Born Taiwo Olowu to popular Nollywood actress, the late Henrietta Kosoko, Eltee Skhillz is one of Nigeria’s finest artistes and choreographers. He came to limelight with his hit track ‘ODG’ featuring world renowned ‘Ghetto kids’. He has since then made his mark in the industry with his music and was recently featured on MTV Base’s ‘Inside Life’. He tells ROTIMI IGE about his musical journey so far and why he decided to be featured on the hugely anticipated reality TV show.
How excited are you to show your fans your life and journey to the top as an artiste?
I have always wanted people to see this part of me, the craft and all. When they reached out to me, I was shy because it seemed weird but also exciting. It is a new feeling for me and I have learnt a lot from this show. I can’t wait for people to see different things about Eltee Skhillz and my family, see people that support me, see my team and how I do things professionally. I’m excited and nervous at the same time because this is a first for me.
Do you see this as an opportunity for people to know who you truly are rather than judging you from what they see on social media?
Yes, it is good that the fans see the part of us that they don’t get to see everyday; our vulnerabilities, how hard or exciting things can be, how we make music, the struggles, to see that we are human at the same time while we’re making this music thing. I’m pretty excited that it’s going to make an impact on every artiste out there who are actually putting pressure on themselves.
When people watch the show, they’ll be able to see different parts of celebrities in different ways. I’m hoping that people see Eltee Skhillz and they understand that though the journey has been rough, it’s paying off right now. I’m pretty excited for people to see me and my twin brother also. I love my twin brother so much. I told him that he’d be on tv soon, then ‘Inside life’ came and I told him we’d make it happen
Obviously you’re aware that being on a reality TV show gives viewers access to your private moments. This is going to be a new attention for you that comes with being on the new season of ‘Inside life: The new wave’. How do you intend to handle the attention?
I think the best answer is that I’ll be myself. I have always been myself no matter where I go to, no matter where I am, I’m Taiwo before Olowo Taiwo, before Eltee Skhillz, so I think the one thing I have always done is express Olowo Taiwo. No matter where I go to, I’m always Olowo Taiwo.
I have a good team behind me and I never lose myself. I owe this feat to my mother.
What sides did you show in this series?
Fans should look forward to seeing me vulnerable, the photography side of me that is going to surprise many people. Like I said, I’m always myself no matter what, so I feel like this show will just be a representation of how Eltee expresses himself naturally and professionally. I’m really excited for this.
How was the beginning of your journey as a creative artiste and did you think that in such a little time, you could make it this far?
I’ll not say I made it in a little time because I have been doing this for 10 years now, putting out contents. When I started this, I was a novice. I used to watch PSquare, 2face and many artistes who have been doing really well over the years. I told myself that as long as PSquare kept doing it, I could too. So I kept working hard. People like Usher, Chris Brown and Micheal Jackson are my mentors.
It was hard initially but while I was putting out music since 2013, the industry kept on evolving and we had to follow time. Everything kept on changing; budget and gadgets kept changing. So, while I was doing music, I had to tell myself that if we don’t make it, Nigeria would have to scatter in this music industry. I convinced myself that I had to make a legacy in music and today, I am living my dream.
Many people don’t know that you’re born into a creative family, how did that shape you into the creative artiste that you are today?
Yes, you are right. In a way it did. I’m more of a rebel in my family. I and my twin brother chose music and every other person is representing their own creativity in different aspects. My mother was in the choir and she never thought I’d choose music. But, at the end of the day, when I finally chose music, it was hard to understand but she was there for me.
I’m talking about year 2008/2009, your family expects that you will be a doctor or lawyer. So, the fact that I chose music and dance, it was weird and she didn’t know how serious I was until I had to show my conviction.
So, it definitely had impact on me, them being creative also helped me see how to communicate properly. The musician, the actor helped me see how they communicate and express themselves, how they handled media and a whole lot of things. I usually ask questions, so that helped me.
What are you currently working on?
First of all, I’m working on my debut album and it’s going to be released by January 2024.
What are those things you do for fun?
I’m an anime person. Many people don’t know that I love anime. I love to watch anime and I also learn from it. I think about ideas on how I can incorporate some inspiration that I get from anime into my music and into my performances, even some of my moves. I love to play basketball when I get the chance, I love to play snooker. I used to be a movie person but not anymore.
What’s your message to fans as they watch your reality?
What I’m going to say to everyone is just to enjoy; enjoy seeing Eltee Skhillz and also remember that everyone has a genesis to their story. Those who are working hard to attain that height and recognition should also understand that it requires conviction, sacrifices, consistency, prayers and also a good team. For those that want to watch the show, I just want to tell them to enjoy and remember that these are some of the things one needs to go through to get ahead.
What lessons do you think we’re going to learn from watching this reality tv show?
I think people will learn to see that it’s fine to not be sure sometimes in certain decisions and it’s okay to be vulnerable,.It’s fine to brag and many people need to build self confidence while they’re doing their craft. Many people underestimate themselves, so seeing what we do would help them see that they can actually be creative.
When you see all these things on the show, you’d know that we also go through all these things. Sometimes, people out there creating music are comparing themselves, saying “oh, while I’m writing this music, I don’t think Davido will like to make this kind of decision, I don’t think Wizkid will do this” or “if he did, I don’t think he’d get there”.
With the show, they’ll see that they need to understand that their instincts exist for a reason. When they watch the show, they’ll realise what we go through. Processes like making certain decisions and they’ll learn to see that they need to stop comparing themselves and be confident in themselves also. A whole lot of artistes out there are not sure whether they’re doing enough and this show is going to show them that in whatever you’re doing, people recognise you and I hope this show inspires them to stay true to their game. That’s very important presently in Nigeria.
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