By Ogbonna Amadi Entertainment Editor
Ure Okezie, only daughter to late prominent medical practitioner, politician and former Minister of Health Dr. J.O.J Okezie is a reporter’s delight any day.
In this interview with Showtime Celebrity, Queen Ure as she is more fondly called by friends and admirers tells the story of her childhood, love life and experience as a banker.
A native of Umuahia, Abia State, Queen Ure who made headlines on account of her romance with popular R&B star Soul-E (an affair she says she has nodoesn’t regret), also explains why she is going into music. She is dropping her first single next month.
Is name Ure or Uremma?
My dad just gave me Ure. But whatever people add to it, I answer but my name is Ure and I’m called Queen Ure
Did you add the Queen or people added it for you?
I added the Queen(laughs). I think it was something that came up years ago when I was about getting a yahoo address. You know you always want to add something distinct to your name. So I just put it as firstname.lastname@example.org. That was many years ago.
Now coincidentally, I went to the studio to do some work, and the producer asked what I wanted my stage name to be, and I remembered my email address. So I chose Queen Ure.
Tell me something about growing up
She’s just this person you’re looking at right now. I’m a regular girl. I was born in the 70s and I’m sure you know what growing up in the 70s was like.
I was born in the 60s…Oh my God! Well, I’m the only daughter and the last child in a family of six, my parents inclusive. So I’ve got three elder brothers. I grew up with a lot of attention.
You were pampered?
I was loved and not spoiled.
They didn’t spare the rod?
There was no need for that. I was very quiet and a good girl. So there was no need for the rod.
So what kind of parents were they?
They were the kind of parents that wouldn’t spank a child. I never really did things that would warrant that. It’s just that my brothers were always playing boys stuff and they wouldn’t let me join them because I’m a girl. So I just got used to having to be different, nice and quiet.
But growing up was fun. My father was so much into reading and mathematics; and that’s how mathematics became my best subject. I went to Federal Government College Owerri. After that, I got into the University of Jos and studied Physics. After my NYSC at 21, I got into the banking industry and that was how the banking journey began. I spent few years in Diamond Bank, got into Zenith and spent a few years there. Later I moved to Bank PHB and then Fin Bank which was the last commercial bank I worked with.
Before going deep into what you are today, let’s go back to growing up with the boys
You know how it is, if you see male clothes, nobody would be certain who owns it. But if you see a female dress, everybody knows it’s Ure’s. So I just had all the attention and I was uncomfortable with it at a time because everybody sees me as the last child. It was good. I was also very close to my dad. Each meal he had, they would always get me to sit beside him. Even when I was in school, anytime I returned, it was already a part of me that whenever he was eating, especially lunch, I’d just sit beside him. He was like an idol to me and he showered so much love on me. Of course my mother also loved me and was never jealous of that.
You dad was a scholar and a politician?
Yeah, he was a medical doctor. He became doctor when he was 25 years, practiced for over 50 years. He died t 77 still practicing in 2002. It’s ten years now but it feels like yesterday. He was very much into politics too.
From being a girl, you grew into an adult. Did you paint the town red with your brothers?
The funny thing was that I was a little Church girl but my brothers were everywhere because they were party freaks. They never took me along to those parties. I didn’t grow up partying like them. When I was ten, I got into Students Christian Movement in school and it was serious for me.
So you got born again at ten?
Yes. And I used to be quite emotional about it. The kind of Christianity we had then was the type when you wouldn’t wear trousers, wouldn’t go to parties. So I avoided those things feeling that they would stop me from going to heaven. Not that I was boring person but my growing up years were in Church and my dad thought it was just a phase that would pass and he didn’t have any serious problem with it. I used to read a lot of Kenneth Higgins’ books. My dad noticed I loved reading religious books and so one day, he brought Sorrows of Satan. He wanted me to read it and he’d come back to ask me questions on it. So he would give me novels too so that my mindset wouldn’t be just about Church.
Were you in the choir?
Yes I was. My parents were Anglicans so I joined the choir back in the east. I joined at age 8 because I just wanted to sing.
So what did you learn from your brothers?
It made me so comfortable and not to be afraid of guys. I can stay in the same house with guys and not even feel any different . Again, it made me to know the pranks they play. That’s why when people lie, rather than condemn them, I always feel there’s always a good behind every deception because guys lie a lot.They played lots of pranks. I had to bring in girls into the house who weren’t my friends because they would lie that they were asking after me. And if they said they were asking after me and I let them into the house, they would just whisper that they wanted to see my brothers. Sometimes, a girl might be around while another would come again. So I’ll have to go bring in that one again and sit with her. So I knew that guys love pranks so maybe that’ why I easily forgive.
Were you then scared of men because of that experience?
No. They’re very loving people too. Even before guys start playing pranks on me, I figure it out myself.
So what was it like the first time a guy came looking for you in the house?
Well, the first guy who came looking for me wasn’t a boyfriend. My first boyfriend was in the University. We dated for four years without sex. But the first guy who came to my house is doing fine now in New York where he works with a bank. He wasn’t my boyfriend, we used to read together and he was also a Christian.
Or was he shy to ask you out?
Not at all. We were very close but it never came up. We were good friends and my bothers would always tease me about him because I would give him money to buy his school things and bought him sandals. There was nothing romantic about it.
Okay let’s talk about your first love. You dated him for four years and nothing happened
Yes, because I was a Christian.
No kissing, necking…
There was a bit of smooching, the very safe ones. Back then, I was in UniJos and the kind of Christianity we had in the North was more serious than what obtains in the South. He pushed for sex a little but when he couldn’t, he respected that. I was 18 years and we dated till I went for my NYSC.
What happened four years after- who dumped who?
I don’t want to talk about those details because he’s a happily married man today.
Who broke whose heart?
He claimed I broke his heart but I claimed he broke my heart.
Were you really in love with him?
We’re talking about when I was eighteen to when I clocked twenty one. What did we know about love then. Even at that, I was in it with my whole heart and my family knew about it. I told my father about him after my NYSC. He’ a Northerner from Adamawa State.
What kind of people are his people?
They’re nice people and they’re Christians. I don’t want to talk about the details because one thing may lead to another.
So you remember him very well?
Of course, we’re still in touch. He’s pastor and he’s happily married.
You must be proud of him
Of course I am because I was part of the foundation.
Now that you’re going to record an album, is it going to be gospel?
No, I’m not doing gospel. But I can always minister anytime I enter into a Church because it’s part of me.So what genre of music are you hoping to record?I’m doing normal good music. I sing about everything. The thing is that I enjoy different genre of music. So whichever way the song comes, that’s the way it’ll be produced. I love R &B, Rock, Hip-hop, African music and reggae. So it depends on my mood and the inspiration at a time. But I do mostly R & B.
Do you have the gut to perform as an artiste?
When you’ve been a stage person even if it’s in Church, it won’t be a problem. I’ve always sang right from childhood. It’s funny, but way back at age of five, my audience was our night watchman. I always go to him and ask him to watch me. And while he was watching, I’d be imagining a crowd before me. So it has been in me way back in secondary school. And in all the competition we had, I always took the solos.
And immediately I got into the University as teenager, I used to back up Pernam Percy Paul. I also had a music group on campus called the Rubies but it was gospel group. Even in Household of God here, I used to sing lot then.
Why did it take you this long to break out?
I’m glad that I’m doing it because some people who are talented aren’t even coming out to do it. I would say that it’s because I’ve been doing other things. I’m so happy the way my life has gone and I’m thankful to God. I’m not one of those that believe you must do one thing for the rest of your life. God can put you in different places at different times for different reasons. For over twelves to fourteen years, I was in the banking industry.
Why did you leave the banking industry, were you not enjoying the job?
I totally enjoyed the corporate world and the discipline of waking up 4:00am and getting back home at about 10pm. And then the drive, it makes you to become result oriented.
What happened to the music part of you then?
They were there but were dormant. I still used to write songs but nothing come out of it.
So you wrote all your songs?
Yes I did.
Are you going to have collabos?
Eventually yes but as I’m coming out now, the first few songs people would hear will be just me.
Are there any regrets?
No,I don’t because I believe that every experience adds to your life
What about your relationships?
I don’t regret anything
What about your last relationship?
I don’t want to talk about that
Was it love?
I don’t want to talk about it but you’re trying to get me to talk. Before the interview, I already made up my mind not to talk about anything personal.
How did your brothers feel when that relationship ended?
My family just wanted me to be happy. And they wish me well whenever I say anything that will make me happy.
Was that happiness?
Let me make this clear. First, I’d say I don’t want to talk about it. But I just want to say that, there’s something great about everybody- whether they’re born with a silver spoon or wooden spoon. It doesn’t matter. So I don’t associate with people because of their class. I just take people as I see them and look at them as great people. So your question on why I would associate myself with such a person, and I say categorically that everybody has greatness so I can be involved with anybody
The truth is that I’m sure you lost plenty of money
I’m not going to say anything.
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