been like so far, challenges, good times and all?
Eri Ife: lol, omo! I’ve got stories to tell in this respect, but in general, the experience has been amazing. It’s been enlightening, it’s been depressing some times, but at every point, there’s a lesson learned. It’s been a huge part of my growth as an individual.
E.A.T.L.: lol..of course, it’s the music industry, there has to be stories. You were once known by the name ‘Calderon’, but now, we all know you as ‘Eri Ife’. What informed the transformation?
Eri Ife: Lol, ah. Calderon was a rapper. Cocky, self assured, a little larger-than-life. As I grew, I shed that person. I became aware of and learned to embrace my vulnerability, doubts, insecurities and all that. I allowed my feelings to come through my music.
E.A.T.L. : What would you call your type of music?
Eri Ife: I’m not sure. Lol. I could cross genres at any time. But I guess traditionally, pop/folk/soul/rnb. In that order.
E.A.T.L.: Makes sense. Now, going through your journey so far, I remember you once opened for A-list artists like Falz, Eva and a few others. What was that like? Tell us a bit about how the opportunity came.
Eri Ife: Opening for them was a trip. Funny enough, I hardly ever actually met them while opening for them. The shows weren’t their shows, they were headliners at company/ brand activations, concerts, all of that. So I hardly ever met them.
E.A.T.L: I have a feeling you’ll meet them soon. So, which artists have the most influence on you?
Eri Ife: Lol…prayers up for that, for sure.
Hm. I’ve had phases. The most profound influences I’ve had are Asa and Lagbaja. Adekunle Gold comes in a very close second. Jon Bellion has been interesting to study. A lot of folks to be honest.
E.A.T.L: Interesting..I’m definitely a Jon Bellion fan as well. Is there any record deal so far?
Eri Ife: I’m signed to Imprint, 309 Music. It’s a small, independent outfit with amazing creatives and business fellow.
E.A.T.L.: Cool..quickly, let’s talk about your first major song, ‘Gentleman’. It had a little bit of Fela on it. Are you also a Fela person? What’s the story behind it?
Eri Ife: That was the peak “Calderon” year, yeah. As I first said. A lot of self aggrandizement. A lot of hype. It felt good to write and it came out great. There isn’t too much of a story behind it. I loved the beat and wrote to it.
E.A.T.L.: And it made so much sense…I personally like the rap.
Let’s talk about the business of your music. Many artists say they have a passion for music and all that, but we also know that they won’t mind making money out of their music. So, I’ll love to know…considering your input into your music, would you say you have been getting the expected return from it, money wise?
Eri Ife: Lol, it’s important to point out that with music, fame comes much, much earlier than the fortune. So, I’ve been getting returns, but I’m not quite there yet. I’m happy to say though, that I see immense growth and I’m grateful for it.
E.A.T.L.: In your opinion, what are the various means by which an artist can fully maximise his music in order to make a living for himself? I’m asking because, considering the rise of the digital age and with so many avenues by which we now have access to Nigerian Music, it is almost impossible to see artists getting anything out of their music, except of course, from concerts and other shows which are, almost always, more beneficial to the A-list artists. So, from your experience in the industry, how do you think artists can ‘secure the bag’ with their music career?
Eri Ife: Funny thing is, it’s easier to keep track of an artist’s possible revenue stream(s) and monetize his work on different platforms these days, than it was before in Naija. So I’d suggest a heavier focus on streaming platforms, for recording artists. Also, reaching out to movie studios to have their songs on movie sound tracks and the like.
E.A.T.L: Definitely, having an artist’s song in a movie is one thing most artists often ignore. Makes a lot of sense. Also, technology has created endless possibilities for humans, piracy being one of them. Have you been a victim of music piracy?
Eri Ife: Lol. Yes and it has been an unwitting enabler. Piracy arises when someone monetizes your creative work without your permission, thereby violating your Copyright in that work, right? Submitting my songs to bloggers when I was a much younger artist…yes, they put me out there, but they also got money off the traffic my music generated. Money that never came to me. So I wasn’t a victim per se, since Volenti non git injuria, I was more of an enabler.
E.A.T.L: So it was basically a win-win in this case.
Eri Ife: Exactly, but o the grander scale, with much more successful artists, it’s a problem.
E.A.T.L: Where do you see yourself in the next five years.
Eri Ife: Hm! Omo. Bigger, much, much bigger. Touring the continent. The world. I’m excited because there is so much stuff to share with everyone. So for now, I’m just working.
E.A.T.L:We also can’t wait to see what you have for us. Finally, with Law in the picture, do you have intentions of combining both music and Law or are you going to be another Falz and just choose music instead?
Eri Ife:*Laughs in RPC* I don’t know yet. I haven’t decided.
E.A.T.L: It’s all good. There’s plenty of time to decide. Finally, Finally…what legacy would you like to leave with your music.
Eri Ife: The same legacy I wanna leave as a human, generally. I Pray my music heals. I hope my music connects people. I work so that people can find something in my music that will make them happy/grateful they found my music and I feel that sort of impact would outlast me, myself.
E.A.T.L: Amazing! Thank you very much Damola. Thank you for sharing your insight with us. I can’t wait to see you do greater things with music.
Here is a link to all of Eri Ife’s music. It’s definitely worth your time.