Body & Soul

Growing up as a prison warder’s son shaped my music –Etcetera

Nigerian singer and song writers Pascal Uche Ejikeme, popularly known by his stage name Etcetera Ejikeme in his debut in the music industry came with his own kind of sound. Guitar in one hand and his soulful voice, is all the singer needs to put audience in the mood of good music.

 

The deep lyrics of his song ‘Ring the alarm’ got the attention of Professor Pat Utomi who invited the singer serenade his guests at his party. Etcetera’s kind of genre is not popular among young folks because it flows with message about happenings in the society and political circle.

 

As an artiste who constantly questioned the typical Nigerian system, it was easy for him to become a columnist for a notable newspaper in Nigeria when it seemed his music career met some challenges. The singer saw writing as another tool like music to pass his message of change.

 

Born in the Niger Delta town of Warri, Delta State to a father David Ejikeme, who was a Prison Warder and a mother, Cecilia Ejikeme, who was a petty trader, Etcetera who is the 7th of 9 children said that things he saw growing up in barracks coupled with experiences as a prison warder’s son exposed him to the kind of music he does and shaped part of who he is.

 

In a chat with Razzle Dazzle, he shared that his foundation in music can be traced to St Joseph Catholic Church, Kiriki Town where he was a member of the youth band.

 

“My journey into music started in 1998. That was the year I stumbled into music. A musician wasn’t what I had dreamt of becoming as a child growing up in the prison barracks.

 

“It was around the year 1998 that the then Catholic Arch Bishop oLagos Diocese, Cardinal Olubunmi Okojie gave his blessings that complete musical instruments can be used within the premises of the the church and during Mass services in Lagos Archdiocese.”

 

“Before then, what we used were congas and tambourines and clapping of hands. I was a member of the Catholic Youths Organisation of St Joseph Catholic Church Kirikiri Town Apapa, Lagos at the time. And the organisation bought a complete musical set and formed The Catholic Youth Band. Even though none of us members of the Organisation could play any of the instruments.

 

He continued: “On the day we chose to launch our instruments in the church, we hired professional instrumentalists to play the instruments for church members and guests to have a feel of the real deal.

 

Of what they would be enjoying henceforth during church services. “But when the hired instrumentalists came and saw the calibre of guests at the launch, they decided they aren’t going to touch the instruments until we increased their money. We thought they were being petty and chose not to succumb to their cheap blackmail. “And true to their word, they walked out on us.

 

And due to the embarrassment, we decided to learn how to play our instruments ourselves. We employed a music tutor for members who were interested in learning how to play any of the instruments. “I chose to learn how to play the piano. With daily rehearsals, I became good at it.

 

That was how the music bug hit me, and I said to myself, why not music? Instead choosing a career path that I would find boring and unenjoyable. And I had already fallen in love with playing the piano.

And that was how my music career was born.” Now pushing for birth of his third album, after releasing two singles in far away United States, Etcetera has discovered more of himself that would be unveiled soon.

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