Welcome to Temmy Balogun’s Platform as you all know we love to get you motivated with our contents. Today we are here with another one.
When talking of Nollywood actors that display their talents perfectly in Yoruba and English films, charming and creative Adeniyi Johnson is one of the A-list actors that come to mind.
Adeniyi has been very active in the Nigerian movie industry for over a decade now. He started his career through English soaps. Do you remember seeing him in Wale Adenuga’s super story and Tinsel?
His activeness in the movie industry has got him several awards, national and international recognitions and also some emotional challenges to deal with.
But guess what? Amidst those hiccups and scandals he stayed on top of his game as an actor.
We admire this strength of his, so we reached out to him to share his experience on how to keep winning in the entertainment industry and other professions amidst great challenges.
This interview is a very informative and motivational one, his replies to our questions will help you in your personal dealings and any profession you find yourself.
So sit back, relax, take a pen and notepad you may need to jot down important points as you read along….
It’s nice to have you with us sir and we appreciate this precious time of yours.
Let’s start by lighting up themood; at what age did you convince yourself that acting is the way?
It all started 20 years ago, back in my secondary school days, when I had to replace a SS1 student who became arrogant during the preparation for a valedictory drama of our SS3 graduands. Then I was in SS2, so a classmate of mine, told the group about my jovial nature and assured them that I can fit into the role.
I joined them in the practice and played the role very well. They were very happy because what I brought to the table was different and very entertaining.
After then my interest for acting grew. So I started partaking in my church drama and people got use to seeing me on stage. Anytime there’s a drama in church, people usually ask ‘when is Niyi coming on stage’. I was happy that I could entertain people well.
I left secondary school at 16 , so at 18 I convinced myself I would rather be an actor.
Did the thought of becoming an actor influence what you studied in the higher institution?
Yes, before my acting adventure, my plan was to study Law, because I had passion for it and was eloquent enough. Later my passion for acting surpassed the initial one.
I wasn’t bold enough to tell my parent about my new career decision but I decided to go for a course that is close to that line. So I changed my course to mass communication, which I studied at Ibadan Polytechnic.
After completing my study, I went for a proper theatrical training and got certified before I started acting.
Now back to the bone of contention….Last year you had so much of your personal life floating everywhere, but you had since being moving forward in your career, how did you do that?
I am human so there’s no way those things wouldn’t get to me. But then I discovered that silence is golden. Scandals aren’t scandals until you give it live.
I classified them more as noises, and my focus was more about hearing voices. Noises are distractions and if they are celebrated they drag one down, so I don’t allow them disturb me. During that turbulence, I decided in my mind to be focus and give my best in what I do. When people talk about those issues I ignore them.
Thanks for that insight sir. When you started your career as an actor, what was your thought on the things you need to succeed in the industry? Did they work for you? Was there any point they changed?
When I started my acting career my number one goal was to succeed. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I prepared my mind ahead of challenges. Then I believed in myself and how well I can deliver . Because I didn’t go into the industry as a raw talent, I got properly trained.
From the start I defined my movement in the industry, I said to myself I wanted to be unique and not follow anyone’s path. I worked with diligence and timeliness. I took every role I like I was working in a bank or hospital.
If my location resumption time was by 9 am I make sure I get there before then, and I usually give my best. All these worked for me.
Times when challenges came, I said to myself ‘Niyi you have always knew they will come’ so I just look for ways to overcome them. Alongside this mindset, God’s help went a very long way and he was actually the one that structured my way.
But there were times I got tired and felt I should picked up my certificate and look for job. Times when there was no money, I get done with a movie and am told, ‘ thanks very much we appreciate your work ‘ with no cash in return. Then I have to trek from Surulere to Ikotun so as to save the little Tfare with me for the next day.
Some other days I had to squeeze myself on a bed wit 4 or 5 people to sleep over while on location.
But those days what kept me going was the joy of seeing myself on screen doing what I love. So I get over those challenges then by seeing it then has things I had to do for prizes am getting now. So then I believed in myself and focused on my goal.
The buying of cars, getting ambassadorship and more that are happening now to the glory of God didn’t just start one day, lot of challenges were experienced for them.
Your biggest fear when you started was? Have you overcome it?
My biggest fear was to remain unknown but by the grace of God I have overcome that. Back in the days when I go for auditions and I have to write my name on a list already on 600 upward and I like 200 people still comes in for audition, I always thought within me, when will I be known?
At some point I was thriving to be known but one day I met a man who said. Niyi why not struggle to ‘Know’? It is what you know that will make you known.
So I started developing myself more, by reading books, about acting, watching more movies to study top actors. And all these helped me to acquire more knowledge, which has been beneficial to me till date.
I thank God for where I am now, am still ascending and I believe I will get to that peak have always wish for soon.
Amen! I believe in you too. What are those 3 things, you got to know while on your journey to stardom, that you wished you had known before starting?
I wished I was very prayerful before starting because in my journey to stardom I understood that pray is very essential. If have being very prayerful from the start, things will have being far better than this because God will have directed me properly.
Secondly, I wished I have learnt how to persevere. Perseverance is well needed in the entertainment industry and anything else you do. Because when things don’t work the way you envisaged, you just have to be patience about it.
Also when you get to stardom you need a lot of perseverance, because people will take you for granted and reacting accordingly is not always cool.
The last one is humility, when I started featuring in soaps, I always wanted my peers in the neighborhood to know so I can be hailed and form fresh boy #smiles.
But as I became more popular in the industry I got to know that being humble takes one places. Also because much is expected of you from fans as a public figure, you needed to deal with people in a humble and respectful manner.
When you were rising to stardom, was there anytime someone did something you count very painful? What did you make out of that experience?
I had several moments like that. Have been in a situation where a director told me that I don’t have anything it takes to be an actor, ‘you’re not fine, you can’t act, and I have so many people on my neck. Without you my story is complete so don’t disturb me’.
When he said all this to me, I felt so sad and demoralized because acting was what I wanted to do with my life and for a director to say such , I was hurt. But I said to myself later, he is human, he has said his own but what God says about me matters most.
I used those challenges as motivators to be the best at what I do. Today that same director can’t repeat those words again. Infact sometimes back he wanted me to play a lead role in his movie to the glory of God.
Have observed that celebrities especially those in the entertainment industry no longer escape fake rumors, what perception should people who find theirselves in such situation view it from to avoid being demoralised?
The best thing to do is to ignore such news. When fake news is spread about you, don’t bother to explain. If you do you’re giving live to it because from what you say writers will coin more stories and it will continue spreading but when you ignore , it will be shut off and within 24 hours news, something totally different will go viral again.
Tell us the three ethics you work with as an actor which has kept you on top of your game?
Prayer, diligence, and humility have being helping me since I started and they are still helping me.
Let’s move away from our scope a bit….Have heard you talk about your involvement in other activities like motivational speaking and MC, can you shed more light on it? How can you be reached for these services?
I believe my life experiences are enough to motivate people, when I advice people making reference to my background, how I started and got to where I am today, they get influenced positively .
I do Mc in ceremonies like wedding, launching events, burials among others. Though, I am not a comedian but I am good at creating lively environment, carrying people along and giving them a sense of participation. To get across to me as regards MC services, send me a direct message on Instagram, I will surely read it.
If an aspiring actor approaches you now, what are the first 3 things you will tell him or her?
First thing is; get trained. Raw talents don’t sell in the market. Once you discover your talent, brush it up with trainings. Because you can never know it all so you should acquire the needed knowledge to stand out. Then be very prayerful and humble.
To my best knowledge you started your filming career with English soaps; did you face any challenge while transitioning to Yoruba movies? How did it happen?
It wasn’t really hard starting Yoruba movie, it all started eleven years ago when Lekan Ayinde met me on an English soap location, he realized I was a Yoruba then he asked me to feature in a movie then. With my jovial nature, prayer and humility, I was accepted gradually and now we are here! #smiles
You have built a great professionalism image for yourself in the Nigerian movie industry, how did you achieve that?
Prayer, diligence and hard work helped me build a lot in building my image.
Who are your role models in the industry?
I have several of them but I will mention few; RMD, Desmond Eliot, Odunlade Adekola, Ibrahim Chatta, Muyiwa Ademola, Femi Adebayo among others.
Are you available for mentoring? What kind of mentees do you look out for?
Yes I have few people under my tutelage and they are doing well. If you want to be mentored by me, you have to be focus and serious with your life. I don’t want people who love gallivanting around. ‘A rolling stone gathers no sand’. As my prospective mentee, you have to leave that acting part of me aside, then table your plans and together we can look into them and make something great out of them
Your advice to the youths?
Get Focus!!! Pray! And dont mess with your life. Time is money.
Thanks for sharing with us once again Mr Adeniyi Johnson
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