Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bosa Mora (interview below)

I was planning on blogging about Bosa Mora the day right after his audition aired on American Idol, but by the time I got around to it, the earthquake in Haiti had hit, and seemed a little trivial to me to be blogging about an American Idol contestant. Then I lost sight  of it for a minute. But I'm glad I didn't forget.

This Naija American guy is from Columbus, Ohio and he's got talent, for sure. He's been doing music for a while, both singing and writing music and playing the piano and guitar.  I was just so excited when he started talking about how his parents (and by default, him too) are from Nigeria.  And then I heard his audition and was like YEAH!!!!!!!!! Naija in the house! Brotha can sing.

I loved how they showed his family. His mother, ever a true Naija beauty, wore a big, bright orange gele. Hahaha.......I  also loved how she,  ever the God-conscious Naija woman,  said "God is good, and we are grateful. Thank you," after son got the golden ticket to go to Hollywood. 

I'm looking forward to seeing how he'll do in the long run. I really don't watch American Idol much after hilarious auditions, but I hope he goes far. 

He's not  the first Nigerian American to be on American Idol. If you can remember 2 years ago, there was Chikezie. Chikezie is an Igbo name that should be pronounced Chee-ke-zee-ay. The judges called him Chi-keezy, which to me, sounds like a name for some wack underground rapper. Hahahaha.....poor guy. Chikezie  ended up going pretty far though. He was really great.

As for Bosa I hope he goes all the way. Bosa for American Idol 2010! Yeah, I'm biased. I might even vote for the first time ever.

Anyways if you go to Youtube and type in "Bosa Mora" you can find videos of him performing music. You can also go to his Myspace page to hear more of his music.

*******************UPDATE ************************FEBRUARY 10

Here's the interview that I did with Bosa:

Q: What is your full name?
A: My full name is Bosa Chukwudi Olisameka Mora

Q: What does it mean?
A: My name means "Bow to God for he is merciful"

Q: How old are you?
A: I am twenty two years old

Q: Where were you born? Raised?
A: I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio

Q: How many sibblings did you say you had again?
A: I have seven other siblings and I am child number five.

Q: How did you first get into music?
A: I first got into music when I was very young, I can't remember how old I was but I just got into it listening to it and singing along to songs on the radio. It was not until the end of high school that I started to see singing and writing music as a potential career for me.

Q: Where have you performed?
A: I have performed all along the east coast from New York to Boston, Columbus ,Ohio in the Midwest, and even LA in the west coast. My first performances were in high school and then I started to play in bars, restaurants, subways, streets, hotels, colleges, private events, and many other random places. I perform my original music with bands on occasion but for the most part on my own.

Q: Who are your favorite musicians? Your biggest influences?
A: I have many favorite musicians and influences, too many to name to be honest, but I would first say that I draw my own music from the music of West Africa and America. I listened to many African artists growing up, particularly Nigerian such as Prince Nico Mbarga, Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, and Fela Kuti. In terms of American artists I love the music of Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Sam Cooke, and many of the soul pioneers and legends. I love anything that has a real emotion to it whether it is pop or independent, as long as it has soul I feel it.

Q:When did you decide to audition for American Idol?
A: I decided to audition for American Idol when a close friend of mine decided to go and I decided to try too. Neither of us were really interested in doing it but we decided to give it a try and see it as an opportunity to get out there. For me, it was a chance to show myself to people from all over and hopefully shed enough light by singing someone else's song for them to want to really see me shine with my own original music.

Q: How do you think you will do on the show?
A: I believe I have done very well already in getting out there an auditioning and being noticed. I am very grateful to have gotten so far and to have received so much support from Americans, people from all over the world, and Nigerians. To get any kind of exposure as an upcoming artist is something to be grateful for and proud of. In my eyes, I have already accomplished a great task even though as an artist I have an even greater journey ahead.

Q: Is music a full-time thing for you, or are you doing anything else, like school, work, etc.?
A:  Music is a full time thing for me but it has'nt paid me enough yet for me to do it as my only form of work. I have worked in offices as an intern, buildings as a maintenance worker, sales, non-profits, and a bunch of random jobs. I also went to the Berklee College of Music in Boston and just graduated last year. At Berklee I studied composition and professional music. While I was there I worked to learn more about the music industry, collaborated with my peers, and grew as an artist, composer, songwriter, and performer. I received very little musical training growing up so I taught myself the piano and the guitar with a few lessons on the side. It was at Berklee that I really began to see that I could do music as a full-time career.

Me: Ok, my blog is Naija American Girl, so I gotta ask:

Q:What tribe is your family from?
A: My family is from the Igbo tribe.

Q: Do you speak your family's native tongue?
A: I do not speak my families native tongue fluently but my parents have always spoke it around my siblings growing up so we all have conversational skills. As for me, I am still enjoy learning to this day.

Q: What are your experiences being a Naija American guy? Were you ever teased in school, that kind of thing.
A: My experience being a Naija guy has been a good one for the most part but it has not come without some challenges. Growing up in Columbus, Ohio and going to a school predominantly white and African American, I stood out as being African because my family has never been ashamed of our culture and people could see that I was different. I used to struggle with not fitting in. Even though I was born in America, I was never really considered an African American because my family is Nigerian and my parents where born in Nigeria. I was teased about my name and all the things that made me different. In terms of Nigerians I have always felt welcome except in some cases. The fact that I wasn't born in Nigeria means to some that I am not Nigerian enough and I am more American, leaving me in the middle, being not Nigerian enough or American enough. Despite all of this I hold no grudges because I know who I am and I am proud and I feel someone in my position is only misunderstood because people don't fully understand and not because they are prejudice. What has been the best experience for me being a Naija guy is the strength and courage I find in my roots and my ancestors, It helps me as a musician to know that whatever may come I can handle it. Also, being more grown up, many of the people who did not understand me before and teased me are more than just accepting now, but loving. They can see now the beauty of being Nigerian and the wonderful culture of the country.

Q: Do you travel to Nigeria often? If yes, how do you like it? How do family members treat you? If no, do you want to? Why or why not?
A: I have not traveled often to Nigeria but I have been there and I plan on going back again as soon as I can. When I was there I will say that the first thing that struck me is how different Africa is than what some in other parts of the world who have not been there would describe it. Many times you see Africa on TV and think though nature's beauty shines bright on the continent, it is plagued with problems. There is truth to that, but there is also truth to the fact that there is so much more to Africa than meets the eye. I was inspired by my time in Nigeria and treated well by my family there as well as other Nigerians I met. Though I was singled out in some ways as an American I was never rejected or treated disrespectfully. There is a beautiful spirit in Africa which I am grateful for the opportunity to have experienced.

Q: How do your parents react to your desire to pursue music? Did they ever give you the "this is not a stable career path" speech? Lol.
A: Yes! My parents did react at first to my desire to pursue music with hesitation and uneasiness. I definitely got the "this is not a stable career path" lecture and "how will you make money" speech. lol. Its funny because I look back and can laugh even with my parents because we all know that something is happening and its bigger than American Idol or any TV show. For me, I am learning more every day that my gift as a musician is bigger than me. I never asked for it but I've been blessed with an opportunity to learn so much about music. My faith is that I will get a chance to share my gift on a grand scale with people all over the world. My parents are with me now along with my family and I am fortunate because that is not always the case. It was very good that they did not accept it at first because I got a chance to experience a setback and I showed them that it would'nt stop me. That has prepared me for this journey as an artist because there are many setbacks to come and peaks and valleys to overcome but I believe I have what it takes to persevere through challenges even more now with my family behind me.

Q: Lastly, what is one experience or event that you will never forget? It could be funny, sad, profound, or just random.
A: One experience I will never forget is my first musical. I was a basketball player for most of high school and focused on being the best basketball player I could be until I got stung by the music bug and never recovered. I remember skipping practices to write music and slowly transferring all the energy I put into basketball into music. One day my coach called me to his office and rather kindly told me he noticed I had not been as focused as before with basketball and could tell my mind was on other things. He was really kind about it, and I could not disagree because I knew that my basketball days in high school were coming to an end. After a long talk he told me he thought it best for me to leave the team and I told him I understood. I did'nt know what to feel and for the first time in my life I really didn't know the next step. The next day I was in math class listening to my math teacher who was also the drama director when an announcement came on that called for men to dare to be a part of the musical "Les Miserables" because the school needed men to pull it off. I considered but not enough to make the move to audition that day. Later on, I was about to leave to go home when I went back into the school to get a drink of water and there at the fountain was my math teacher who was also a drama director. We talked a little which was interesting because we didn't talk much out of class and she was not the type to push conversation but this time we talked quite naturally. Before I left she looked at me and said, "You should audition for the play, you look like you can carry a note." That pushed me enough to do it and I got the lead role and a part in the biggest musical our school had ever seen. It was one of the best experiences of my life convincing me even more to follow music and also to pursue acting. I will always remember that trip to the fountain and ever since I've never hesitated to stop for a drink when I'm thirsty. You never know, that drink might change your life! Chidinma thank you so much for the interview. Its my pleasure to be on your blog and all the best to you.

Good luck to you Bosa, God bless you!

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