Prince Ehis Usifoh a.k.a DA PRINZE is from a family of entertainers. His elder brother Osarenmen Usifoh is a notable movie director/producer-turned businessman while his uncle Alex Usifoh is no small brand in Nollywood. In this interview with Morakinyo olugbiji, DA PRINZE talks about his music career an what he’s been working on
How did you get into music?
I have been into music for a while. I didn’t just start now. Even as at 2011 when I short one of my musical videos in which I featured a Nollywood actress, Uche Obodo.
How did you come about your name, do you realise it is similar to that of Mavin Record’s D’Prince?
Yea I know, but honestly I have had that name before those guys came up, I mean Don Jazzy and his crew. When I was in school, people say that I have a desperate attitude which is the DA. Then original I am a prince which is not why you have the other part of my stage name pronounced Prinze because it is “ZE” and not “CE”. The PRINCe means Positively Respected Indomitable Noble Zealous Entertainer.
But can you change your stage name, what if sharing the same name with D’Prince affects your brand negatively?
Like I said, the spellings are different, jus the pronunciation but it doesn’t matter because in this industry we have Asha and Asa, abroad they have Timberlake and Timberland. So it’s nothing to bother about. Besides we are two different individuals and at the end of the day, our creativity will stand us out.
What makes you different and what style can you categorise your music to be?
I’m not into bragging but you’ll really need to listen to my song first to tell. I let my song speak for me. My style is a fusion of Dancehall and Tekno but in the African pattern.
What’s your relationship with the likes of D’banj, Timaya etc?
I’m not close to D’banj but with Timaya we’ve met a couple of time. Both in Nigeria and outside Nigeria. I intend to work with some Nigeria artistes later but in this my first forthcoming album, I just want to work with more foreign artiste. I’ve tried working with some Nigerian artistes in the past and I won’t lie to you, the attitude is bad. It’s either they want to over bill you or bring up some unpleasant attitude.
Ok then, tell us some foreign artistes you’ve already featured?
There is a whole lot of them. In my fourthcoming album, I worked with the Baha Men. If you remember the song, “Who Let The Dogs Out?”, the Baha Men sang it and I featured them on my forthcoming album. I did two songs with the Baha Men actually, “Carribean girl” and “Anyhow You Want It”. There is a Jamaican-American based artiste name Jackio, I’m working with him too right now. I have done like 3-4 songs with the former Miss Global Bahamas, Jamie Morrison. We are shooting the video of one of the songs in a couple of days to come. There are more foreign features in the pipeline. One thing I have noticed about the foreign artistes is that they are more professional and appreciate you more. If they just listen to your sound and they like what your music, they develop interest in working with you but our Nigerian artistes most time lack that value for others.
You sound like you’ve had a really bad experience with Nigerian artistes?
I have a lot of bad experiences I must tell you. In the areas of featuring and many other things. I was a back up artiste for Eedris Abdul Kareem and I met a lot of top artistes then. I met this popular artiste then and he was asking me for my song book, you know what that means? It’s like asking someone to feed you and asking for your wife first. So many Nigerian artistes don’t care about the upcoming ones. For instance, I have a studio and I let people record for free. I don’t want them to suffer too much like I did back then. Some of our top stars have suffered before but act like they don’t understand the pains of the upcoming ones.
What was your experience with Eedris Abdul Kareem?
It was a good experience but there was a time he took us to a show in Bayelsa around 2013 or there about. After the show, Eedris left us in Bayelsa and whe got stranded. He didn’t tell us he was leaving. We had to struggle to find our way back to Lagos. He later apologise though saying he got an urgent call to come perform at NottingHill Carnival in London. I didn’t let such things deter me however because that was the least of my hard experiences.
What’s your relationship with Uche Obodo?
Uche is my very good friend. I could remember that when I wanted to shoot my video in 2011, I sent her an invitation to attended and she honoured it. I could remember also then that I got all sorts of opened doors just because I featured her in my video.
Let’s Talk About your brother who owns Diamond Records, he was a movie producer/director…
I’m not in a position to say that though because while he was still very busy with his movie thing then, I wasn’t really into it. I was just doing my own thing, Just like I also had my uncle Alex Usifoh who was a season actor and now a lecturer. With the synergy and all of that, I think my brother’s movie career was really gioing well. He released a couple of popular movies but now he is into other businesses, one of which is the music business which made him establish diamond record.
Apart from the Western World, are you planning any features with artistes from other African country from Ghana for instance?
No for now, but I intend working with a female act there called Becca. Maybe some others, but I think I really like Becca’s style a lot. I like her kind of music.
You said that like you have a crush on Becca?
Not a crush in that manner. Maybe this is a musical crush. I just like identifying myself with good things. Becca is good, trust me. The reason why I like Becca is because of her charisma. I delivery, vocal and total package as an artiste. Though I’ve not been close to her to know how she is personally, but I don’t respect reputation, I respect character. I may move close to her and find out she is not all that.
What attracts you in a girl?
I like intelligent girls. I really don’t care much about physical appearance. What’s beauty without the brain. Infact when it comes to girls, I try to be disciplined and try to follow the footsteps of my brother who is the boss of the label. I’m trying to move the way he did when he was in my own age. At Present, for years now I’ve been without a girlfriend. It’s just a decision. Because of a whole lot of of distractions that comes with it.