AfroTageInterviews

Ugoccie: The Afro-Storyteller

With a speaking voice that peaks just like her singing pitch, the afro-fiction indigenous storyteller shares her journey in becoming Ugoccie.

Ugoccie
Ugoccie [PHOTO CREDIT: Ugoccie]

Straight from the commercial climes of Aba in Abia State, Favour Anosike coins her Ugochi to Ugoccie to give her Piece in the music industry and stamp her brand as the Voice Of The East. Favour Ugochi Anosike, known professionally as Ugoccie, is a fast-rising Nigerian singer, songwriter, rapper, and voice-over artist whose love for singing started at a young age and her cover of Kizz Daniel’s One Ticket made her go viral.

From always waking up to the blast of music by her father at home to singing in the church choir and playing the piano up to singing backup for artists in Aba and trying out her singing prowess with covers of other artiste originals, Ugoccie has weaned her love for singing into a resounding indigenous storytelling style that has received an illustrious welcome into the Nigerian music industry with a breath of fresh air; both for female artists, as well as the Igbo pop culture.

The Microbiology graduate from Ebonyi State University now Alex Ekwueme University entered the music scene as an on-air-personality at Omega 101.7 FM Anambra with her hit single Do You Really Like Me? which went viral on TikTok and earned her a Rookie of the Year nomination at Headies 2022.

The Eastern Nigeria songstress who never thought she’d be able to make music commercially has enjoyed a vibrant welcome to the music scene. Her compelling indigenous storytelling style stood her out for the 2021 NaijaTraffic Next Rated Awards and Artiste of the Year at the Top Naija Music Awards. 

In 2022 the fast-rising singer was nominated for Female Breakout Artiste of the Year at NET Honour Class and Rookie of the Year at Headies. She won the Best Rap Single at GMA the same year. 

With a speaking voice that peaks just like her singing pitch, the afro-fiction indigenous storyteller shares her journey in becoming Ugoccie.

Ears For Music

The afro storyteller links her interest in music back to home and the church choir where she was always listening to music and developing an ear for music that she could spot a key from a distance. 

The interest in music didn’t stop in Aba but grew to the songwriter’s days in Port Harcourt where she was a backup singer for Gospel artists up to her higher Institutions days when she won the best vocalist award at graduation. 

“I was always singing, very active in singing,” she sad

Despite her strong affiliation with singing, Ugoccie never thought of making music professional. 

I was always singing, but the crazy thing is that I never thought that I would be able to make music commercially. So never in my dreams that I think that I would have to start making a living and you know, doing music that everybody will start vibing to I just, you know, thought I would end up doing music low-key and probably pursue something as a microbiologist or science related’

Ugochi To Ugoccie 

The singer’s rise to fame has been more of consistently doing what you love than dreamt and launched a break into stardom, especially as she didn’t dream of being a professional singer. Despite, transiting and embracing the attention, demands and fame that come with going viral and taking a route into professional music requires a number of creative repositioning including name, style and the likes. 

In her words, “Music came to me naturally, but I never thought I’d be able to make music commercially.”

Ugoccie INTERVIEW The Afro-Storyteller
Ugoccie [PHOTO CREDIT: Instagram/@ugoccie]

In creating a professional brand to fly with the fame that the covers have gained, the budding songster didn’t look far in creating a name, she says 

“My name is Ugochi, but when I was trying to get an Ugochi on Instagram and on other platforms, I realized he was taken. So I had to just quickly think of, you know, another way and because I didn’t want to go away from the UGO, I wanted to still have a name that stayed true to my culture. I wanted that UGO in it so anyone that sees it will know it is an Igbo girl, so I just put the CCIE there to have Ugoccie but still pronounced Ugochi.

Ugoccie’s Music

The gifted songstress incorporates her indigenous eastern heritage into an intentional storytelling style with neo-highlife flavour catchy instrumentation. 

One thing I don’t want to take out of my brand is the relatability, I want people to know that I’m still a normal person with a life and everything is not music.

Ugoccie, 2024.

The Abia State-born singer went viral with her cover of Kizz Daniel’s One Ticket on TikTok and her light went shining when her single Do You Really Like Me scored a nomination at the headies, for the Rookie of the Year category in 2022. 

Talking about her brand, Ugoccie claims relatability is one thing she can’t take away from her music. In her words, “One thing I don’t want to take out of my brand is the relatability, I want people to know that I’m still a normal person with a life and everything is not music. I look forward to sharing more about my content.”

When asked what genre best describes her kind of music, Ugoccie made it clear she is not a fan of tags. According to Ugoccie, “I’m not someone who likes tags. Why tag when you know you can be a lot of stuff.”

“But then, as you said, the media most times when you want to fill a form, as an artist, just categorize you as something. So you have to go in that category. But I think I would love to be referred to as that Afro-fiction musician, or an indigenous singer from the southeastern part of Nigeria.” she continued.

The gifted singer and songwriter refuses to box her brand into a genre tag as she notes that music is worldwide and widespread and should not be limited by genre and prefers to be seen as an indigenous singer from the South East, an afro-storyteller or afro-fiction musician. But with the importance of categorizing music, she stays under the umbrella of Afrobeats. 

The afro-fiction storyteller is intentional in keeping her vibrant compelling narratives, melodies and rich cultural influences in the music industry as she looks forward to more collaborations, more and music this year. 

“Videos to some of the songs in the EP will be shot and all-round entertainment,” she said.

‘Hookup’ was inspired by this Port Harcourt serial killer, David West, who targeted sex workers, the guy that was caught in 2019 for killing people. Unfortunately, one of his victims happened to be a distant friend of mine. 

Ugoccie, 2024.

From her hit single Do You Really Like Me the rapper and songwriter continues her artistry momentum in No Wahala, Hookup, Obi Cubana, and Breakfast up to her first EP Piece of Me and subsequent body of works sharing personal experiences in a melodious meticulously crafted sounds and incorporating her indigenous neo-highlife rhythm. 

In sharing her personal experiences with some of the singles, she said, “Hookup’ was inspired by this Port Harcourt serial killer, David West, who targeted sex workers, the guy that was caught in 2019 for killing people. Unfortunately, one of his victims happened to be a distant friend of mine. 

For me, it wasn’t a song. I wasn’t castigating sex workers because, again, I feel like I’m not in a moral place to tell people what to do with their bodies. But l mean people are dying because of the job.

Do you really like me’ is another funny experience. It was a cruise for me, I didn’t think the song would blow up like that. One of my friends where his guy was asking me out, you know but he didn’t know I knew he was my friend’s guy and I asked him are you sure you really like me or you’re just whining me, then the song came.

Ugoccie describes her single Man on Fire as a dedication to incredible men, celebrating the important role of men.

The songwriter’s storytelling style with soothing melodies draws in listeners and the relatability of her sound and catchy instrumentation retains the attention. 

Collaborations 

PhynoWith an intentional connection to the Igbo rap culture, the afro-fiction indigenous songwriter and singer has enjoyed support from other recording artists and rappers from the eastern scene, the likes of Phyno, Umu Obiligo, Kola Boy and others.

Away from the eastern root artists, Ugoccie has had collaborations with Niniola, and Duncan Mighty and looks out for more. 

The singer and rapper believes collaborations are easier when artists are eager to work with each other, and should vibe mutually for the melodies to make a good song. 

Voice Of The East

In Voice of the East, the indigenous afro-storyteller aims to be a beacon of hope to females from the South East who are creatives. The EP draws inspiration from real-life events and connections to culture-challenging norms and stereotypes.

“The project is inspired by a place of wanting to be a beacon of hope to girls from the southeastern part of Nigeria who are also you know, creatives who want to make music, not just music, you know, every form of creativity, they feel like they are incapable of doing it. I decided to call myself or my project, the voice of the East because I wanted it to be a reminder to myself that you know, I’m trying and that I’m standing for something. As a person, I have an identity that I should always remember and go back to. And I also want people who listen to the project to be like, Ah, this girl is daring or because it’s not all the time that you see women from the southeastern part of Nigeria staying true to their roots, or staying true to their identities, and all of that I feel like I’m one of the people in recent times and contemporary times who made that work,” she said.

The indigenous afro-fiction singer and rapper identifies herself as an introvert and wishes everyone to taste Abacha and nkenu, and visit the pine forest in Enugu before leaving this world. 

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