In a voice as warm as the sun that makes him squint as he turns to look at me he says, “my name is Osi Dirisu, people call me Osi Suave”.
I pause upon hearing his last words, my next question dies on my lips and births my next, “where did the ‘suave’ come from”?
With a faint smile he slightly adjusts his posture, shielding himself better from the sun that is glaring like a fireball all around us; we are seated on the terrace of Osi’s bachelor pad. He faces me squarely and says “well, I used to run a magazine when I was in school, it was called Suave Magazine. So I think that’s how most people started to identify me”.
I nod in understanding, remembering with a wry smile that this particular author and I both attended the Great University of Benin and being called bythe name of what you do on campus is one the several quirks particular to those that exist there.
Shaking off my brief nostalgia, I immerse myself completely into the interview and Osi’s space and I proceed to get to know and peel this on-air-personality and new author layer by layer like a black African onion.
These are the confessions of this bachelor:
What was the first book you ever read that had a huge impact on you?
“I read a lot. I used to read Enid Blyton when I was growing up. I think the first major book I read was “Because I’m involved”, it was my mother’s book which she has had since she was in university. This book was about the Nigerian Civil War written by Ojukwu published by Spectrum. I read it when I was six years old”.
When it comes to writing; as opposed to radio, does it energise you or exhaust you and how long did it take you to write this book?
“It took a while, more than a year because first of all writing is not something I do professionally, so I’ll say I’m just trying to cater to people that want to get a/are used to an informal writing style. Most of the writing was done on my phone, like when I’m travelling, at the airport during transit, I write, but sometimes I need to be in a certain mindspace to be able to write. So, yeah it took a while”.
What was the first experience you had early on in life that made you realise that not only is Language power, words are very powerful?”
“I would say my mum, she had her first degree in communication language arts, I’m a shy person so growing up I had a diary, I learnt in my formative years that writing is a better way to explore your thought process than speaking words.”
Now, this is kind of ironic because you are a ‘wordsman’ , you are talking on the radio every morning. So, which medium is your best means of expressing yourself?
“I love radio, I love playing music, I love to talk to people, radio is actually a theatre of the mind, you have to use your words to create a picture, passing on your message and making sure you are carrying your listeners along. I just feel like I’ve gotten to a place where its opium to be on the radio. But I also enjoy writing, infact I tweet a lot, its an art of writing as well, because twitter is like a micro-blogging site where with 140 words I’m able to tell you where my mind is at sometimes.
So if you were going to pick one medium, speaking words or writing words which would you pick? Be honest.
“Actually, I would pick speaking words, I’m a radio guy.”
Your book, ‘Confessions of a Lagos Bachelor’, tell us what that is about?
“A lot of people have have been thinking this book is me ‘casting’ people or divulging secrets but that’s not what it’s about. It’s a book from a very vulnerable place. It talks about failed relationships, it really doesn’t put the ladies involved in a bad light per say, like there’s no ‘oh I had sex with this woman, or there’s a certain celebrity I’m sleeping with. its just a very emotional book coming from an emotional part of me.”
Tell me the biggest challenges you face getting this book published.
“So first and foremost I self-published, there aren’t enough publishing houses in Nigeria, but not only that my self-publishing is also because I don’t get along well with creatives, I’m the kind of person that puts my all into my art and when I release something I know it is of a certain standard; most editors want to cut down on your work, some even want to rewrite the story. I just wanted to share this book with the world, in my own words, in my own mental state… so I’m basically doing everything by myself. So basically publishing is very difficult here in Nigeria.”
What inspired you to write this book?
“it started as a twitter thing years ago so every Tuesday I would just talk about dating in Lagos, people followed and they loved my stories, so I thought to myself, I should compile all these stories and make it a book.”
And there you have it, these are my confessions…
*Check out the full interview in the next print edition of St-Eve Magazine*