In Nairobi for the Choma Na Ngoma festival taking place tonight at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, 29-year-old Nigerian star Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie, aka Patoranking, exclusively talks to PULSE about music, his special bond with East Africa and why his anticipated performance is something to watch out for.
Pulse: What is the feeling coming back to Kenya where you have a great following?
Patoranking: It is definitely always a pleasure.
Pulse: What are your fondest memories of Kenya and more so Nairobi?
Patoranking: The fans. My Kenyan fans have a special spot in my heart. They have got my back.
Pulse: What do you expect to be different in this particular Choma Na Ngoma concert?
Patoranking: It is my second time to perform here and I expect nothing but more fire on stage. I cannot wait to give my all to fans. Expect fire.
Pulse: Who is accompanying you to Nairobi this time round?
Patoranking: I am traveling with my band and a few members of my team.
Pulse: You seem to have a special bond with East Africa with some projects initiated in Tanzania besides working with Kenya’s Sauti Sol…
Patoranking: I have a special bond with East Africa. My fans our here love me vigorously.
Pulse: Do we expect more collabos with East African artistes anytime soon?
Pulse: Your songs are all different in terms of dynamism starting from Available to This Kind Love. Does it mean you prefer being versatile in genre as opposed to cutting a specific sound?
Patoranking: I am known for the reggae and dancehall genre. However, I have learned how to be versatile and paint with other colours. I am an artiste, so I will sometimes paint with other colour palettes and styles.
Pulse: What do you consider your favourite hit from all the records you have cut so far?
Patoranking: It is so hard to choose a favourite. I think they are all favourites.
Pulse: What do you believe is your greatest strength as an artiste in a continent where music talent is on the overflow?
Patoranking: My hunger to learn, to become and to curve a different niche is what makes me stand out. I stay on my lane.
Pulse: Having come from Nigeria where the biggest music exports are coming from, just how do you cut this niche and stay on top of the game against the other greats?
Patoranking: I practice tunnel vision, I focus on the end game and work towards it.
Pulse: Do you think the music from Africa and, in general, musicians are making the right moves to match up what the rest of the world expects of them?
Patoranking: I am not sure what you mean by matching up! There are different entrances into the market they say. Whatever direction we decide to take the aim is to take Africa to the world and make our sound be heard, enjoyed and familiarised by all.
Pulse: Where is the money when it comes to music; record sales or signings?
Patoranking: In Nigeria, events, endorsements and sponsorships are the real deal. Media buys outside but it depends on how big you are.
Pulse: Are African artistes and governments investing enough in music?
Pulse: What would be your advice to upcoming African stars?
Patoranking: Focus, stay original, be willing to learn every day and don’t be quick to believe the hype. I would tell an upcoming artiste to always work like it’s your first record right up when it’s your 100 trial. The worst tragedy is getting comfortable.
Pulse: What do you think makes African music tick?
Patoranking: The stories that make up the music, the stories that inspires the music, the wealth of culture translated into rhythm and sounds, melodies that can be felt, not just heard.
Pulse: Your latest collabo with Davido, Confirm, is a masterpiece. Tell us about the chemistry…
Patoranking: Confirm is already a favourite in Nigeria and it makes me happy because as far as I am concerned, people were waiting to know what time it is; its confirmation season. The song has spread like wildfire. Davido is an amazing brother. We definitely made magic.
Pulse: Having come from the ghetto, what is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt about making money and getting big breakthroughs, even if it was the hard way?
Patoranking: Like I always say, “Person wey suffer suppose get sense”. I have learned to save, invest as well as re-invest in myself and music. Most importantly, I believe in giving back. You might not see or hear of it but that is how I would rather keep it.
Pulse: What keeps you going strong?
Patoranking: My love for music, the fans and those who look up to me. Also, the fact that I am responsible for the perception of a whole race, a whole genre and a career path in entertainment.
Pulse: What is your showbiz motto?
Patoranking: Person wey suffer suppose get sense.