“What drives me is I want to have a legacy. And people can look at me and say, ‘he did that.’” — Rotimi
No matter what your race or gender, there is a genetic makeup that reasons the decisions we make in our individual lives. The proverbial chessboard of one’s existence, or the sum of your parts, if you will. Making strategic moves, one at a time, on the way to personal greatness. For Olurotimi Akinosho, better known as Rotimi, he is fully aware of this school of thought. “My purpose here is to break down all types of barriers,” Rotimi says. “I don’t want to be compartmentalized. I just creatively show myself in different ways. I want to be the best at this and the best at that. That’s why I work really hard.” And for the 25-year-old New Jersey native, his hard work is definitely paying off.
The singer-songwriter and actor’s meteoric rise is a fitting testament to his belief in himself and his talents. Growing up in a strict two-parent Nigerian household, Rotimi’s mother saw something in him that gave her the impetus to hone his burgeoning creativity. “That’s not typical in Nigerian households,” he recalls before quipping in his native tongue, “it’s about being a doctor of a lawyer.” At age 6, Rotimi sang at weddings and the New Jersey Children’s Choir, all while learning to play the violin and keyboard. By the time he was 15-years-old, Rotimi was a two-time winner of the Apollo Theatre’s famed “Amateur Night.” Yet, while perfecting his craft as a singer was essential, education was priority. Placing on the shelf his dreams of one day becoming the “Prince of Soul,” he focused on attaining a degree in Bachelor of Science in Communications and Business from Northwestern University. “I had to graduate college to get that respect from them,” he remembers. “My dad said whatever I want, he’ll support, as soon as I finished school. As soon as I learn about myself as a man.”
Once that accomplishment was achieved, Rotimi pursued another passion, acting. Small screen exposure came in 2011, starring in the short-lived political drama, Boss, on Starz. But he still never extinguished his burning passion for rhythm & blues. During a brief acting hiatus, and residing in the ATL, Rotimi created two acclaimed mixtapes, The Resume, in 2011 and While You Wait, the following year. “Atlanta gave me a lot of confidence as an artist and as a man,” he admits. “I feel like when I got here I was still trying to figure out everything, and musically it put in perspective for me. I was on my own in the South, so I had to learn a lot on my own. Atlanta made me feel like I could conquer the world.”
But, being a thespian was still a part of his world. And the acting bug bit, yet again, in the form of playing “Dre” in Starz uber-popular Power, last year. As fate would have it, Rotimi caught the ear and eye of Power’s executive producer, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who signed him to his G-Unit imprint. The outcome of this collabo resulted in the single “Lotto,” which peaked at number two on Billboard’s Twitter Emerging Artists chart. There’s a certain art in balancing two successful careers, is there? “What keeps me going is the drive to be one of the best ever, man, I want to be one of the greatest,” he exclaims. “So, I gotta work hard, I gotta multitask, I gotta network, I want to continually progress.”
Never resting on his laurels, it’s Rotimi’s progressive dedication and drive that is implemented in his DNA…the DNA of a hustler. The science. While you search to break down your own keys, hit the jump and peep this new renaissance man’s formula…
To see the full video on Rotimi and learn more about his hustle formula, visit The Formula.