Singer Ugoh Onyeocha, popularly known as Don Coleone in the entertainment world, is Nigerian United Arab Emirate- based real estate mogul. In this interview with SEGUN OLANIYI, he talks about his music career among other issues.
Who exactly is Don Coleone?
I am first a spontaneous businessman, very versatile in so many facets of life. I have grown myself over the years with knowledge about different cultures, having traveled so wide and have been able to develop myself with creative ideas towards creating wealth as an entrepreneur and still kept my passion for music alive over the years.
What inspired you into music given that you have a finance and accounting background?
Music for me is a passion and entertainment in general. I was raised in an Anglican Church as a child and began my childhood age as a chorister and at some points, became a choirmaster throughout my secondary school days. So, music to me is not by accident.
At what point of your life did you begin to have passion for music?
I can say right from my childhood and at the age of 13 to be precise.
How do you combine what you studied in school with music?
I decided to do music now professionally just this penultimate year, 2019. When I had my first short in 2012, it was like testing the waters and then I lost a huge amount of money as most people I worked with were mediocres, who did not have love in their heart. They came only to exploit me financially, which they actually did; I lost a reasonable amount of money in over 10 digits and it was like a mirage. I was so discouraged and decided to quit, so, I counted it as a wrong investment, learnt a lot from that mistake and now I know better. So, I went back to my profession strictly. I can say at this point I have attained some levels of financial freedom and I can give my passion another try.
Why the interest in Afrobeat as area of focus in your music career?
Personally, I am versatile when it comes to music; I can rap, sing and as well engage in dancehall genre. But as you know, Nigerian music has metamorphosed to the international stage now and with the likes of Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy etc doing big things with this genre of music, I believe I can take the baton and run along in the Afrobeat relay race, why not?
How did you come about the name Don Coleone?
I am an ardent fan of Marlon Brando, the Don Coleone in the Godfather movie and with a desire to have such kind of great influence running a well-coordinated business empire and as a dream to be like the God father, I decided to nickname myself Don Coleone. And if you believe in what they say about vision, if you can dream it, you can achieve it; then dinner is served.
Do you intend to relocate fully to Nigeria in pursuit of your music career?
A Don Coleone cannot rule the Nigerian music space from abroad, so, it’s my time to rule and the answer is crystal clear.
How is it doing music here at home and pursuing it in far away UAE where you are based?
I have a good team now, far from what I had in my first foray into music and we are not here to play. The brand is taking its place already.
How would you rate the entertainment industry in Nigeria?
The Entertainment industry in Nigeria has come to stay; you can only compare it to the U.S right now. It’s not a child’s play anymore; it has grown over the years to become an entity of it own.
How was your growing up days like?
It was a bit challenging coming from a humble background, but God got us from the start; we can testify to that now, we don’t talk much.
Are your parents in support of what you are doing?
My dad is late like over 20 years now and my mum is like my daughter now. So, what do you think?
How many works have you produced to your credit?
I have at least five singles now; three collabos and the rest are solos.
Are you looking up to a possible collabo with big artistes?
Yes, I’m Working on that and in few months, singles will be hitting the airwaves with some A list.
How’s you music doing in Nigeria right now?
We re doing good already, it’s a movement; some don’t understand it. Just like a Tsunami, we are sweeping across.
Would you say you’ve made any meaningful mark in your music career back home?
We are top notch already, the difference is clear. Even if some people are like the Pharisees, but they do hear the sound.
You have a music label, Coleone Cribx Records, how well is it doing and how many albums have you recorded to your credit?
We dropped three singles with three videos, all shot in South Africa in 2012. As I mentioned earlier, I left the music industry in 2014 given the bad experiences and losses, but I’m back now to do better. So far, I have one artiste Tall Cheezy signed to my record label, Don Coleone Cribx Records.
Where do you want to be in the industry a few years from now?
The goal of every artiste, I believe, is to be a brand/name to reckon with and I believe sooner than later, we will get there.
Do you have any intention of leaving your estate business to focus on music or the other way round?
No, I will still be in my real estate business, while pushing the music to its maximum.
How would you assess Nigeria’s music market?
It’s a cash cow for the stakeholders, but you must approach it with the right mindset and like-minded team; you must also be financially buoyant.