Born Orji Jolly Kalu popularly known as Risky Jolly, while his fans called him Risky. A songwriter and vocalist; a recording, performing and touring artiste; a music student and instrumentalist. A pop artist who combines R & B, Hip Hop, and Dancehall. A fast-rising transnational entertainment giant Traffic Jam Inc is managing him as an international brand they are in charge of signing and endorsements and music deals worldwide.
Hails from Ezikwu Amaeke, Ekoli Edda in Afikpo-South Local Government Area in Ebonyi State as the third born and second son in a happy Christian family of five boys and three girls. Gifted to 96, retired Rev. Kalu Jolly Agha now late and Mrs. Omasiri Helen Kalu, a successful businesswoman who operated as a middle-agent wholesale textile material dealer.
Tell us briefly about your educational background?
I obtained a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree in Industrial Mathematics (Computer Science major) from Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka; Master of Science (M.Sc) degree in Computer Science from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN); presently, I am a Ph.D candidate of Computer Science. I am a University and Federal Government researcher. I conduct Institution-based Research (IBR) and National Research (NR) through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) at whose courtesy I have won and successfully executed numerous ICT-based research grants as an active member of four (4) Research Groups at UNN. I hope to continue winning more multi-million naira grants/contracts as a Senior ICT Consultant and brand;
What kind of person are you?
I am an extremely kind-hearted, very emotional, easily touched, and down-to-earth person; soft-spoken, funny, incapable of hurting someone on a deliberate note and have a listening ear to people’s plights. I am highly principled, but at the same time, reasonably tolerable. I am a visionary, very hardworking person, and as a result, always dead busy.
I spend most of my time programming computers, developing enterprise software solutions, writing, recording and performing existing and new songs from my music library, researching on seriously challenging problems whose solutions will add values to human life. I am being consulted to solve one major ICT problem or the other for the federal government, universities, and society.
My methodologies involve advanced computer science and mathematical concepts such as Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Neural Network, Expert Systems, Fuzzy Logic, Grid Programming, Spatio-temporal database systems, numerical analyses, stochastic processes, etc. So I am a kind person whose quest for the unknown is insatiable due to my academic inclinations.
I put virtually every serious thing that happens around me in music form. Above all, I am always trying to put a smile on someone’s face. I think I am fun to be with, finally.
Who are your academic mentors?
Prof. P. N. Okonta, a Professor of Mathematics, taught me in my undergraduate days at DELSU, Abraka as the then Head of Department.
He believed in me a lot and had to give me the entire Faculty of Sciences to host a university-wide lecture/workshop in satellite communications, computer programming, and professional ethical hacking; Dr. G.A.M. Ikekeonwu, a Doctor of Computer Science (Manchester), who taught me how to reason, speak, write and program like a Computer Scientist during my master’s degree days at UNN; Prof. Inyama, the first professor of Computer Science I did ever set my eyes on till this day, who expanded my mind to its limitless horizon and capabilities using the exploring power of computational logic and computer architectural development history.
Do you play any musical instrument and when did you start doing music?
Yes, keyboard. I started music at the tender age of 12 when I used to practice and play different musical instruments such as the keyboard, drums, organ, violin, etc. in my dad’s posted churches.
Who inspired you into music?
My Dad, he spent his youthful days in boxing and music performance before he answered the divine call as an ordained minister of the Gospel. Then as I grew up I fell in love with Michael Jackson’s voice, rendition and style of music as a worldwide pop star.
Who is your role model in the entertainment industry?
Usher Raymond, Chris Brown, in every respect including vocals, dance, stage act, and accomplishments.
When did you venture into the entertainment business and how many shows have you been involved in?
At 12, I had already started singing in different places before large congregations during revivals amidst people from different parts of the world. I grew up amid foreign missionaries who would visit my dad in Africa for one international church program or the other mainly from Europe, the USA, the Middle East, and Australia. So growing up amid those White missionaries and other powerful, highly educated men and women from different parts of the world influenced the way I speak, think, act and perform even as a little boy then.
I have performed in numerous events and big concerts such as Kaduna State Festivals, Abuja International Trade Fairs, GLO Lafta Tours, to mention but a few of them, alongside other artistes including 2Baba, PSquare, Faze, Nigga Raw, Kcee, African China, Blackface, OJB Jezreel, Zoro, D’Banj, Ikechukwu, Wande Coal, Ekwe (Sample), Timaya, etc. In different capacities, I will be exploring more abundant opportunities being directed towards me to showcase my talent in many European countries and the U.S.
Where do you get inspiration from?
My inspirations come from the things that happen around me, around the world and from God who reveals hidden mysteries to me through dreams and revelations.
Can you tell us a little about your family?
Mine is a very happy Christian family. We pray together, eat together and play together. There are eight of us: five boys and three girls born in this order – Odinma, Ukachukwu, Orji, Ngozi, Ama, Ikechi, Uche and Chinedu.
How can people see more of your work?
They should see my works and follow my concerts by visiting my official website located at www.riskyjolly.com; sign music deals with me by contacting my management, Traffic Jam Group at our official website located at www.trafficjamgroup.com, and also through my social media handles using Risky Jolly as search string.
Where do you see yourself in the next Five (5) years?
An A-List artist in Africa, an amiable pop artiste with international acclaim, a multiple prestigious award winner, and a worldwide household name in the entertainment and ICT industries.
What was your first dream at the early stage of your life?
To be very popular in every part of the world and have people from all races hear my voice as a great pop star, to retire as an erudite academic and multiple inventors from Africa.
In the entertainment industry, who are you hoping to be like or better than
In the home front, I hope to be better than 2Baba and Wizkid for good reasons. These two artists have achieved a lot of feats in the music industry worldwide. And what touches my heart a lot about each of them is that they started from nowhere with nothing. Yet today, they’re these hero’s and still standing tall.
I have crossed paths a lot with 2Face on stage dating back to the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu during a series of Campus Tours and concerts, of course, with Blackface. We (my musical group then – Dinky Jay, Man T, and Risky) used to mime rhymes together under the “Grovy Tree Of IMT”. Tuface and Blackface know what I am talking about here.
Still, in the home front, Wizkid, because I know his humble beginning. The lad’s growth always makes me want to shed tears each time I think about him. I first met Wizkid at the legendary OJB Jezreel’s studios, Point Beat, at Gbaja, Surulere.
Then I was recording an album with OJB titled EBELEBE (actually the words ‘Ebelebe’ and ‘Abracadabra’ you hear everywhere today was originally invented into the industry by me). Wizkid, just like 2Baba, would always come around too to record work with OJB. Wizkid was a young and talented lad. I can still remember his nice flows quite vividly.
To whom do you owe your musical legendary?
I owe immense gratitude to the success of my musical journey to Black Culture, my musical group that started at IMT with Dinky Jay and Matata.
Have you been keeping your likeness for the success style of Wizkid and 2Baba, and of course your eyes on their accomplishments, to yourself all this while?
Nope. I do not hide my gratitude to God for the amount of success they have achieved so far from my fans. I have mentioned them a lot even during my nationwide radio tours at different times including back then on Cosmos FM (now defunct) with DJ Grandfingaz (Radio DJ) who took likeness in me and my songs Ebelebe and Abracadra together with Nnenna Orji (Radio Presenter) whom my fans call “My sister from another mother”. My fans talk about Risky, Wizzy and Tuface as OJB boys and I would talk so much about Wizkid as a bunch of young talent whom OJB was also breeding before Wizzy coming on block vibing everywhere with Don’t Dull and Holla At Cha Boy, his steady growth has been quite amazing till date all over the world! What a small world! So I give it up to 2Baba and Wizzy.
What is your best color (s)?
Black and White
Are you in a relationship or married?
No, not yet, still searching seriously.
What bad habits do you have?
Working without eating and My inability to maintain a romantic relationship. I have so much preoccupied my mind with the challenges in the celebrity business and academia. I hardly feel hunger and most times do not remember to eat. As a result, it is quite sad to say it here but I have collapsed twice between 2014 and 2016. The first time I fainted, I was in my hotel room with my dancer, Boneless (a Glo Lafta award winner) rehearsing against our next concert, and some crew members when I started feeling dizzy.
The best thing that happened was that I woke up midnight on Dr. Eze’s hospital Bed, at Owerri Road, Enugu. The second time I passed away, it was at Gymnastic Centre opposite Total Filling Station, along UNN Main Gate, one bright morning immediately after doing aerobics and outdoors, the best thing that happened to me was a story. I heard a tiny voice shouting “Go and get an ambulance from Shanahan hospital”.
But the grace of God is sufficient upon me and God brought me back to life after about 15 minutes before the ambulance gets there. I had engaged myself in three serious doctoral researches in a single swoop! Later on, Medical Doctors attributed the two cases to stress and warmed me to eat well and give myself a good rest. But I think I am trying these days to take out time to eat and rest well. Am I?
I am using this rare opportunity to sincerely apologize to my numerous female friends who have tried in so many important ways to make things work between and them, and yet, just before you say Risky, I would have forgotten I was building a relationship with someone so special! Damn! Industry no easy oh!
What else do you do outside music?
I play football and read.
How is your parent taking your career and what was their reaction towards it when you started?
They had nothing against my decision to become a musician, but they didn’t support my chosen genre. They disagreed with me on the huge amount of money, time, energy and other resources I was investing in Hip/Hop music being a member of a Christian family. It took me years to settle the dust with good lyrical contents. You know naturally, there would be divided opinions about the kind of music I choose to do, but all the same, I have the fervent prayers and unflinching support of the majority of my family members.
Do you have friends, group or teams you roll with?
Yes. Traffic Jam Group. It comprises serious-minded personalities in the entertainment industry. They are legally coming together to give me the necessary push both at national and international levels. My new hit single, IN LOVE produced by L.I., has boosted their confidence in me the more with big investors knocking on our office.
What are your plans for the remaining months this year? Are you planning any collaboration this year?
My new song – IN LOVE , is going viral it’s a good song. Hundreds of international digital music platforms and many music blogs in Africa are streaming IN LOVE by Risky. Everybody who has listened to IN LOVE says it is a nice song. Everybody seems to have one good aspect of the song that he or she likes. Some say the lyrical delivery and production are professionally done. Some hold the opinion that IN LOVE is my best song ever, while numerous others would have started distributing it on their own even without my permission and knowledge, and said they can’t wait! But the truth is that some listen to IN LOVE from morning tonight. Some go to bed with earpiece slowly jamming IN LOVE until the love story gets back them to sleep. The producer, LI, did what he knows how best to do as a professional. I remember he was screaming and nodding his head to each progression as he lays the beat for IN LOVE, and from start to finish of the production of the song, real music lovers in the house were singing, dancing and drinking to IN LOVE. Then Mr. Evidence brought his songwriting ability to bear both in the backups and direction of vocal delivery. I am most grateful to MJ, 2nite Spicy and other Flavour’s men who gave me one support or the other during the production of IN LOVE. I love you all..
What is your favorite sport?
Football, I don’t just watch it, I play it. My wings are 2, 7 and 10.
We learned you are an Okportal Ambassador. Tell us briefly about Okportal.
Yes. I am Okportal Ambassador. Okportal a superstructure developed for full automation of educational institutions, organizations, business enterprises, individual entrepreneurial industries, ministries, department agencies, and parastatals at local, state and federal government levels. Today, many schools check their results online using Okportal scratch cards, do ePayment, eTranscript, eBroadsheet, eAdmission, eRecruitment, eManagement, eLibrary, and a lot more on Okportal platform. Anytime soon, a grand occasion of Unveiling Okportal will take place in Lagos, Enugu, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Calabar, and other cities. Thereafter, I will embark on Okportal Concert in more than 30 African countries to advertise Okportal in these countries; I shall tour London and European countries later. Jokatel, the world-class industry giant in downstream satellite-terrestrial internet provider services deemed it fit to appoint me Okportal Ambassador due to my Computer Science background.
People that I would have offended unknowingly.
What advice can you give to the upcoming?
The music industry is highly competitive than ever. Go and get some music training before running to the studios to avoid wasting money and time. Think seriously before venturing into music as a career. Believe in yourself. Be yourself always. Don’t try to sound like anyone else. People have heard enough of the person you may want to imitate, Indeed, real music fans want to hear you, another wine. Good luck as you race up to the top of your game.
What can you say about King James media?
KJM is good at doing professional journalism. I have no doubt that with the media’s standard of using their platforms to promote indigenous talents, write educating and entertaining series, soon you guys will become a very strong force to reckon with in the global media industry. Thank you for your time.