Oge Kimono Interview: I still hear my father’s voice

Oge Kimono – Eyes of a Lagos Boy

Talented Nigerian singer, songwriter and performer, Oge Kimono describes her experience as a migrant in her new single, ‘Sojourner’. The song highlights migrants’ struggles and important cultural exchanges that take place during the process of migration.

Oge, whose heritage is linked to the legendary African reggae icon Ras Kimono started singing at the age of ten and with her father’s encouragement, became a professional in her teens. Kimono was a backup vocalist for several international acts that include Tuklan, Ade Bantu, Uwe Banton and Rocky Dawuni. Her musical career has seen her perform on renowned reggae stages; Summer Jam, Reggae Jam, Ruhr Reggae and more across Europe and Africa.

The rubber dub scion currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON). Her singles include ‘Drum and Bass’, ‘Addicted’, ‘Safe’, ‘Main Chick’. In June 2019, her debut album titled Good Ole Days was released in commemoration of her father’s one year memorial.

‘Sojourner’ has been adopted by the Nigerian-German Centre for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration as their theme song. Her music is centered around messages of love, equality and justice.

Oge Kimono, in a chat with eyesofalagosboy.com calls her style of reggae music  roots and lover’s rock as she takes us through what she has been up to lately.

What is “Sojourner” about?

‘Sojourner’ is a song about life in general but in the case of this song it is streamlined to the pursuit of “greener pastures” migration. It talks about my personal experiences of living in another man’s land.

You lived in Germany for several years, what was your migration experience like?

Yes I lived in Germany for a couple of years and I must say it was a life changing experience coming from a world where cultures and ideologies are totally different. I experienced a massive culture shock which in turn enlightened me from what I was used to. I guess we can call it “practical education”.

Living in Germany opened my mind to a lot of possibilities and opportunities. My experiences are too many to list, but it taught me to be firm in character, responsible and transparent in my dealings in life. There is dignity in character as it ultimately defines you.

Can we expect a new album soon? Where can your fans catch you?

I am currently on to something, yes an album maybe. It is still in the works and I honestly can’t put a time to it right now but it is definitely coming.

I currently reside in Abuja though I am in Lagos every now and then for one event or the other. I host a weekly reggae party at a spot called “CueBar” in Abuja every Wednesday night. My Fans can catch me there live and also on Social Media and online streaming platforms.

Tell us about the role your father played in your musical career and how you are keeping his legacy alive.

My father obviously played and still plays a big role in my musical career being that he was my first teacher and encouraged my musical quest. My very first professional job as a back-up singer was working in my father’s band. His dedication to his craft and confidence in the originality of his style and of course the content of his message has definitely influenced me positively as I exhibit these same characteristics consciously and unconsciously. As a social crusader whose music borders on the message of love, equity, equality and justice the apple did not fall from the tree.

Oge with father Ras Kimono on stage – Courtesy O. Kimono

You are working with COSON to protect Nigerian artists’ authors’ rights – what are COSON’s priority topics?

I am privileged to be a serving member on the board of Copyright Society Of Nigeria Ltd/Gte (COSON), whose major mandate is on the collection and distribution of royalties to rightsholders and affiliates both local and international. As the first Collective Management Organization CMO, COSON is concerned with the task of securing the royalties of its members and rightsholders. The organization has been faced with many challenges in the past years, but it has not failed to prioritize the welfare of its members.

What is your advice for young Nigerians reggae musicians?

My advice to young reggae musicians out there is to put in the work because nothing will be handed to you free. Never miss an opportunity to improve their craft and stay true to their originality. Be sure to produce quality music in terms of sound, content and delivery.

The daughters of legends; Niambe Tosh, Nkulee Dube, daughters of Bob Marley are out there doing music just as yourself. What is your relationship with them like?

Yeah, I call them ‘Sistah Queens’ though I do not know all of them closely, but I have a personal relationship with Nkulee Dube the daughter of Lucky Dube. We have a sisterly relationship which is special to me. We share ideas and I also get to learn from her towing the path of legacy as our journeys have some similarities. She is a definitely a trailblazer in the Reggae genre across the World and she continues to inspire me.

What drives Oge Kimono musically? Who are the artists you’ll like to work with?

What drives me musically is the fact that reggae music chose me. I draw my inspiration from the realities of life and consciousness. The ability to be able to express myself in ways I can, while have fun doing it is also a drive.

Another drive for me in recent times is that I still get to hear my father’s voice. Years after his passing, I still feel his presence. It makes me want to do more so that my own children will feel the same way I feel each time they hear my voice.

I have been privileged to work with the likes of the Late maestro Sound Sultan and Jesse Jagz on my debut album titled Good Ole Days which was released in 2019. I am definitely looking at more collaborations in the industry with the likes of TuBaba, Tarrus Riley, Queen Ifrica, Patoranking, Yemi Alade, Kizz Daniel, Asake, to mention a few out of a long list. These people have their unique sounds and standout in their own way.

 How does Oge Kimono spend her daily life?

My typical daily life will consist of being a wife, a mother, a musician and a student. I try to balance out each of these roles to the best of my ability as the curve of life presents itself. I am thankful to The Most High for all of this and more.

What do you intend  to achieve with the message of ‘Sojourner’?

With the message of Sojourner I will like to positively influence the mind and mentality of intending migrants to be well informed. Read, study and research about the country that you intend to go seek “greener pastures”. Learn their ways, rules and laws as that will guide you to make informed decisions. Just in case you don’t make it out there and things don’t work as planned, it is no shame to return home and apply yourself with all you have learned out there.