By Eric Elezuo and Jane Efagwu
In a society where succeeding in any chosen career is a surmountable task, one young man keeps on keeping on as he refuses to be halted in his tracks by life’s journeys. For him, the journey has just begun and the sky is the starting point. With tracks like Your Body and Sexy Figure Eight, Don Cross has only begun his domination of the music scene. We sat with the young crooner recently to talk about his background, career and future plans. These are the excerpts:
Can we meet you
My name is Ogie Christian Ivienagbor and I am popularly known as Don Cross. I’m an artist, a musician to be precise.
Tell us about your background
I am from Edo State, the third child of eight children. I was born into the family of Chief Patrick Ivienagbor. I attended Etsako Nur/Pry School from where I proceeded to Our Lady of Fatimah College, Auchi for my secondary school education. I also went to Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, where I studied Mechanical Engineering. I graduated from there in 2009, served the following year for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps.
How did you come about your name, Don Cross
Don Cross originated from all my names. I took letters from my names and formed Don Cross. Don Cross means the leader of a group or a father to anyone who looks up to him. In school, people came to me for advice on different issues and I always helped them
Are any of your siblings into music
Yes, my younger brother is a singer. His name is T-Brizle. I am trying to work hard to pave the way for him as a support in the industry.
From your background, you are a product of the sciences, how and why did you venture into music
Engineers are creators. God is also a creator and those who make music are also creators. They create magic from absolutely nothing hence my chosen career. Also, I believe that by doing music, I am heeding God’s call. My destiny is to do music and destiny just have to be fulfilled even when you have to deviate from your initial course. I’m not into music for the fame and fortune. I was really focusing on Mechanical Engineering as a career until this little girl, Ose by name, that visits our house frequently, came around one day. I refused to give her some food and I said “Ose you too dey chopi chopi”. It sounded rhythmic to me so I called my friend and we hit the studio to make some melody out of it, and that was how it all started.
What kind of genre is your music
My music is mostly dancehall and any genre the spirit of the Lord inspires me to do.
Tell us about some of your songs
I have written so many songs so far but I have released the visuals for just two which are Sweet Figure Eight and Your Body.
Who are your target audience
My target audience is basically the ladies because they are our hobbies and they don’t deserve to be heartbroken
What inspired your choice of target-audience
I am inspired by the various women in my life; from my mum to my friends to every woman around me.
What message do you try to pass across to your listeners
I try to portray the quality of women and their importance in the world at large. I want to let women know what has been placed in them by God, and that they are role models to people around them.
When did you start music
I started music in 2006. I have been doing music for 11 years now. It took me this long to produce videos and to get to this point because of financial constraints. I am self-produced for now. And that is why I had to hustle and get things done on my own.
Where do you draw inspiration from in writing your songs
I won’t say God because that sounds cliché though He remains the chief inspiration. I draw inspiration from everyday activities around me. I try to put myself in their shoes to feel whatever they are going through. Even this interview can be an inspiration.
Have you performed anywhere before
Yes I have. I performed at our departmental shows back then in school. I also performed at yearly community shows like funfairs and street parties.
What impression do you hope to create for the younger ones looking up to you
I want them to believe in themselves and the dreams they have no matter the obstacles they may have to face from any quarter. I want them to rise and fight for what they believe in and get to the top, no matter what.
Where do you see yourself in the next two years
In the next two years, I see myself where God sees me because I don’t own my life but I know the future is bright.
What do you hope to offer through your music to interested sponsors and investors
I promise efficient delivery of my art and I’m going to give them their money’s worth. I promise not disappoint anyone who puts their trust in me either financially or otherwise.
What new flavor or component are you bringing to the Nigerian music scene that no one has brought yet
My delivery of songs and my general performance whether on or off the stage will be different from the regular, and it will represent my personal style and brand.
Who do you look up to in the music world
Internationally, I look up to 50cent, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, the late Micheal Jackson and Bob Marley. Here in Nigeria, I admire the likes of Tuface, Olamide, Don Jazzy, Iyanya, Tiwa Savage, Cynthia Morgan among others because they all make good music.
From the list of people you’ve mentioned, who influences you directly
On the international scene, 50 cent and Snoop Dogg influence my music. I love their style. In Nigeria, Olamide and Tuface are the artistes that influence my sound and style too.
How will you handle controversies with the press when they come up
I will, to an extent ignore the headlines and news until they fade away. I’ll be more focused with my work to give out better sound. I will address it at some point when if it tends to tarnish my image. I will try to get out the truth to let people know what is really happening.
Do you plan to do anything related to Mechanical Engineering in the future
Yes, I plan to open an engineering firm in future in order to create jobs for the people and also teach people what I know so they can learn from me. It is a form of giving back to the society even if I’m not practicing the profession.
Do you plan to go back to school again
Yes I do. I plan to go back to school to study music to become a better musician and know everything about the profession
Do you have any girlfriend
I don’t have a girlfriend.
Why don’t you have a girlfriend when your music appeals to women in general
I love women and their various contributions to society and other things but right now, I am trying to focus on my music so I can be successful. I used to have a girlfriend. One of my songs, You Body, is dedicated to her.
Describe your ideal woman
She has to be down to earth, simple, humble, God-fearing, submissive and respectful. I am not a tribalistic person so she can come from any tribe.
How do you relax
I relax by going to the club, hanging out with my guys and doing music. Doing music makes me happy.
How can your fans reach you
My fans can reach me through my various social media platforms. On Facebook, it is doncrosscbaba. On Instagram, my handle is @ivienagborchristianogie. On Twitter, my handle is @iamdoncross.