“My compositions are born out of inspiration.” – John Ezomo

Choral Hub

We had a chat with composer and music director Dr John Ezomo and in this little conversation, he gives us an insight into who he is, why his compositions are unique and what he hopes to achieve in the long run.

Tell us a bit about yourself (Who Is John Ezomo?)
My name is John Ezomo Osasere. I’m from Benin City, Edo State. I was born on the 16th of July, 1992. My hobbies include music, swimming, cooking, eating, watching comedies and travelling. I love to work and I’m a realist.

How did you get into music and at what point did you decide to become a composer.

Growing up, I always loved music and so one day after Sunday mass, my Mum asked me to join a group in the church and naturally, I chose the choir. I was 10 years old at the time I joined my Parish Choir at St Theresa Catholic Church Ifako Agege. In the same year, I joined my secondary school choir at Maryland Comprehensive Secondary School, Maryland Lagos. We had a very vibrant school choir and coordinator – Mr Michael Kpenou. My experiences in that choir formed the basis of my knowledge in music. I also did theory of music in secondary school up until SS1 and I had always been fascinated by the works of great composers that I came across; both foreign like G. F Handel and indigenous like Vincent Ihaza. We eventually got taught about the principles of simple harmony in class and we were given an assignment. That was the beginning for me because even after that  class, I went ahead to harmonize different already existing melodies and eventually, self composed melodies. And as God will have it, my stay at Saint Albert Choir, UNIBEN exposed me to the mentorship of great choristers and composers for which I would ever be grateful.

Which of your compositions are you most proud of.

I would have to say it’s Iyayi. That would be because of all my compositions, it has received the most accolades for which I am ever grateful to God. It continues to be a source of inspiration for me.

Were you surprised at how Iyayi quickly became a hit in the Nigerian Catholic church.

Honestly, I was. I’d say this because it was originally composed as an entry for FILM 2013 and naturally, every composer would hope that their song does well at such a festival. For me, it was just that. I hoped it would do well but as God would have it, my hopes were more than exceedingly granted and I always feel so blest each time someone makes a reference to that song.

Can you give us a little insight into how you compose; methods you use, how things come to you e.t.c

Over the years, I have come to realize that my compositions are born out of inspiration, a need to experiment and test ideas and techniques and / or sheer necessity; all depending on the prevailing circumstances. There are times I get inspired by a chordal movement or a set of lyrics and I try to develop it. There are times I consciously try to write bearing in mind the techniques of particular genre or style of music thus experimenting. There are also times I have to compose a piece for an event and I just have to write something. But I’ve discovered that the best of my works are those that are products of a cross between divine inspiration and experimentation.

If you weren’t a composer what would you be.

At the moment, I’d be rounding up my undergraduate training in medicine and surgery in a couple of weeks by God’s grace. So the field of Medicine is there waiting to be explored. Also, I’m a fashion designer and a tailor. So, making outfits for people is another thing that keeps me busy. Therefore, besides music, I have some varied options.

What are currently your main compositional challenges?

My greatest challenge would have to be ‘time’. I get so busy and wrapped up in so many other activities that I don’t get to sit down and just write as much as I used to. I also do not release written pieces as regularly and frequently because over time, I’ve come to appreciate the role of research a lot more than I used to. So I’d like to cross check and research adequately before putting a song out there so as to maintain a certain degree of quality.

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