Modupe Oreoluwa “Mo’Cheddah talking about herself and her music. Speaking out her mind and how loud she is,yeah she’s loud and strong with great influence.
Excerpts from the interview
Ice Prince and I
He is my friend. A very good friend of mine. He is always proclaiming his love for me but i don’t believe him. But he is my very good friend.
He is a beautiful rapper. I love the texture of his voice. His wordplay is amazing and his use of words shows he is widely read. He is intelligent. Listening to him, you just know that intellectually, he is sound. As a rapper,i really, really, really, really like Ice Prince.
How did you come about the name Mo’cheddah?
Mo’cheddah is a state of mind. People started calling me Mo’chedah actually. And Mo’cheddah means more money. Originally, it was just Mo. The Cheddah came about when they saw my lifestyle. So, it’s now Mo’cheddah. My real name is Modupe Ola.
How I started
I was blessed enough to have talented friends that took me up at a very young age and started working on me then to become the full package that i am today. I have been working with them since i was 12, teaching me how to write, teaching me music and how to recognise instruments, teaching me how to present myself as a whole. That was what they were like training me for back then. And this is where i am now.
Tell me about your childhood.
I have beautiful parents. My dad is late now but memories i have of him is so sweet. He was an amazing father. As a kid,i was free spirited and i am still free spirited.
He brought me up in the way to just enjoy life at its fullest. He let me know that life is short, live it, love it, love everybody around you, have fun, always be happy, nothing is worth making you sad. So, as a child,i was very outgoing,i was very loud,i was very opinionated. And with the talent that God gave me,i used to flaunt it. As a child, when visitors came,i will dance for them and when i went to parties,i will always win every single thing and bring all my presents back home. I just loved being at the centre of attraction. And because i wanted to make a statement everywhere i went,i would practice at home all the time before going out. I grew up at Akoka, at Fola Agoro Estate.
We are five in the family. I am number four. I have a kid sister. My immediate brother is seven years older than i am. I am six years older than my immediate younger sister. It’s like everybody around me was older than i am. And that was why i was able to meet my family friends. And that was why i was with them. I had no one to play with. I was always playing with old people. Because there was no one around me. Back then, the hood was like they had a lot of people there and there was nobody my age around, so I’m always with my siblings. There was a lot of love. They never used to leave me behind. I was always somewhere around all the time.
At that age, i was an entertainer,i was dramatic,i was all in your face. And i wanted to do it on a big stage. I was very ambitious as a child. I watched the TV and saw celebrities on the world stage and i wanted to be like them.
I wanted to be able to make millions of people smile because of me. I have always looked forward to doing music on a big scale. Then everything just happened in a beautiful way. And then my family friends were also lovers of music. And i just saw that they were a step ahead of me. They were older than i was, they were taking the music business seriously. They had musical instruments, they used to go to the studio to record and i was young and they saw the potential in me. They saw something special in me. And because i always had older people around me, mentally,i was older than i was. And i knew what i wanted. So, they said ok, we could work with you.
I was born on October 16, 1990. My mum is the head teacher in a government owned primary school. And my dad was a banker.
Growing under a teacher mother was bittersweet. My mum was something else. But my dad was permissive. To him, you could do anything you wanted to. He put so much trust in us. You wanted to do something wrong but you tell yourself you can’t do it, because daddy won’t like it. My mum was physical. She would take you down. Straight. You can’t just mess with my mum. She would brush you. There was a lot of spanking while growing up, but it was for good. My dad was J.B. Ola. He was an amazing man, he was sweet, he was God fearing. He would give everything he had just to make anybody happy. He would give anything to a stranger if you came to him with a need, just to make you happy. He was very selfless. My dad was into the profession of money banking. And that was where i got Mo’cheddah from. Because he did it big. He was a big spender.
Among all my siblings we are all different but the same. We are all outspoken. I would never ever change who i am for nothing. I will always stand my ground. I am very, very stubborn in a way because if i am determined to do something, there is nothing anybody can do about it. I always say what is on my mind. Our parents brought us up to be God fearing. Both my parents were pastors as well. My dad was a pastor before he died and my mum is a pastor as well. I am very white. What you see is what you get. It is not like you see me today, then you see me tomorrow and i am something else. No.
There is a lot of love to go around. My love life is beautiful. Because i have beautiful people around me. I have a beautiful manager, beautiful people working with me,i have music. So, yes,i have a big heart. Boyfriend? Hmmm, hmmm, that part,i tend not to talk about it. Because you know i am single and press would like to harass you with all kind of questions: Why are you single? And what kind of guy do you want? Tell us about him. That part of my life,i like to keep mysterious. I hate all forms of scrutiny about my love life.
It was definitely 112, Usher, Brandy, Boyz II Men. I listened to Tupac but i don’t really like him, because my brother likes Biggie. So he forced me to like Biggie. So it was Biggie, Eve, Nelly, Ashanti and whole lot of them. Music back then was amazing. I don’t think they are doing music now. Music back then was groovy. Those were my early influences. For me, you listen to Usher back then and you are like ok,let’s go. Ashanti was amazing, Brandy. Then we had Jay Z evolve in a kind of way that i started liking. I like Destiny’s Child as well. Then i love Beyonce so much. Beyonce came late for me. She came later, later, later. I love the way she acts,i love her stage presence,i love the way she controls everybody. And when she is performing, she just reminds me of when i was a child.
You know when you are acting on stage and you tell yourself: I am a bad guy. She just has this character going on for her. And yeah, that’s what i love about Beyonce. I like Michael Jackson but for some reasons, he wasn’t an influence.
For secondary school i went to Our Lady of the Apostles, Yaba. At school, they thought i was joking, they thought i was dreaming. My friends would listen to a song i did in the studio and they would feel like telling me to stop dreaming. But i was not discouraged. I just kept doing what i did. At school,i was good in government and economics. I wanted to be an architect originally. And my Maths became so bad. And i changed my mind. I remember my dad called me one day and said ‘i don’t think science is your forte. I don’t see you being an architect. This is not you. Why don’t you do something that is you?’ My parents came to school and said: ‘We want our daughter to go to arts class.’ The principal was shocked. Because everybody was telling their children to move to science class. And here was my parents wanting me to be moved to arts class. Everybody thought my parents were kind of freaky. It was very, very funny. And i wanted to study mass comm. And then again, my mum was like: ‘oK, you are an artist. Why do you want to study mass comm? Why not go to creative arts?’ She asked me to put creative arts in my form and i did. And i got admitted a couple of months after i finished secondary school.
My Music Person And Upbringing
They were my family friends. Then I would force them,i would sing to them and i would beg to follow them, because i knew they used to go somewhere. They would hold their guitars. I just kept disturbing them all the time until they agreed for me to follow them. And they took me to where they used to make music and everything. They were like 20 artistes. They were so plenty. They were into rock music, they were just made up of young people that wanted to do music. Growing up was so fantastic, because i had so many talented people around me. And you heard beautiful voices, you heard amazing rappers. It was just bliss. I think God just paid us for so much work, for the hard work we did. And at that point in time, because in Knight house, it was not just about us, it was about impacting something positive.
It was about standing for something good. I did something with Sauce kid. People call it won beri. And we shot the video and the next thing,i couldn’t walk on the streets anymore. That’s how everything happened. This was the song that made everybody pay attention. My first album came out on the 20th of October 2010. It was called Franchise Celebrity. At 15,i had finished an album. And it was called 15. And i had a track called Franchise Celebrity. And i loved that song so much. That was my favourite song. My CEO said the album was going to make it. It was like Nigeria wasn’t ready for that sound yet. He advised that we wait a bit. So i started working on another album immediately. The Franchise Celebrity is made up of me as a green artiste, different aspects of what makes me who i am, what i believe in, what i want to talk about. There were different tracks in the album. Gospel, soul, party track, there is a song for Nigeria, there is the different sides to me in the album. And why it was called the Franchise Celebrity is because i am so versatile as an artiste. Because of my training in Knighthouse,i got to mingle with different types of artistes. And that influenced me musically. And that influenced my genres as well, because i can’t stick to just one style of music. When i want to write a song, it is hard for me to say i do R’n’B. My mind is so colorful. And it’s so like i have so many ideas,i just want to try out something.
And in Knighthouse, we were always inventing. Everything is just weird. Making music in the studio is an experience. Because we always want to do something different. And that album was me. I wanted to show people how far i can go. That i could do Fuji,i could do rock,i could do pop and i can do it well. I worked with just three artistes: Dagrin, Naeto C and Chuddy K. I just wanted it to be me. I wanted to introduce myself. My music is like me. I cannot be put in a room. I am too big. I am like all in your face. That’s how my music is. My music can come in any form, depending on how I feel.
Working with Dagrin
I didn’t get to really know him. He was very quiet in the studio. I never ever got the chance to meet him. He was very quiet. He did the track and he was out. There was no talking like that. So,i didn’t really know him. To me, he was a revolutionary. The swag of an English rapper is different from the swag of a Yoruba speaking rapper. But then he speaks his language and you can hear it. Even if you don’t understand it, you feel it. He was a game changer. He came and everything turned around. I respect him a lot.
Hip hop In Nigeria today
It is growing excellently. And thanks to people like Tribe and El Dee who are revolutionaries because they brought hip hop to Nigeria when nobody was listening. They fought and stood for what they believed in and introduced hip hop to Nigeria. So hip hop is doing really well. Nigerians haven’t really accepted it but the artistes are doing it really well.
Kind of. I am a multimillionaire. I am still young. My mum still gives me pocket money. I keep all my millions in the bank. I am old enough to own an accoun