Categories
Music

Rising Music Sensation, Dark Ruby Reveals Career Scoops

Following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the creative industry has been left to evolve into a survival nature and style of operation, whereby Artists have had to depend heavily on generating revenue as well as reach to their audience via online music streaming and purchasing platforms. Thus, ensuring digitalisation emerging as the new order of the day for content distribution and consumption due to the lockdown which has hindered Artists from the avenue to perform their Art live on stage, at shows, in front of cheering fanatics.  Many have had to resort to live performances via their social media pages. Although, everyone can tell it doesn’t come close to the feeling and energy both sides let off at live shows. 

Meanwhile, in the Nigerian music industry, Lagos based singer and song writer, Dark Ruby’s case is as peculiar, as she is confident and gives off an energetic vibe. For a Female indie Artist, she had the ability to express herself, thus portraying an underlying intelligence.

Also, anyone who understands the game knows becoming and sustaining a career as an independent music Artist is no piece of cake. To begin with, self-determination to push one’s career without any major label/corporation’s financial backing with contracts, or a long network of marketing and promotional strategies is a journey for only those who dare. 

 

Speaking to her exclusively for theparakeetshow.com was as interesting as it was eye opening, as she let us into her personal life, how covid-19 affected her career as a musician and what she thinks of Afro beat’s evolution in Nigeria.

According to her, “ Wizkid, Burnaboy and other Afro beat Artists opened an avenue for the Afro beat Sound to the world”. Damilola Fakomi presents the excerpts. 

Dark Ruby

Hi, can we meet you? 

Hi, I am Dark Ruby, a musician and a song writer. I started singing professionally in 2019 with my first single titled,  ‘Girl’ and then dropped my second single, ‘On You’ this year. 

What first got you into music? 

I will say I have always loved writing music from way back Primary school, which was when I started writing music and composing songs. Also, I come from a family of music, and my dad was a musician, my sisters love music, so I basically just got into music.

Which Artists would you love to collaborate with internationally and locally?

 Internationally I’ll love to collaborate with Kali Uchis, Kanye West, Jhene Aiko, Erykah Badu, Teyana Taylor, Rihanna, The Weekend ; whilst Locally, the likes of Burnaboy, Odunsi, Wande Coal, Niniola, Tiwa Savage 

If you could go open a show for any Artist who would it be, and why?

Rihanna, Rihanna because she gives us a good time and shows us that she is having fun on stage. Her energy is amazing.

Dark Ruby

What kind of songs do you sing in the shower if you do sing in there?

Singing in the shower is like a ritual for me, I sing soothing songs like Kali Uchis, Erykah Badu  and The Weekend

What would you have loved to do if not music?

I will be an Arts Teacher, as I love performing Arts. If it’s not music, it’s definitely something related to that, if I’m not dancing, I’m painting or doing something art related, a teacher or an OAP because I love conversing with people

At what events have you performed your music?

Medfest, at Freedom Park and Chums and friends

How would you describe and evaluate the emergence of Afro beat in Nigeria?

For a very long time Afro beat has been underrated. But, then with the arrival of Fela unto the scene, he shed more light on the sound. Wizkid, Burnaboy and other Afro beat Artists opened an avenue for the Sound to the world. And now international acts want to collaborate with us and want to work with the African Sound.

Dark Ruby, Lagos, August, 2020

What is your greatest motivation towards creating music?

I will say ‘feelings’’, it all depends on my mood, and experiences I have had with people generally.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an indie Artist?

Promotion, promoting music is a completely different thing. It is one thing to make music, it is another thing to promote the music as you have to push and make people listen to your music.

How has Covid-19 affected your career, negatively and positively?

 Negatively with the fact that I can’t produce my own music as I don’t have a home studio. Trust me, it is very frustrating when beats are available and you can’t get out to produce with the beats. 

Positively, it helped my writings as a song writer, I improved. I spent enough time in my room to compose and wrote a lot of songs while at home; Covid-19 showed me that I am really ready to do this music.

Dark Ruby

What legacy do you tend to leave behind for music?

My legacy is not to follow the crowd, I want people to listen to my music and know that this is something different; this is Dark Ruby from the moment they listen to the beats of my songs. I want to take people on a journey with my music.

How effective has social media been towards boosting your creativity and reach?

Social media has been positively effective as you can now promote your music yourself, and all you need is just to make the music, post it on different platforms and use social media to promote it for certain amount of money, and then friends help by reposting.

How responsible has the society been towards your latest single; “On You”?

The society has surprised me as right now I am seeing a star on my song and it is really overwhelming and I don’t expect my songs to be popular the way they are now as I have my doubts because RnB in Nigeria is somehow. The love and stream has been overwhelming. 

What message would you love to send across to your fans?

To my fans, no matter how absurd your dreams are even if it sounds crazy to you and others just do it, because our dreams are valid and we were brought into this world for a purpose , so no matter how crazy or scary it is, do it. Believe in yourself chase your dreams and don’t stop for anyone no matter what. For days when you feel down pick up from where you left and re-evaluate yourself.

Categories
Poetry

The Perfect Gift – Life

Hinnie

Isn’t it glee and pleasant
to receive a wonderful present
Of life wrapped in paper and ribbons of gold
A gift of value and beauty untold
Unexpected like a discourse event
Received from nature’s behest
Such gifts make us really feel good
The gift of life is powerful to change our mood
Life is like that fortune train
That fizzles and sparks from it’s main
It is the love that sits in our heart
And the creativity of our sense for Art.
Life to our dear beloved  earth,
who gave to all of us birth:
your imperfections we want to cure.
Will we succeed? Not so sure!
Just like a merry go round
Life goes round and round
Waiting for a lost to be found
Seeking solemnly without sound
Life is give and take
A cheerful one, a choice  we make.

 

Categories
Fashion

The Crotchet & Knitting Brand Influencing a Fresh Narrative Upon Nigeria’s Fashion Scene

Crotchet is the procedure of creating textiles with a crochet hook in order to interlock loops of yarn, thread, or strands of other materials. The name is derived from the French term crochet, meaning ‘small hook’. The key difference between crochet and knitting, beyond the implements used for their production, is that each stitch in crochet is completed before the next one is begun, while knitting keeps many stitches open at a time.

A Nigerian, Ibadan based Crotchet and Knitting brand, Modhan is introducing a new fashion narrative with its wool Crotchet and Knitting clothings, interior decoration pieces and accessories one collection at a time.

It’s Founder, Modupe Olakanye sheds light during an interview with Theparakeetshow.com , regarding the birth and survival of her brand amid a Covid-19 outbreak as well as the Uniqueness of her Empire. Happiness Irabor provides the excerpts:

What brought about the birth of Modhan crochet & knit brand?

Growing up I always knew that I never wanted to be regular. (laughs) It all started from being depressed, then I took it up as an hobby and then professionally. I wanted to do something unique that gives me joy and makes me happy, which is how Modhan came into existence.

 

Why did you choose crochet & knit to create your products?

I choose crochet & knit because it helps with my depression as I find it to be therapeutic. It helps me to be patient, it teaches me a lot of things and it is a very cool and creative aspect of creative designing as well. People think this craft is outdated. But, I wanted to show that there are ways to go about it to modernize it to make it fashionable.

 

What gives you inspiration to create your designs?

A lot of things gives me inspiration to create my designs, like nature. I love Art. I draw my inspiration from Art, nature, colours, watching fashion shows, musicals,yeah. (laughs).

How has your clothing brand been able to survive in a society were people prefer the western mode of dressing to African attires?

My brand has been able to survive in this kind of society because it is not regular. It is very unique and you cannot find it anywhere. It is just unique and very creative. There is a story behind every design and piece I create. I want my client to be confident in whatever they put on so by being creative and innovative, we have been able to survive in this society and people really love and admire that about us.

 

Does getting the actual and quality textile for your designs form a kind of challenge to Modhan’s crochet & knit clothing brand and how have you been able to overcome such challenges if it has?

Yes I would say the challenges facing the brand right now pertaining to the materials being used for production is the quality of the yarn. Yes I make use of yarn produced in Nigeria but they are not 100% cotton and a lot of my clients do appreciate the one in cotton wool material. But, the ones produced in Nigeria are not 100% cotton, they are acrylic so to overcome that challenge we have to make use of foreign product and a lot of people don’t want to pay extra for that because we are making use of foreign product and foreign products are quite expensive.
You can Imagine a bundle of wool produced in Nigeria is around 200 naira. But, for foreign it ranges, say from 1,500 naira or more. The least you can get it for is 1,250 naira, of which, that is for just one bundle. So you can imagine. If I am to make use of 10 wools of Nigeria’s product to make a piece that’s like #2000 and our clients wants quality material and I need 10 pieces, at the rate of 1000 naira that is 20,000 naira. That’s just for materials, so, how much am I going to sell it? Thus, I hope that our country produces better quality cotton wool material so it will be very good and our client will be pleased with the outfit at the end of the day.
On our part as a brand, we talk the clients into us using available materials for such production if they can’t afford the foreign material because the local material are very good, durable and long lasting. All we just have to do is to educate them on how best to take care of such materials.

 

How accessible are the materials and textiles you use to create your clothings?

They are very accessible, I make use of majorly the local yarn produced here in Nigeria so it is readily available and accessible. And of course on some instances I do make use of the foreign yarn. But, I majorly use the yarn we produce in Nigeria.

How has your business been surviving the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic?

This covid-19 pandemic is serious. A lot of people are not finding it funny because its affecting a lot of businesses,including mine. But, we try as much as possible to work and deliver by working remotely. Currently, I have been working from home and paying attention to details because at the end we all have to play safe and be good and alive (laughs).

 

What initiative do you think fashion brands need to implement in order to thrive during these tough times?

I believe the best and safest way to thrive during these tough times as a fashion designer is to work remotely, create new content, Modular your target market, invest in a lot of things that will help the business grow, and create more.

 

If you are to do any other thing asides crochet & knit what will it be?

If I am to do anything aside crochet and knit, that will be photography. I love taking pictures, I love modeling, I just love pictures.
Categories
Visual Art

Influencing Socio-Economical Discuss with Contemporary Realism

Regina Ogwuche

Hyper realism paintings and sculpting create a new sense of reality that acts as a convincing illusion. Hence, it brings to the Artistic scene an embellishing, heightened sense of reality depicted on canvass or paper with acrylic paints, paint brushes, charcoal, to mention a few.
The finalized product of hyper realists often questions our perceptions of reality as it explores the limits of mankind’s conceptualization.
According to Lagos based, Nigerian Hyper realist, Ken Nwadiogbu, his Art is driven towards inspiring and creating change whilst depicting issues relating to African migration, inadequate governance, news and issues relating to Black people, as well as feminism.

Via: Pinterest

“When I began practicing Art, my inspiration came from issues relating to my peers and those around me. Now, I am inspired by recent happenings in the Society. The philosophy that drives my work is simple, I want to inspire and create change everywhere my work is presented. I don’t just want to make works for the sake of it, if you look closely at each piece, I am always trying to say something.
“I am always inspired by issues of those surrounding me and as well as recent happenings in the news. I conceptualize ideas for my work this way and then I pen down the idea and then I start to draw. It sounds really simple, but it is quite complicated, especially in the detailing of each work. It often takes hours just to achieve a particular detail; and, I must admit, I am always happy with the result.”
The 2019 winner of the Future Award Africa which celebrates young people between the ages of 18 to 31 that have made outstanding achievements during the year under consideration, also describes his type of Art as ‘Contemporary-realism’ considering how it is largely centred on the fusion of hyper-realism and contemporary Art, during an interview with theparakeetshow.com.
How would you describe your creative approach towards creating your Art pieces?
Well, I have always experimented with my work. I had no formal training whatsoever but regarding mixed media, I started experimenting a few years ago. I wanted and still want to create works that go beyond hyper-realism. I believe with mixed media, I can pass on my message further.
I describe my style of art as ‘Contemporary-realism ’ and it is largely centred on the fusion of hyper-realism and contemporary Art. It is a welcome deviation from the traditional hyper-realism movement. My work has since evolved from hyper-realism, as I infuse elements from contemporary art in to my work; hence, Contemporary-realism.
These techniques were horned through hours of research and exploration. For instance in my newest body of work titled Headline Series, I knew I wanted to pass on a message about the corrupt news systems in the world. I initially planned to draw the newspaper but I soon realized that it was unauthentic and may water down my message, hence, I decided to use real Nigerian newspapers, paint and charcoal. Each piece (newspaper) depicts an image of a palm trying to break free from behind a tight plastic bag. This represents a metaphor of the society trying to break free from its oppressors. Each piece is a deliberate attempt by the artist to bring to the consciousness of everyone, the corrupt news systems around the world.

Via: @kennwadiogbu

How would you say your Art has been able influence the society?
My Art is a reflection of my society. Through it, I challenge socio-political issues affecting Nigerians, Africans and Black people in diaspora, with the hope of making a change. I create art because I want to inspire people and shape the society, positively, which is why I created works that spotlight issues of Nigerians as in the case of series like ‘King’s Diary’ (2018), ‘Eye Witness’ (2018), ‘The Bad Mentality’ (2018) and ‘The Truth’ (2019).
Beyond the canvas, I am a strong believer in empowering the younger generation. I have taught art and inspired students in Nigerian schools like British International School, Harris Academy South Norwood London, Topgrade Secondary School, and many more. I have also spoken at platforms like TEDX and Child’s Play. My intention is to inspire and encourage young Nigerian creatives, especially with the lack of support in the art industry.
What area of your work or personal development are you working on exploring further?
My Art continues to evolve. I certainly would be exploring it further by experimenting and continuous research.
How would you describe the future of Art on a global scale?
Not to be pompous but, I believe it will be ‘Contemporary-realism’. Because It is largely centred around the fusion of hyper-realism and contemporary art and it is a welcome deviation from the traditional hyper-realism movement. My work has since evolved from hyper-realism, as I infuse elements from contemporary art into my work, hence, “Contemporary-realism.
I think art enthusiasts and collectors are slowly beginning to take notice. For sure, it will change the perception of hyper-realism and how such works are viewed.

Via: @kennwadiogbu

Thus far, what has been your biggest career moment?
So far, my biggest career moment has been presenting my works at my debut solo show ‘Contemporealism’ at Brick Lane Gallery, London last year. I must say, it was dream come true.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
I would say: Art Supplies: any artist living and working in Nigeria realizes the high cost of purchasing Art supplies locally or even importing, as you would have to clear with customs at the border. In order to overcome this, I have focused on the use of locally made materials and materials I can find in my surroundings.
Also, visibility: In the past, I struggled with visibility, not for myself, but for my Art. It is not news that the Art world is not a famous industry. Thus, one of my goals is to make it as big as the music or fashion industry. It is also important to me that as many people as possible see the Art I have created, that way, I am able to influence positive change one Artwork at a time. In order to increase visibility, I set up a small public relations team, that publicizes my latest body of works to new and broader audiences.
What is your greatest strength?
My greatest strength is my team, they inspire to be better and to continuously seek ways of bettering myself and my art. I believe no man is an island, you cannot do it alone, especially in Art and I also believe there is strength in numbers.

@kennwadiogbu

Categories
Poetry

Night Lights

H.


My intent is not to tickle your nipples and then leave you wanting, nor have you from this Moonlight till the next Sunrise. Nah, this does not please my soul, but my Body and Mind.

I see no point holding on to what was, So, I seek for what I believe is the source and this leads me to a new world with moons and singing Stars.

I long to have you for eternity, or at least for as many days as the Stars, but if thy flesh and fire is all you want, verily your wish is my command.

However, my conscience pricks so i have to warn you i will appear and disappear from your sight as a shooting Star, on the night all your wishes can become a reality, thus, i am known by few and a myth to most of mankind.

Whilst I wanted it all with you the grains on my palm were not mine, neither was the river I felt I could drown in; thus I wrote you songs that will live forever.

Darling, I was neutral until your sweet dirty words sunk into my senses, thereby creating a sensation I want, thus, it was as pure and powerful as Light.

Model: Peggy George
Photographed by: Hamid Ayodeji
Categories
Music

A Review of RedHOTYCECold vol. 1

Seun Osho


The hip-hop project, RedHotyceCold from Nigerian label, K2O entertainment’s front runner, Hotyce is definitely a breath of fresh air to the Nigerian hip-hop scene. The album features hip-hop industry heavyweights like M.I, Jesse Jagz and Waje.

Since Hotyce’s early attempts at more conventional Naija hip-hop with Kilofoshi, Alhaji and the more successful lean towards a more comfortable niche for the rapper on songs like; The man and 10 o’clock in VGC, to his Friday Night Massacre releases, his career has been on a steady incline with his album being sort of more grease to his elbows.

However, the album is really for hip-hop lovers; so, it might not be an easy listen for music lovers of alternative genres. His hooks are mostly simple rap verses synchronized into catchy rhythmic melodies with repetitions which make it easy for the audience to sing along or banter.

On the album, he delivered classical hip-hop, no mumble jumble rap, giving it refreshing, lyrical, bouncy flows, honest content and little or no vulnerability.

The first track, say something remarkable, a Joe Budden skit introduces you to the temperament of most of the project. The intro communicates the crux of the song itself and sets the tone of the entire project perfectly. The production carries a very nice bounce, with its catchy melody, chant like rap hook, hard eloquent flow and strong lyrics makes the song difficult to ignore as it commands a head bump whenever it comes on. Hotyce’s confrontational energy throughout the album and this song contains shots at his peers and forerunners, challenging them to bring their A-game and to keep the hip-hop game lyrical, whereby saying something remarkable.

In an interview with Ehis Ohunyon for pulse.ng, when asked about the idea behind the song, Hotyce was quoted, ”there is no much thought put behind their lyrics. I just believe it is a funny time and if I have to pay attention to you then you have to say something remarkable.”

The next song on the feisty album, Red light features a melodic Jesse Jagz on the hook. On this body of work, he also provides a bridge after the second verse. This 6 minute, 22 seconds long track sounds like a cautionary public service announcement to the hip-hop industry. Hotyce introduces himself and what he stands for on this track whilst keeping his confrontational energy as he flaunts his confidence and his capacity as a rapper and character as a man, with lines like, “I don’t see myself as a person, cursing in a room where the ladies in
or rehearsing what I could do to look urban. Let me be me, I can never be you. Rule number one, you can never be two. Be diligent in whatever you do if you wanna be better than pops at 72.”

In the first verse, he places himself on a high moral pedestal, expresses his dreams and hopes, pays tribute to the men who shaped his ideologies, addresses social anomalies, insists on his Midas touch, gives life and finance advice among other things. However, in the second verse, he expresses his humanity and admits to being flawed, acknowledging God but also admitting to his vanity through lyrics like;

“All we need is a word from the savior
to save us, you don’t really need a church to save yuh.”

This is the first time Jagz is on a hook of someone else’s song and he definitely lives up to expectations. Maybe correct me in the comments section, but if I am right, this song is probably a historical marker in Nigerian hip-hop.

via @iamhotyce

For the Capital is definitely a city anthem with Emmeno outdoing himself on this. While the very lyrical MC manages to touch most of the geographical lifestyle and cultural talking points of the city, for instance; referencing what used to be a creative hub in the city called, Sueno which birthed or in some cases contributed to the careers, exposure and network of a good number of Abuja based creatives. However, the spot was shut down in January, 2018 by law enforcement agents.

Hotyce also highlights the bougie nature of Abuja side by side with the dangers and betrayal the streets tell tales about. It is a wholesome tribute, all sentiments acknowledged.

Pull up with MI Abaga addresses fake people and their fake hate. Unlike the haters referenced, this song holds the same confrontational and confident energy as the first two songs. M.I’s delivery was so precise and exciting.

An interview skit intro by Phlow cues Hotyce, on the jam titled, Purpose. The song connotes wisdom, growth and a coming to or realization of what life’s really about and reevaluating your personal values and circle. The message of the song is spot on and the little bridge sung by Maka really adds to the sermon feel of it. It is a real story that an average listener should be able to relate to and if he can’t, he should take a cue from this fire jam and take the lessons and lyrics with him wherever he goes!

Photo Credit: @nobodyshotit

No song on the project showcases Hotyce’s confrontational attitude more than track 6, “I dey tell you oh” (aka Ghetto). I really love the bounce on the production once again, this time, The gentle bounce and calm flow in the verses of this piece of work produced by Ciq, provides an excellent melodic contrast which is taken a step further with a deep, pidgin chorus.

So amazing is a thanksgiving jam more or less as Hotyce alludes his success to God’s grace on this song, with dope unadulterated hip-hop melodies and a flow that just threads the beat very nicely. Best part is he doesn’t sound like anyone else. On the song all he does is basically tell his tale of how hard it’s been to get here and thanks God for where he’s at.

Give it to ya is a dance-hall style jam. I believe this song was added to showcase diversity or range of the Artist’s skill.

Meanwhile, we don’t do that over here is the only single that was released prior to the project and boy was it a great alley-hoop for the rest of the project to make a slam dunk! The way Hotyce alternates between dance-hall flows and deep hip-hop flows, it’s hard to believe he had no features on this song because both deliveries were so well done. The beat, the attitude and the crip walk associated with the song adds to its appeal. If this song comes on in the club and you know how to crip walk, trust me you will feel like a king up in tha’ club! Gray Jones produced this one.

On home again, another interesting skit preceded the flow of heavy bars, while Waje’s vocals on the hook and in the ad lib throughout the song project’s the pain that Hotyce summarized in the last line of his second verse; “I’m proud of my country, my country’s never made me proud”. It’s a beautiful song and gentle reminder of Waje’s prowess as a singer. This song might be the most lyrical throughout the project.

Ride for me featuring MAJ is a bonus track. And I wasn’t too impressed by the feature. It’s probably the only time on the album that you might sense the music is by a new cat. I didn’t enjoy the work on MAJ’s vocals and I personally believe that if you’re going to sing in proper English, your diction delivery is something to be particular about. The lyrical content was generally up to par as usual. But, honestly not the ending I hoped for.

Hotyce’s old minded wise words and youthful references keep the songs intellectual. The production and engineering was almost perfect all through with Emmeno exhibiting some versatility on this album looking back at all the tracks he produced and how diverse the production styles are, of which, would have played a crucial role towards earning it a nomination at the 2019 “Hip-Hop world awards”. Thus, I would say the body of work is a strong statement and a nice way to introduce an Artist to a larger audience as a rapper.

Rating: 7.9

Categories
Visual Art

Expressionism as a Medium of Communicating in the Millennial

Regina Ogwuche


Over time Art has been one of the most beautiful, passionate and detailed form of expressionism known to mankind and the world. It is known to portray and communicate the feelings, visions, thoughts and believes of the curator with the use of various Artistic materials and medium to display ideas as symbols and objects. Usually, it tells the tale and life experiences of the Artist, thereby giving its audience a glimpse and feel of the creator’s journey. Artists have been known to harness their craft and skills in order to show and express to their audience what they were feeling or thinking at the moment of the piece’s creation.

According to Adegboro Blessing Gbemileke, (Jahbless) a multi disciplinary contemporary visual Artist, “My art actually talks about the beauty and painful side of life because I am inspired by the facial expressions of humans and that is the major driving force of my art.

“My Art usually portrays an expression of what the picture is having in mind, and it is expressed with my choice of colour. I work as an expressionist artist.

Artwork by: Adegboro Blessing

“I basically make use of the three major colors, Blue, Red, Yellow but in particular, you’ll always see Yellow and purple in my work.

“Painting, in my perspective, is the act of interpreting and expressing my feelings by solving them with the use of colours,” Adegboro Blessing explains.

Art work by: Adegboro Blessing

The Ondo state native who completed his National Diploma (ND) at the polytechnic of Ibadan In 2016 and also his Higher National Diploma (HND) program at Yaba College of Technology as a painter in 2019 disclosed that he draws influence from various Artists including, Olusegun Adejumo, Edosa Ogiugo and Ejoh Wallace.

 

 

 

Categories
Poetry

A Tale of True Religions: The Milky Way

H.


At the right space and time i could catch you by the wings when you are falling.

With the right amount of Sunlight i can look into your eyes and feel its burning sensation save me.

At the deep Eastern region of the garden, after a life time of descending, it feels like i am still falling for you.

With every step taken i feel a certain kind of way, i mean energy. Finally i feel free, like i can do anything i wish and pray for; and this can also be intoxicating me.

At this point, i feel the darkest times can be our brightest hour as i can see the moon and a shooting star adorn the night sky. Thus, i reached out midst everything with poetry.

Categories
Visual Art

The Duke of Lens Unfold’s Cinematography Scoops

Nigerian Cinematographer, Michael Shodipe (Duke of lens) in this interview with The Parakeet Show shares vital scoops into the world of a cinematographer, his greatest success so far as well as his goals for the new decade. Emmanuel Obokoh presents the excerpts:

Briefly tell us about yourself?

My name is Michael Sodipe. Also, I go by the Artistic name Duke of Lens; I am a cinematographer and I am from Ishara remo, Ogun State.

How best would you describe what you do?

A cinematographer or director of photography is the boss over the camera and light crews working on a film, television production or other live action pieces. I am responsible for making Artistic and technical decisions related to the image.

How did your begin your journey into cinematography?

I graduated from Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo with a degree in Economics. However, fast forward to a few months later, I got a job with a media firm called IBST Media. Technically, coming from a different background made it quite interesting fitting into the new space. But I was blessed to have learnt from the scratch, from rolling cables, carrying tripods to logging which was how the journey began.

Can you shed more light on what your work entails?

A cinematographer’s job can be quite simple with a good director who knows what visuals he is trying to create. It is crucial for both to be in sync to be able to achieve that.

On the other hand it can be difficult filming under different conditions, especially when it is an outdoor shoot. But, basically it is essential that you have an eye for creativity.

At some point in time, a typical week for me as a cinematographer was working 9-5, of which was tasking with everyday travel trips from one location to another. As a result I have been to thirty four states Nigeria. Thereafter, I made the decision to become a freelance cinematographer of, which can be very quiet at times, but when you have got series of shoots lined up, it could be hectic and again in my line of work there is nothing like Saturday and Sunday being free as we work any day at anytime.

Via @duke_of_lens

How do you plan for a shoot?

Planning for a shoot for me starts with a brief from the client and producer that gives me a guideline of what is expected from me visually.

Also, I analyze the location of the shoot, looking at possible advantages and disadvantages I can encounter. This gives me an idea of the camera setup and equipment needed for my shoot.

What are the things you like and dislike about what you do?

My work definitely has likes and dislikes but once you have passion for what you do you will learn there are likes and dislikes that are important and keep you motivated.

What is most challenging about cinematography?

The most challenging thing for me is in regards to our Nigerian economy; filming on the streets of Lagos; especially with the whole drama of gangsters on the street demanding for settlement or otherwise seizing your camera. I remember getting punched in Festac because the guy wanted to drag my camera. I guess it is part of the job and nothing great comes easy.

Amidst all that, there is a rewarding feeling in seeing your visuals looking crisp and getting positive commendations from different people.

What level of education, schooling or skills is needed to be a successful cinematographer?

In my own case, I studied economics as my first degree before furthering on to get a degree in Cinematography at Mumbai. Although, some people did not go to school to learn, rather they learnt on the job as an assistant.

Nevertheless, I think it is important that you attend a proper film school and learn the basics of filming.

What in your opinion are the most important qualities of a cinematographer?

A cinematographer would require an eye for detail and a mind for fast invention is very important. Also, a thorough understanding of lighting techniques, light color, shade and manipulation as well as a Strong technical knowledge of cameras and the film production process and strong communication skills. However, for me the most important quality for me is a good listening ability.

via: @duke_of_lens

What is a common misconception people have about what you do?

Most people feel we carry a camera and just press record. They should always know we are the brains behind any video they watch on their screens. It is an Art which requires a high level of creativity and intelligence. It is not a roadside thing.

How do you balance work and family?

Well, balancing my family life and work can be tricky, but it is important your partner understands the nature of your work, and can tolerate your travelling and going off for weeks. Fortunately for me, thus far, it has been great.

What has been your greatest moment as a cinematographer?

Greatest success in cinematography is filming for CNN with Zain Aisher on three episodes for CNN Africa and also documentary on Afro Beats the Back Story.

What are your goals and dreams for the future?

My goals for the future would be to impact younger ones with the knowledge I have and also have my own studio in Nigeria like the Tyler Perry studios, whereby people can come in to film without issues.

What advice would you offer someone looking to pursuit this career?

My advice would be, go to a film school. It does not have to be the most expensive but get a proper school, learn the ropes and definitely you would succeed.

What else would you like people to know about your job?

Cinematographers can be weird but we are still one of the coolest people out there.

Categories
Poetry

Emptiness

Della


I lived in a guilt of knowing the wrong, but still choosing it.
You belonged to someone else but the thought of you being your happiest with me convinced my doubts.

You were so grateful to me for being in your life as I showed you how it is to be loved with every ounce of someone’s existence.
You shared your secrets with me and you loved me the way you loved yourself.
You protected me and looked at me constantly as if it was our last day.

Your hugs were so tight,
felt like tattoos on my chest.
Your kisses were intoxicating
They made me dizzy with passion

Your love was my favorite kind of wine
It made me high
Oh baby! How did we turn out to be so helpless?