Behind every sweet sounding voice on the radio is a personality who might be a match with that voice outside the business of radio presenting just like the characters of artistes on and off the stage.
It will not be different for the popular Hot 99.5 FM presenter, Ebere Kalu (E-Berry).
The Ohafia, born warrior of Battle of the Sexes, as well as the female voice behind the Lunch Hour Show, won the hearts of her listeners with her well-refined voice on air, something people argue if it is actually real.
Speaking with E-Berry in this interview where her voice sounded better than it is on air, Chinedu Hardy Nwadike, tried to find out why and how she got behind the microphone as well as the persons behind Ebere Kanu and E-Berry alongside other issues that concern her radio and private life.
The E-Berry thing
That’s my on-air personality. I was trying to fuse Ebere with something funky and sexy. To be on air is not only about the good voice, one also needs a catchy personality and this will come from your name and the personality you portray on air.
Ladies are attached to berries, like Strawberry and recently the BlackBerry thing which is so feminine and so much fun.
Ebere Kalu and E-Berry
I am a very calm person; I talk less and don’t really like so much crowd and mostly keep to myself. But because of my love and passion for the media, I have to create a personality that will connect with my audience and that calls for the E–Berry thing. I just have to connect with my audience, give them what they want because that’s what the business is all about.
Did you dream to be a presenter?
I have always wanted to do media things before now. In 2005, I was in Enugu trying to get back into the university after my diploma in University of Jos, and in 2006, I was in University of Abula studying Political Science. After my 200 level, I wasn’t comfortable with the whole Political Science thing. I had to get out of school, quit the job I was doing then just because I wanted to connect with what I love.
I came back to Imo State to study Mass Communication. I listened to the radio always in Abuja, I had to make friends who were connected with the radio presenting, just to keep that spirit around me.
I’ve come to know that sometimes it is not people around you that make you who you are or what you want to be, but it is what you have inside of you. I kept pushing and here am I today.
What else would you have become?
Musician. Having done backups for artistes like Samsong, Terry G and others. I wanted to go higher in music, but came to realize that the flare for presenting was overshadowing that of music. That was how I got to know that music is my second thing while presenting remains my first.
Who inspired you?
Doshima was the name around 2007 in Abuja and I loved her programmes so much. There are others, but I put my mind on the books I’ve read and some other people I have listened to like Larry King. He has paid his dues to the media world and his books also helped me. Oprah Winfrey is another person and I love the way she connects with her audience.
In Nigeria Doshima, McQueen of RayPower while abroad Larry King and Oprah Winfrey.
Have you arrived in presenting?
I’ve been on interviews as a result of music, but this is my first bang! I keep telling people that life is in stages. This is a stepping stone for me and not even a pinch of what I want to do in media.
In 5 years time
Oh my God! I’m going to have my own show, just like Oprah Winfrey. But I want something bigger, something that will connect me directly with audience. I’m going to fuse media and music in a soul thing. I can’t really give out plans, but I want to be a presenter that can match with any other around the world.
Would this be in Owerri?
I’m working on something with my manager and best friend U-zone and if it works out in Owerri, good for us. This will depend on the environment, the mindset, as well as the finance.
Hot 99.5 FM’s secret
Spirit of leadership and value. Money is not everything. When you are out to give something that is worth paying for, people will surely pay for it.
The leadership is behind everything to see that we remain consistent. We’ve never gone off the air for any reason and this has made us unique.
Your best programme
I don’t have a specific programme that I love most. Anytime I’m on air, I let go all my problems and challenges and you hear me laughing and enjoying myself. This makes me happy and it’s my life.
Losing out in Battle of the sexes
No! ladies don’t always lose. We air the topic 30 minutes before the programme and the topics are not chosen to favour any gender, rather to educate, inform and entertain as well. Sometimes it goes to the ladies, other times it goes to the guys especially if Solo Mourinho finds his way to the studio.
When you are off air
When I’m not on radio, I’m either with the choir or a group singing. Sometimes I go somewhere and have Shawamah but that’s basically not regular. I sing on my own, rehearse with a group or probably in another studio recording.
E-Berry and men
I’ve spent around six months in Owerri. People post many comments on my facebook page and somehow they get my number and keep calling. They get to find out the church I attend and will somehow come around.
But that’s one of the things when you are becoming a public figure. However, I manage it by keeping a smiley face and politely telling the person that I am not interested. I’ve never had any cause to argue or insult anyone.
E-Berry: Single, married or taken?
I’m actually in a good relationship and hope it turns out to be something great.
When will the wedding bells ring?
When it’s time, you’ll definitely know.
Shout out to just one person
That will go to Pastor Uzoh Peters II, my pastor at Rock Impact City Church. He has been wonderful to me, daily speaking positively into my life. He gave me a place to stay when I had none and I want to say thank God I met someone like him.