Chimezie E. Okoro aka Eco De Coque is an award-winning highlife musician based in Abuja, in this interview, the CEO, Melody Kings International Super Highlife Band of Africa spoke about how he strived to survive life and his relationship with the African Prolific Highlife Musician Oliver De Coque.
How has your journey in the music industry been?
Eco De Coque: I started music in 1993, playing the drums in the church. I diverted to entertaining people outside the church because of the love I have for music. I went fully into highlife Music in 2010 and started playing the Ogene super music Africa in 2011. So far, I have met professionals on the field, these are people that are far better than I am and they enjoy what they do. Currently, I am a full-time highlife musician and I am able to meet my ends needs with music.
Were there times you felt like giving up the career?
Eco De Coque: I remember times when I was broke, I had nothing, I had to join a band in Abuja. I couldn’t even play much, but I remained with the group and with that, I started playing different kinds of highlife music after which I decided to follow the pattern of the legendary Oliver De Coque. So far, I have about three albums, the first and the second meant nothing to me, though people liked it I did not like it.
You know, the more you grow in music, the more you are exposed. For the first and second album, it was not easy funding, I had to go through hell just to make sure I did that. I was determined to excel, otherwise, I would have dropped along the line. My last released album’s funding came on its own. October 2019, the money was there, I went to the studio, worked on it and I thank God the music got produced. As a beginner, it was not easy and until now it’s not perfect, but I believe with the right position soon, it will be easier.
Based on your music pattern, whom do you look up to?
I only had one mentor, the late Chief Dr. Oliver De Coque. He’s not just my mentor, but also my role model. I have people I respect so much, people like Prof Chikobi. The living legend himself, Emeka Morocco Mmaduka, I respect him so much; he is like a father to everyone.
Your Stage name is Eco De Coque, are you in any way related to the late music icon Oliver De Coque?
Well, we are from the same state, which is Anambra state. But we are in no way related at all, he is from Nnewi while I am from Aguata, so we are two different people. The initials of my name formed Eco while De Coque, I took it from the legendary Oliver De Coque to show that, that is the pattern of music I play.
I am someone that likes being unique, I like to stand out at all times, so I make the designs and give it to the designer because I have to have my signature. Dancing is also what my music unique; I act with my guitar as well my playing tunes that are out of this world, even with my foot on the guitar, to thrill my audience. For my lyrics, most importantly, is to pass a positive message across and teach people the right way to do things, the right way to follow.
Did music interrupt or aid your education?
Music has helped me further my education. I lost my father as I graduated secondary school so music is just what helped me further my education. I am a graduate of Ebonyi State University; where I studied applied psychology so music was what I used to pay my school fees everything was music. However, my mother supported to an extent, but 85% of my school expenses was music. Music has really helped me to date.
What advice do you?
My advice for everyone is that we shouldn’t envy ourselves, whatever, you know you can do, do it well, be perfect in it, grow in it and then your good works will speak for you, that is what I believe in. Whenever I am on stage performing, I am all on myself, my good works speak for me. I am not just into the music I play, I entertain myself and the audience to make everybody happy and to go home happy so let us put our minds on what we do and leave the rest to God for perfection.