Oge Kimono, born into a musical family, the daughter of the late African Reggae Legend Ras Kimono, is set to continue preserving the legacy of her father. In a brief and insightful chat with MzansiReggae she reflected on her musical journey, as she prepares to release her debut album and start touring with her late father’s band which she is familiar with as she had joined the band as a back up singer after completing high school. The musician has of course charted her own career path long before the passing of her father, with the release of her debut music video for the song “Drum & Bass” directed & produced by ace video director AJE Filmworks back in 2014. She has continued to create work for her solo projects while at the same time sharing the stage with her father,.
She has shared the stage with the likes of Beenie Man, Damian Marley and Nas, Luciano, Turbulence and been in the studio with the Nigerian German based duo Tuklan where she showed her vocal strength alongside Beenie Man, Anthony B and also with Uwe Banton alongside Luciano. In January this year she released the mega sublime single 24 hours and later followed with a video for the single Good Ole Days with captivating visuals of her home country.
Below is the interview with Oge Kimono.
Who is Oge Kimono and How did your musical journey begin?
Oge Kimono is a reggae musician and the first offspring of the Legendary African Reggae Icon Ras Kimono popularly known as the Rub A Dub Master. Music started for me at a very tender age. Growing up as a kid my grandmother was quick to notice that I had a flair for music as she will have me sing to her guests when they come around or when we have family gatherings like Christmas and Easter periods. Also got on the school choir as well as the church choir and that’s where it started. I can rightly say music has been in my DNA. Well my musical journey started after high school when I joined my father’s band as a backup singer and ever since then up until now I have been on that path.
You have been on this musical journey from Germany to Nigeria, tell us a bit about that.
Yes after joining my father’s band, he had a European tour which we went for together. Touring Germany, Italy and Austria after which I decided to stay back in Europe to discover myself and explore more. I must say that was one of the best decisions I made. I got around to work for other reggae musicians out there as a backup singer and was privileged to participate in a number of reggae festivals out there. I moved back home to Nigeria after 7 years of exploring and discovering myself.
You are of Reggae Royalty, how does it feel, especially now that you carry the mantle?
I must say it’s a privilege and a blessing to be a Reggae Royalty. Being the one carrying the mantle is something I am really thankful for not because I am qualified but the Grace of the Most High found me. You know after my father passed on the 10th of June last year his band members of over 25 years all said they were staying with me to ensure the legacy he left behind continues. It has been an honour having to work with them as I am excited for the things I will get to learn from them, memories that we will be creating together and what I will also be able to share with them too. I know there are a lot of expectations but I try as much as I can not to be under pressure as truly and honestly there can only be one Ras Kimono! I am only going to continue building on the existing platform as oppose to filling my father’s shoes.
Your current single and video, Good Ole Days, really touches on some old skool vibes, what got you thinking into taking it back to dem old days?
Good Ole Days was a song I wrote to correct a wrong statement issued by a highly placed person in government who had said the Nigerian youths were lazy. So this got me quite upset and I decided to put it into music. Don’t call me lazy when things are not in place, when basic infrastructures are not in place. When the government does not care about the welfare of its citizens. When there is a high rate of unemployment with graduates roaming the streets. When people are going on to survive on their own with no government support.
Your art, is it a reflection of society at large or is it personal?
My art is a reflection of both society and personal experiences. My inspiration stems from what I see around me. My society, people’s experiences and mine as well. For me music is a tool that can be used to change and speak about certain narratives that people don’t really want to talk about.
How is the Reggae and Dancehall scene like in Nigeria?
Well the reggae dancehall scene out here in Nigeria is going through a revival process as the genre was almost going extinct with the emergence of the Afro pop genre which is taking over the music space not only here in Nigeria but around the world too. Reasons being that times have changed and what interests people in this generation is unfortunately based on the trivial things of life. This generation seems not to be in tune with reality as much anymore. The level of interest on superficial things is on the high and can be mostly attributed to poverty as everyone is in the race of not wanting to be seen as poor or below a certain class which is ok but shouldn’t be the basis of existence. So with this a lot of people see reggae music as not sellable cos it deals with truth and consciousness. There are only a few musicians who speak truth and consciousness through their music and are still breaking grounds.
If you were not into music, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t into music I guess I will still be in the entertainment and hospitality space as I have a knack for service. I actually did have a restaurant at some point which I ran for about a year before shutting it down to focus on the music. I am sure I will still get back to it sometime later.
What would you consider your highlights and down lows in your musical journey?
The highlights in my musical journey so far will be having the privilege to perform with my dad on the same stage and also performing on world class reggae festivals around Europe. The down lows will be facing challenges such as being told that my genre of music is not sellable and having a hard time getting my songs on rotation for that reason. But all in all I am grateful for all of the experiences so far.
What can we look forward to hearing and seeing from you for the remainder of 2019?
I will be releasing my debut album this year and hope to be on tour with my father’s band round Africa and the world preaching the message of Love, equality and justice as I continue to preserve my rich reggae heritage. All of my songs can be found on Itunes, Amazon, Spotify, Deezer. Subscribe to my Youtube Channel where you will find updates.
For Bookings and Inquiries
Email: Olusegun@s2dbgroup.com | Phone: +2348095105590