We had the good fortune of connecting with Agho Ekhator and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Agho, why did you pursue a creative career?
I’ll say I really didn’t pick this path, I started realizing I had a passion for music from a young age of 11. Although that dream was quickly shut down. After moving to the US, the dream resurfaced, it became more evident that I have to actually make use of my music making ability, and I had more free time to actually get into it. For me 2012 was pivotal in my journey as it was the year I started going into the studio, it confirmed my undying passion that I could actually do it, but I couldn’t go all out with it because my number one reason for leaving Nigeria was for Education, and family would have been very disappointed if that wasn’t fulfilled. I’ve been flirting with music since then and now I feel like I am married to it, it’s the only thing I picture myself doing and it’s my avenue to get my story and message across.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Taking up music as a career hasn’t been the easiest time for me, without any immediate support or background of music in my family, it was very unconventional for me to pick up music as a career. Obviously it started as a hobby, I realized that I was pretty good at it, and it was an avenue for me to get away from the stress I was feeling at that particular time. 2019 was when I decided to actually to take it up full time and its been a journey since then, Its been almost against all odds, but here I am doing what I love. The difference in my art now is that I want to it portray me, I know we are always finding ourselves but I want my music to reflect my current state, and also help promote my culture, as I feel this is my biggest goal, being able to preserve my culture for the next generation, play my part to make it cool for the younger ones. I have a lot of moments I am proud of so far, in my full year of taking music as a career, I have exceeded most of my personal expectations, from dropping my biggest single ‘Smooth MF’ to all the shows we did pre COVD. Even though 2020 hit us with an unprecedented and unexpected situation, most people I know have been able to make use of the situation and have adjusted accordingly, I was able to establish my own platform to get my music across (The Parlour). This has given me and other artistes a stage to present their works, bypassing the traditional promoters and middlemen who prioritizes profit as opposed to creating an event that caters to the artists and most especially the audience. We came up with The Parlour in New York, because getting booked was very difficult for us Afrobeats artistes in the diaspora, so far we are changing the narratives for Afrobeats from the US, still a long way to go, but substantial progress is being made and hopefully 2021 will see even greater success in our scene. The biggest lesson I have learnt so far is giving your best, creating takes time which may be a curse in our present times, because we are in a content based world, with low attention span, so most artistes feel the need to go for quantity over quality. I understand the urge but I rather create something memorable.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I had a friend out of town, they’ll definitely have to try out my favorite Senegalese restaurant in Harlem called Le baobab. I don’t go out too often but when I do, for night life I’ll have to say Silvanas and Le Bain are my go to spots. Silvanas for a chill relaxed night, with a bit of live music and as for Le Bain the view is always really great and helps appreciate NYC while partying at the same time.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to appreciate everyone that has been involved in anyway in my career thus far, especially my people and family at The Parlour. I also want to say thanks to the people who have influenced me musically and all the artistes I have been lucky to work with ( Ayo Jay, Dj Tunez etc)