OJB Jezreel Talks Living Beyond 50, His Role In Building The Nigerian Music Industry & More In His Last Interview

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Last Sunday, just two days to his untimely and shocking death, veteran music producer, OJB Jezreel sat down with NETng’s Adedayo Showemimo in his Surulere homefor an interview as part of plans to celebrate his 50th birthday in July.

In the interview, the legendary OJB talked about everything from his growing up days, his family, his career, 2face’s Grace to Grass album which he solely produced, his health and lots more.

See excerpts from the interview below.

On turning 50: Turning 50 was something I used to look at as an age that’s very far away, but here it is today. It just makes you see that the people that took the responsibility of fathering your generation at that time have done their part and it’s our turn to take over from them and take care of the next generation. That’s what I see, a lot of responsibilities because now it’s obvious that people will actually look up to you.

On if he thought he’d live up to 50 following his health challenge in 2013: Well, when the health challenge came, I won’t lie to you, I was a bit worried, but after the transplant, I started seeing things differently and I started seeing possibilities of living up to 50 and even beyond.

On his journey into music production: I started as DJ because back then it was a lot easier to survive as a DJ, but I always loved beats and sounds, but some of the production houses we had back then didn’t make quality beats and most people and even record labels felt it couldn’t get better.

So I took it up as a challenge. I needed to prove a point and that’s how I entered music production.

On his most tasking project: The 2face Idibia ‘Grass To Grace’ still remains the most tasking project I’ve done till date. I say it because most people don’t know 2face is very stubborn (laughs). Sorry to say this, but Festac boys are really stubborn.

They always have an ideology that they have it all figured out, and when you try to structure them it causes a friction. So we did a lot of back and forth on that album. At times he was being difficult, he may not want to record at times and all that, but it’s so shocking now that it’s that same album that’s been called one of the greatest of all times.

Though I still think that Jazzman Olofin’s ‘Raise The Roof’ album was better in terms of production and creativity.

On what he wished he would’ve achieved in the music industry: I wish we had been able to structure a proper remuneration system for music producers and songwriters and the other guys behind the scene, because music is paying now, artistes get millions of naira from caller tunes and stuff, but there’s no provision for the producers and songwriters.

On regrets: Looking back, I see no regrets because I see things from a more spiritual point of view. I think it was destiny that led me into music, it wasn’t accidental. We might think we are the ones orchestrating it, but there’s a higher force.

If I had the choice to choose another career path, I’m sure it’ll still be within the entertainment industry.

When you are younger you see a lot of regrets, but when you are older you see the regrets as things that shaped your life to become who you are and that’s what makes you an elder with experience.

How he wanted to celebrate his 50th birthday: I think the first thing I really want to do is to have a quiet moment with my family, because as you are aware from 2013 till now it’s been a rolling stone of challenges health-wise and for some reasons I’m still alive, so that day, I really don’t want too much noise and celebration. I just want it to be a day for myself, family and God.

But after that day, we can turn up and paint the town all the colours you want (laughs).

Read the rest of the interview here.

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