Nigeria’s growth in the entertainment industry would be incomplete without Mike Okri, who, along with the likes of Ras Kimono and Dizzy K Falola infused pop music with a fresh, invigorating sound in the late 1980s.
His debut album Concert Fever spawned a string of hits including ‘Omoge’ and ‘Time Na Money,’ garnering him international acclaim and cementing his status at home as a pioneer of “Afro-mystic Soul”- a fusion of Nigerian highlife and soul.
His second and third albums- ‘Rhumber Fever’ and Cracks- followed soon after, to varying degrees of success.
But he disappeared from the public eye a few years later, opting instead for a quiet life in the United States.
“I still was involved, doing what I know how to do best, singing crooning in strange places,” Okri told Arise New. “However not much information was coming back home. It looked like I retired. Like my father used to say, sometimes you disappear to reappear for the better, and that’s the situation.”
The singer acknowledged that the pop scene has evolved since his hiatus in the 90s but his own evolution has prepared him for the new sound.
“It puts me in a situation where I am still the father that will prop them right because the experience is on my side,” he said.
“They might have the knowledge of the new sound but I have experience on my side to be able to work with them. We both can co-exist.”