Ejiro Osakede is a woman of many expressions. She’s a Singer, Trainer, Author, Sound Engineer, VoiceOver Artist, Master Storyteller, Podcaster and Event Host. She is the resident MC at the Female Founders Initiative MEA.
Everyone has talent. What’s rare is the courage to follow it to the places where it leads. There are people who multi-talented in different skills and thrive in all, Ejiro Osakede has succeeded everywhere she has taken her gift.
She is an audiobooks creator for African authors, with works from notable authors. The multi-award recipient is also known as the Energetic EJ. She is dedicated to training and supporting audiobook creators, narrators and podcasters by creating content and courses that help them thrive in their craft. As well as provide support via a closed community.
She is the convener of THE BECOMING SUMMIT- an initiative to awaken in the young generation (Ages 18 -35) a desire to BE a better version of themselves, being fit for their purpose and has reached Africa, Europe and Asia, spanning several countries across these continents.
Her Podcast, ‘Stretch Street’ focuses on documenting the stretch stories of individuals who have been through tough times and have come out of it as better people. In this interview with Esther Ijewere, she shares her inspiring story.
Consider me a womb opening for my parents. They had me after trying for a child for over a decade and so you can imagine the dramatic entry I made into the world. I was told they celebrated for like a week, starting from the hospital to the whole village.
My Dad was a sailor at the time and he worked with colleagues of other nationalities, they were all aware of the long wait and when I came along he was still away on his trip. So, when he returned, it was a whole week of partying and celebrating the arrival of his first child after waiting for so long and going through all manners of ridicule.
I was also told that I was a very bold and confident child and so I became popular as a toddler. You see why I said the spotlight is attracted to me. And that has been the case always. Whether I try or not, I always get noticed in any setting I show up.
In this regard, my childhood prepared me for what I am doing today. God has been faithful in placing me amongst leaders, visionaries and purpose driven individuals and communities.
Inspiration behind BECOMING SUMMIT
As an African Youth, there is a tendency to shortchange ourselves and discount us even before opportunities arrive. Especially for those of us from very humble backgrounds. And to make matters worse, for young people who didn’t have the right set of people around them to help them see that although their environment seems to be stifling, they can curate for themselves an enabling environment by the type of content they consume and the type of people they connect with online.
Being a Storyteller, Podcaster, Sound Engineer, Voice-Over Artist and Singer
I will start from singing. I started singing when I was a kid. I was part of the junior choir and then moved on to the senior choir. Then I became a worship leader back then. And since then, I pretty much grew in that regard as a church girl.
Then in 2000 after dropping out of school for lack of funds to pay my final year fee. I stepped into the entertainment industry as a backup singer. So, I became a back up singer both on stage and in the studio.
I had the opportunity to work with musicians from back then like Imona and the crusaders band, Mr. Kool, Ochonma, Tony-one-week, Dabyna and Jahcub Abraham to mention a few.
While that was going on, I also started to train as a field sound engineer. I learned how to build speakers, microphones and set up the stage for mega concerts. On days when I am not with the band backing up on stage, I will be on the stage manning the console and dealing with cables and equipment.
In 2005, I wrote a song and upon reflection while I wrote it, I realized that I wasn’t sure my life was in the exact direction I wanted it to be. I knew I would be in the spotlight, but I wanted my story to be inspiring and I felt if I continued at the pace I was at the time as a showgirl, I might miss my way.
So, I decided to withdraw from the entertainment industry to go figure my life out. Then I decided to go back to school. I wanted so badly to go take an acting course at PEFTI. But I was advised against it. And I was encouraged to take up a Course that could get me a secured job. So, I settled for Secretarial Studies.
Once I was done with my OND I knew this wasn’t the course for me, so I refused to go further with my HND to go out and explore my options.
That was when I took the OAP course with The ProEmcees Academy founded by Kamal Salau, a veteran in the broadcast industry back then. This was where I started to get more interested in the use of my voice. And it was also during this short course that I fell in love with audiobooks.
One of the materials that was presented during this course was THE BIBLE EXPERIENCE. And this project got me hooked so badly I told myself I wanted to replicate it for African Authors. And that became my main project for the next couple of years.
Working with African Authors to convert their books into audio. Years down the line, I figured I must be getting something wrong and maybe I should go back to school to gain more knowledge. So, I went back to get a degree in audio engineering at SAE Dubai.
The storytelling is a result of being a podcaster as my podcast covers the stories of my guests. I started podcasting officially in 2019. It started with a faith-based podcast named Worship Song of the Week which lasted a year.
Then I started The Afrocentrist Podcast towards the end of 2020 and rebranded late 2022 into Stretch Street Podcast where the goal is to document the stretch stories of individuals to draw out life lessons from their challenging experiences while aggregating references for young people of African descent that challenges are not exclusive to any of us.
They are there to teach us and to make the most of them we must learn to identify the lessons that these challenges came to teach us and also document them so that others can learn from our mistakes or success.
The Journey So Far
My journey so far has been a learning curve. I am getting to know myself better as well as improving in the way that I show up. It’s not been an easy ride but its been a great one so far. I have had to explore the multiple phases of my skills, talents and strengths. Mostly through service to others and as a solo-prenuer.
I have also taken up a lot of courses to develop various aspect of my expressions. Majority of which took place between 2022 and now. Before then I had an OND in Sec Admin, I trained as an OAP, I took Conflict resolution masterclasses. I also took a couple of short courses in Public speaking both back home in Nigeria and abroad in Dubai UAE.
I’d say the major challenge for me was internal. I had a lot of limiting mindsets. And it’s taken a lot of work to get to where I am today. I am still a work in progress. This is why I take personal development very dear to my heart.
My Passion For Creating Audiobooks for African Authors
I believe that as Africans we haven’t done a great job in telling our stories or documenting our lives from the place of strength like one of my mentors Onye Ubanatu would say. At the time when I picked up this niche, I couldn’t even articulate it this much. I just knew that I wanted to help African Authors leave a digital footprint in the audiobook space.
I wanted a situation where our books will be in audio format and not stop there, but also in our local dialects to preserve our heritage.
One time I was researching the languages in Nigeria, and I discovered that some languages from the northern part of the country have gone extinct and more will go extinct in the next 20 to 30years. Leaning into audio content is one way that we can preserve our languages for generations to come. And the gift of the internet and cloud storage can be leveraged to make this happen.
I can’t say that I have succeeded in birthing this idea but I don’t cease to talk about it, because as much as I don’t feel I’ve done justice to it, I know that there are people out there who bare the same burden as me, and least I can do is keep talking about it so that they can also know that they are not alone in their thoughts. And perhaps some day we can have a couple of young Africans come together to do something about it and maybe build a solution collaboratively.
Other Projects and Activities
Since I couldn’t pull off the audiobook project to mainstream, I felt I had a chance to take it in bite size and start with podcasting. So, I’ve been an advocate for young Africans to use their voice for impact, influence and income. They can do this by following their convictions and sharing their messages using podcasts as a tool.
Hence I run a challenge where I train, guide and support newbie podcasters how to set up their podcast not just because it’s in vogue, but to plug it into what they feel convinced is their purpose and use this tool to grow their impact and influence while earning an income through it as well.
I have had about 50 people go through this program in the last one year and counting.
What I Enjoy Most About My Job
As an audio content producer; Podcasts, audiobooks, voice overs, I love editing, I love experiencing the minds of those that I get to work with. I also get to learn while I am working, that means for me, work is growth. And there is nothing as blessed as having to do what you love and getting paid for it.
Women Who Inspire Ejiro Osakede and Why
Edirin Edewor – She is my coach, turned friend and sister. If resilience was a person then it is Edirin Edewor. She’s intelligent, gentle and has a big heart for people. She’s like a gift that keeps giving. And her story gets me up my feet every time I think about what she has to go through with her health condition and still be able to make such significant impact. Honestly I respect her strength, commitment, resilience, and intelligence.
Debola Deji-Kurunmi – a.k.a DDK. DDK showed me the power of multi influential flows. The fact that as humans and especially as women, we have the capacity to flow in more than one direction and there is nothing wrong about it. We only need to embrace our potential and set up systems in place to manage our multiple flows. And she does it so seamlessly making me understand the power of a team, the power of people, the power of intentionality and maximizing the relationships in our lives.
What We Can Do To Support Women With Different Skill Sets
It is not uncommon to see women with various skill set, yet when it comes to the market place its a struggle for many of us. Naturally we are comfortable and familiar with the concept of wearing many hats as a woman. Mother, sister, friend, sister-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, Aunt and colleague.
However, when it comes to our skills, it feels so wrong and scattered sometimes when we are skilled in different areas. So I think we should talk more about it and have programs that will help us manage our skills better.
One Thing I wish To Change In My Sector
I will speak to this from an African perspective. If there is one thing I could change it will be the silo mentality. As a people we would do more, grow faster, make more impact if we learn to collaborate effectively. If we learn to bring our resources, skills and aligned visions together to form a bigger vision that will outlive us.
Being a Woman of Rubies
I am consistently evolving. I am big on personal development and inspiring others with my life. I have the interest of the people I serve at heart. I am winning against the battle of comparison daily and embracing my uniqueness with confidence and charisma. This makes me a woman of Rubies.
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