Popular, pivotal, prodigious, a pioneer: Peter Okoye is all of these things. You probably know him better as Mr P.
Alongside his twin brother, he formed the hugely successful P-Square – the first afrobeats supergroup. They set the standard and blazed a trail for the explosion of musical talent we’ve seen in the last decade.
Now, more than three years after the duo’s acrimonious split, Mr P is finally getting ready to release his debut solo album, The Prodigal.
“This is more like me trying to express myself, my creativity. I want to be in charge of myself, I want to get things done. Getting the opportunity for people to know my own sound. My music is not like every song you must play them in the club.”
It should come as no surprise that such an influential figure has been able to dip into his ample contacts book.
Teni, Simi, Tiwa Savage and Mohombi all make guest appearances. Wande Coal was the collaborator on lead-off single, Follow My Lead.
Not that Mr P is too worried about the choice of promotional track.
“I’m never a fan of singles. I’m more a fan of projects, album. That’s the kind of person I am.”
But production of the record didn’t always run smoothly because of the pandemic, political protests and personal tragedy.
The recent passing of Mr P’s father-in-law follows a summer of upheaval when his entire family caught Covid-19.
“I had one of the worst moments with my family. I caught it, my wife caught it, my daughter… all my domestic staff. I’m in the guest room, I’m talking to my family on the phone. That’s how we communicated for three weeks.”
The experience means he has little time for Nigeria’s coronavirus deniers.
“People said the government have paid me to claim that I have Covid. Somebody said a comment that really hurt me, [that] I should have died on this Covid so they would know truly, truly that I actually caught it. I was like, wow.
“It’s sad that over here people are still doubting Covid is real.” – BBC