Myro: Jack of all trade, master of all
A talented young man with a creative mind, Oghenemairo Daniel Ozah, otherwise known as Myro, is no stranger in the creative industry, having been around for sometime now. Born in Ajegunle and brought-up in Surulere, Lagos, he started listening to the likes of Shabba Ranks, Plantashun Boiz and Kanye West as a young boy and was eventually tutored performance art by the legendary Joke Silva and Olu Jacobs at the Abbey Junior Mixed and Infants School, Ikeja.
Aside from his music career, which has gained momentum since signing for Guardian Music, Myro, who is a graduate of Architecture, is the king of merchandising and branding with lots of works to his credit. He is responsible for the famous Alobam merchandise for rapper Phyno, while his recent merchandise for his hit single Odi Ok, is in high demand with over 5000 units sold offline. He is also reputed to have done the largest graffiti painting in the biggest theme park in sub-Saharan region of Africa.
In this interview with CHUKS NWANNE, Myro, who just released video for his single Lagos Soweto, spoke on his career exploits and future plans.
Ajegunle is known for producing some of the best talents in Nigeria, how was it like growing up there?
Growing up in Ajegunle seemed pretty normal for me; my parents were the regular African parents, particular about education and upheld high moral values. However, I didn’t get a thorough chance to witness the reality of what the area was known for. I was overly protected by mum and sisters; I only knew I lived in the ‘jungle city’ in words, as it is known back then. Somehow, I felt music in its vicinity; I moved and knew there was rhythm around. I heard of Daddy Showkey and Shabba Ranks; all the uncles around then had that ‘punk’ hairstyle and dressed in Jamaican colours. It was subtle, but energetic.
How did you encounter music as a young boy?
My first encounter with music… mum used to play lots of Isoko traditional music and make merry in our one-room apartment. She was always joyous at the sound of music; sounds from Sunny Ade, Ebenezer obey filled the air whenever she comes home from her fufu trade. It became a part of me even before I turned 10 years old. I also became aware of Plantashun Boiz and immediately loved everything about them. Back then, Ajegunle was known for dancehall and ragga, so, I also listened to a lot of Shabba Ranks as a kid.
With your level exposure to music as a young boy, how come you opted for architecture?
Well, going to the university, I wanted a course I could do effortlessly citing my artistic talent. I also thought of a course that could make wholesome changes in the world; I was good at technical drawing and intro-tech in secondary school too. While trying to make a choice, I did some findings on architects and found out they were also multi talented people; they were artists, painters. It fascinated me. So, I decided I was going to study architecture, though I still kept in touch with my music.
Did you ever get to practice architecture since you left school?
Yes, I practiced, but for a very short period; six months into the job, the power of music in me overcame everything else. I was not able to sleep; I was scared. How could I graduate at the top of my college in Architecture with a 4.47 CGPA and not practice? What would people say? My mom finally agrees that ‘some people’ didn’t want her only son to lead a normal life. I decided I was going to sing anyway, cleared my table from work and spoke to my uncle, who thought I should become Africa’s Frank Lloyd Wright. Everyone felt I was lost.
So, how did you manage to push through?
It wasn’t easy, but I kept on pushing. Eventually, my professional career in music took off in 2015. I did collaborations with the likes of Oritse Femi, Mode 9, Terry the Rapman, Vector and others. I’ve played different concerts, including MerryBets Show, Alibaba’s January 1st show, Wazobia Carnival 2017, Nigezie Color of Love 2.0, Laff up, One-Lagos-Fiesta (Ikorodu, Agege, Badagry, Epe), Lagos Street Party 2016, Star Trek 2016, Industry Nite, Loud “N” Proud, Beats Of Lagos, Seyi Law’s Fast & Furious 2016, Chronicle’s of Ushbebe, Gidi Culture Festival and others.
How far have you gone with your music?
I basically feel I’m in the works with my music.
Getting more people to feel my sound and style. Building a steady growing fan base. Music is a process. It’s one thing to record beautiful songs, it’s another thing to distribute and have more people get access to it. I appreciate every step of the way.
You listed veteran musician Jimi Solanke as your icon, what’ the attraction?
Jimi Solanke is an icon; he is a storyteller, an artiste and musician amongst others. At a time I was confused about my gifts, I felt I should pick just one and focus on it. Then, I got to know about Solanke, who is blessed to be all. At that time I believed I could use all my gifts and flourish in them. He’s such a talented figure, who has remained consistent till date; that’s the direction I want to go as an artiste.
So, what are you working on right now in terms of music?
I’m currently recording an EP; I have several songs recorded in different moods. I want to be able to put out my personality through my music. I just want to be me; I don’t want to act out a script. I’m not soo ‘street’ but I love everything about it; the wit, the go-getter mind set… so, I learn from that. I was not born with a silver spoon, affluence, availability of all needs and wants, so I yearn for that; not for selfish reasons, but to know I can work and get it; to bless all around me. I’m just from a middle-income background and I want to just be me. It’s all going be in that EP; the party mood, the chill and freestyles, the solemn, the hope, the naughtiness, the exuberance of youth, the growth and knowledge of man.
Which do you consider as your best collaboration so far?
My best collaboration out is Plantain featuring Oritsefemi. He’s a great vocalist, talented writer and performer; I learned the entire period. The studio sessions was all love; the video was love. We have performed that song together on different stages and I feel blessed to have had him on that song.
What’s your target in the industry?
I don’t have a target in the industry, but I have a target as a human; to succeed exceedingly in all I have chosen to do. I want to impact knowledge to generations and be a source of inspiration and positive energy to everyone that comes in contact with me, through my art, music, creation or in person.
Tell us about latest video, Lagos Soweto?
My latest video Lagos Soweto was shot on location in Lagos Nigeria as directed by the creative Ceelah Rex. It is a party themed video and is full of life. It portrays me as the ‘life of the party’, the entertainer. I had on a ‘coat of many colours’ costume as created by one of Africa’s leading bespoke designers, Big Ben Kilani. Massive appreciation to Guardian Music, Guardian Production and Ibru Studios for being a part of the project in conjunction with Masterpiece Entertainment. The video was released recently and it’s gradually enjoying airplay across the country and on YouTube.
Aside from your music career, you seem to be doing very well in the area of branding and merchandising?
Merchandising is also a love for me an art and as a business. In fact, I interned with one of the best out of Nigeria in the business of merchandising, SOJO; He was a master of street art, I learned from him; lettering, logos, fabrics, marketing, sales and profits. It’s been great so far; I’m always happy to state that I actually designed the Phyno ‘Alobam’ tee shirts, conceived the business plan and got a financier (Nedu) for the business; it was a great experience for my team and me. I also pushed the limits in designing my own ‘Odi Ok’ brand that is also viral. I see myself in that light of people like P. Diddy, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams… musicians, who want to be more than just the music. That’s just who I am.
The ‘Alobam’ brand you created for Phyno was very successful, could you share your experience working on that project?
The ‘Alobam’ brand was a joint effort with Phyno; he’s also a creative person. I had crazy designs as prototypes; images, characters, fonts etc. Then he (Phyno) says, ‘Myro, we are going to keep it simple.’ I objected because I wanted something artsy; something that would show I was creative. But he says, ‘right now, we have to go with less is more.’ So, we went with basic fonts, stripes and stars, which turned out to the biggest character in urban wear design at that time. It was an interesting experience for me and I’m happy that people received it well.
What other branding projects have you done so far?
Some of my other branding projects include The Soundcity Awards wears (tees and Che Guvera styled hats), Headies Awards promotional gear, Phyno ‘Connect’ Gear, NUPENG gears, Graffiti art for the biggest theme park in Sub- Saharan Africa, Hi- Impact Planet, Roll Back Malaria promotional gear, Grafton Records and Mr.2kay promotional gears and others. The truth is that I’ve done a lot in such a short period.