Six Nigerian Entertainers That Have Transitioned Between Different Art Forms Recently Entertaining Regardless
Seven months ago, veteran comedian Bright “Basketmouth”Okpocha released his sophomore album, Horoscope, which came as the first project he has so far put out since he signed with the international record label, Empire Music, last October.
Fans of the comedian knew when he signed the deal that their favourite comic would now have to
divide his creative attention between humour and music. This would be a smart choice since the digitalisation of comedy has seen stand-up comics take a backseat to social media skits.
Although necessary for some, transitioning into entertainment is not exactly as seamless as Basketmouth has made it seem. Whether merging two art forms as he continues to do— releasing an album the same day he hosted fans to a sold-out comedy show in indigo at The O2, London—or
completely jumping ship like Segun Arinze did when he abandoned his dreams of being a music star to become a mainstay in Nollywood, navigating the entertainment waters is a rather common sight that we have seen for ages past.
Not every entertainer has found it easy, though. Different art forms take different skill sets, so for every Banky W who transitions from the recording studio to film sets seamlessly, there is a Tonto
Dikeh was reminded never to leave our movie screens for music video shoots ever again.
These are six entertainers that have transitioned between art forms very recently.
Adesuwa “Susu” Etomi-Wellington
On the same day, Basketmouth released his sophomore album, Adesuwa made her entrance into the music scene. Susu, as she has adopted as her music name, released a song titled So Natural. Adesuwa who has starred in just one movie since 2019, took Nigerians by surprise with her decision to explore music.
Although we are yet to see what happens with her acting career, Susu’s introduction into the music industry still feels like a temporary one. Although she released the single under her husband, RnB artist and label CEO, Banky W’s record label, Empire Mates Entertainment, and a media company they had recently both formed, BAAD Media Productions, it would appear that he had little influence on the record.
The Cobham Asuquo-produced song has so far garnered mixed reviews from music lovers; some of them asked her to return to acting, while others commended her for having the sheer courage to delve into uncharted territory. The next couple of moves will decide just how serious this transition is.
Bright “Basketmouth” Okpocha
Bright Okpocha, professionally known as Basketmouth, has always had an interesting approach to entertainment. Before he became ‘our friendly neighbourhood funny guy,’ he was a drummer, rapper, and the founder of two rap groups.
Basketmouth would go on to quit the band in search of his breakthrough as their brand of rap was not acceptable by Nigerians at the time; the breakthrough was in comedy. Recognised as one of the biggest names in Nigerian comedy, Basketmouth fulfilled his early dreams of becoming a music star after the release of his debut album, Yabasi, which served as the original soundtrack of his web series, Papa Benji, in November 2020.
The 10-track highlife album, which featured top musicians such as Flavour, Bez, The Cavemen, Phyno, LADIPOE, Waje, and so on garnered so much critical acclaim that it prompted a partnership between Basketmouth and Empire Music record label to assist with marketing and
His sophomore album, Horoscope, is another star-studded project that tells the story of his standing in the music space so far. His well-blended features on each track have already set him up as one of the best A&Rs (Artists and repertoire) in the country. All these while hosting shows globally to make people laugh.
Remilekun “Reminisce” Khalid Safaru
One of the country’s leading Hip-hop artists, Reminisce, added ‘actor’ to his résumé when he starred in one of Nigeria’s biggest movies in recent times, the political thriller, King of Boys. In casting that no one saw coming, Reminisce executed his role in Kemi Adetiba’s blockbuster brilliantly.
In an interview, the ace rapper revealed that he arrived at the film set to shoot his first two scenes
on his birthday, and after seeing the lead Sola Sobowale do what she does, he felt he couldn’t go ahead with his role. He said, “So, yeah, I took up the challenge, and on my first day on set, I saw aunty Sola Sobowale in her full element.
It was my birthday, and Olamide was waiting for me at a nightclub, but I had to shoot some scenes. So, I saw her in her full element, and I told Kemi (Adetiba) ‘I can’t do this’. She asked why, I said, ‘look at this woman na, I can’t do this. This woman is in another world; I don’t want to mess up. I can’t do this. But Kemi convinced me and said she believed I could do it, and I went back home and returned to give my best as you all saw in the movie”.
Although it took eight long months to convince him to make the quick transition to the film industry, he showed up like he was born to do it. He said, “I wasn’t so sure I could do it because
I had so much going on at that time, but Kemi Adetiba was able to convince me, and this took
about eight months. Though there were a lot of other names flying around but she said no, that she wanted Reminisce to do this.”
Olubankole “Banky W” Wellington
R&B Superstar and label CEO, Olubankole Wellington, professionally known as Banky W
brought his love songs to life when he starred as a lead character in the 2016 rom-com, The Wedding Party, which was the start of on-screen chemistry with the co-star that would end up
taking his last name, Adesuwa Etomi-Wellington.
In a performance that caught the eyes of thespians across the country, Banky W showed that he was
capable of acting out the romance he often sings about. He went on to star in three other movies in
the next three years, including a sequel to his debut, The Wedding Party 2.
His movie run was put on hold, however, with his last appearance on our movie screens coming at the same time his wife, Adesuwa Etomi-Wellington went on a hiatus. They both starred in 2019
movie Sugar Rush. Banky W, who had taken a break from the entertainment scene before the birth of his son in January 2021, returned with an album titled The Bank Statements last November.
Just like his wife, we don’t know if he will be back on movie screens, but if he never acted
in another movie ever, he can be regarded as a really good actor.
Folarin “Falz” Falana
Not many people can boast of being a top name in both worlds like Falz can. His music career which took off on the back of a comedic online persona he had created through Instagram skits, has soared to unimaginable heights, placing him firmly as one of the biggest names in Nigerian hip-hop.
In retrospect, it feels like Falz had acted as a part of the plan all along. His first acting gig came a year after the release of his debut music album Wazup Guy in 2014—he had a recurring role in Funke Akindele’s soap opera, Jenifa’s Diary.
In an evenly balanced career, Falz has gone on to feature in over ten movies and two series, including blockbusters like Chief Daddy, Merry Men, and Quam’s Money. His excellent acting has earned him ‘Best Actor’ recognition at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards and ‘Best
Supporting Actor’ two years later, making him the first Nigerian musician to win the prize twice.
Falz’s status in the movie industry became solidified after he unveiled his film production company,
House21TV, in August 2020. The production company has so far produced the web comedy series, Therapy, which stars him in the lead role alongside actors and media personality, Toke Makinwa.
One-time DOWNTOWN cover personality, Dakore Egbuson-Akande tried her hands at music just over a decade ago. The Nollywood actor, renowned for her ability to interpret difficult roles released a song titled Don’t Make Me in the early 2000s before going on her hiatus.
Just like her colleagues—Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Tonto Dikeh, and so on— Dakore too attempted to make her mark on the music scene. It was never to be, however, as her
songs never got half of the acclaim that her movies got her.
Speaking to us last year, the multifaceted movie star revealed that she would be releasing a movie she produced this year titled Blaqout, and her character is a musician. This means that we are expecting a return of Dakore Egbuson-Akande in the music scene.
Toyin “TY Bello” Sokefun-Bello
Exciting times are ahead with this incoming transition. Toyin “TY Bello” Sokefun-Bello Best known for her nationwide hit, Greenland, TY Bello took the music industry by storm before sharing her time with photography.
TY Bello, renowned as a seasoned music artist was also at the very top of the photography industry as she was the official photographer to former President Goodluck Jonathan during his tenure in office. Her music side is also still very active—on new year’s day, she released a 10-track album, two years after she had joint voices with leading gospel artist, Tope Alabi, on a critically acclaimed album.
Her photography became very mainstream as she told the story and eventual success of hairstylist/bread hawker Olajumoke Orisaguna whom she discovered in the background during a photo shoot with British rapper Tinie Tempah in Lagos. The entertainment industry is very broad
and too often we see these crossovers take creatives out of their perceived comfort zone.
Although movie and comedy stars like Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Genevieve Nnaji, Nkem “Osoufia” Owoh, Julius Agwu, Tonto Dikeh, and so on, didn’t enjoy sustained success in the music industry,
likewise, music stars such as Simi, Cynthia Morgan (now known as Madrina), Tiwa Savage, Seyi Shay, and so on, didn’t stick around the movie industry long enough to become a force in Nollywood.
One thing remains constant amidst the journey from the studio to the set—they stick to the job description as entertainers.