On the Sofa with Singer/Songwriter/Actress, Euphemia Chukwu
1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Euphemia Chukwu, daughter of Joseph and Marcelina Chukwu from Enugu State, Nigeria, and the sister of Pastor Fredrick Chukwu, Senior Pastor of Faith Abundant Ministry International. I reside in London, where I grew up. Whenever I tell people I am Nigerian they often dispute that fact believing that I am mixed race or from the Caribbean or thing. With my pure British accent, people have this misconception that I am a typically British person until I speak Ibo to them. Lol, the look on their face is always classic. LOL! I was trained as a classical opera singer from an early age and have been writing songs from the age of 12. I released my first single in 2012 followed by an EP in 2013 called CAN RELY ON YOU. In November 2014 I launched my first album called CLOSE YOUR EYES. I have three music videos on YouTube which was written and produced by me. My love for writing extend to script writing, I have written several children’s books and novels awaiting publication. In 2012 I became a law student. In 2013 I was presenting my own radio show ‘THE MIA C KEEPING IT REAL SHOW’ for Africa UK Radio. I am the CEO and founder of Fame Star Media, formally known as Fame Star agency set up at the age of 17, F.S Magazine is the latest extension to the company. The law and the media keeps me extremely busy.
2. Is Nollywood UK different to that of Nigeria?
Yes it is. Nollywood UK has many aspiring talents and professionals coming into the industry, it is a growing industry with great potentials. They have Producers Guild and Actors Guild is currently in process of being set up. Nollywood UK has British Body of Films Classification (BBFC), whereas Nigeria has Censor Body to censor the films. Nollywood UK has more cinema premieres in comparison to Nigeria who has wider DVD markets. Nollywood UK has protection from copyrights, indubitably Nigeria has higher piracy rates.
3. Tell us about your sojourn in the acting world and the movies you have featured in?
From a very young age I was convinced that I was destined to become a famous actress or singer. When I was about 15 years old I enrolled into Sylvia Young Theatre School. In the mainstream I started off as an extra in a major movie and T.V. series, such as “Judge Dredd” with Sylvester Stallone and “To Play the King” with Michael Kitchen. I was a member of the theatre group called “Compete with your feet”, which was a musical performed at Stratford Royal Theatre. I did some modelling jobs here and there. I had a very long break from acting when my agent died, so at 17 years old I set up own agency FAME STAR. In November 2014 I got back into acting playing a lead role with award winning actor Van Vicker a Ghanaian Movie Superstar in a film called “Gold Dust Ikenga” produced by M A Benson of Benalex Media.
4. We understand you are a singer and songwriter, tell us about your music career?
Yeah I love to sing, I sing when I am happy, I sing when I am sad, ha ha ha. I was trained as a classical opera singer from an early age and hated singing opera. I wanted to be on top of the pops and not sing boring opera songs, I use to whine to my singing teacher, hahaha. I have been writing songs from the age of 12 years old and the songs I wrote then off course were circular songs. I had a manager at the time trying to get me a major record deal, however, God had other plans for me. When I became born-again years later my song writing style changed to gospel. Finally in 2012 I recorded about 8 tracks of my songs. The Lord wants to use my voice for His glory and it gives me great joy when I hear how blessed and uplifted people are with my songs. It is a wonderful privilege.
5. What does it mean to be Nollywood UK?
My understanding of Nollywood is that it is a movie industry set up in Nigeria. You have Hollywood, Bollywood. To be Nollywood UK is basically working in the Nollywood industry based in the UK.
6. As an actor what are your priorities?
My priorities are always to ensure that the work I do is enjoyed by the audience, and to be a positive role model.
7. What are the existing challenges facing the Nollywood film industry and do they differ to those facing the UK Nollywood industry.
The challenges facing the Nollywood film industry is lack of sufficient government funding, protection, distribution issues and training for actors. In addition actors fee and remuneration. UK Nollywood industry is at its infancy stage and still trying to find its feet. Majority of the people in the industry are part-time.
8. What should we be expecting from you this year?
Oooohhh, a lot of great things by God’s grace. A new music video, Perhaps a Christmas single, movie projects, More focus on F.S magazine and more on the fashion designer Afro Gozi, maybe some productions from Fame Star Media. The sky is the limit. Lol.
9. How did you get into acting?
I got into acting from secondary school, I was cast into the musical “West side story” I had so much fun so I decided to pursue acting from that moment.
10. Will you ever play a role that requires nudity?
11. Being a singer or actor, which do you prefer?
That is a tough one, but… if I had to choose it would be singing because I love the deal of being a blessing and making a difference in someone’s life.
12. Who is your role model in Nollywood Nigeria and Nollywood UK?
I have two role models in Nollywood UK, M A Benson and Theodora Ibekwe Ayo because they have such warm and generous spirit. They believe in helping others to get ahead in this industry and beyond. Nollywood Nigeria would be Patience Ozokwor meeting her last year when she came to London was fun. I never get bore of watching her movies.
13. Name 5 Nollywood Stars you would love to work with?
Patience Ozokwor, Desmond Elliot, Genevieve Nnaji, Ramsey Nouah, Mike Ezuruonye.
14. What’s your favourite Nollywood movie ever?
Osuofia In London, starring Nkem Owoh
15. Any message to upcoming actors/singers?
My message is to pursue your dream, be prepared to work hard, never give up, be yourself, set your own standards, and pay no attention to what people say as there are a lot of haters out there. Don’t limit yourself or allow others to limit you. ABOVE ALL PUT GOD FIRST IN ALL THINGS.