Nkemka Uche and Nnoduka Eruchalu; The Guys Behind Noddymix and Streets of Chambana

Nkemka Uche and Nnoduka “Noddy” Eruchalu are two young men who are making sure that enthusiasts of Nigerian music are kept satisfied. The young men run NoddyMix, an online platform that allows you listen to only the best Nigerian music.

It’s fair to say that Nigerian music has exploded over the last few years and more people want to get their hands on it, or better yet bump their heads to it at their own convenience. So, we chitchatted to techie and social media pioneers Nkemka and Nnoduka to learn more about their initiative.

nkemka and noddy

Nkemka Uche and Nnoduka Eruchalu

Nkemka, 23 is currently a Masters in Urban Planning student at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign while Noddy, 23 works at Microsoft for their online services team. He graduated last year from a Masters in Engineering at California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The pair met through their parents and have been friends since childhood.

The idea to build NoddyMix came when Noddy couldn’t access Gidilounge. Gidilounge is an online entertainment portal that offers Nigerian entertainment content. They have a music player which lets users access Nigerian music they have on offer.

On the particular day when Noddy’s idea came he had been unimpressed with Gidilounge’s general playlist and felt there were many aspects of the service that could be improved. He said, “…I think I couldn’t access Gidilounge on that day. Gidilounge had just been falling my hand. They had a lot of songs I didn’t want to listen to and there was no way to choose what comes next”.

Noddy decided to take up the challenge of putting together a better service. The ability to create personalized playlists, skips certain songs on the general playlist and request for songs to be added to the playlist was important to them.

Noddy dedicated his spring break to creating the site and a mobile platform for it too. It took him about two weeks to put NoddyMix together, and all this coding took place at Nkemka’s apartment in Spring 2012. The backend of the platform is programmed on Python. The mobile frontend uses Sencha for the Javacript, while the PC frontend uses Jquery for the Javascript.

We asked Noddy if he already knew how to programme before heading to university and he told us that he learned at school. He said, “How could I have learned before? That would have just been a waste of time”.

Nkemka’s role at NoddyMix is managing the site and regularly updating the music on it. He spends on average about three hours each week finding new music, and attending to the requests that have been made.

Making sure that the best Nigerian music makes it onto NoddyMix is something Nkemka really enjoys. He told us, “After I’ve done my school work, I check to see if there are any new requests and I listen to the music. If I like it, I add, if I don’t like, it doesn’t make it to the list.”

Nkemka dedicates Wednesdays to finding new music. Their favourite Nigerian artists at the moment are Black Magic, Falz, Davido, The Prince, and Wizboyy.

We asked Noddy if he has any plans to build other websites in future and he told us that he is focusing on building hardwares. He said, “I learned about hardwares at school so I need to come up with something for Naija people. Doing some hardware thing that will change our lives forever. I don’t do websites any more because it’s all about selling ads and I don’t like the idea of ads. They are very annoying and people just don’t click. Besides, it’s not a website that I’m going to use to be a somebody in Nigeria.”

Noddy is already working on a project that capitalizes on the inefficiencies of our hardware systems in Nigeria. We can’t get into specifics just yet as he is still in stealth mode but he’s promised to keep us updated.

Nkemka has also started a street style blog called Streets of Chambana. He is a fashion and photography enthusiast and started the blog after reading fashion and arts blog The Sartorialist.  “There are a lot of people who dress well at my campus and I kept thinking to myself that if Scott, the guy who runs The Sartorialist would just come to Champaign, these outfits would definitely make it to the blog. I eventually decided that Scott didn’t have to come to Champaign because I could take my own photos and start my own blog.”

When Nkemka graduates from his masters programme, he plans to spend a year working in the US before returning to Nigeria to immerse himself in African Street style. He’s keen on working with the most talented designers by showcasing their work and spreading the word about them.

In the meantime, head over to Noddymix to check out the best that Naija music has to offer. Remember that you can access the site via your iOS and Android 2.3+ mobile devices, and your Blackberry OS 7+ and PlayBook!

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