By Amos Aar
EMBERGA Aondohemba Peter, popularly known as Slikish, is an Afro-pop singer who is at the moment making waves in the music industry. Born in Ikpayongo Town, Gwer-East local government area of Benue State, Slikish acquired his primary and secondary education at Ikpayongo and Aliade respectively, both in Gwer LGA of the state. He proceeded to Oduduwa University in Osun State and is currently serving his mandatory National Youth Service.

“I have been in music since 2012; that’s when I discovered that I could sing. But professionally, I started my first video in 2017, titled: “God Na You” which featured Joel Alamadi.

“I used to listen to music a lot; I watched videos apart from movies even till today. Back then, I used to buy Alaba Mix and watched at home. When I was in Ikpayongo, I would tune to Joy FM, listen to their music and sometimes I could sing a particular music from the start to the end without its track being on.

Poster of Slikish’s December 2019 Concert in Makurdi

“So, my friend; John Lanen, asked me one day why I did not compose my own music. He told me that I could actually write my own songs and become a musician. We wanted to do the music together but he had to go back at some point,” Slikish said.

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The Benue-born crooner said his mother told him that he used to sing when he was four or five years old and as a result his great grandfather used to call him Obadiah (a great Tiv traditional musician) because he sang a lot.

“This was when I discovered I could actually sing and I recorded my first track in Makurdi. Then, I moved to Abuja after my junior secondary school education and I continued with my singing. I performed in 2015 in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State when I shared the stage with Olamide.

“I went to school in Osun in 2015 and Olamide was doing a campus tour, so I was privileged to perform with him. I performed in many other places and I did my concert in December 2019 here in Makurdi at City Bay Event Centre. It was a sold out, it was massive! Slikish said.

Asked what message he wanted his music to send to the public, Slikish said: “I do Afro-pop music but there are times I do music for a particular purpose. Like the one I did with Joel Alamadi was for the herdsmen crisis in Benue State. I titled it ‘God Na You’. It is a cry to God considering the herdsmen crisis. So, when I want to do a song for a particular thing, I write in line with what I want.”

As a first son, choosing music as a career was tough for Slikish from the beginning. According to him, “my Dad wanted me to be a lawyer. He tried his best and I got admission into the University of Jos to study law. But I sat him down and spoke to him about my going to a public university. I told him that even if we resumed, there would be strike still and I didn’t want to be delayed.

“That was how I convinced him and went to a private university and applied for Mass Communication. He was not happy about the whole arrangement but I had to involve other people. I was doing something in line with music and he never liked it. But I believed right from the beginning that I could do something with music.”

Other challenges he mentioned were lack of sponsorship and patronage. He said he was based in Lagos which is a Yoruba city and sometimes his songs suffered rejection in the industry because he mixed his music with his local (Tiv) dialect.

While he appealed to well-spirited individuals to support and sponsor young people into music to reduce crime in the society, Slikish on the other hand advised Benue entertainers to use the internet to publicise their music to cut down cost, bearing in mind that their sponsors also have other financial engagements.

He also urged them not to just meet people that they want to sing music but they should rather do something to attract people to themselves.

Slikish said he was supposed to be in Ethiopia in April 2020 but his plan was marred by Coronavirus.

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