May 23, 2024

Roy Madu an African entertainment ambassador

Roy Madu an African entertainment ambassador

By Abel Kolawole

Mother land, Nigeria has shared her gifts to the world and this magnanimity has led to an intercontinental perception of Nigerians; flawed, but the most driven and enterprising, be it in corporate world and creative universe.

One of her sons making her proud with his contributions to the creative universe is Roy Madu. Roy is a filmmaker, scriptwriter, song-writer, composer, singer, performer, an actor, and a comedian. In his creative endeavors burgeoned by the trappings of the multi-talented, he has shared his stories using music and films as mediums, with his brand of music christened Marinba Music and his production company, Marinba Productions. He will be taking us on a walk down his entertainment sojourn. We consider it a pleasure that he is here with us.

It’s great to have you here, Sir

Thank you for having me… I consider it a pleasure to be here, too.

Who would you describe yourself to be?

A towncrier. It is my moniker. A towncrier is one who spreads message, while moving towards different places. His tools are his mouth and gong. I identify with that because through my storytelling as a tool, I have shared messages in different continents through my music and film. So, my name is Roy Madu, The Towncrier.

When did you decide you wanted to become both a musician and filmmaker, which one were you First?

I was first a musician. Music gave me room, gave me a world where I could be at my most vulnerable and create art that I shared with the world. Then I thought, what if I SHOW the world through reels the world in my head? I had a lot that I couldn’t keep to myself. So, I decided to extend into filmmaking. None of my ideas were made to become waste.

What were the initial obstacles?

First it came from within. I was in a new atmosphere New climate. New sky. New communication patterns. Culture shock. I wondered how I would fare. After I overcame that obstacle, I had to do my homework on Hollywood, its standards and if I needed the validation. Music was the first of the two I focused on. Getting a good producer who understand my work as well as my style of music. Most producers here cannot pull off afrobeats. That was a cultural thing. So, I linked up with a producer who understood afrobeats and I made my songs. That producer was late Jacob Nguni of the famous Rocafil Jazz band owned by famed Prince Nico Mbarga.

Time for music video, I realized that the cost of production was another obstacle. Of course, I knew filmmaking is expensive —you have no idea —but I wasn’t prepared for the costs. You might think music videos are basically short from filmmaking, so therefore they should be cheap, but did you know there are some music videos with budgets bigger than some films that made it to Hollywood? This made me learn how to produce films. I produced many of my music videos and most of my movies including “I Surrender All”.

After you defeated the obstacles, what next?

I felt untouchable, like there was no new problem I wasn’t going to solve. This gave me a creative boost and I had ideas flowing. I had Pan Afrikanism remixed and distributed among Africans in diaspora because they were my core target audience. My song got plays in our community and in triggering debates, brought the people together. I produced more songs like My Moi Moi, Turn by Turn and the rest.

Talking about Moi Moi, that’s one of your works that stood out to us, the music video for My Moi Moi. What was the Vision?

I wrote my My moi moi from the perspective of a lovestruck man who wants to enjoy his woman wholly, all by himself. He is willing to give her and take from her what she gives. The music video focused on the chemistry between I and the vixen who played my love interest. I enjoyed shooting the video, because people associate love themes to people in their teens and early twenties. The mature, too loves and it is a whole world of difference. The video was released fourteen years ago and still the message is relevant. Everybody wants to enjoy their lovers and use different metaphors and fond names for them.

What inspired you to go into movies?

In order to answer this question, I’ll have to go farther down history lane. Africa has always had a problem with representation and the earliest films about Africa were by Europeans and other citizens of the West. The image portrayed hurt us, Africans. It contained mistruths. While there are jungles in Africa, there are also skyscrapers, spas, boutiques, shopping malls. However, even till today, lots of these films do not tell the full story. I wanted to be a voice that drowned out the noise of this misinformation. Naturally it would require me flexing my creative bones, so I saw no scenario where I was going to lose since I am doing what I love.

And your experience with the filmmaking?

The films were a different ball park. Sure, I felt invincible, but filmmaking relies on a diverse group of people who have one goal, to get this film done. To have that file. But the motivations can be diverse. You can’t control human beings but as producer you are supposed to learn how to put creatives together to make the dream work via teamwork. I employed methods and we ended up having films and videos like My Moi Moi, Turn by Turn, I Surrender All, etc. It was a great career arc for me.

Another of your works stood out to us, perhaps it was due to the familiarity of the hymn Nigerian Christians will remember, I Surrender All. What was that film about?

When I wrote I Surrender All, I had a goal: paint the picture of a breaking marriage held together by a devoted and praying wife. It is peak cinematic realism as a lot of people can relate to the story. So, I surrender all is a film about a woman being her husband ‘s backbone. He doesn’t see her effects, but he feels her. At first, he is unaware of her. She’s just a wife. He cheats on her, feels threatened by her God taking more space than his Shokolokobangoshe and tries to whisk her away from her God. However, God has different plans for him. I played this husband and the role in standing between his wife and God so God can put him through difficult times in order to lead him towards redemption. But will the husband submit to this divine plan? Watch and see.

What is the common theme in your work?

There is no common theme. Not as intended, anyway. I sought to use every film to answer whatever question that necessitated the existence of that film. My music videos help send the message of my music home. My films help answer questions that made me write the script.

Each of my works show in different ways, the African experience from the lens of an African who was formed in its womb, breathed its air, eaten of its food and walked its grounds. It doesn’t matter where they were shot, I am embedded in my Africanness and this shows in the way I and my co-cast walk, talk and all that.

Do you think you succeeded in your aim for changing the African narrative?

That is a group effort and I am proud to say I’m a part of the group of Nigerians, Africans, to use music and cinema as a tool for change. Times are changing and we have some Nigerian movies with Nigerian and Nigerianized stories making waves all over streaming platforms.

Now that you have done it all, what next?

I have not even started talkless done it all. A creative mind is never done and always improving. Plagued with ideas and ideas, death is the only full stop. Who knows my next step, maybe write and produce a film based on my Igboland. It will be a 100% Igbo film from the language used to the set pieces. Just maybe, I may do a web series for streaming platforms. Who knows, you just have to watch my move to get in the know.