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Progress: One Step At A Time [Pulse Interview]

Progress Chukwuyem held thousands of viewers spellbound by his talent that saw him emerge as the winner of the popular music reality TV show Nigerian Idol.

Progress

The show introduced him to thousands of viewers whose votes crowned him the winner and whose expectations runs high. Progress has released two singles 'Lift Me Up' and 'Jo' with which he wishes to sustain the interest of his fans and show that he can hold his own in a highly demanding industry.

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In this Pulse interview, I chat with Progress who tells me about his journey into music, the pressure of winning Nigerian Idol, and his journey after reality TV.

Reality Music shows often bring together a collection of talents whose ability is underscored by their vocal prowess and fundamental understanding of music. Progress is a talent whose talent is grounded in the academic understanding picked up in churches and on the stage. He tells me that he was born into music and his early talent was forged in the church. For most of his adult life, he has been going to different music competitions and that's what gave him the confidence to go for Nigerian Idol.

"I was born into a musical family and I also joined the choir. I went to a Gospel music competition while in secondary school in 2015 back in Warri which I won. It was that moment that gave me the confidence to want to do music professionally."

While Nigerian Idol is one thing, the music industry is a whole different story. On the show, contestants dazzle due to their vocal prowess and rudimental understanding of music, however, these factors matter less if they are to appeal to the mainstream. Hence why it's common for favorite contestants and even the winners to struggle to live up to the hype. This reality is not lost on Progress who tells me he's learning as he goes and taking it one step at a time.

"I understand that winning Nigerian Idol doesn't automatically make me a star even though many people might know me. There's a track record of artists struggling to live up to the expectations so I'm not putting pressure on myself. I'm just taking it one step at a time and trying to carry my fan base along so they grow with me."

Post Nigerian Idol has been promising for Progress who has put out two singles 'Lift Me Up' and 'Jo', the former being an R&B tune and the latter a catchy Afrobeats jam. Progress tells me the songs were curated to showcase his versatility.

"Nigerian Idol brought out different aspects of me and showed me I can perform other types of sound and display versatility. This is what I wanted to showcase in 'Jo' "

Progress is laser-focused on his career and he intends to offer more proof of his talent. He has an EP lined up for early 2023 and he tells me listeners should expect the best from him.

"I have an EP coming out early next early 2023 and I want listeners to expect the very best from me."

Progress' journey to the music industry followed the other side of the divide which involves reality TV instead of the usual toil of an emerging artist working his way to the top. I asked Progress if there were lessons he wished he learned from the other side of the divide and he tells me, he hopes to learn as much as he can about the industry as his career develops.

"My journey started from the church to participate in music competitions. At some point, I did some covers but that was all. I was never really an emerging artist. I hope to learn as much as I can as I grow."

Progress displayed commanding talent and ambition that combined to make him the winner of the seventh season of Nigerian Idol. It's the qualities that will shape his career even as he takes it one step at a time.

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