“I had no financial support from my parents to support my craft”- Mitchel Okorie
The biggest thing I could learn from Mitchel Okorie was resilience. He exemplifies the true young Nigerian nature of a hustler. One who is hardworking, courageous, and fun to be with. He is one to call a “hustler” but has plans for the future. He has big dreams and ideas. YC caught up with him recently and we had a chat.
Here is what he had to say;
Please introduce yourself to us?
My name’s Mitchel Okorie, AKA Mitch Angelo, I am a Soul Music Artiste by day and UI/UX Designer by night. I have recorded and released 1 single, Slide to Unlock; 1 Mixtape, The Mitchtape, and 3 EPs namely Second Chance First Impression, Last Minute and Surface, in the span of my music career. I also co-founded a Digital Agency Startup called hoverGENIE, which is currently growing at a great pace and has had the opportunity to work with brands like MBGN, Silverbird Man of the Year, House of Irawo and so on.
How did you find yourself in music? Was it a childhood dream?
I started music after graduating secondary school. There was nothing to do and my elder brother was into music production, so I helped out in adding flavour to songs he would record. It was so much fun, I started recording mine and I became popular in my hood. So that gave me the confidence I needed to start my music career.
How and when did you start?
I can say my career really started as an undergrad in my first year on campus. I put together a Mixtape Album, The Mitchtape. That tape opened doors and paved the way for several favours I got in school and music, for one, people started giving me props and I started getting invited for shows in school and to me, that was everything at that moment.
Where their any challenges starting your music career?
It’s difficult to love something else and go to school. I failed badly, not for lack of knowledge but the interest was just not there. I am the black sheep of the family so my parents were much of an influence as they already came to terms with my disobedience. I had no financial support from my parents to support my craft and this made me even work harder at my craft. So it all made sense at the end.
You currently run a tech company, how have you been able to cope with everything?
It’s quite difficult running two things concurrently that requires total commitment, but finding a balance is necessary. Music requires a lot of money and time to push, while the tech space requires a lot of time to make money. So you can understand that time is one’s greatest enemy but with passion, drive, and seriousness I believe one will come out great.
How have you been able to stand out in your genre of music?
It is constant practice! A while back I fell into a depressed state when things were not working the way I wanted. That time I spent it making music for depressed people because I feel you need to have a space you are trying to conquer. I do soul music, and soul music means you need to connect with your audience and make them feel you understand them.
How come a Math graduate is into music, what is it a hard decision to make? Do you plan to use your certification in the future?
Since my 100 level days, I was sure I wanted to do music. I just needed to complete the school I started, maybe I would have been better off dropping out or maybe not, only time can tell at this point but I don’t intend using the certificate in the nearest future.
Tell us about the challenges you faced and how you were able to surmount them?
Funds, that’s the major problem. Like I’ve learnt so much to be self-dependent, as there isn’t enough money to go around when running a song’s campaign; you need a song artwork, you need a promotional video clip of your song, you need to push your songs to blogs. I learnt how to handle them myself and save as much as I can while getting the best.
What is your opinion about young people delving into entrepreneurship without any prior knowledge of doing business?
I think knowledge is needed for every new journey you want to embark on in life, and the best form of that knowledge as an entrepreneur is experience. Starting off working for someone will be the best way to start a career journey because they don’t teach everything in the books you read. Some knowledge can only be gotten on the job. Starting young is great but starting without experience is as good as starting blind.
Do you think your educational background really helped your business?
I think going to school really helped my business. It doesn’t really matter the course you study, going to school exposes you to several things you may not have been privy to if you had not found yourself in that environment.
What is your advice to young Nigerians in telling their stories?
Always keep it real, live life at your own pace. When you realize you are not competing with anyone, you will cherish your progress.