Born Ehizojie Okoeguale, ‘Ehiz’ is one of the top on-screen personalities in Africa. Although Ehiz won the MTV VJ search in 2013, the popular VJ started hosting way back from his secondary school days to the university; hosting social night events, award nights to hosting rap battles and more.
As part of the process, Ehiz got on to radio in 2008 to work along Douglas on Rhythm 94.7 FM and according to him, it was super exciting. In this interview session, Ehiz talks about Presenting as a department in the Nigerian entertainment industry, life before the fame, life after the fame, ‘Dada Boy’ as a commercial brand and the effect of Nigerian music in the world.
- How was life before you won the MTV base VJ search?
I was a just typical Nigerian growing kid, learning to deal with life and travelling a lot; Lagos, Ibadan, Delta, and basically the whole South-South. I literally spent a lot of time travelling, so I was just a normal kid like everyone else. Adventure was the order of the day; I and a bunch of friends in school then would literally travel to everyone’s village. We would travel from Abraka to Warri, to Port Harcourt and more. We would basically visit friends everywhere.
- What doors did it open for you?
It opened everything; I’m here because of it. It opened everything, even the heavens.
- That moment you found out that you had won; how did you feel?
Hungry!!! I was really hungry at that moment because we had drunk a certain cognac, myself and my South African Friend. We drank half a bottle and we hadn’t really eaten that whole day.
- What’s your take on media houses giving employment based on “foreign accent”?
If I had an accent, say I get London accent, their father, I die there. I wouldn’t stop talking but I don’t know, I guess media houses want what they want. Although I think that was some years ago; now, media houses are sticking to the originality of things because even in the world at large, being African is number one right now. I think that was a thing some years ago, not anymore. E get as im dey be with them people but I just doing my own p.
- Talk us through how VJ-ing works…
I really don’t know… You know, an accountant can pinpoint what he does exactly but VJing, it’s a different thing. With me it’s like lifestyle, people see me and they don’t even consider me as a VJ, they go “Oh, that’s dada boy”. It’s a personality now. So, how does VJing work? “You stand in front of the camera and be a video jockey” I guess that’s how it works but with me, it’s a personality. So, I really don’t know.
- Does presenting have an influence on the Nigeria music industry?
Hell yes!!! Presenting has an influence on the industry, not just in Nigeria, everywhere. Do you know how many fully blown musicians cannot stand in front of the camera? It’s a department in the industry, it is like agoyin with the three-legged pot. The music industry is the big pot, the ingredients are the artistes and presenting is the omo rogun (the big spoon used to mix everything together). So, the presenters give it fluidity. Presenters are like the mix, like water used to mix the corn flakes. We have the likes of Wizkid, Davido and more, going overseas, we have Nas, JayZ, etc but guess what? We still have La La, Sway, and Terrence. Even way back to the 80s with Soul Train and Don Cornelius who was like the major person because back in the days, the way artistes performed was by going to shows and what is a show without a presenter? It’s like a backdrop, so you need a master of ceremony to handle the situation.
- Outside presenting, who is Ehiz?
I’m a Nigerian kid, happy, too happy sometimes. I am relaxed, living my best life, no back and forth. I tend to live my life by the day, it’s ok to make plans and conquer goals but I live by the day and I tend to do that with a smile. So, even when I die, I’ll probably have like an open casket so that people can see my smiling corpse, aside from the fact that my teeth are amazing.
- What major projects are you working on presently?
Clothing!!! I guess that’s not a surprise. Myself and my boy have come together and we are doing our stuff. I really want to appreciate the people that have been buying our clothes, we are stacking up future school fees (so) thank you. #laughs. We have this initiative, my manager calls it a CSR, I don’t know what that means, he uses big words a lot, and it’s basically us giving back to the community. You know when you had like career day in secondary school, we are on that. Myself and a bunch of my friends, Timini, OC, Bolinto, a couple of my friends who are makeup artistes, a couple of my friends who are lawyers and doctors. Basically, the idea is to talk with the kids, guide them when it comes to decision making. Times have changed you know, so the idea is to help them make that decision as quickly as possible. Check out dada boy TV also, it is lit and that’s on YouTube.
- Tell us something about you that we won’t find online
You won’t find a lot of things, a lot!!! Like, I am a great dancer, I don’t like tight clothes, I don’t eat Yam, Okra and snail because I have hospitals situations when I do. My best food is fufu and edikaikong soup.
- What are the 3 best places you’ve visited in the world?
Jos first because I went there for the first time this year and it is beautiful, it looks like a location from the movie “Queen of the south”. It’s so beautiful and I don’t understand why there is so much crisis there. At some point I was close to crying, the driver took us to some places where we saw damaged houses and I felt really bad. It shouldn’t be like that, Jos is literally a beautiful place.
One of the most beautiful places in the world is Cape Town, without a doubt. Trust me, I won’t mention anywhere outside Africa, I am very African like that. Lastly, Tanzania, it’s a very beautiful place too and I enjoyed myself. Every single place I have been to in Africa has touched me in a certain way. If it’s not the view, it’s the women or the view and the women, the people and the food but with the food, I’ll give it to West Africa. It’s only in West Africa we eat pepper, the rest no too dey chop pepper like that. Me? I dey carry pepper dey travel oh, put am inside my bag.
- Do westerners really enjoy Nigerian music or is just a fake wave?
It can’t be a fake wave, it can’t be!!! Have you seen what our friends are doing overseas, filling up arenas? New York, Los Angeles, Dallas… True story? I was at the beach in LA and one of those guys that sell shades and hats had this small deck and he was playing our music. My mind was blown, so it can’t be fake. It’s like reggaeton, there was a time when Daddy Yankee was the deal, everyone was dancing to his sound, it’s our turn now and the good thing about it is that we are Africa, we have over a billion people, so it is going to be our turn for a while.
- Rank the following artistes in your best Afro-beat opinion from top to bottom: Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, and Mr Eazi
Wow. Wizkid is star boy, he is incredible and is possibly the most popular African artiste right now. Davido is incredible and possibly the hottest African artiste. Burna Boy is one of the most complete mainstream Afro-beat artiste. Mr Eazi, I call him the Bill Gates of the industry because he came and showed everyone that you can make real money in a short time, like work smart and get rich in a smart way. This is hard, I love all of them but let’s do it this way… Burna Boy, Wizkid, Davido and Mr Eazi.
- What do you have planned for 2019?
The plan for 2019 is to find love; when you find love everything is comfortable. So, my plan is to find love in 2019.