Elan, 234Next – The likes of Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles never let their eyesight or lack thereof become a handicap in achieving their dreams and Cobhmans joins this list, fast becoming a Nigerian musical legend—a one man music powerhouse.
He struts around the corridors of his house with keen precision, calculating each turn, corner and winding staircase without apprehension; after all, this is where the magic is made. His house is one part home, two parts business.
He is in the process of converting all the rooms into his mini recording studios. So far he has four recording studios. “They are studios with four different sections and each has its own work station so producers can work at the same time,” he explains. “It’s a happy, happy room where musicians can rehearse and collaborate.”
Cobhams is quite the charmer; he makes jokes, gentle quips and is never stingy with his smile. “I just really love to spend time with people. I like to build real and intimate relationships between myself and others.” As a spiritual creature and man of understanding, he says that his blessings come directly from God who has sustained and kept him this far and that if he weren’t such an indispensable figure in the music industry he would be a pastor.
Affecting Societal Change
Cobhams is an avid lover of music. Everything from Gregorian chants to hip hop; he consumes music like most people consume food. Today I sit in his den with the classic accompaniment of strings and piano chords as background music, the relaxing soundtrack of the evening. You name the musical genre, and he can tell one million things about it. “I write songs for artists, corporations, theme music, I attempt to write movies scores, and the like.”
He has produced work for several artists like Asa, Yinka Davis, the Rooftop MCs, Charlie Boy, Mode 9, Sasha, Omawunmi, Timi Dakolo, Banky W, Sound Sultan, 2face, Timaya, and that’s only about a quarter of the list. He has written and produced work for a number of organisations as well: MTN, Zain, Globacom, Etisalat’s 0809ja campaign music, Stanbic IBTC, Coca Cola, Close-up, Reltel and this list continues to grow as he plans to watch his career solidify and inspire minds to become the best that they can be despite obstacles and challenges.
“I want to build the brand for what it represents. I am interested in becoming a key player contributing to the growth of the entertainment sector in terms of capacity building and helping to build a structure for the business, not only to make profits but to give back to a society that has given so much to me.”
He declares that he was not born with a silver spoon. His father was a military man and he just wanted to see his children grow up to be positive influences in society. As the youngest of six children, Cobhams spent much of his formative years honing his love for music, and admits to not being the strongest student academically.
With just a few terms into his University career, he, very much like Kanye West, decided that he was finished with school and took the alternative route, crafting his entrance into the music scene by becoming a songwriter and producer. As a self taught musician, his skills are quite impressive. “I try to sing and I play the piano, guitar, percussions and I mess around with other instruments from time to time.”
Inspiration and Style
He says that the magic happens in the bathroom and he sometimes takes a bath to get inspired. “I love me some bathroom time! I am that extreme. In my bathroom I am any and everything, from an astronaut to a physicist, to a soldier. I’m scared if I change my bathroom around too much it might affect the inspiration for now, but I know sometime in life I’ll add in a recorder and piano.”
Cobhams likes to go around looking fresh. He’s no fashion slave, but admits he enjoys looking good yet comfortable. Today he sports a crisp button up and jeans, the look he generally moves about in.
“It’s just God because sometimes I get into the studio and I’m just confused with the direction I should be going. I just want to live my dream and support the industry and motivate young Nigerians towing the line in their industries into becoming beacons of light.”
Good Movies and the Importance of Solid Foundations
Yes, ladies and gentleman, he watches movies. Watches in the sense that he listens very well and fills in the visual blanks however needed. He explains that a good movie will transcend the visual barriers and can appeal to the sense of sound if made properly, and that really is all that is required. On an average weekend he finds time to inject some love for cinema into his schedule, relaxing and catching a good flick with his sweetheart.
Yes, he is very much taken, and hopes to be a husband and father sometime down the line. As far as the Nigerian music industry is concerned, he likens it to a skyscraper being built on a foundation fit for bungalows. “It is taking shape but we need to deal with the foundational issues, given the rate at which the industry is growing. We need to get our processes and structures right. It is a sustainability issue that depends on our education and looking at the industry from an economic standpoint: regarding it as a science and a lucrative, sensible and viable part of our nation’s economy.”
Words of Wisdom
“Get up and go, whatever you are thinking of doing do it. If it is within reason and doesn’t harm anyone. To be a pioneer you need to first take the baby steps. Live the dream.”