Two weeks ago, Ogi Ifediora, the American-Nigerian singer, stepped on the Black Entertainment Television (BET) awards stage with a vocal flair that caught the audience’s attention and held them to a standstill.
Amid the exciting performances delivered on the night, Ogi, who was clad in a short green dress, handled the microphone like a pro when she rendered ‘I got It’, her lead single off ‘Monologue’, her debut EP.
Though she didn’t get a standing ovation, the youngster had the rare privilege of performing in front of notable music gatekeepers, executives and foremost creators in the industry.
Her journey to the limelight kickstarted when she decided to abandon her dream of becoming a lawyer shortly after she graduated from Northwestern University, where she studied political science and minored in legal studies in 2019.
Before she left the university, Ogi had joined THUNK a cappella, Northwestern’s oldest acapella group, where she was able to train and refine her singing abilities.
“It taught me how to rely on my voice entirely, “It [also] allowed me to learn how to create very coherent arrangements that weren’t overly heady. I would not know how to do what I do if I hadn’t joined it,” she said in an interview.
NIGERIAN ROOTS — AND HYMNS
Her growth was fuelled by the music experience she had from her Nigerian parents. Before joining the group, Ogi was accustomed to gospel music, especially Nigerian hymns, through her mother, while her father exposed her to reggae and highlife.
Within the household, Ogi would sing songs by BeBe and CeCe Winans, John P. Kee, and Marvin Sapp. She later joined a jazz choir alongside her friends, where she developed an affinity for music made by historic female jazz artists like Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn.
While still in school, she started posting cover songs on Instagram. Fortune smiled on her when PJ Morton, Grammy-winning American singer, shared her cover of his song which was produced by No I.D, the US record producer considered the ‘godfather of Chicago hip hop’.
Ogi later met NO I.D at a Red Bull event in Chicago, but she didn’t start recording with the veteran immediately. According to reports, she insisted that she would finish her studies at the university before she begins anything official.
Soon after her graduation, she moved to Los Angeles where she began working with NO. I.D on ‘Monologue’. Ogi released the six-track extended play in May 2022 while signed to Atlantic and ARTium Recordings.
Three of the tracks, ‘Let Me Go’, ‘Envy’ and ‘I Got It’, were demos she had before she finished school in 2019. Others are ‘Follow Me’, ‘Bitter’, and ‘IKYK’.
From the confidence and vocal dexterity Ogi exuded at the just concluded BET awards and the smart decisions she’s made in her career thus far, she’s clearly on the track to stardom and success.
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