I wasn’t attentive to school work when I was younger—Freeze

Popular radio presenter, Ifeoluwa Oderinde aka Freeze has surely paid his dues in his chosen field of endeavour. The hardworking On Air Personality who has interviewed international stars such as Wyclef Jean, Boy II Men, Akon, Sisqo and Brian McKnight to mention a few in the past says he is a collector of exquisite items such as pens and wrist watches. Fair skinned Freeze who actually is from Transylvania in Romania also squeals that he is from the lineage of the legendary Dracula. He reveals that much and many more in this interview with AHMED BOULOR.

HOW do you feel when you get to see movie titles like Hotel Transylvania; does that stir the Romanian in you?

Yes it does… I am actually from Transylvania in Romania and I am from the family that Dracula originated from. It does stir a lot of memories in me and I haven’t been to Romania since 1996; I always tell myself that I’ll be in Romania but I eventually find myself somewhere in Europe. All I need is to buy a plane ticket to Romania but something crops up in London or in Paris and I have to attend. I haven’t had time to be there in a while and I speak the language easily and I learnt a lot in my early life in that European country. Romanian’s are different from Nigerian’s; Nigerians are usually loud people and there is a lot of difference.

How do you balance the Nigerian and Romanian cultures in you?

I am more Nigerian than most people know; I speak Yoruba fluently. I speak better Yoruba than most Nigerians do; I am not ashamed of my roots. I schooled in Nigeria and a little bit abroad. I schooled in Nigeria because I preferred it here but I have always lived my life in and out of Europe. At the end of the day, I am more Nigerian. I have never spent more than two weeks out of Nigeria in the last 10 years. So whatever takes me out of Nigeria should be between a week or a maximum of two.

Was it really your dream to become an On Air Personality or you ventured into broadcasting because of money?

First of all; I was born an entertainer. I wanted to be a rapper initially and I never saw myself doing a regular 9 to 5 job. I am not your ideal kind of guy because I don’t wake up early. I wasn’t also particularly attentive to school work when I was younger and I knew I wasn’t cut out to be what everybody else wanted me to be. I remembered when they asked us in SSS1 what we wanted to become and I remember saying I wanted to be a rapper and my mates all laughed at me in class.

I also couldn’t explain my desire to become a rapper to my parents because my father is a doctor and my mum is a lawyer; my mum is actually the provost of the college of Law at the Afe Babalola University. My parents wanted me to be a professional and my mum wanted me to be a surgeon; that was my mum’s dream for me and I wasn’t having any of it. My perspective at the time was, if you want to use the whole of Lekki for a burial ground then make me a surgeon (General laughter). The first time I had a radio experience was 1996 in Romania; my mum is Romanian and I had a cousin who worked on a local radio station and they had student programmes.

My cousin invited me as an upcoming rapper from Nigeria and as the programme went on air, I realized I could as well fit into the business of broadcasting. That was it and I remember going back to the radio station time and again to sharpen my skills without getting any money for doing what I did. When I came back to Nigeria in 1996, I said to myself that I could fare well being an On Air Personality and I tried to get employment at BCOS. My mum also thought that my desire to get a radio job was much better than being a rapper and she was ready to support me to any extent. I eventually got auditioned at BCOS and I was selected to work on the FM station. I worked there for five years and I was also schooling at the University of Ibadan at the time too. I got employed at Cool FM immediately I graduated from the University.

So in actual fact you settled to become an OAP because you felt it was more professional than being a rapper?

Not that it was more professional than music; it was something I could do. Most people have two or three things they can do and they do it well. I talk a lot and it was easy for me to fit in; I am very sarcastic, I am brash and opinionated. And those are stuff a doctor doesn’t need; I stick to my guns and I say what other people hide in their minds and I felt this passion in me could earn me a living.

Talking comes naturally to me and it puts me in trouble sometimes and it pays me too. It is actually a gift and a curse; I never see myself being out of music because I still believe I can still go back to music one way or the other. I have not had the time to go back to music because of work and family commitment. But with the rush of talents we have on the scene such as Wizkid, Davido and Ice prince, I am kind of jittery with my ambition in music. Nonetheless, I haven’t shut my doors totally to music.

Before now, On Air Personalities would prefer to be heard and not seen but the reverse is the case now. What’s your take on that?

It is not that OAP’s did not like to be seen and heard, it was just that there were little opportunities to do that until now. It’s like an emerging industry now, there’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +. I don’t think there’s any radio personality whose face is not on social media or any search engine. I did a bit of TV too and still do a lot of stage shows; I do MC and I host concerts in and out of the country. I guess it is easier now to recognise my face; and these days radio stations do have raves, concerts, parties and others sorts of events. That makes their OAP’s more visible.

How did you transit from BCOS in Ibadan down to Cool FM in Lagos?

I had an album back then, so I came to Lagos to drop it off and I met Olisa Adibua. He told me I should come back and try my hands on broadcasting after he heard my voice. I came back a year later when I graduated from the University and he gave me a job. I owe that to him. He made me a promise and he kept to his words; I grew under him and of course my bosses Mr and Mrs Musa Ali who saw me and believed in me. They allowed me to use their immense platform to make a head way in life. We have 11 radio stations across Nigeria and that is a huge platform. I owe them a lot; the first time I went to Monaco it was courtesy Cool FM and same with my trips to Turkey and Lebanon.

How would you describe your relationship with people?

I am not a very nice person so I don’t have too many friends around me. I am very lucky and I am a spiritual person; as long as I have my God and I have my three square meals on the table I am good.

You don’t think people may be bothered about you not being nice?

I am often misunderstood; and when you try to explain people will not understand. Come to think of it, how many people can one explain to?

How do you manage that with your kind of temperament?

I have been very lucky because I think I am smart enough to know when not to push it. There are people out there who don’t know limits; that’s the law of self preservation. I do get into trouble from time to time but generally I would say I have been lucky.

What motivates you?

It’s me!!! I don’t need motivation to speak; it is so easy. We put a lot of emphasis on preparation before you go on radio but my job is so easy to prepare for. You just pick up a piece of paper and pick on any topic and dwell on it as well as you can.

You’ve had cause to interview international stars such as Wyclef Jean, Boy II Men, Akon, Sisqo and Brian McKnight; how does that make you feel?

It used to be a good feeling initially because when I was in Ibadan we used to watch these stars on TV when we were younger. After having 12 or more of such high profile interviews, I lost the feeling. I have also done many more and at the end of the day, you find out that these people are humans after all.

How do you manage the home front while also having such as demanding job?

I get home very late sometimes but I leave home very late too by midday every day. But I try to strike a balance between home and work.

Are you close to your kids?

I am close to my kids; I am really close to them and I try not to annoy them but they are closer to their mum. That’s because they feel when they tell me anything I will talk about it on radio.

What are your hobbies?

I like Formula 1 racing; I am a Nigerian though and you know we Nigerians do not have hobbies. We just hustle; I like collecting and buying wristwatches. I like fine pens and wristwatches.

How do you balance your life as an OAP and a celebrity altogether?

It is very hard; that’s the hardest thing to balance altogether because when you drive past those who know you tweet about it. Kidnappers can easily find us; all they need to do is to read our mentions on twitter. It been really hard and like I said earlier I have been lucky to have been able to manage being an OAP and a celebrity.

How do you contain overzealous female fans?

You never really get to contain them; someone added me on BBM recently and has started flirting openly. They don’t hide it and if you say anything as much as “wow”, they can munch your conversation and send it to their friends and tell them that you are the one toasting them. I am scared of women; I was reading a story about myself and a girl whose heart they said I broke. The story was coming from her sister and I was like, how do I break the heart of someone I have not met before? But if a woman wants to get you, she will get you. My advice to other celebrities is to just hide.

Comments