A second-year commerce student at UTM, Ruchi Daniel Wigwe is a songwriter and recording artist. The Medium sat down with Wigwe to discuss the anticipated release of his first EP album and plans for the upcoming year.

Wigwe picked up songwriting at the early age of 11. Every night, he would put some ideas down and reveals, “I would read Wikipedia pages of artists I liked—Queen, Elton John, Ray Charles—to know more about them and how they made their music.” When he was 17 and graduated from high school, he was finally comfortable to show his songs to the world. He remembers thinking, “I wanted to have more to show for myself, other than ‘trust me… I’m an artist…I can sing.’”

Wigwe describes his music as Pop-R&B. He draws inspiration from the various places he has lived, from his time spent in Switzerland to his Nigerian heritage. You can hear elements of African percussions, European-based alternative sounds, and Canadian Pop in his new EP. He explains to me that it is “tricky” for people to pinpoint his genre precisely due to the wide variety of influences.

Wigwe tries to pick different facets from successful artists and their ability to innovate. He singles out British singer Adele as a great model: “I admire her ability to come out with music that she likes to come out with, and still make immense success. Her music stays grounded yet reaches out to so many people.”

Wigwe’s first EP drops in a couple weeks’ time, and he is admittedly more nervous than excited about the release. Two songs from his first studio work with a producer are featured on the record, and he recalls the uncertainty and hard work behind that process. “I would find myself waiting for long periods of time. When I would raise enough money to release the project, something else I need the money for would come up.”

Wigwe shot his first music video for “Rewind,” with most of the scenes filmed between Toronto and Mississauga. Wigwe doesn’t have a whole team around him, as he prefers to work with a small group who are as motivated as he is. He set out with a couple of friends on a cold-windy evening and had one of them hold the camera while the other was put in charge of crowd control. Wigwe found the experience enjoyable but says he would like to do things differently in future music videos.

Although being an aspiring musician is a feat of its own, Wigwe strives to complement his work by understanding the other aspects involved, such as the marketing and business side. He believes graduating with a marketing degree will make him more “well-rounded.” Although balancing both at the same time can be hard, Wigwe has a plan that works for him.

Wigwe also finds the time to write and pursue his dream of becoming an actor. He has been to several auditions and plans to make a successful career of his talents, enough to support his family and sister’s education.

“I don’t let it get to my head—if I feel like playing video games, I play video games. School is a lot more focused and there is a schedule. Music and acting is more uncertain, especially if you’re doing it professionally.”

The music and acting industry are hard to get into, so when asked what advice he would give to young people who are also trying to make it, he replies, “it’s important to trust the process and know what you want. Would you compromise values for money? Do you want all wide success or just happiness?  Just keep working smart and focus on yourself. Your friend may blow up one day, only to have short term success—so don’t look at others.”

When asked where he hopes to be in five years, he replies, “I want to have two full length albums, couple of tours around the world, act in films—a couple which I’ve hopefully written—and just be happy.”

Wigwe’s debut EP, Euphoric Interlude, will be released October 26.