Matthew Ekeinde III, more popularly known by his stage name, Captain E, is the son of Africa’s biggest movie expert, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and one of Nigeria’s most senior and experienced pilots, Captain Matthew Ekeinde.
The big news is that Captain E, the musician son of the Ekeindes, has dropped a new single, More of Me, accompanied by a pretty tight and top-notch quality video that’s enjoying tons of positive reviews on social media and in the music industry. The incredibly talented young man who has also worked with some of the biggest names in the industry as a producer and a mix and master specialist started playing his first musical instrument, a piano, at the age of 6. Today, he plays about 10 other musical instruments.
Last week, this very brilliant son of one of Nollywood’s biggest Icons, Omo Sexy, was at the City People Gbagada Office and spoke to City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL (08037209290) DAMILARE SALAMI (08155134152) and TOBILOBA OGUNDEJI. He shared with us his journey into music and the significant role his parents played in the birth of his music career.
How did the music thing start for you?
Okay, fortunately for me, when we were young, my parents would want us to learn to play at least one musical instrument and so we got a piano teacher. So that meant I was already music inclined at a very young age. Then, at some point in my high school, Chrisland, I think around my SS2, the Wizkid album just came out, Superstar. There was a particular track called ’For Me’, produced by Sam Klef. I heard that song and wanted to recreate it. At that point, fortunately, again, I had some friends who were also into music production in school. So, I tried to recreate that beat and did fairly enough and from there I just started doing more and more things and shared it with my friends and that’s how it started.
Between then and now, you must’ve done quite a few things to prepare yourself for what you’re doing today, can you fill in the gaps for us?
Alright, first I started as a music producer, and that went on for about two to three years. Then, at the time, there were these artistes I was working with. My mum was very keen on me starting to sing. She was like these people are fine and they’re good, but at the end of the day, we need to make sure that you’re also in the spotlight because in Nigeria, producers were not getting the kind of recognition that they deserved. So, she was always particular about me also getting recognition for what I was doing. So, she kept pressuring me and at some point I just decided, okay, let me just give her this song and get it over with. It wasn’t that good, I won’t lie, but she kept hyping me up, saying the song is good but me, I was like its rubbish. I think that was the genesis. From that point, I kept dong backups for other artistes I’d record for and from there it just evolved into something bigger.
Would you say your mum had some very strong influence in your coming to limelight?
I would say she gave me a push, but I have learnt to try not to involve her too much because the ideas she has and what I have are two very different things.
Who are some of the artistes that you’ve worked with?
I forgot to mention that I also mix and master, that also is a key part of who I am today. So, I’ve mixed and mastered songs for Harry Songs, Del B, Mr. Easy, Falz, Wiz, I’ve worked with Seyi Shay and a couple of other people that you haven’t heard of, but these are some of the big names I can remember for now.
How would you describe the music you typically create?
It’s a fusion definitely. I haven’t been in the country for about five years, so I would say that was my molding point. So, I was in Europe and I was heavily influenced by their kind of songs. And if you listened before I came back to Nigeria, that was last year September, I would create a lot of hype music with massive beats that you play in clubs, then I get back, and of course the sound is very different and I had to readjust. So, I’ve found my balance to some level and I just try to mix everything together so I’ll say it’s definitely Afro-fusion.
You said you were in Europe, what part of Europe, specifically, were you based?
I was in North Cyprus for about five years studying.
Considering your very privileged background, of all the opportunities available to you, why did you choose music?
(Smiles) Tricky question. I did want to try out going into flying. That was the initial thought and it still is. But, like I said, along the route of my high school, I don’t know what it was, the passion for music just took over me. And even during my university, I was still creating songs. And to be fair, the people around me have been encouraging. And like I said, out of whatever I’ve been I now got to work with other people like Wizkid, Harry Songs, and there is progress. So, I was like, if something is working, why don’t you just see where it goes. But I still plan to fly though, it’s still going to happen.
So who would you most likely want to collaborate with?
That’s another tricky question. Okay, from the known acts, Fireboy definitely, Reekado Banks, Joe Boy, Oxlade, really, there’s a lot of people, I can’t think of everyone on the spot. Basically a lot of the new age artistes. A lot of them have very unique sounds and I would love to see what we can do if we collaborated.
When you were starting out, who were those established singers who inspired you musically?
Definitely Wizkid will be on top of my list. I also have Wande Coal, an amazing vocalist. I had lot more international people to look up to because that’s where I was and because I also Deejay and I had quite some performances in Cyprus. This really got me close to some of the biggest names in Europe back then.
You’ve been exposed to two different music industries, which is northern Cyprus and Nigeria, where would you say you have the opportunity of doing better?
Doing better will definitely be Nigeria because of the kind of influence and connection my family has. And sgain, because at the end of the day, this is where it is happening. This is where the world is looking at in terms of music. This is the sound that people are looking for this point. But a part of me is still influenced by dance music and that comes to me a lot easier than the Nigerian sound. But in terms of where I would do better, it’s definitely here.
Is there a way your background is having some influence on your kind of music?
Definitely, I will say so. The thing is I, unfortunately, I didn’t learn Yoruba while I was growing up and that has been a bit of difficulty translating my sound into something more Nigerian. If you listen to my type of songs, they already sound western, they sound international. The lingua would’ve been like a tool to bring it back home. Now, I have to hire like three to five songwriters to help me fix in these things and make the sound more Nigerian so to speak. And that has been challenging. At the same time, if not for my background and what I have gone through, I will not be able to have that international sound that I currently have.
So, what’s next for you?
Honestly, my plan is to be a big name. The thing is I love being a Deejay, I love to perform. I love to sing, and it’s amazing what I can do, but at the same time, my plan or goal is that, when you hear Captain E, like if I’m having my concert, I want people to come, see a massive character, I want to deejay, perform and just let people enjoy themselves and have fun.
Let’s have your full names
Alright, I am Mathew Johnson Ekeinde III. My Yoruba name is Babasegun Babatunde and my Edo name is Omokwa.
What formed your stage name Captain E?
My dad, he’s been a huge influence. Growing up as a kid, I and my brother wanted to fly so bad, I’m sure my dad would be very angry now because my brother now is into video directing (laughs). So as kids, my dad would take my brother and I out on flights, so in the cockpit, we’ll watch him turn all these knobs, say his name, ‘Captain E speaking’ and I was very intrigued and that helped my career a lot, shaping the theme and the idea behind the name. So, I literally stole my dad’s name. Captain Ekeinde.
I have noticed that your videos have a certain quality about them. I have seen three of them. How did you form that part of you to want to put out not just quality sound but quality videos as well?
I, in particular, am very on keen on the quality and how my craft affects people. People who work around me will tell you I’m very particular about my pictures, the tones that’s used to play my sounds and also what you see out there of me. But one thing I always want to avoid is any unnecessary profanity. I would never have a video with girls shaking their butts or people swearing where it’s not necessary. I want that international standard because its very important for me that my craft, sound and videos begin to compete in the US for example so when you look at Rihanna and Beyonce for example, you can watch their videos back to back and you can watch mine. That was always the kind of goal. When you watch other videos, not just from the US, but also from China for example, there is this boy band called BTS, their videos can compete with that of anyone else anywhere in the world. In Nigeria, most of our videos can’t compete. You can’t play a Beyonce and then play…I don’t want to mention names, but for me it was important for that to happen, for me to be able to watch them and watch me and be like, yeah, this can work together.
What sort of structure are you working with right now? Are you looking to get signed on to a music label at some point?
I have a small team and we do everything ourselves so far. But when I was starting out I was very keen on not getting signed just because you don’t have the final say and you don’t have the freedom to create because you get to hear all these executives telling you, you have to create this type of sound for this type time, or you record this type of sound that you like, but you can’t release it. I personally have issues with people in power that tell me what to do, it makes it worse when it comes to my craft. So, that has been the thing. So, it’s not as if I can’t sign, but if I have to sign then it has to be a deal that’s favourable for me. And then I get to control what’s happening. So, I’m not opposed to it, but no record label for the most part is going to give you that kind of power. At the same time, my mum does have a record label, I am working with them, so with that, I can control the situation. As it is, I can push myself for now, at least the way it’s going.