Nansel Ofariegba Sunday Nimyel is the real name of singer, Zdon Paporrella. Aside having a huge talent in music, Zdon, who hails from Plateau State, is also a Television presenter, content creator and media consultant. In this interview with Ifeoma Ononye, the singer, writer and producer speaks about his recent song ‘Grateful’. He also has a few advice for fellow music stars who take female admirers for granted
You are said to be a man of many talents, a musician, once a journalist, a writer, a producer, which career would you say came first?
I was and have always been a musician before any other career path I have towed over the years. Music is my passion but I’m privileged to have been blessed with the gift of versatility which I have explored and will continue to as long as I breathe.
At what point did you realise that music is worth your attention and to give it your all?
I have been drawn to music from a very tender age but professionally, my journey into world of music started as far back as 1999. I joined a couple of groups, Z. I.P being the most prominent and went solo with my debut single tilted ‘NA U’ in 2005.
Got my nomaniation in the category of best R&B artiste at the Nigeria Music Awards UK in 2006. I was pribileged to attend and perform at the event. I knew right then that I was cut out for this.
Every singer, song writer and big music star has a story behind their humble beginnings, what is yours?
Well, like every other artiste from that time, there were struggles and challenges and they inspired my big hit “Nonsense” in 2007. A song that addressed the challenges and struggle of the Nigerian artiste as well as the ills in the Nigerian music Industry.
Till date music enthusiasts react anytime the phrase “I don tire to make sense” comes up. It was the Nigerian artiste’s Anthem. All the humble beginnings dey inside the lyrics.
Since you started your career in music, is it yielding positive results as expected?
Well it has. I thank God for how far I have come. Music helped to shape my life and I can say that I am fulfilled having been privileged to pursue my dream. Music has taken me to different parts of the world I only imagined in dreams. Through music I have met some amazing people in my lifetime.
There are also a lot of crucial life lessons one can learn in the entertainment industry especially here in Nigeria. There is no music industry in the world like ours. In all, it has been a very rewarding and fulfilling journey.
Every Nigerian musician is after producing a club banging hit even if it has lewd lyrics, are you following this trend too?
No I’m not. Genre wise, I would say my kind of music is afrobeat and pop. But personally I would say music from the heart.
Do you have an album out already or a single?
I have two albums out and I’m currently working on an EP. My new single titled “Grateful” is out and doing really well right now. We are working on shooting a video for it.
Is it a gospel song, what inspired the song?
It is gospel and it was inspired by the very eventful year 2020. So much happened last year that I couldn’t help but agree that the world indeed would end. I was just too grateful to be alive given how death literally was lurking in almost every corner you looked. Being alive is a great privilege and I felt the need to make a song of gratitude, hence “Grateful”.
Apparently the world felt same as it went viral almost immediately it was released with people sending videos with the song playing in the background from different parts of the world.
Tell us a little about yourself..
My names are Nansel Ofariegba Sunday Nimyel known to most people as Zdon Paporrella. I am from Plateau State but partly from Delta State. I sing, write and produce music. I am also a Television presenter, content creator and media consultant.
I have a Bsc in Cooperative Management and an Msc in Business Administration. I love to read, watch movies and write. I enjoy great company and conversations (light as well as the intellectual kind).
I have a beautiful and amazing daughter. I am single but not searching. I love good food, music, movies, positive thinking people and have zero tolerance for negative energy or pessimists. I am very passionate about knowledge and love to learn.
So you said you are single but not searching, are you wishing to remain single? Are you not enthusiastic about finding special someone and getting married?
Of course I am enthusiastic about settling down but not under any pressure to. I am in a relationship already which is why I say I am not searching.
I noticed that when someone says they are single, some people understand that the person is not married but might be in a relationship. Others just conclude that they are unattached and are searching hence why I specified that i am not searching.
Marriage should only happen when both parties in a relationship are certain that they are ready to spend the rest of their lives with that significant other for the right reasons and not because they are desperate for a status change to im- press society.
The earlier we realize that going out of our way to live our lives by the standards, expectations and validations of others only makes us slaves to society. You alone bear the consequences of those deci- sions and actions you make and take.
Society mocks you if it fails and you become entertainm e n t g i s t f o r even your close s t relatives when y o u leave the room. The saddest part is, society and people are insatiable and will keep expecting more from you until you leave this earth.
Fame is part of Every musician, and fame attracts female attention, as a good looking man, how will you handle the girls that will break down doors to get your attention?
I have been managing feminine attention for many years now. It is not easy but i have a system that works for me. I am privileged to have known and become friends with some amazing women in the course of my career. I think sometimes the male folk in the industry can be very presumptuous.
I have learnt over time that some of these ladies just genuinely admire you for your craft and nothing more. Most times they are not even attracted to you in the way you think. Some just want to be friends and nothing more.
But most of us have very big egos and assume that everyone who hits you up is attracted to you and wants something more. I have learnt not to assume until motives become obvious. I take nothing and no one for granted. It has worked for me over time.
Looking back at your growing up days, would you say you had a great childhood?
Growing up was great. I sometimes feel very nostalgic when I remember my childhood. We have a fun mum, who ensured that we had a balanced childhood. We didn’t have everything we wanted but our needs were taken cared of. My mother exposed us to the world of entertainment and sports.
She encouraged and nurtured our talents while also ensuring that we didn’t compromise on our studies. So our social and academic life was very balanced. I love and miss my childhood. It was all shades of happiness.
So you always had the support of your parents pursuing your passion in music back then?
Yes, my mother always and still is my biggest fan. She has always encouraged and supported me in any way she could. Not financially but her prayers, counsel and morale support have been very helpful in the course of the journey.
Back in your school days where you one of the happening guys, the ones that turn girls heads?
Well I was quite popular in school if I should say so myself and was involved in a lot of social activities.
How did you come about the stage name, Zdon Paporrella and what does it mean?
Zdon Paporrella. My friends used to call me “D Don”. It was my first stage name in school cause I actually started out as a rapper. As time progressed I changed it to Zdon cause it was drawing the wrong kind of attention.
Paporrella was Paparella initially “Papa” for Father and Rella” for realness or reality so you can say “Father of Reality”. I strongly believe in the power of a name. I changed “Paparella” to “Paporrella” cause it rolled off the tongue better. It still means the same thing though. My stage names are a constant reminder of who or what I represent.
Zdon simply reminds me to stand out as much I can and Paporrella also constantly reminds me that I need to always be real and true to myself always. What’s in a name? Everything.
What are your thoughts about the current insecurity situation in the country?
It is sad and scary. People live in constant fear and that is no way to live. With the recent replacement of the service chiefs, one can only hope the security situation will improve.
As Nigerians, we must do our best to support the security agencies by providing good intel if and when we have it. The Security agencies also need to be more proactive than reactive. I strongly believe that we can beat this, if the situation is well managed by all stakeholders including us the people.