Remember that era when most Nollywood stars discovered their passion for singing? Lol. It was an era when Nollywood fans saw their movie stars try their hands on the music path for reasons best known to them, but not all of them were successful with this ambition.
To hit the nail on the head, most of our actors actually flopped with music, but we also had a few others who actually sounded nice from a studio booth. Let’s show you who the good and bad ones were in our list of Nollywood Stars Who Ventured Into Music (2022).
1. Omotola Jalade:
It all went down in 2012 when this Nollywood actress flew to Atlanta for lots of recording sessions alongside several musical talents like Drumma Boy, Bobby V and so on. This move was in preparation for what was supposed to be her 3rd studio album, however, the project never made it out of the studio.
Her failed music career, despite showing the steady transition of our movie stars into the Nigerian music industry, also proved that some of our Nollywood personalities are better off sticking to acting. It was so bad that Omotola’s struggle dance steps were mocked all over social media, forcing the Nollywood legend to let the passion go.
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde is a highly respected Nigerian actress, singer, philanthropist and ex-model. She was born on the 7th of February 1978, and she is of Ondo descent, despite being born in Lagos State. The actress grew up with her parents and two younger brothers, and her mum, Oluwatoyin Jalade née Amori Oguntade was an employee at J.T Chanrai Nigeria, while her dad worked at the YMCA and the Lagos Country Club to raise her.
Her educational background was Chrisland School, Opebi (1981–1987), Oxford Children School (1987), Santos Layout, and Command Secondary School, Kaduna (1988–1993), which eventually led to her quick stint at Obafemi Awolowo University before she wrapped up her studies at Yaba College of Technology, studying Estate Management. According to Omotola, she wished for a career in Business Management while growing up, but as she awaited her results from the university, she had to start modelling to earn a living.
Modelling led to acting and since her Nollywood debut, Omotola has featured in more than 300 movies, finding her way into several hearts in the process. The movie star once said she was introduced to acting when she escorted her friend to an audition, and her major role came in the movie titled “Venom of Justice,” a project directed by Reginald Ebere.
She then embraced stardom completely after featuring in the film titled “Mortal Inheritance,” in the same year, playing a sickle-cell patient who fought for her life rigorously despite every odd stacked against her. Omotola has since featured in more films like “Games Women Play,” “Blood Sisters,” “All My Life,” “Last Wedding,” “My Story,” “The Woman in Me,” and so on.
After dominating the late 1990s and early 2000s, Omotola started gaining the respect of many, and this led to a “Grand Achiever” award from the Global Excellence Recognition Awards in 2004. She also got the “Best Actress In A Supporting Role” award during the Africa Movie Academy Awards in 2005.
Her first cinematic movie role was a 2010 project titled “Ije,” a film shot in several locations in Jos and the United States. It became the highest-grossing Nollywood film at the time, but “Phone Swap” ended that record in 2012. In 2012, Jalade featured in the Nollywood thriller, “Last Flight to Abuja,” which went on to become the 2nd -highest-grossing movie in West African cinemas that year. She ended up winning more than 40 domestic and international awards till 2015, the year she celebrated her 20th anniversary in the entertainment industry, having appeared in about 200 hundred films.
2. Tonto Dikeh:
Her rise in the Nollywood industry was definitely not down to beauty and talent alone, Tonto had guts, and this led to her trying a different path at some point. She delved into the music industry in 2013, releasing 2 singles titled “Hi,” and “Itz Ova,” and even got signed to D’Banj’s record label, DB records to prove she is not playing around.
However, she quit the record label the next year and has been under the radar as far as her music career is concerned till now. Tonto’s sound fell into the “so bad, it’s good” category and she ultimately failed to stand out in an already packed music industry.
For those who do not know, Dikeh was born into a family of 7 and she is the 3rd of 5 children. The movie star is from Rivers State and she is of Ikwerre descent. She lost her mother at a very early age and eventually got raised by her step-mother, who had 2 kids of her own.
Tonto studied petrochemical engineering at Rivers State University of Science and Technology before deciding to pick up acting as a passion and career. She was featured in a popular film titled, “Dirty Secret,” which triggered controversy among Nigerians due to the several adult scenes on display. But while many slammed the actress for going that route, others hailed her for her acting prowess.
She then grew from strength to strength in the Nollywood industry till she became a powerhouse that many have come to appreciate and respect. The list of companies Tonto has partnered with includes NUMATVILLE, Pels International, Sapphire Scents, the National Agency For Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP), Amstel Malta and Zikel Cosmetics.
Weeks ago, Tonto was announced as the deputy governorship candidate under the African Democratic Congress in the 2023 Rivers State gubernatorial election, proving that if she did not have the talents for music, politics might be another route to try.
3. Genevieve Nnaji:
This Nollywood beauty has proven to be a woman of many talents after exploring film production, directing and acting in the movie industry over the years. However, she did not stop there and decided to try music too. Genevieve recorded a complete album titled “One Logologo Line,” and her lead single was titled “No More.”
“No More,” was a feminist anthem that might have deserved more attention than it got, but most Nigerian music lovers were too busy focusing on the crazy early 2000s vibes/fashion featured in the music video, so the vibe fell off quickly.
Her lead single still got a few praises here and there, but despite that, the album flopped badly, forcing the actress to abandon music till now. Not many will care though, as she has since attained Nollywood hall of fame after several years of dedication, passion and hard work in the film industry.
Popular Nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji is famous for her silent and elegant lifestyle, and she made her acting debut at a very young age in “Ripples,” a popular Nigerian TV soap opera back then. She then left the industry for a while before returning at the age of 18 to go on to feature in hundreds of movies and become a household name that Nigerians have come to love and respect.
Thus far, Genevieve has spent 21 years having an impact in Nollywood and she has been deservedly rewarded with several awards for her hard work over the years. Genny was honoured as a member of the “Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” by the government in 2011, and she has since ventured into entrepreneurship while also exploring other skills in her locker.
Talking about exploring other skills, Nnaji tried out directing years back when she worked on “Lionheart,” making history as the first Netflix film produced in Nigeria. Nowadays, Genevieve is currently one of the richest female actresses in the industry and many consider her a role model because she is proof that Nigerians can achieve whatever they set their mind to if they can believe and put in the required work.
4. Nkem Owoh:
Nkem Owoh released music that tackled societal issues and this made him stand out among his peers. He dropped records that addressed the era when women admired men solely based on their wealth, and his songs mainly spoke up for the common man and the plights they faced every day in Nigeria.
These music projects were not just amazing soundtracks in his hit movies, he performed a few of them at different shows as well, essentially making a commendable mark in the Nigerian music industry. Nkem Owoh ensured his kind of music made listeners look at things in retrospect, and as we know him, entertainment was guaranteed with them as well.
Nkem Owoh is a popular Nigerian actor and comedian who became a household name by paying roles to make viewers laugh away their sorrows. He was born in Enugu State, Nigeria, where he had his primary and secondary school. After his early schooling, he later went to the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta to study Engineering, and during his university education, he started acting in several TV and film productions.
The movie star won the African Movie Academy Award for “Best Actor in a Leading Role,” in 2008, and it was for his performance in the popular project titled “Stronger than Pain.” Nkem is also popular for composing a song titled “I Go Chop Your Dollar” which addresses advance fee fraud. The music was featured in the movie titled “The Master,” and the actor played the role of a scammer in it.
He has had his fair share of controversies too as Nkem Owoh was arrested while performing a musical show. Reports later said he was apprehended on suspicion of lottery fraud and immigration violations, but he was released few weeks later. In 2019, the actor was kidnapped in the Eastern part of Nigeria, with his kidnappers demanding a 15 million naira ransom. He was later released again after his family allegedly paid a ransom fee of 1.4 million naira.
Other Nollywood Stars Who Tried Music:
1. Patience Ozokwor:
She dropped an album titled “National Moi-Moi,” and it even featured cameo appearances from Tonto Dikeh, Charles Awurum and so on.
2. Charles Okocha:
You remember “Accolades,” it was actually a success for a while.
3. Mr Ibu:
This Nollywood comedian released a lot of music as one half of a duo he formed with Dede, and he has a few solo materials as well. His music projects were characterized by upbeat chorused back-ups, humour-inclined lyrics and a unique approach to his delivery and style.