Before Stardom With… Otatane-Oso Andrew (2Wyth) – Punch Newspapers
Were poetry and wordplay your childhood dream?
No, they were not. Ironically, I was a science student who had the dream of becoming a medical doctor because my parents, siblings and relatives wanted me to be that. They felt that I was too ‘exceptionally intelligent academically’ to do anything else, and the ideology then was that if you’re intelligent, you should be a medical doctor.
In Junior Secondary School Two, something changed. The proficiency with which my literature teacher, Mr Christopher Dede-Orlu, taught me made an indelible mark on my growing love for literature. In fact, I can still recite some lines of Incorruptible Judge, The Gods Are Not To Blame, and Joys Of Motherhood after many years.
When I got to senior school, where I was supposed to get more literature, we had no literature teacher again. The closest to Mr Dede-Orlu was our science teacher, Mr Fyneface Orubibi. So, that’s how I deviated into the sciences.
However, at the university, I retraced my steps to my first love, the arts.
How did you feel the first time you held a mic?
I felt very nervous, scared and jittery. This was the evidence of stage fright. I trained myself through books to overcome it because I knew that I had a calling for the microphone, and if I didn’t kill fear/stage fright, it would kill the greatness in me. I won!
What show would you say made you popular?
It would be the series of festive shows I performed when I was promoting my debut spoken word artistic poetry album, Chapman. That was around 2018 and 2019.
In Port Harcourt, Rivers State, it was the series of shows I did when I was a resident spoken word poet with the Royal Music House around the same time. I also performed for the Rivers State Golden Jubilee Celebration.
In Lagos, it was the Zenith Bank Fashion Event, Eko Atlantic; Mc Abbey Comedy Club Shows in 2019 and a series of ‘Poetry Specials’ with Lagos Theatre Festival and Lagos Fringe Festival between 2020 and 2022.
Now, I perform for the British Council in Nigeria. I performed recently for The Finale of Art Showcase hosted by the Creative Hustle.
Has it always been rosy?
It has been a wavy ride — sweet and sour moments. But, it’s all worth it.
What inspires you to keep doing what you do?
Impact inspires me. The testimonies of what my poems have done in the lives of people inspire me to keep pushing despite the odds. I saw the possibility of greatness right from when I started.
When did you realise you really wanted to be a spoken word artist and what was your parents’ reaction?
That would be in 200 level when I was studying Human Anatomy. My little efforts in spoken word poetry made me a celebrity on and off campus. Meanwhile, no matter the hours of night classes I did, I still harvested a legion of ‘carry-overs’ (failed courses).
That was the turning point for me. I had to choose my fate: graduate with nothing as a human anatomist or raise an army of poets for a city. I chose the latter.
My Nigerian parents didn’t like it, but by God’s grace, I have set and broken a lot of records as a spoken-word poet.
How did you come about your name, 2’Wyth Gbedupoet?
It is a creative name created from two words ‘Tutu’ and ‘White’. ‘Tutu’ is my pet name while ‘White’ is a colour I love so much because of its purity. Another reason I chose ‘White’ was because of one prominent personality in Rivers State, Karibi-Whyte. I so much loved it whenever they mention his name on the radio and the fact that he is a great man. ‘Tutu’ means ‘Royalty’ in Usokun-Degema, Rivers State.
‘Gbedupoet’, on the other hand, was a title I created after I invented ‘GbeduPoetry’.
What has stardom deprived you of?
Nothing. My reason is that I’ve understudied a lot of celebrities who allowed fame to deprive them of things. So, I decided to enjoy fame and enjoy being a normal human being at the same time.
This has helped me to be humble no matter the feat I achieve. I’ve mastered the art of interacting with the lowest of people and the highest without losing myself in between. I’m a realist. I don’t claim what I’m not. I hold true to what I am and disassociate myself of who I am not in order to relate with people so that they can be themselves.
What’s the biggest stage you’ve been on and how did you feel?
Performing at the ‘The Finale’ of Art Showcase/Creative Hustle at British Council, Lagos means a lot to me, and those who were there felt it that I performed my heart out because it was a gift I didn’t expect even though I wanted it. I felt blessed to bless them with my GbeduPoetry.