Dental surgeon, singer, songwriter, actor, multimedia personality and now an enterprising tech innovator – Dr SID is rewriting his story, one new project at a time.
Dr SID, born Sidney Onoriode Esiri nearly 40 years ago to respected Nollywood actor Justus Esiri and a fashion designer mother, had his sights set on being a musician early on, even as he studied to obtain a degree in Dental Surgery from the University of Ibadan.
There can never be a complete story of how rap music gained notoriety and acceptance in Nigeria without the mention of the unorthodox hippie group, Da Trybe. Dr SID was a part of the group which released an eclectic and now classic record, ‘Oya’ in 2002. And like many others on the song, he was just a youngster with fire in his belly.
By the time he joined the roster of Don Jazzy and D’banj’s brainchild in the early 2000s, Dr SID had found a formula to releasing hit records and staying in the consciousness of Nigerian music lovers. “Pop Something’, ‘Something About You’ and ‘Over the Moon’ were his eye candies which quickly became fan favourites off his debut album ‘Turning Point’ in 2010. A star was on his way, but the powerful movement was abruptly cut short soon after, as the fledgling label went through a messy break-up in 2012.
When Don Jazzy launched Mavin Records the same year as Mo’ Hits’ split, Dr SID was unflinching in his loyalty to the producer. On Mavin, where he currently serves in the capacity of Vice President, SID continued to score hits with ‘Surulere’ off his 2013 sophomore album Siduction, and later, ‘Kabiyesi’.
A New Path
Along with his role as a VP at Mavin Records, Dr SID also now holds down a role as Head of Strategy & Partnerships at Accelerate TV.
Like some of his colleagues – Eldee (Playdata) and D’banj (CREAM) – Dr Sid is investing his time and money in other innovations. He is the Vice President at Esports Nigeria, a video gaming company where young Nigerians are trained as professionals in competitive gaming. He has also capitalised on his involvement in professional gaming, to found his own ESports company called ‘Sidizens Gaming’ in 2019.
The father of two, who has now been officially separated from Simi, his wife of five years, has attributed his new ventures to a desperate attempt to escape financial difficulty, after he once fell on hard times despite having a successful music career.
“I’ve decided that one of the mistakes that I was making which was affecting my creativity was, I was trying to make music from a position of necessity – I need a hit song because if I don’t get a hit song, I’m not going to eat or I’m not going to be able to do a show,” he says.
“Then I realised that I have a plethora of ideas and concepts that given the right timing, nurture and structure are billion dollar ideas. So why am I not chasing down those ideas? So I literally drew up a plan for the next 4-5 years on projects that I want to achieve.
“The first one I’m working on now is Esports and gaming. Because I’m an avid gamer. I’m passionate about gaming and Esports. The infrastructure doesn’t exist, but we’re going to push on and create a viable ecosystem. We are going to create a value proposition for people to come and invest in Esports and gaming. That’s what I’m doing right now,” he adds.
Dr SID has now joined a league of Nigerian entertainers who are diversifying their streams of income. And why not, diversification is the hallmark of many of the most successful, great people in the world. The fickle nature of Nigeria’s entertainment landscape and its lack of beneficial structure makes it a dangerously undependable means of livelihood even for its major players. Dr SID is not taking any chances.
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