While many youths seek the easy way out without working hard to earn decent living, they have once again been called upon to develop themselves in other to take their rightful place in the society. TheNigerian News Lawrence Audu caught up with the talented Joseph Oche Udeh Commonly known as Mc Smart in this exclusive interview. Mc Smart who hails from Okpokwu in Benue state like the legendary 2babaand a host of other great artists, grew up in Kaduna and speak Hausa as well as his native Idoma dialect, English and a lot of other languages. Oche who is the 6th child from a widow’s family of 7, Studied Political Science from the prestigious Benue State University.
How was childhood like for you?
My growing up was interesting but very tough. My childhood was quite challenging but yet; interesting. As I had to be me and also act as my father. I lost my dad at the age of 3, that exposed me to all the daring phases of life. One of the most important memories was my mom’s passion to see us go to school as a widow; she hustled through selling of fish to pay my tuition fee. I can boldly say I was a wonder kid growing up. My talent in acting and dancing was supreme. I was on local TV stations as a soap opera actor dancing at weddings for Saturday rice and Monday morning school logistics. (Laughs) But what my childhood led to that I’ll never forget is how I clinched scholarship from JSS1 to SS3 as an actor. After emerging as the best kid actor in Kaduna state then.
What inspired you into Comedy?
Acting did. I used to play funny roles on stage and that brought out the humour in me so I thought of giving it a shot. I did and it worked.
Tell us about the “Mama Oche” skits
“Mama Oche” is a derivative from my mom’s lifestyle. As a typical African mom, she’s very very exaggerative and funny. I missed her so much and the best way I can tell her story is my creating the “Mama Oche” series which’s coming way bigger and better soon.
Benue is home to lots of raw talents in arts. Why has it become so difficult for many Benue born artists to break through?
The political synergy is poor. The entertainment industry needs political energy and platforms equal to what we’ve in Lagos. Benue state is a hub where the elites see you entertain them for years locally. They laugh, listen, see and remain static waiting for you to make it magically. For the talented to make it, we ought to have a booming entertainment structure and activities in Benue but all we’ve are beer parlours and wondering about idle and broke entertainers to do ineffectiveness of her political structure entertainment wise. Until the government place entertainment as a major priority, till 2baba choose to have a reoccurring event and entertainment structure to help the future, until you and me invest no matter how little on these guys, the break out will remain in Benue. The competition is enormous in Lagos. Soo if you’re making waves, you the backings of your populace to maintain the status. Just like the eastern acts. They support themselves with everything. Lagos is an entertainment hub due to its topmost priority on seeing it so.
You took a swipe on 2Baba lately, what was the outcome?
His management promised to do something but up till now we await his action.
Going forward how can entertainment take its rightful place in the Nigerian polity?
Breaking entertainment out of the Lagos monopolistic stereotype. Let’s have more Lagos in other states. Create a digital or structural mainstream where, entertainment becomes lucrative. Money needs to be in circulation. Just like the western world. You don’t have to literally entertain to make money from entertainment. Digital benefits enrich everyone.
You were a founding member of the Agila Carnival now Idoma International Carnival. Has that project been able to harness the potentials of our youth?
Yes! To a large extent I’ll say, that project substituted the disregard of our government in Benue state. Idoma International Carnival became a hub where our youth test run their entertainment prowess and synergy’ with the main stream artists. The apex of any talent is showcase; so that became the alternative. This year promises to be bigger.
You joined the Hip TV at a time, what was the experience like and why did you quit?
I served at Hiptv at a time and to be very honest the platform was a total transformation for me. But; I realized I’ve more potential than being restricted to an 8 to 6 job. So after my service year, I moved on and freelance for other media hub even HipTv periodically. The owner became a daddy not just a boss.
So what is MC Smart up to at the moment?
Rebuilding and catching up with the global space. Soon to be in London for the biggest music tour by Peruzzi touring 6 cities in the UK hosted by Mc smart and The legendary Kanu’s Charity concert to be hosted by myself and AY comedian. Soo, I am just in my international grooming mode now.
Would you like to talk about your unique hairstyle?
You say; “unique hairstyle”. Thanks for the compliment. But I’ll say, asides trying to be known with a brand looks, I also hate to comb my hair. The plight of not combing my hair led to this locks. (Laughs)
Does it really bother you how idle many Nigerian youths have become?
It does bother me largely as a youth. The rate of unemployment has increased drastically. And that’ has also stirred up the looks on high level of fraud in Nigeria. Thereby; devaluing the essence of education. What I’ll rather advise the youths to look inn is: Entrepreneurship. This has become alternative and the easiest route to tackling these Menace. The Government can look thus.
What is your message for Nigerian youths generally?
Don’t give up on yourself, refuse to subject yourself to the situation you are in now. Look for a positive alternative which’s self-discovery and build up. You can only find wealth on things you do with ease and happiness. Las las we go dey alright.