Yenagoa—Due to the economic situation in the country, many find themselves doing things they didn’t study in school just to make ends meet.
Inebiri Theophilus Bubaralayefa, an indigene of Igbedi community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State is one of the most popular entertainers in Nigeria at the moment.
Professionally known as Zephyr, Bubaralayefa is one youth who has refused to allow the present economic situation in the country to limit his chances in life.
In an exclusive interview with our reporter, he narrated his inspiring story of how he became a hype man.
Zephyr who is a graduate of Agricultural Economics, Rural Sociology and Extension from the Niger Delta University (NDU), revealed that his love for rap music endeared him to becoming a hype man.
“It all started in school. I was and still am a rapper. But in school, I was more focused on music than my studies which gave me a bad reputation of being seen as ‘unserious’ with scolding from lecturers and some of my colleagues.
“I was almost sent out of school because of music. Then I remembered the reason I was there and for the sake of my mother I had to improve on my studies. Normally, I’m not a dull person so it was easy for me to catch up plus I met three great friends (Imma, Comfort and Preye) in school at that point I felt it was over for me.
“So I pressed pause on the music thingy and focused on my studies. I can draw also. It’s one of the many talents I left because I needed to focus.
“I started radio with Raypower 102.5 FM Yenagoa, and I was on an internship with them through the help of my mentor Eniye Gabriel aka En Gabriel.
“One faithful day I got a message from En Gabriel that a popular nightclub needed a hype man so I was like I can do this. Performing as a rapper in school gave me the ability to fight stage fright and do whatever I have to do without the fear of having a lot of people around.
“So I took the job and started as an amateur in the hype industry. Then we had just one hype man making waves in the city so it was a virgin industry and I took advantage of it,” he said.
Zephyr who served as the first Head of Programmes, NDU Radio, a campus radio station, is the official hype man at Club Bara, a popular nightclub in Yenagoa.
He is also the personal hype man to Payper Corleone and the brain behind the Young People Supporting Young People (YPSYP) initiative aimed at creating synergy between entertainers in Nigeria.
He said disrespect and underpayment are some of the challenges he usually encounters as a hype man.
In his words: “First thing I’ll say is disrespect. Everybody has access to you as a hype man so they feel they can tell you to do anything and you must do it.
“Secondly, it is the pay. One thing that comes with being a hype man is the fact that people see you enjoy what you do so they think it’s easy. Like footballers that every fan criticizes.
“For hype man, people see the stipends that come in, like people getting to spray you money so they feel you’re rich and the people you work for see no reason to pay you what you’re worth.
“One thing is people know your worth but they just don’t want you to know that you’re priceless. So they cage you with complaints and more work.”
The entertainer who sees himself going back to radio and running his own podcast in the nearest future, admonished government at all levels to give entertainers the enabling environment to thrive.
“Let the government give entertainers an enabling environment. Nightlife is an industry of its own that generates a whole lot of money.
“Trust me if one million is spent during the day ten million is spent at night. Security is needed so people can move at night freely. They can also host events and competitions with a proper package of promotion for whoever wins.
“Lagos is a perfect example of what the nightlife can give and mainly it comprises of entertainment and entertainers.”