Ekene Ijemba, aka Humblesmith, surprised many when in 2016, he became an amazing overnight success. His single, Osinachi, became a national anthem even though it was rendered in his dialect, Igbo. Notwithstanding, the song was well received by his fans in the South-West.
Humblesmith’s fan base soared to a new level when he featured multiple award-winning artiste, Davido, in the controversial remix of the song. While some people chastised him for allowing Davido use his platform to settle his scores with veteran journalist, Dele Momodu, others praised him for the feat.
Unlike Davido, Humblesmith did not have it rosy before his new-found success and fame. “I hawked moin-moin everywhere; on the street, on the road, in traffic, bus parks and anywhere you can think of,” he said.
So adept is he at making moin-moin that he still makes it occasionally just for the fun of it. He said, “Funnily, I made some moin-moin a few days ago and sent the picture to my mum. She was surprised that I still remember how to make it.”
Now when he looks back, he is grateful for how far God has brought him. “When I go on the streets of Lagos and I see hawkers struggling to make sales in traffic, I recall those days I used to do the same. As a matter of fact, I hawked from when I was in primary school until I finished secondary school. I am grateful to God for his benevolence,” he stated.
Humblesmith who didn’t get a university education because of his poor background, said he resorted to doing menial jobs early in life. He said, “I came to Lagos in 2012 but I left Ebonyi State in 2008. I went to Asaba, Delta State where I spent some years working before I decided to relocate to Lagos.
“I finished from secondary school and I knew there was nobody to sponsor my university education because I am not from a rich home. Knowing the kind of family I come from and being an Igbo boy who believes in working hard, I decided to go and make money by hustling my way through.”
Speaking further, he said, “I used to visit building sites to carry cement, gravel and blocks. I was paid N20 for each block I carried. I made some money from doing that and I got a shop from where I was rented out movies and sold musical CDs. I did that because of my love for music.”
Today, the story of Humblesmith is inspiring many aspiring musicians from the East; tthey believe if Humblesmith can make it, they can also make it