BY SIMON EBEGBULEM, BENIN CITY
Hip Pop artiste, Princess Esindu, popularly known as PRYSE, is one of the fast growing rap artistes in the nation’s music industry. The Enugu State born artiste was in Benin City penultimate Sunday for the South South Music Award, as one of the nominees . Though she did not win, she displayed sparkling performance which thrilled the large crowd who came to witness the event. She has produced several albums and in this interview with First Person, she disclosed that her latest album ‘Niger Delta money’ will soon hit the air waves. She talks about her life and the music industry.Excerpts:
My stage name is Pryse. I am a recording artiste for Chocolate City. I was born and grew up in Port Harcourt but my Dad is from Enugu state. I have always been into music and into rap. While growing up , I had three older brothers.
I was a tom boy because I always emulated them. I used to follow them around and each time they rapped or listened to music, I always joined them. When I was 8-10 years , I wrote my first rap and when I was 14 years, because my family owns a studio in Port Harcourt, I started going to the studio with my brothers to record songs. So that was how I went into music but then, I did not take it seriously until recently. Our family owns a Media outfit in Port Harcourt known as Frontline TV.
The company now acquired an audio studio as part of it. So my brothers started learning to produce and that was how my brothers started singing while I started rapping, and they would be recording.
Rap is something that came out naturally from me. Besides ,I don’t think I have a fantastic voice to sing the normal songs. Hip- up is what I am good at and that was why I went into hip- up.
My motivation really on one part is from MI, because at the time he discovered me, I was in school in the United Kingdom recording and he said ‘Pryse, you are so good and I think you should join the Chocolate City. And I said whao, if this guy that has done so well can think that I have something to offer, who am I to say no. He really motivated me to take music serious.
I did not study music. I studied Media and Communication Arts in Nothingham Trent University in the United Kingdom because my family is into media. So, the dream is for all of us to go and study Media -related courses or Television so that we can come back and contribute to the family business. But somewhere along the line, I ventured into music but that does not mean that I will not go back to the family business because the TV aspect of it is something that I am used to from day one.
It is really about the passion, not about the money because what my family is doing has more potential of paying in future than music. The music business is something you can put in a lot of effort s sometimes but nothing will come in; while at other times you can put in little effort and get plenty returns. So, it is not really about the money, it is about the passion. Music is a talent I discovered that I have and felt I should share it with the rest of the world instead of wasting it.
The industry is blossoming. I remember ten years ago when you go to our clubs , you’d only listen to foreign music but today if you go to parties, you hardly hear foreign songs but all Nigerian songs. So I believe we have come a long way and right now, there are even so many talents. Tuface is one person that has made a huge impact in our music industry because from the days of P lantation Boys till now, he is still recreating himself musically. He has been putting up new songs that people continue to enjoy.
I will also say MI because MI is one of the people that actually brought rap into the mainstream in Nigeria because before he came out, people didn’t care about rap , but MI came and made people to start listening to rap and made it interesting for Nigerians to enjoy. If you listen to his Africa Rapper Number One, or CRAZE, it’s just fantastic.
Wiz Kid has also made huge impact in this industry and from these people I mentioned, one can say that they have trained hundreds of other musicians because after they released an album, you’d will see a whole lot of people singing along that line because they appreciate the work they are doing.
I think all that we lack in the industry here is the structure, we just need the right structure. Like it is done in the US or the UK, when you are signed to a label, that label is signed to a bigger label. There are like six major record label companies in the whole US, and then those ones will now sign the little ones like Young Money.
They have a structure that works, they have royalties that sustains them. People like Maria Carey, right now t don’t even need to produce songs to make money because their royalties are paying them. All the songs that they sang will keep paying them because each time the radio stations play their songs, they pay them.
There is nothing like royalty here . Our radio stations will tell you to be grateful that they are playing your songs . You have to even beg them here to play your songs and that is why our musicians don’t make money from their albums. You make an album in Nigeria you don’t make money out of it, the only thing that gives our artistes money is when they perform at shows or endorsement if you are lucky enough to have something like that.
But I believe that if we continue to work hard as we are doing today, we will get there. That is a fact because they want to improve their album, but come to think of it which country in the world is not copying from America? I think everybody is copying from the US because they are the ones that are running the biggest music and film industry in the world. Like here in Nigeria we don’t have hip pop in our culture, it was America that invented hip pop and that is why we are emulating them. B
ut at the same time our artists are taking from them but adding to our own Nigerian sound and are creating something new that is completely different. If not everybody will just be singing RB.
There is a Nigerian song that never existed ten years ago but it is there now so you can’t say we are just copying them. If you are even talking about copying I will say that the problem we are having now in the industry is copying our selves not foreign songs because you see our people trying to emulate what someone else has done that is the challenge now not foreign music.
“I will not say that your not saying the truth about the impact of drugs and alcohol in the industry but I believe that once one is in the industry you must remain focus to make it.
Surround yourself with people that can call you to order when they see you go astray, people that won’t be afraid of you, people that care about you not praise singers. That will always help because the industry has a tendency to lead people astray due to the pressure you pass through. But the answer is stay focus.
Right now I am targeting top ten African artist not top ten female artist. I want to be among the best in Africa. My first single was Eleto, featuring Koker produced by L37 that is out now, we shot the video for it, it is online on Utube. I also did a song with Kolo featuring BurnaBoy. The one I just did now is called Niger Delta money.
I grew up in Port Harcourt seeing this oil money but it was very elusive; it looks as if it is meant for few persons. The song is trying to tell them that as some body that grew up in the Niger Delta I also need that money, we all needs it not just for a few, I have a right to that money.
I was nominated in the best Hip Pop song of the year. I did not win though but it was nice to be nominated. You can see that I performed at the Award night. I am going to put out my album next year called the Enterprise, I am looking forward to that and I am probably going to push out a few more singles before the Album heats the air waves. I am not trying to surpass Tuface and others as people are asking but I want to get to their level in Africa and then move on from there.