Jennifer Eliogu: Glittering on screen, hugging the mic so well
It is this credo that delectable Nollywood actress and singer, Jennifer Eliogu, has held on to and today, the native of Uke in Idemili Council of Anambra State, who combines acting and singing so very well has emerged a recognisable personality in the Nigerian entertainment space.
Indeed, Jennifer’s decision to explore her innate acting and singing talent at the time that the idea came up for her to make a move, has accounted for her emergence as a fixture, not just in the home movie scene, but in the Nigerian music scene.
An urbane and uncommonly charming actress of numerous credits, Jennifer has steered herself almost effortlessly up to the top rung since she took the decision to strut the entertainment turf.
Although now more notable as a singer and leader of the upscale musical band, Silk Band, it wasn’t particularly acting that Jennifer wanted first as a career. Even her peers at Girls Secondary School, Uke, where she had her early education, said she was cut out for singing.
They recalled that Jenny, as she was simply called then, showed immense talent in the area of singing and so they all thought they would hear her album out in future. Even Jenny recalled that she wanted to be a singer and to be as successful as Sonya Spence, the sentimental musician, who she said had a great influence on her whilst growing up.
So, fresh from school, Jennifer sought for avenues to actualise her dreams. She wrote songs, rehearsed them and yearned for a leading to someone who would hear her out and agree to either produce or market her music. It was whilst all this ideas were hopping in her mind that the acting turf beckoned.
The year was 1997. A friend who was notable in the industry and whom Jenny had gone to see for referral to a music producer requested that Jenny accompanied her to a movie audition. It was at the venue of the audition exercise that Jenny’s career chair turned. The audition exercise triggered a keen interest in acting for the actress and singer that has performed for high profile personalities both at home and abroad.
Her debut as a screen actress was on the set of House on the Fire. It took the release of that two-part didactic movie for Jenny to cut a swath amongst Nollywood’s big time producers and to belch out wide for recognition.
But Jenny’s rise to the top rung as an actress didn’t come easy, as she explained. The actress, who recently released a 12-track album, admitted that like some of her peers and colleagues, she also beat the rough path to the height she has attained so far.
“It didn’t come easy. I mean, I recalled that after the few initial jobs I did, I attended so may auditions and was not considered for any. But I stayed on, convinced though that I was cut out to be an entertainer, it will just be a matter of time for my talent to manifest.
“However, one thing that I warned myself about was being desperate. I said I was not going to be desperate, because when you are desperate, you fall prey to guys in the industry, who would take you for a ride,” she said.
One who is perfectly juggling both worlds, Jenny revealled that even though her musical career is more demanding now, since she has to be travelling as live performer, she still finds time to honour invitations to movie set.
“I have not abandoned acting; I am still in mainstream Nollywood and like fine wine, I keep getting better. Also, as you know, the older the wine, the more expensive.
“My appearance in movies is subject to availability, because I do other things apart from singing. It is also subject to the script, the story, the cast and affordability. Meaning that their budget has to agree with what I can accept as fee.
“So, I am still in mainstream. There wouldn’t be any need to dump one for the other. I have been doing both simultaneously,” she enthused.
Asked how well she is doing as a singer, Jennifer said she is doing very well, adding: “My music is doing well surely. My kind of music appeals more to the mature minds, age irrespective. I am a live performer, so I get to play a lot of private gigs, weddings, dinners, birthdays and awards and so on.
“My band, ‘The Silk Band,’ has been opportune to cater for a number of high profile events both at home and abroad. Having my own platform has really given me an edge. The ‘Live Your Dream’ concert with Jennifer Eliogu, which maiden edition held in Abuja last December, was a huge success. We are warming up for the second edition.
“I think I consider it my most memorable event yet.”
Always conscious of what she wears and how she looks, Jennifer explained that she doesn’t do any “special to look good and fit,” adding: “Nothing special. I just try to live healthy and I always try to feed my body, mind and spirit right. I am a very positive-minded person. I love my private space. I dislike negative energies.”
An actress of vast credits, who admitted to have been privileged to be part of some very good movies, Jennifer recently starred in the urban telling Dahlia, directed by the prolific motion picture writer, actor and director, Paschal Amanfo. She disclosed, as she also talked about her career ambition, that she is at the moment tidying up a script, which she and her crew intend to start filming in a few weeks.
And in response to the question on her career ambition, Jennifer said: “I am one person who takes my life and career in my stride. Knowing it is a mission and not a competition and most importantly, grace.”