Jemide: The Talent With Hand In Every Pie
Actor, model, and recording artist, Natse Jemide, is quickly becoming a household name. Fondly referred to as Nigeria’s sweetheart, Natse is loved for his role as Reggie in Nigeria’s first young adult Netflix Original series, ‘Far From Home’. He has modelled for brands across Africa, America, the UK and the UAE.
He can be seen walking on the runway at the New York and Milan Fashion weeks, for fashion maisons, including Giorgio Armani. Educated in the UK, he read law at the University of Birmingham and is passionate about building one of Lagos’ most popular youth-focused creative hubs, Wintar Studios, in a bid to provide a space for creativity, collaboration and innovation to thrive. When he is not working, he enjoys football, sailing and spending time with family.
You’re a man of many parts; do all these come naturally to you?
Not exactly. I was blessed with natural abilities and I’ve spent my whole life honing and making them valuable. In some cases, subconsciously, in others, actively. But work always plays the biggest part. I knew what my talents were, but it took a lot of studying, exercise and experience to develop the skills that allow me to function on set, or in the studio, or even in business today.
What was your experience, as the star of ‘Far from Home’?
It’s been amazing and I’m grateful to have been able to contribute to something that has this level of impact. As I always say, you make things in hope that others will appreciate them; so, the love from the fans has been the best part. They deserve to have shows that they really connect with, and we managed to give that to them. That’s the path to growth, and maybe, something a bit more special than that. I’m so hopeful for the future of this industry, and I think ‘Far From Home’ was a win for us. So, as a fan, an actor, a producer and a young Nigerian, it was a very fulfilling experience.
Did you always know you were going to go into acting or it just happened to you?
To be honest, it just kind of happened. I’d always felt like I could do it though. When I was nine years old, I wrote and starred in my end-of-year play. I’d make YouTube skits with my friends and write songs and short stories. I thought I was going to be an author or an actor or a director, a storyteller of some sort.
When I was 13, I even applied to the New York Film Academy. But school and sports started to take priority and I just became focused on that and left the rest behind. When I got to the university, I realised that corporate life might not be for me and just opened myself to all possibilities. I started modelling, experimenting with music and then eventually trying to build a production company to live out my love of film. At this point, I still didn’t know I’d be an actor. Then FFH came along out of nowhere and it was like “Okay God, I see you.” It felt like what I was always supposed to be doing.
You say you are also a recording artist, where do you receive inspiration for your songs?
Experience. I just try to draw from what I’m going through and what people around me are going through. A lot of my songs are like diary entries. They all represent a moment in time. So, I might have a conversation or go through something with and an idea will pop up or I’ll just feel the need to express it. Then it’s about fleshing that out and then I listen to music. I study things I like and try and reinterpret them in my own way.
Having walked for major brands and houses internationally, how would you rate Nigerian brands and fashion houses?
We’ve come a really long way. Nigerian designers are putting out amazing pieces every day. Obviously, we have a lot of space to grow in terms of things like global market share, but I’d say that on a design level, we could stand next to anyone in the world. But as with a lot of industries in Nigeria, we just need the right structures.
Would you always want to toe the creative line or the Nigerian law scene can expect you to join them in the near future?
That’s very unlikely. I’ve pretty much burned the boats on that as a career path. I’m focused. I love what I do, and that’s all I’m interested in right now. I’ll use the skills I learned to navigate business decisions for sure, but that’s far as I can see.
Tell us about Wintar Studios, what are you looking to do with it?
So, Wintar Studios is a youth-focused creative hub. We operate a studio facility in Lagos that has catered to a few industry favourites. We’ve had Rema, Omah Lay, Naira Marley, Wande and so on. In addition to this, we produce creative projects, photo shoots, films, music videos, and albums and we rent out gear.
Our whole thing is giving creatives the tools they need to succeed. In the long run, we want to produce content that can compete at the highest level globally. We want to tell our stories to the world. We want to make the best films, and the best music as well as create ways for others to do the same by providing infrastructure and funding. I believe the creative industry will be a primary driver of growth for this generation of Nigerians. We want to play a part in that.
Take us through a day in your life.
I wake up between 7.00 and 9.00 am in the morning, pray and then head to the gym. On a good day, I’ll read or watch something productive on the way. Once I’m done at the gym, I head to the studio. If I’m shooting, I’ll head to set. Set days start earlier, around 5.00 am or 6.00 am. Once I’m done dealing with business at the studio, I’ll lock in and record. Go home and watch Netflix. Then do it all again the next day.
If you were not doing what you do right now, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be working in VC or something, or building a start-up. Or I’d have become an athlete, football or basketball. I’d have a podcast on the side as well and go on speaking tours. I could have been so many things, to be honest.
How would you describe your personal style?
It’s comfortable. I don’t like to do too much as long as I look clean. I wear mostly shorts, tees, cargos, sweats and sneakers. I like accessories, rings and sunglasses, especially.
What can your fans expect from you before this year runs out?
I’ll be dropping a single soon followed up by a couple of projects. I can’t say when exactly but I’ll try to make it memorable.