Orezi: From Nigeria To The Globe
Orezi is a superstar in Nigeria, here to spread the love of Afrobeat to the rest of the world. Boasting one million followers on Instagram alone, real name Esegine Allen exploded onto the scene with his 2013 single “Rihanna.” Since then, he hasn’t let his foot off the gas pedal one bit.
The Delta State native has been making Afrobeat and dancehall records for a while, with big records dating back to 2013.
He states, “Afrobeat getting recognized is what we all dreamed of, what we’re working towards. We’re all really excited, it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves. It’s a phase we’re all excited about, because we know it’s only going to get better. Whatever exposure that Afrobeat has now is only going to keep getting bigger and better.”
For Orezi, he has contributed in his own unique way. Last year, he released his standout single “Sweet Sensation” featuring Sheebah, which currently has over 4.2 million views and counting. This year, he follows it up with the same upbeat, dance-inspired energy releasing “Your Body” featuring fellow Nigerian star Teni.
AllHipHop caught up with Orezi to get to know him on a deeper level, to discuss how Nigeria’s affected by COVID-19 and the impact of his music.
AllHipHop: For those who don’t know who is Orezi?
Orezi: Orezi is a chill, fun-loving guy. I make music. I love beautiful women. I like to watch movies. I love to eat pasta. That’s a basic overview.
AllHipHop: How have you been holding up during quarantine?
Orezi: It’s been quite different. I’ve been at home, Netflix has been my best friend. I’ve been watching almost everything on Netflix. I went from Money Heist to the Kingdom to Top Boy to Ozark. I’ve watched too much, a lot. I’m a sucker for TV. If I’m not working, I like to watch TV. I wasn’t watching that much pre-quarantine.
AllHipHop: How has COVID-19 affected the Nigerian music industry?
Orezi: A lot, we’re not performing. Although a lot of artists do make a lot of money from streaming, the major money’s actually from the shows out here. Not being able to perform right now is crazy, people are going broke.
AllHipHop: What did 2013’s “Rihanna” do for your career?
Orezi: That did a lot for my career. Rihanna’s such a big artist, even you mentioning her name in a song definitely was going to get attention. I made the entire record about how I want to give her my banana. [laughs] I really do though. That put me in the spotlight. Everybody wanted to listen to the song because it was titled “Rihanna.” When they get to listen, they thought it was a smash. Everybody loved it, I won awards with the song.
AllHipHop: Have you crossed paths with Rih?
Orezi: Nah, I never met her. But I’d love to!
AllHipHop: How did the collaboration with Teni come about?
Orezi: Teni is an amazing artist. I was in America in Dallas, Teni was in America also. She had a couple of shows, so she flew into Dallas where I was. I met up with her at her apartment, we started creating the vibe and out came the record. Teni’s super talented. She got on the microphone, put the headphones on and recorded one take. She didn’t come back to correct any mistakes. She didn’t come back to do no adlib, no back up. Just that one take, that’s what you’re hearing now. I got back home to my studio, I chopped and screwed it and that’s the song. Shout out Teni, she’s an amazing artist. Too talented.
AllHipHop: What did it mean for Nigeria?
Orezi: It’s a big deal for Nigeria, because it’s bumping everywhere! Everyone’s been bumping to it. We’re going to push it global, that’s the plan. That’s the goal, we keep pushing it.
AllHipHop: The video looked like a full-blown party, what was the highlight of shooting?
Orezi: It was a memorable video. I called Teni up a few days before the shoot and told her we’re shooting “so and so” day. She said “okay, send me the location.” I sent the location to her manager. I was getting dressed, the director called me up and said “yo, what’re you doing? Where you at? Teni has been here!” I’m like “Teni’s there?” I hurried up to the video, met Teni there. What she did really meant a lot to me because I thought I was going to be there, calling her like “where you at? Please come through, it’ll be quick.” She got there before me, shout out to Teni. Love her. We want it to be the biggest record of the year, that’s the plan.
AllHipHop: What memories do you have tied to “Sweet Sensation”? Another one of your big records.
Orezi: I wrote this record and I was looking for a female dancer. That's who I wrote the record for, to give to a female artist. The only female artist that came to mind was Shebah. She’s from Uganda and I love Shebah. I sent her the song, she liked it. I said “okay, let’s do the song together.” I decided to feature her on the song, we did the song together. I flew into Uganda to shoot the video, it was an amazing experience. Uganda’s an amazing place. I love Uganda. We flew into Uganda with my director, we had the producer on ground to help us get anything that we’d need. Shebah came looking sweet. We had fun man, it was a fun-loving video. It was my first time shooting in East Africa.
AllHipHop: How do you create a vibe in the studio?
Orezi: It happens to me naturally. If the vibes of the beats are interesting, I vibe to it. I don’t force it. If it’s not calling me, I don’t record. If the beat is hot, I vibe. It’s not something I can explain. I vibe to it, it just comes to me.
AllHipHop: What’s your favorite song to dance to on Triller?
Orezi: I’m not a very social media savvy person. I’m trying to be that person right now because that’s a major way of pushing records right now. If you want to push your records, you have to get on Triller or TikTok. I’ve done the #SomethingNewChallenge with Ty Dolla $ign, “baby come give me something new” [sings]. Did that challenge on Triller, it was nice. That’s about the only one I’ve jumped on. I love Triller, everything going on out there is good. I’m going to be more internet savvy, jump on those platforms so I can get my music out there more.
AllHipHop: Favorite person to follow on IG?
Orezi: My favorite person to follow on IG is Lasisi. I use up all my internet data on these guys, Lasisi is amazing. I watch Lasisi everyday, definitely one of my favorite internet handles.
AllHipHop: You have 1 million followers on IG. What is it about Orezi that the fans love?
Orezi: They love me for who I am, because I’m always natural. I don’t force it. I don’t try to be who I’m not, I try to be myself. They can see through me and see that I’m a nice down-to-earth person. Plus I got fire records, I always put out great music. They love me for all this.
AllHipHop: Goals you have for yourself as an artist at this point in your career?
Orezi: It’s only been one goal since the get-go: to take this thing globally. I’m trying to get my music out there as far and worldwide as possible. Get more people to listen to my songs, that’s the only goal. That’s why we keep waking up, like Pinky and the Brain. They wake up every morning thinking to conquer the world. I’m trying to conquer the world with my music. That’s what I wake up to, that’s what I work towards every day.