Another budding Nollywood actor, Ken Erics seem not be sleeping on what he knows betterof doing; in this interviewing with UGOCHUKWU FAVOUR-MAYOR, it wasawe-inspiring hearing him ponder his academic intense and vast experience. Engaging him for this interview at one of the movie locations in Asaba, DeltaState, it was quite a busy one no matter the too many movie scripts heaped onlyfor him, all yet to be produced. For him, he discovered the underlying reasonsfor the interview as wasn’t an airy-fairy one, successfully he granted it andthat won him the interviewer’s delight.
Ken Erics is my name; I’m from Enugwu- Ukwu in Njikoka LGAof Anambra State, Nigeria. I hold a degree in Theatre Arts from Nnamdi AzikiweUniversity, Awka. I am the sixth child of my parents. A liberal minded person.I am more of an introvert. I hardly hang out except when necessary and I keep asmall circle of friends. I’m a Nollywood actor and musician.
Well, Nollywood is an industry I’m proud to be part of, anindustry that has come to stay. I mean from absolutely nothing it has growninto a global phenomenon with immense potential for revenue and humanresources. I’m particularly overwhelmed at the abundance of talents theindustry parades. And I think that is the main reason for the growth. Though wecannot be said to have arrived, I still think we have made a good impact andwith recent collaborations with our counterparts in other climes we have a goodspringboard from which we can thrive! I’m really glad it is happening. Moreovertalents are discovered everyday and the zeal is there. I believe what we needmostly is training. Every practitioner should endeavour to upgrade his orherself with knowledge and skills. That is the fulcrum of any successfulindustry. I’m glad most aspiring actors and technical personnel have begun toenroll in institutions to sharpen their drive, and I see that translating intomore improved productions in the nearest future; such that would earn us globalrecognition.
Howdid you find yourself in Nollywood?
Let’s say I always had the conviction that I would be in theentertainment industry. I had a very interesting and entertaining childhood. Iwas raised in a home where one was exposed to the beauty of arts in all forms.And I’m lucky to have very liberal minded parents who would allow you pursueyour dream. My mum had always been in the choir since I knew her. Till dateshe’s a choir mistress, same to my siblings. I remember as a child I alwayscame home after school to listen to various kinds of music which mum would belistening to before we got home. And that has greatly influenced us all. We’veall been engaged in one form of church activity or the other, music and dramawise. Even as a child I was always improvising stuffs like microphones and drumsets and would imagine myself as a rock star singing on stage. I could rememberI often sneaked out to watch life bands performances because I was so drawn toanything performance, and I would always be part of the church drama and schoolperformances. So, it wasn’t a surprise to my folks when I chose to studyTheatre Arts as a course. After my graduation I went for my youth service inKaduna state. While there, went for an audition and got a role in a soap operatitled ‘Webs’. So when I was done with service I pursued my dream and attendedas many auditions as I knew about, the rest is history. My first encounter withNollywood was in my first year in the University. There was an audition closeby, I went for it and was picked for a minor role, which I did. That was the movie,Holy Prostitute. After that the passion grew so I always kept my ears on theground for audition notices and made sure I attended any audition I heardabout. I really could travel miles just to attend an audition. In my third yearin the University, I got wind of an audition in Lagos that was Teco Benson’sfilm, Danger Signal. I left school in a commercial luxurious night bus, inwhich I stood half of the journey and slept on the floor of the bus, in betweenthe passengers, because I couldn’t pay the complete fare to secure a chair.When I got to Lagos in the morning, I rushed to a friend’s house and showered,then headed to the national theatre for the audition. Luckily for me I made itand was given a role to play as Desmond Elliot’s friend. Though it wasn’t a bigrole, I still gave it my best. After that I didn’t do any other movie untilafter my youth service. When I was done with NYSC I started attending auditionsagain in Enugu, Asaba, and Abuja. I still went for Teco’s audition for an epic,Silence of the gods, in Enugu. Got a good role and did it well. Then I went foranother audition for the movie Eran and Erak and I got the lead; from there Ipicked up.
Lifeas a celebrity?
(Laughs) Honestly I don’t see myself as a celebrity yet. Imight be popular, fine. But I don’t have the notion that I’m a celebrity or goaround expecting to be recognized and all that. I still live my simple life theway I have always been. The only difference is that the exposure had forced meindoors; I hardly visit where I use to be. Then one tends to find it difficultto go to certain places and do things you ordinarily would do without causing astir. Plus the fact that people expect more from you forgetting you are justlike every other person. The life of an actor is really not an enviable one. Itpigeonholes you into a certain stereotype in public, always grinning even whendeep down you feel terrible or depressed. However there are good sides to it. Imean it’s heartwarming to hear people tell you “you are their role model andthey love you”. It gives me a kind of fulfillment knowing my littlecontributions really touched lives positively; and for that I’m grateful toGod.
Whichmovie would you say brought you to limelight?
Actually I got the exposure from Silence of the gods. ThenEran and Erak gave me the recognition I needed. The movie Evil Intention withKenneth Okonkwo actually stamped my presence.
I have really been lucky with that. No scandal yet. But thatis not to say I am a saint or holier than anybody. We all are humans withnumerous shortcomings. Moreover this is entertainment. The fact that thereisn’t a scandal today doesn’t rule out the possibility of one. I just keeppraying and doing my job, which is all I owe my fans.
Who isthe act you always prefer being on set with?
I don’t really have preferences regarding my colleagues. ButI sure wouldn’t enjoy working with someone who isn’t going to bring out thebest in me. As long as the artiste knows his or her craft, I’m good. Acting isa collaborative effort. Much as we as actors have our unit objectives todeliver the character as real as possible, the super objective which is to tieall our efforts into a complete whole matters a lot. So if I’m good and thenext person isn’t, the whole effort would have been futile; that’s why I’m anadvocate for excellence irrespective of sentiments.
The challenges are there. I mean transforming yourself intoanother person’s persona is in itself a huge challenge. And that is thegreatest for every actor. The ability to switch from one character to anotherwithin a specified period of time intensifies as the case. Outside the screenthere’s also the challenge of trying to please everyone you come across, whichof course is almost impossible. But you just have to be as polite and as civilas possible, even to rude and irritating remarks and actions.
My dream is to be a successful entertainer, to be the best Ican and to really impact lives. Someone I would be proud to read about if Icould. Someone my children would really be proud of. I hope to delve intovarious genres of entertainment as regards movies and music. I just keepworking hard and praying to God for fulfillment.
I’m currently in a relationship with someone so unique to me.She loves and understands me very well. She is from Anambra State, and she justfinished her youth service. She is a complete African woman, and she doesn’tlike publicity, so I’ll leave it at that.
That should be the day I fell into a ditch and got carriedaway by flood while trying to impress my colleagues. How did it happen? I hadgone for a music show with my group, on our way back there was heavy rain andthe road was flooded. No car could move. We had to alight and cross a ditchinto a nearby store till the rain subsided. There was a wooden bridge, myfriends walked over, in my stupidity I decided to jump over only to land insidethe gutter and the flood carried me along immediately. God just saved me as Iheld onto some metal poles before they came to my rescue, already then I wasmuddy from head to toe.
How about the competition you were accused of having with Ghana artistes,especially Michael Majid?
That’s far from the truth. I can’t compete with anybody, notat all. Why should I? Every one is unique in his or her way. I mean every actorbrings certain individuality to the table, and as such there isn’t any room forunhealthy competition. Moreover I respect my colleagues and I think they do thesame. Acting is symbiotic. I learn from every single person I come acrossirrespective of status. For me, there’s always something to pick up from everyindividual; so there isn’t any competition whatsoever with Ghana artistes oreven Micheal Majid as earlier mentioned.
What should your fans expect?
My fans should expect a couple of wonderful movies I didlately. They will soon hit the cinemas and the shelves. The details would beout soon. I thank all my fans for their immeasurable love and support, and Ipromise never to fail them.