If you are thinking of standing out in the sea of artiste whether locally or internationally, then you must define your values. Your values are the roadmap that tells you where you are going even when it seems as if you’re lost. Also, it is your values people will use to describe you when you are gone.

Think of Bongos Ikwue, the Nigerian legend who dedicated his music to promoting African culture and values. Born in Benue State, Nigeria, on the 6th of June 1942. While at Okene Comprehensive Secondary School, he formed a group called Cubana Boys with two other young boys, after which he headed off to the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), also in Zaria, Kaduna State, where he studied Business Administration.

During his days in ABU, he created a band group he called UniBello Brothers. Here are five lessons from the life of the living legend, Bongos Ikwue:

1. He was open to learning

“Once stop learning you starting dying”–Albert Einstein.

This quote is a key that announced the legendary Bongos. He was always eager to learn something new. While he was at ABU Zaria, a member of the UniBello Brothers, Mrs Harmony who was a lecturer taught him so many Irish songs. His enthusiasm to learn gave him the edge as he founded and headed the Groovies band he created in 1967, which became popular in the 1970s through to the 80s. As an artiste, you need to open yourself to learn new things. You never know where and when it will come in handy. People with vision know this secret. Some of Bongos Ikwue major hits include “You Can’t Hurry the Sunrise”  “Otachikpokpo” amongst others.

2. He stayed to his values

Think of the 70’S when Nigerians were used to wearing buggies and single foreign soul songs. Bongos was not distracted by frenzy moment of what was in vogue, but he kept to his style of music. He dedicated his music to promoting African Values.

3. Bongos was always original

He never tried to imitate any artiste, local or international. Instead, he focused his time on perfecting his chosen genre. Melody and flow were important to him, he always takes his time in the studio to the perfect melody for his songs. Most often it led him to rewrite his music until it had the right flow and melody. The icon never rushed to produce any song, and it is this conscientiousness that ensured that he produced hit after hit without fail.

4. Bongos never failed to thrill his audience when he performed live

Live performances were key to his style of musicYou cannot help but get thrilled by his stage presence. His ability to connect with his crowds no matter where he performed was unique. And it seemed people could not get over the thrill of seeing this larger-than-life artiste appears on stage dressed in down to earth jeans, a nice, simple shirt and practical trainers, with his guitar slung across his shoulders. Bongos Ikwue was indeed in a class of his own. Without warning or an explanation, the music icon hung up his guitar and walked away from it all.

5. He Was a Family Man

This is one thing that is missing in today’s 21st-century artiste. Amid the controversies, he was good a father and a man of one wife in them. Rather, you hear of them having “baby mama” all over the place. This was not the case for Bongos, he chose to focus more on the home front, where has a lovely wife, Josephine; and five children, four girls and one boy named, Oyankeke, Elamei (Omei), Jessica, Onyew and Igoche, in that order. He is a devoted father and enjoys singing in the company of his children. Bongos would often call two of his daughters, Omei and Jessica, to sing in the presence of guests.

Please help me celebrate this living icon that represents African Music. Celebrate Bongos Ikwue.

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