Winnipeg’s own Dele O
What is your favourite thing about Winnipeg?
Winnipeg is one of the last large cities where people thank you for letting them in during rush hour, where people still hold open the door for you, where people will still stop and help you on the side of the road in an emergency. I love knowing that I live in a city full of people that treat it like we’re all part of one large community.
What makes you happy?
Success makes me happy. Succeeding and seeing others do the same. I am motivated by people who follow their dreams and in turn motivate others to do the same.
What’s something about your job as an artist that people might not know?
As an artist who has done many shows, I still get stage fright and occasionally will forget the words to my own songs. It has been a process of trial and error to prepare myself to continue the show with the intention of not letting anyone know I’ve made a mistake at all. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Each time is a valuable learning experience.
What do you think makes living in Winnipeg different from living anywhere else?
Plainly put, it’s home. Being born and raised in Winnipeg and now raising my children here, I have the opportunity to share some of my childhood experiences with them. Taking my kids to my old high school and introducing them to teachers that taught me is something that’s invaluable. I’m not sure this would be possible in larger cities, and teaching them where I came from is important to me and in their future growth.
If you could give one piece of advice what would it be?
Always look for the silver lining. Every bad situation that happens to us in life is an opportunity to grow and learn.
When you want to get out of the house, where do you go?
When I need to get out of the house I go to the studio. I don’t do much writing at home anymore. I get inspired by my surroundings and it allows me to be in a mindset of creation.
If someone were new to Winnipeg what would you recommend to them?
Watch out for the red light cameras! Nothing says Welcome to Winnipeg like a $200 ticket.
What’s the best thing about being a hip hop artist?
Out of all the genres of music out there today, I believe hip hop artists have the most leeway in the material they can speak about. For example, if people heard Taylor Swift say some of the things Jay-Z says they would be appalled. In that way hip hop artists have a freedom to be and say whatever they want without fear of widespread scrutiny.
Where can people find your music?
The entire music world has gone digital and I, like many artists, have had no choice but to follow the trend. People can buy my album Prodigal Son on Itunes, Amazon, Spotify and pretty much every online retailer you can think of. People can also stream my music and videos at soundcloud.com/iamdeleo/sets/dele-o-prodigal-son-the-album and youtube.com/deleomusic
What are some “Random Facts” about you?
My mother is Jamaican and my father is Nigerian. My name means “come home with me” in Yoruba, which is my father’s native language. It’s been a great pick-up line, but most people don’t believe me when I tell them. I am the fifth of six children. I have four sisters and one brother. I started off as a dancer at the age of 11 or 12. My cousin Shawn and I started our own dance group called Youngblood. We would tape videos and rewind them over and over till we knew all the moves perfectly. Eventually we started creating our own moves, and out of that my love for performing was born.
If you could have any other career what would it be?
If I could be anything else it would be a basketball player. Those who are close to me know my two loves are music and basketball. I am extremely competitive and to this day I think I’m the best player whenever I step onto the court. I have my brother, Ken Opaleke, to thank for this. His training taught me to be fierce, he taught me to outwork my opponent and to dominate the game mentally and physically. I still take the same approach to playing the game today as I did when I first started. My basketball team, the Panthers, is coming off back-to-back championships in our league so we must be doing something right!
If you were a superhero what would your superpower be?
If I were a superhero my superpower would be the ability to absorb the power of anyone. I think this is the ultimate superpower because then your power would be limitless. Coincidentally this is also a great approach to life. Many people cross our paths and if we’re able to absorb good information and habits from them we would become more well-rounded individuals.
If you could change one thing about Winnipeg what would it be?
If I could change one thing about Winnipeg it would be the winter. For as many years as I’ve lived here, I never get used to the cold.
What drives you to make your dreams a reality?
My motivation for pursuing my dreams is two-fold. My parents came to Canada with nothing and were able to provide a great quality of life for me and my siblings. It would be a great disrespect to them if I didn’t make anything of myself after all their hard work and sacrifice. I want to be able to give something back to them through my efforts and that is exactly what I intend to do. You often hear the saying “One life to live” – I have really started to embrace that saying wholeheartedly. I can spend my life building my dream, or work for someone and build theirs. I choose to take a chance on myself. I choose to believe in myself and my talent. I choose not to let fear be my guide.
What’s the secret to living a good life?
The secret to a living a good life has been explained to me like this and I find these words to be true:
Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity and say only what you mean.
Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality.
Don’t make assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.
Always do your best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment. Under any circumstance, simply do your best.
These are not my own words. Taken from The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.