Nigerian Actress and Singer, Jennifer Eliogu, sits Chude Jideonwo to discuss her acting and music career, the viral Onulu Ube song, taking a break and her comeback into the industry.
On how she started acting, she shared, “I didn’t go out to look for movies, I just stumbled into it. My friend was going for rehearsal, so I went with her. They were extras and they were doing karate. She was like, do you want to join, but I said that it was too violent for me. Jennifer shared how she spoke to the lead on the project, and she got an opportunity to audition. The audition ended with applause, and she got the lead role in the movie, and it had the likes of Charly boy, Jerry Amilo and others.”
She also shared her choice to drop out of school and when she finally decided to go back, “I dropped out and then I faced acting. And I was doing very well. After a while for every newspaper, you opened and they talked about actors, you see people saying, the graduate of university of… and then people say, ‘you speak so well, where did you graduate from?’ at that point I knew I had to go back.”
On when she wasn’t in the industry, and if she regretted taking the break, she shared, ‘At that time I got married and relocated to Switzerland and I had two beautiful children. And now I’m back like I never left. I left in 2005, It wasn’t hard for me to leave my career for my marriage; as at that time, love was just enough for me. So, there weren’t a lot of roles that we could really fit in, so it felt like there was a recess for people in those age brackets. It was difficult getting back into the industry because the vacuum has already been created. And there was this bridge between the young girls and the middle age, and the mummies. We didn’t have a lot of roles that my set of girls could play, so it was tough for actors in my age group. The story then was between the young girl leaving the boyfriend, the young girls playing the girlfriends and the older women playing the mummy roles. So, there weren’t a lot of roles that we could really fit in, so it felt like there was a recess for people in that age brackets.”
She shared that she was typecasted for mother roles and how she had to use it as her comeback into the industry.
On the success of her hit song Onulu Ube, she shared, “It’s just grace because it is not my kind of song, My sound is soul, RnB, jazz and the likes. I have been doing music for at least a decade, the time just came, and God chose the song he used to announce me. I wrote that song one night, after I read a few things on the internet. I was so pained that I wrote the song in 24 hours. I called my producer and said ‘let’s do this song’. The first time I recorded it was my usual genre, the slow tempo but I didn’t have peace after doing it. I did the reggae version, and I liked it so much, but I didn’t have peace still. One day I said to myself, ‘what could I do differently’, I need people to relate to the song, and I thought to myself, ’Ogene’.”
“I didn’t see Onulu Ube coming. I did the song, but I didn’t see it becoming this big, where people who weren’t even Nigerian drop messages saying, ‘Now that I know the meaning of the song , I am blown away’” she added.
Watch the excerpt here