Oseloka Ian Onyeachonam popularly known as “OSEINO” aka ‘Ian Oseino’ is a Canada-based Nigerian rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer. The rising act who has been on a musical hiatus for over 3 years now recently announced that a new album is in the works.
Leading up to the worldwide premiere of the album, our correspondent had a telephone chat with him about his objectives for his forthcoming album, music in general, and his plans going forward.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers, and tell them what you do?
My name is Oseloka Ian Onyeachonam. I am from Onitsha, Anambra State Nigeria. I am an artist who makes what I term conscious street music. A genre founded on the hard knocks and realities of life.
You are one of the underground artists who does not chase clout. You are hardly involved in the usual dramas with other artists, is this a strategy?
I wouldn’t say it’s a strategy, I’m just doing me. My main concern has just been mastering my craft and growing as an artist, and I feel I do that best when I’m in my own lane, my own zone. Everything else is just a distraction and I don’t like being distracted.
Who is Oseino?
OSEINO is actually a combination of my first and second names (Oseloka and Ian). Oseino is a lover boy, a hustler, and a go-getter. I’m the guy who is loyal to those loyal to him. I’m pretty layered as a person. As an artist, I’m discovering exactly who I am every day just like the rest of us. I have been through hard knocks and life’s struggles and that’s all that keeps me going, the will and determination to succeed.
You have come a long way in the industry. You were once rated as one of the artists to watch out for, so what happened to you? Why did you stay away from music for a while?
I have come a long way from the struggles of belonging, strategizing, and targeting the Nigerian/African/global market. I took a break to master my art to a greater height and also work on myself. I’m still one of the artists to watch for. My album is full of different melodies and styles to support the culture and it’s the voice for those without a voice. With sponsorships and endorsements, I can be more consistent.
How do you handle the pressure that comes with being an artist and trying to meet up and/or live up to people’s expectations of you as an artist?
Like I previously said, I’m not here to chase clout and I always try to gain more knowledge of my craft. I’m still learning daily but the skills I got and discipline I received, and the experience I have acquired make things easier and smoother. Pressure is our day-to-day challenge not only as an artist but as a human being too. In life, you can only do your best or what you’re accustomed to and be consistent.
Some people feel your music is too raw and uncut, that it’s too street for the ear, and that it can only be played on the street, is that true?
No! It’s not true. I have music for everyone that’s why you should listen to my album, In fact, I urge everyone to listen to my album when it drops because it has a lot of variety to choose from. I make music for everyone and I make conscious music also. My album Reality & Blessings touched all sectors of current affairs, lifestyles, happiness, and what’s going on right now in Africa and around the world.
What is your mindset when you are making music? How do you decide what to write/sing about?
As a conscious artist, my mindset is more focused on using my music to be the voice for those voiceless, spread positive energy/vibes, and touch and change people’s lives. I usually write a song according to current affairs or situations or what’s going on in the world or the struggles of my people.
Some people make music for girls, ladies, and women. Some do it for fame and money, while others do it for their passion and art. Why do you do music? What’s your inspiration for making music?
I make music because it’s my calling and my passion. I use my talent/art to spread the word, touch lives/hearts, and bring smiles to people’s faces. That is my greatest inspiration and all the motivation I need to keep making that music.
You just told us the release date for your debut album. What are your plans for the album? What are the deliverables you hope to achieve with this release?
Yes, correct! My plan for the album and what I hope to achieve from it is to make sure it reaches as many people as possible (worldwide), inspires people, motivates people, uplifts people, gives hope to the hopeless, brings smiles to people’s faces, touch lives globally, spread love, win awards and become one of the best albums of all time. To make history!!
Your last solo release was “EGWUEJI” in 2019, and now it’s listed in your album track list as a bonus track, why? Why include an old song in a new body of work?
Yes, that’s correct! I decided to add it to the album as a bonus track because it’s what’s going on currently in the world/Nigeria/Africa. Egwueji still has a great message for the world to hear, enjoy and dance to, in my opinion, it’s what you call an all-time classic.
Looking at your journey so far, what comes to your mind when you look at the rate at the industry keeps producing new artists every day?
First of all, I thank God for his guidance, and strength, and for bringing me this far. We artists all have the same interest at heart, To make good music and to be heard and our craft appreciated. We strive to be the voice for others and to impact and change lives through music. Each artist is different and unique in their own way but it is all about the message you spread and the fans. Most of us have good intentions and do it for love, culture, and for the love of art while some do it for self-interest. Lastly, after the race is over, we count the mileage and see who made it to the finish line. We need those platforms to spread our great messages with no time to play.
What is your greatest fear as an artist and where do you see yourself in the next 3-5 years?
My greatest fear as an artist is not having sponsorships or endorsements and not being heard after all these years of putting in the work. Hopefully, in the next 3-5 years I will have sponsorships and/or endorsements in order to continue growing and spreading the message of love and peace and to keep fighting the good fight.
When you see some Nigerian artists who used to rule the airwaves back in the day but are no longer as relevant as before, how do you feel?
It depends. Are the artists still making music but it’s not being accepted the same? Or are they just no longer dropping records? Different artists with different sounds have different lengths of relevancy. Some expire faster than others. I think it’s natural no artist will always be on top throughout their career. The goal is longevity not relevance per se.
Talking about music and lyrics, people believe that sometimes you sound very arrogant in your music. Are you an arrogant person, do you think you sound arrogant and uncouth in the way you deliver your music?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but I don’t sound arrogant. I am not arrogant either. I don’t sound disrespectful or arrogant when delivering my music too. I am a professional with a great work ethic. I treat everything I do with respect and with morals. Music is my life and is my day-to-day lifestyle so I approach it with respect, caution, love, and happiness. I’m 100% a positive person and I love to make music regardless of what life has to offer or throws at me.
During the height of the Covid pandemic in 2020, Canada was one of the first countries to introduce lockdown safety restrictions. It was a tough year for many artists as lots of shows and events were canceled. How did you handle 2020, how did you cope with the lockdown and safety protocols?
Not really, 2020 was actually a very blessed year for me. I wasn’t doing a whole lot of performing yet anyways so that didn’t really affect me the way it did other artists, besides I have a 9 to 5 so I can not be solely dependent on music alone at least for now. I think staying creative and inspired was the challenge with everything that took place that year, but thanks to God everything is gradually getting back to normal.
What advice do you have for upcoming artists like yourself out there?
I wouldn’t say that I’m an upcoming artist but my greatest advice for any upcoming artist is to stay focused. Remember the main reason you started using your talent to touch or change lives. Remember where you came from and the people that believed in you. Don’t let earthly things such as money, women, lifestyle, and fame strip you of all you have worked hard for. Remember we have families waiting for us to support them. Finally, remember we all have our own time to shine, just make sure you shine brighter than diamonds when it is your time. Patience, a good work ethic, and consistency will get you there. Good music lasts forever. Our Legends such as Fela, Oliver de Coque, Sir Sunny ade, Osadebe, Ras kimono, etc are great inspirations and came from nothing to something. It all started from humble beginnings too, which shows us that the sky is not the limit but is also big enough for every bird to fly so we can go beyond.
I hear you’re also a producer, did you produce any tracks on your forthcoming album? Have you produced for other artists before?
Correct! I’m a producer as well and Yes! I produced and co-produced a bunch of tracks from my forthcoming album with great upcoming and award-winning producers. Music is my life and I have been making music since I was 10. I started singing in the church choir and then moved to local/traditional sounds. Music to me is everything and I will continue learning and working daily to inspire more people. Hopefully, with sponsorships or endorsements, I will be able to release albums yearly and show y’all more skills and what I have learned these past years.
What should your fans expect from you this 2023 and beyond?
Consistency, I aim to be more consistent in releasing music. And to Show them how versatile I am.
When is your new album dropping?
My album is dropping on March 14, 2023, and the official release party will be over the weekend of March 17, 18 & 19. My plan is to make sure the album is promoted globally.
Thank you Oseino for your time, we wish you the best with your forthcoming album release and other projects.