It is easy to admire and venerate the accolades of Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie better known as Patoranking. However, his journey to stardom and success hasn’t been devoid of thorns and trials.
Patoranking who broke into the industry with his reggae themed song “Alubarika” had to sell on the streets in order to make ends meet. The crooner who grew up in Ebute Metta has recounted the obstacles he had to overcome growing up.
“Growing up wasn’t easy. I grew up in Ebute Metta, in a ghetto called Ilaje in Ebute Metta West. I tell people the reason you don’t see me make noise on social media or I don’t want to talk about a lot is because I know where I came from. I know what I’ve seen, I know what I’ve been through. And I don’t think I should talk, because from this place, back to where I was coming from, is not even expensive. So I don’t want to go back. It wasn’t really easy back in the days in the ghetto. Some people hear about poverty, some people live in poverty. We were poor. I was living in poverty, you know, in real life. This has nothing to do with praying. This is real life. You know when you live in a room, just one room, and you’ve got four siblings, and a mum and dad. Seven of us stayed in that one room. In that same one room, you have the bed. In that same one room, you have space for clothes, cupboard, kitchen and everything. So, its deep”, he told Okay Africa.
The dancehall sensation who recently unveiled an album titled ‘Wilmer,’ said he lived in poverty, adding that he stayed in a room with seven of his siblings.
“As the first child, the orientation my parents gave me was education, God and business as an Igbo. So I took it upon myself that I need to contribute a little quota to the family because I was quite young. I was 12 when I started doing stuff for my parents, selling with my parents. My dad was a petty trader, so I was selling with him. We sold in traffic in Cotonou, when I was 12. Just look at any 12-year-old now, I was like that hawking on the streets of Lagos. There’s nothing I didn’t sell. But you know the one people talk about online and people laugh about is that I sold rat poison
“I sold a lot. My mum was making those petty pastries. At a point she was cooking meals. At some point, I sold ugwu (pumpkin leaves) and bitter leaves. At a point, I was selling wallets, bags, hats, calendar. I sold calendar in Lagos and Warri. You know, what again? I was selling juice. You see those people that sell juice in traffic—I’d sell cold juice, soda and satchet water. These were things I was doing because I was the first child in the family and my dad doing it alone wasn’t enough. I couldn’t wait to become the man. The drive and the strive for greatness were the things that really pushed me forward”
On 12 September 2013, Patoranking released the video and audio for “Alubarika” simultaneously. The song literally translates to “God’s Blessings” and features vocals from Timaya. The music video for “Alubarika”, which was shot by AJE Films, ran for 4 minutes and 16 seconds. Patoranking described the song as a summary of his life as a musician.