interviewBy Florence Amagiya
Marvel Odiete, aka Marvelous, the first runner up of the just concluded MTN Project Fame is not just an ordinary star.
His foray into the music world started at infancy, making him so grounded in the art. He grew from children's choir to teenage one and finally graduated to the adult league. Marvel played his first base guitar at the tender age of twelve, amongst other musical instruments that he has perfected playing today.
In this interview, he talks about his early childhood as a Bishop's son, his principle of waiting for God's set time, his philosophy of not mixing business with pleasure and the miracle that happened to his cracked voice in MTN Project Fame House whilst he was scheduled to do a duet with Ella and many more.
Music and family
Music runs in my family; my father has four albums to his credit. You cannot believe this, but my dad wrote this popular praise song 'All glory, glory, glory to the Lord, hallelujah.... etc. My dad is a musician as well as a minister of the gospel. We all grew up watching him minister in music.
My mum runs a school, but she also was involved in the musical albums my dad produced. Jodie is my younger sister and her single still rules the airwaves. Each time I watch Jodie on stage, I feel so proud! I always wondered if this was the little sister l knew growing up! When she went for West African Idol, l wasn't in the country at that time, but every time l watched her perform, l was indeed proud. She also came to watch me perform in the MTN Project Fame House and I am sure she was also proud of me.
The controversy about Ella and I in the house
The episode between Ella and I wasn't my fault at all. It was just a misunderstanding. Ella came into the House at the seventh week through the wild card winning, and at that time, my voice was already going sore. I needed to take things easy; I needed to be quiet for my voice to be healed as l was instructed. Ella on the other hand was very fresh from outside; hence she couldn't understand what l was going through and there was the duet song we were scheduled to do together. But the issue was resolved by Uncle Ben and the day was saved by God's infinite mercies.
Ella and I did well judging from the audience and the judges' reactions. We ended up becoming the best of friends in the House and we are still friends today. We became very close and it would seem like we dated but we didn't at all. After the performance, l had the opportunity to meet her fiancé. I did not have any intention of dating Ella or any woman at the moment. Don't get me wrong, Ella is a pretty woman, a beauty to behold and an Ibo woman for that matter. But in life as any reasonable person would think; I believe in first thing first.
And as for falling in love with any other woman in the house; it wouldn't have been possible because of my principle and my philosophy. It would have distracted me. I went into the House with a mindset of a competitor and the other plans were not part of it. The peck from Ella was to show her appreciation on how the performance we had went, that's all.
Growing up and my university days
I had an interesting childhood; it revolved around my family and the church. If l wasn't at home with the family, then l was at church rehearsing music or something. I wasn't a stubborn child, but l was a very playful one. I used to return home sometimes a battered and loosing button or two of my shirts. And these things used to happen in the course of playing with my mates and all that.
I can speak with honesty that I grew up in church as my father is a Bishop. He plays the piano and sings also. I started singing from the children's choir to the teenage choir and then to the youth choir until I graduated to the adult choir. I started playing the bass guitar at 12 and I haven't looked back since then. My dad has four albums, so music has always been there for me and my siblings. I think l became interested in music by watching my dad sing, play the piano and other musical instruments. Being a Bishop's child didn't make me a bad person in the university like the proverbial Bishop's son. To God be the glory, I wasn't bad at all. For me, it was just fellowship and music. So if l wasn't in class, l was in fellowship.
My journey to MTN Project Fame and my position
My father was supportive; he supported my younger sister, Joy Odiete during her West African Idol competition in 2007'. Joy is the same person as Jodie, she sang Kuchi Kuchi. The church also was supportive. While l was in MTN Project House, my dad, mum and my youngest sister who is still in school visited and watched me perform live.
I was the First runner up, perhaps because West Africa didn't like my performances. The vote is the determining factor. It also should be noted that what I went for was a competition, so there is bound to be the first position and the second.
My future collaboration with Jodie
It has been long coming, but l had to make myself known as Marvelous before our collaboration. I didn't want a situation whereby l would be described as Marvelous, Jodie's brother because she has made her name. I wanted to be appreciated for me. Right now, I think it would be a nice thing to be done.
My saddest moment in MTN Project Fame House
My saddest moments were two actually. The first was the eviction show where Edward had to go home; Edward and I were already very close and I felt very bad, we cried, l cried. The other time was the work, l was having stress with Ella. I needed my voice to come back because that song we were about doing was so technical; Beauty and the beast by Celine Dion . I did everything l was instructed to do; I took the ginger, I wrapped my neck with muffler, I tried to be warm, I avoided cold things, but it was not just working. One of those days, l went into the music room and l was playing one of my songs and I broke into tears. I was telling God that I had done all I knew to do, but that l still needed HIM to help me on it because all I had done didn't help me. This happened on a Thursday, then Friday and Saturday we needed to perform and somehow my voice returned!
Music for me
I would be doing songs that would inspire people; l would be doing love songs, songs also that talk about God. I did my own song in the competition, a song l titled 'lady'. It is a song that talks about the role the woman plays in the life of a man. I wrote that song because l feel men do not thank their women enough. The women take care of the kids, pray for us and also stand by us. The song was written to appreciate the women and their contributions to the lives of the men.
I have come to realize that platforms are best for starters and that's exactly what project fame did for me. I would say project fame gave me a short cut to where l have always wanted to be. I would also love to do gospel songs. I have written some gospel songs.
Acting, an added career in future
I haven't had the opportunity as l haven't being called by any one from nollywood. It is only when you are invited to a party that you should attend. I do not believe in gate crashing; if they see that l have the potential and they call on me then l would love to act. With what l went through in the house, l think it is enough ground and platform for acting.
They were cameras everywhere in the house and everyday was the same with the camera thing. We were taught the angle to give to the camera, how to stand on stage and to talk on stage and everything. What better place to learn stage performance and acting than what we went through at Project fame. I think even if l didn't know l could act before project fame with what l went through l would say that l can.
I am not in any relationship at the moment, but my fans are my loves. At the moment I have only my omalichas, my obianujus, my aforugunayas, I have them to entertain in music, but l am not in any relationship. My relationship at the moment is my music. But in future, my kind of woman would be God fearing, she has to be enlightened and she has to be beautiful also.
When I got out of the Academy, I never knew the extent of which the project fame went until I went to the market to pick up something. The market women were calling my name, it was then I knew it was serious. They showed me love while l was still at the show and even now l am still getting more love from them. They tweet me, they send messages on facebook and it keeps going on and on. I must say l owe my fans, they brought me to where l am today. To all my fans, I say thanks to you all. I feel overwhelmed at what you did for me in the house and I am still overwhelmed. Please expect the best from me; I would try my possible best not to fail you.
If given a second chance at Project fame
I would love to go back to the house if there is an opportunity like that, but there is no opportunity like that. But if I am asked to go back, I would be more careful with my voice; I would try to avoid anything that would make it crack. I would be more careful with my choreography because when I had to do Bobby Brown choreography song, I broke my ankle and I still had to perform that song and do that particular dance. I would take my exercises and fitness classes more seriously. And I would try not to add any weight.