There are so many words to describe Nigerian entertainer, Denrele Edun. Well, among other things, he is wild, he is funny, he is crazy, he is real and he is humble.
I sat down with him for a few minutes and this is what we spoke about.
Kiki: What kind of a child were you?
Denrele Edun: WHAT???? That’s a good one. I hardly get asked such questions. You are winning me already. You know, people I went to secondary school with are kinda intimidated to even come and greet when they see me now because I used to be very shy during those days they knew me.
Kiki: You? Shy? Stop lying to me.
Denrele: Kiki, trust me when I tell you this. I was really shy. Don’t even ask me how I overcame that because I also don’t know. It’s still a mystery.
Kiki: Hahaha, I still find that hard to believe.
Denrele: But guess what? In Primary school, that’s where I realised that I love fashion. That’s where I started experimenting with my hair. I have very good hair so I can play around with it.
Kiki: I see the hair is amazing. Is it all yours? Is it natural?
Denrele: Ehe, my sister…..and then? Of course it’s natural. You know what? My dad is Nigerian but my mum is half Indian, half Mauritian. So now you see where I get the good hair from? I used to go crazy with my hair.
Kiki: You say you were shy when growing up. Did you at any point know that you were going to be in entertainment?
Denrele: My dad used to be a DJ in Germany, so he had a lot of vinyls. I was very intoxicated with the band Boney M. I’d wear head phones, hold a microphone and jump around to their music. I actually thought I was gonna be a singer. I knew I was going to do something in the showbiz but I didn’t know what it was.
Kiki: So when did it all begin exactly?
Denrele: I think it was in 1995 where I went for an audition and I couldn’t stop talking. I was so loud and carried on and on talking. Then the Producer gave me a script after realising how loud I was. And the rest is history. I then became the highest paid kid actor in my time.
Kiki: Oh wow, that’s something right there. You said you loved the band Boney M when you were younger? Is there a reason why you were drawn to them? Can you say they were the ones that inspired you?
Denrele: I liked Boney M because their music was just different. I would sing along and scream, jump around and just be myself. That was back then. Fast forward to later on, I’d say I really admire Fumi Oda. She used to have a major talk show back then that I used to watch before I go for any audition. I liked her presenting skills, she used to make guests feel like they had known her forever. I told myself that the day I become a presenter, I wanna be like her. She was out of this world.
Kiki: We know and have heard that the Entertainment industry is full of challenges. Did you ever find yourself in a situation where you wanted to give up?
Denrele: Plenty of times. I can say every single day because of what I had to go through. When I was in Varsity, I used to have lecturers walk me out of their classes. Back then I didn’t have a car so I used public transport. The conductors used to push me out, the drivers used to throw insults my way. And if I decide to walk, you’d see people park their cars and insult me. It was hell.
Kiki: OMG, was it that bad? What about your family?
Denrele: You know, Nigeria is a place where if something is different, it’s frowned upon. My extended family didn’t understand or want to understand why I was that kind of way. They even banned me from the church. I was told; ‘Don’t come to this church again until you cut your hair and dress responsibly.’
Denrele: I’d say my dad who is Nigerian, would have gone with that voice and told me; ‘If you don’t change this, I’m gonna disown you’ but he didn’t. That is why I owe him so much because he accepted me and allowed me to be me. He’s gonna be 75years old this year and I’m his first and only son. I know how that sounds but yeah, my dad is my hero.
Kiki: Ok, let’s move from the sensitive stuff before we start crying. Is there anything in your life that you would like to do that you haven’t done?
Denrele: Woooooooh my sister. I don’t even think I have started yet. I haven’t started at all. I am just starting out. WHAT!!! Ok, I wanna write a book about my life from those humble beginnings. I wanna share my journey and how I used to live without food, how I used to walk long miles. How I had to take up a teaching job to support the family.
Kiki: Teaching Denrele? You were a teacher?
Denrele: Yes, I was a teacher. I remember I only had 2 shirts and I’d wear them till they were worn out. But now, I have lost count of the number of clothes I have. So when I look at my past, it’s very empowering that’s why I wanna put that in a book. Problem is; I am a very lazy writer. I’m a good writer but to sit and write is a mission.
I also want to inspire and motivate young people. I know it may sound far-fetched but it’s all about expressing your personality, making people understand your individuality. Self-actualisation and realisation is key.
Kiki: Ok, they are rushing us now because you have to go. My last question to you is; The day you leave this world, what would you like to be remembered as?
Denrele: You have such interesting questions. Why are they rushing us? (He turns and looks at his management wondering why we need to wrap the interview. They told him he had to go for a wardrobe change to prepare for next interview.)
Anyway, I would like to be remembered as the most free spirited individual who lived his life to the fullest. I tell my friends that all the time. Life is too short so live each day like it’s the last. I also want to be remembered as the one who took all the fashion risks, and of course the one who always put up a helping hand. I am not blowing my own horn here but in Nigeria I have helped a lot of people. People there don’t usually wanna help the next person, they are very stingy with help. I mean, why not help? It won’t kill you, just stretch out your hand and help as many people as you can. I want to be remembered as that one person who build a lot of success stories.
Kiki: Thank you Denrele you were such a pleasure to talk to.
That’s how my chat with this lovable soul went down. You can also catch him on Lip Sync Battle Africa as the colourful commentator.