Nigerian popular Singer, Patrick Okorie, Popularly referred to as Patoranking, talks to KORE OGIDAN about his career as well as other issues.
See Interview Below
How does it feel being an internationally recognised artiste?
It is an ongoing, yet surreal feeling. It is definitely a blessing that comes with a lot of expectations and responsibilities. I remember the days I prayed for this; so, I am grateful and will not complain. It is a beautiful feeling to stand in representation of a race, genre and culture.
What do you ascribe this success to?
I ascribe it all to God who puts people in place to do what they have selflessly done for me. These people have also given me opportunities. It’s definitely not luck; it is grace.
Having bridged the gap between Nigerian and international music, how do you intend to make this bridge last for other artistes?
I hope to be exemplary with my music and stay true to its calling. I realise that maintaining such a bridge will require me to teach, mentor and exhibit a genuine know-how of what relationships are and how to keep them. I hope that with this, my name will open doors for people I have not even met. I also hope to keep such bridges available for different generations of African musicians.
Tell us about the new projects you are working on.
I am working on my second album titled, Wilmer. It promises great music. That is all I will say for now.
You seem to have changed from the patois sound to other flavours of music. What is the motive behind this?
I have not necessarily changed my sound. As an artist paints with different colours to create different images, so do I try out new flavours and sounds to illustrate different things to my fans. Music will always be a universal language; it depends on what message one is trying to pass.
What secrets have you learnt from other music industries that you would infuse into your craft?
I guess that’s why they are called secrets.
Asides making music, what are your other interests?
I enjoy playing football. I also like listening to music and spending quality time with my team and my friends.
If you didn’t opt for music, what other career would you have chosen?
I would have been a footballer. I love the round leather game and it would have been a second calling for me. However, I enjoy making music and I am glad for the opportunity to practise what I love.
You will be five years in the music industry soon. What special package do you have for your fans to celebrate?
My album is one of my anniversary packages. I also have something specially planned but I will not reveal what it is now until the time is right. You will all find out later.
At what point did you realise how successful you had become as an artiste?
It has been a journey but I think it was when promoters stopped challenging my having to travel with my whole band. Now, I move with an entourage and it makes my work easier and more pleasurable.
Would people be right to say Patoranking is humble or full of himself?
I don’t know the answer to that. I won’t be in the best position to answer that question. What do you think?
Should your fans be expecting a Patoranking concert?
I think it is anticipated also.
What are your views on the Nigerian politics sphere?
All I know is that I want a genuine change for Nigeria to happen in my lifetime. It is sad that the same worries we overheard our grandparents discuss while we were kids are the same ones we are now discussing. I am not big on politics in general and I keep my political views to myself because what I preach through my music is what I believe the root of a peaceful country is. And that is love.
Where do you see the Nigerian music industry in the next 10 years?
I see the Nigerian music industry in a better place than where it is presently, as we are the new exports alongside our oil.
Where do you see yourself as an individual and artiste in the next 10 years?
As an individual, I see myself as a father, husband, and definitely a better and more upgraded version of myself in my thoughts and otherwise. As an artiste, I see myself succeeding beyond just doing music to being a mogul in different industries – as a brand, icon and a music ambassador for my continent, not just my country.
In the past two years, what incredible thing has happened in your career that amazed you and inspired you to do more?
I got the humbling opportunity to open (a concert) for the legendary Lauryn Hill on her tour in the US across six different cities. I also opened for her at the Tidal and Brooklyn Charity event in New York. It was truly beautiful to share a stage with the likes of Sza, Busta Rhymes, Nas, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, Kodak Black, and a host of other favourites.
What advice do you have for anyone aspiring to be like you?
It’s important to be original. You must also stay focused and remember that practice makes perfect. Lastly, stay humble and show gratitude always.
How do you handle competition in the industry with other established artistes?
I don’t call it competition because my wish is that we all win. I also wish that we can put not just Nigeria, but Africa, on the map. It is more of a challenge to be better, not a competition.
Do you still face any challenge you grappled with at the beginning of your career?
The job never becomes easier. As much as I enjoy it, I must always make sure the movement is upwards and forward. This means one must never get comfortable. I won’t call it a challenge per se, it is more of a drive to be better, do better and put my best foot forward always.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
I can’t be specific because as I grow, I am acquiring new tastes in fashion. I love a bit of abstract fashion, not your regular everyday pieces. I have been told that I have a physique that anything looks good on; so, I guess I am trying more things than I’m used to.