He is a musician of international repute. Many love him. Some adore him. Others even think there is no need to wash their hands once they have a handshake with him. Many only know him as Samsong. But his real name is Samson Uchechukwuka Mogekwu. His hair is his trademark and he invests heavily on it.
In an interview with TNN, he spoke on the extra mile he could go to ensure that his hair is given the needed attention.
“My hair right now is an identity for me. Show business is all about the show, showing yourself right in front of your fans. If you are in show business, there must be something people must talk about, being unique. I wanted something to draw attention apart from my singing, that’s how I came about my hair. I started growing it in 2005 and with time, it has become Samsong’s identity. That’s the idea and it has worked for me.”
In doing this way, it must have cost him a fortune. That is what many will think. But that is not entirely correct. “The cost is not the issue but the time and dedication in taking care of the hair. I can’t say it is costing me a fortune but it takes a lot of commitment, discipline to make sure the hair is shaped, soft and well maintained. I have someone that gives me a haircut and he lives six hours away from where I reside and at times I travel to Benin to have the hair done and it is really difficult. I choose programmes around Benin, Warri, Ekpoma and the proximity from Warri to Benin is an hour so I just drive in to get it done. The cream I use is all I get from the UK and I try to get a couple whenever I travel to last till my next visit. So, at times, I just relax and use the activator to keep it soft.”
What is it that people are yet to know about Samsong? His response: “Most of my fans do not know that I am from a family of nine, fifth boy, seventh child. They wonder why I talk the way I talk with a cracked voice and if I say my voice is cracked and they will tell me go, ‘are you serious, can your voice ever be cracked?’ Most people also believe Samsong fell down from the sky, like I shake somebody and the person says, “I am not going to wash my hand, I never knew I will shake your hand”. I say to them, “what do you mean, I am a human being like you. I eat what you eat, wear what you wear, for God’s sake, we are the same”. It just goes to show the value they put on you. These are the few I can think about right now.
You are from a family of nine children, how was growing up like and how were you people able to survive, was your father very rich?
I grew up in a comfortable home, my mum worked in Guinness Nigeria Limited, and my dad was a police officer. We were not particularly very rich but they were able to provide the basic necessity of life that was needed. I can’t say it was very easy having nine children to take care of but we did not lack anything. We could afford all that our mates could afford. It was not bad growing up.
One of the features that play out those days in the village in homes with many children was the drama when they wanted to eat; eating from one plate, struggling with others for lumps of eba and the likes. Share your experience, how was it?
(laughs) I didn’t grow up in the village but I understand experience of eating from the same plate though my siblings and I were very close. While growing up as kids, it bonded us together especially during the Christmas season, lots of rice and mum would always pair two or three together. So you see us digging into the bowl of rice or eba. It was fun and interesting. If you eat with one person today, you get to eat with another brother/ sister the next day. It was something that really brought us together as a family. My dad, even after we had eaten, will still cut his meat into pieces and share amongst us. Those are the things that actually brought us close, together as family.
Back to the days in your father’s house, what do you miss most now that you are an adult?
I must tell you the truth, I miss my mum a lot. She is late now. We shared a lot together especially our morning devotion where we gather to pray and do lots of singing. I loved to sing so I always looked forward to singing time, not the prayers, during devotion. My parents sing very well too, so I really miss devotion time in the family house. As kids, we also did a lot of mischievous things together. We planned to get things for our parents. Once, I wore a new shoe they bought for me, on getting to school, I saw my friend with other shoes that I liked, not necessarily better than mine but I went home and asked my elder brother to cut it with scissors, so I could take it to mum and tell her it’s bad for me to get another shoes like my friend’s own, in school. By the time I took it to mum, she asked me not to worry. She called a cobbler and he just used thread to sew it. It looked worse than it was before. They gave it back to me and it was terrible. I miss those little things we do but ultimately, I miss my mum.
What mistake have you made in your life, a major one that till now you have found difficult to forgive yourself?
Though I have made mistakes but I really can’t say anyone that I have not moved on from. But there was this one door jeep I wanted to buy and my wife kicked against it but I went ahead to buy it because I loved the car. After about two months, I got fed up with the car and wanted to give it away, for me, it was a very big mistake. In fact I took that car to a car dealer, added more money to get a smaller car. It is one big mistake that I made and I regretted it.
You once shared an interesting experience with me about a girl you dated, could you share that with us?
Well it was indeed an experience. I had that relationship with this girl, that was in UNIBEN, while I was in Ekpoma and on her birthday, I took a cake all the way from Ekpoma to UNIBEN only to see that she had three cakes, twice as big as mine. Initially, I was worried but I just sat there, waiting for when everybody would leave so we could have quiet time together, then I could ask her how her day had gone but I was devastated when she told me she was dating someone else and didn’t want to hurt me…bla bla bla. I didn’t see it coming but I had to accept it. There was nothing I could tell her, I still had to pay her taxi fare home, gave her the gift I bought for her and we parted on a peaceful note…it was not a mistake, she just broke my heart.