Sirgreen – fast rising creative entrepreneur in Lagos
Please, introduce yourself
I’m Ikechukwu “Sirgreen” Njoku, I’m from Imo state, was born and raised in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. A graduate of Library and Information Science, Imo State University. I’m also a certified strategist from the institute of strategic management.
So what exactly do you do?
Basically I’m a beautician, I major in makeup but dabble with hair, nails and pedicure. I do rap music too.
How long have you been doing music? (Any early influences?)
I have been into music for a very long time, but did my first recording in August 30 2004. Although I have not been active due to some challenges but we’re still pushing. Nas has been the greatest influence in my musical journey, like I literally have almost all his albums from “the lost tape” to “Hip hop is dead”. The last album I bought was a joint collaboration LP he did with JayZ “God’s Gift”. Although I still listened to likes of Jadakiss, MOBB Deep, you know a whole lot of them. So I was heavily influenced by Hip hop.
Your track “Never” was dedicated to your daughter, would you consider her to be your number one inspiration?
(Smiles) Yeah! She is!! She is the reason I’m hustling. I got mouth to feed.
Having abandoned your university qualification to pursue your passion, how has the journey been?
It’s not been easy, never will, but God is involved. You know how our parents are, they want everything to be formal, go to school, get a job and start a family. Most times they’re really not interested in our passion; maybe because of the era they grew up in. But it is gradually changing now, they are beginning to see a brighter picture and that mentality is fading away gradually and I’m happy about that, it means our kids have greater opportunities.
How are you able to combine all your skills, is there any of your skills you love most?
(Laughing)You know when you love what you’re doing it’s like fun, you don’t consider it work. So to me I consider it fun doing all I’m doing. My first love has always been music and music it is, I can’t wait to start hitting the studio to brush things up, you know a whole lot has changed and we need to move with time. I have love for fashion and entertainment that’s why I’m doing what it is am doing to keep me in that environment, so it’s like encapsulating everything.
Who do you admire most and why?
Hmmmmm!!! A tough question! (Laughing) Anyway I really love what Wizkid and Davido are doing presently, they really taking our music to the world, I mean a global platform, and it’s a thing of joy because to me I see hope, you know greater opportunities. There were times when all thes were just a dream and now it’s happening.
If you were to collaborate with any Nigerian artiste, who would it be?
Awwwwww!!! Oh my God!!! A whole lot of them, the list is endless. I just can’t start picking.
“House of Green” seem to be your main focus presently, tell us more about it…
Yes it is, “House of Green” is a beauty brand I’m trying to build which will deal on hair, nails, pedicure and makeup, beautification in general. It’s a small brand right now, but we’re hoping to watch it grow by God’s grace.
What kind of training did you have?
A normal makeup training from a private beauty school, but it doesn’t stop there. I still attend Master classes from time to time, in order to know what’s out there, what’s trending, so we don’t become old fashioned, because beauty is fashion and fashion is trend.
Do you provide beauty services for male clients too?
I will say 98% of my clients are females. I only do makeup for men when I’m on set, maybe for a music video or a photo shoot.
Do you sometimes find people staring at you weirdly or acting indifferent, considering you’re in a female dominated industry?
Depending on the kind of people you’re talking about. Yes, people do stare when they see me working, maybe to see what I’m doing or maybe surprised I’m a guy doing a lady’s job. But in the case of acting indifferent, I know my clients are comfortable working with me. But some people do think weird things, you know that’s human, you can’t stop them from thinking whatever it is they are thinking. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
How do you separate business from pleasure, since majority of your clients are females?
Business is business! That’s the first rule. Every business person should be able to differentiate business from friends, business from family, and business from pleasure. Although they are synonymous, because you have to see your clients are your friends and family but business should always remain business or it will suffer. So I try to keep it playfully strict when am working.
We know make-up can be quite tricky, how do you manage customer dissatisfaction?
When a customer is not satisfied I never hesitate to apologize and work it out, you know as a man working with the females you need to swallow your pride and work with your client as a team, because makeup is art, and it’s all about creativity. Sometimes what you have in mind might not be what your client wants, so I try my best to work with my clients.
Any plans to diversify “House of Green”?
Definitely! There are plans to diversify “House of Green”, but she is still a baby so let’s watch it grow.
Given the chance to do anything differently, what would it be?
Not taking a break from the industry, because to me the challenges were much so I started giving up. You know coming from the south and having zero support system it seemed nearly impossible, that’s why it seems like I haven’t done any music in a while.
What do you think about creative entrepreneurship in Nigeria?
I love it when I see young people going into entrepreneurship. We need to start creating jobs, we can do it! It’s so alarming to see the rate of unemployed youths out there, and many more are coming out of our schools to join that statistics, so who is going to create that jobs for them? It’s high time we paid attention to skills development/acquisition, starting from our parents before hoping on the government. I believe it’s what the parents discover that the government can develop, our parents need to be aware of that. You don’t expect the government to perform magic.
Our schools have been playing their roles but our parents need to do more in supporting their children in self-discovery, while the school help to mold/develop that skill.The government can come in by providing infrastructures, opportunities and avenues in harnessing these skills. That’s the best way we can cut down the high rate of unemployment, where barbers can be proud of their jobs, creative artists, beauticians, engineers and what have you. The only area am not happy with the government is in the area of the NYSC program.
I’m not saying it’s a bad program, don’t get me wrong, but the whole year shouldn’t just be about teaching, participants should be meaningfully engaged in different skills of interest during the one year period. A skills development programme that’s actually viable. It would further be beneficial to both the individual and the society, and at the end of the program be givengrants/funds to kick start, instead of youths coming out to search for jobs when there are few or non.Serious attention needs to be paid to that.
What are your long term goals?
My long term goals are: firstly, to see my brand “House of Green” become a global brand to be reckoned with and to see my music accepted worldwide. It’s all about fashion and entertainment.
What would you regard as the most important attribute for an aspiring artist?
“Persistence” is the word, it’s never easy, never will be, but don’t give up! “Winners never quit and quitters never win”. Just keep doing you and some day you will be recognized.
What are your thoughts on what we do here at Pave Africa?
I love what you guys at Pave Africa are doing, you represent hope(I’m having only positive expectations) to ours and the next generation, I sincerely pray people get inspired and enlightened through your platform.
House of Green: 07064797643