Nelly’s Echo performs in UC, encourages positivity


Nelson "Nelly" Emokpae performs on Feb. 27 at the Bovee University Center.

Nelson “Nelly” Emokpae began his performance by strumming the chords of the song “Hallelujah” — but instead sang about how he doesn’t like introductions.

The lead vocalist and acoustic guitarist of the band Nelly’s Echo performed as a solo artist at Central Michigan University as a part of Program Board’s coffee house music on Feb. 27.  

With a crowd of just more than 30 people, Emokpae could easily interact with the crowd, often teasing them and making jokes.

“(Nelly) put on a really great show — very interactive,” said Danielle Germane, a junior from Hartland.  “He interacted with the audience well and made it very personal.  It wasn’t like we were just sitting there listening to him perform. We were with him during his performance and a part of it.”

Allissa Rusco | Freelance Photographer | Central Michigan Life

Nelson "Nelly" Emokpae performs on Feb. 27 at the Bovee University Center.

Emokpae formed Nelly’s Echo in 2005 and released his first album "Live Love N’ Laugh" shortly after.  He also performed on season three of “The Voice.”  Emokpae said that he wished he could have progressed further in the competition but it's still an experience that he is grateful for. 

Emokpae has now performed at more than 500 colleges across the country in the last nine years and has four successful, self-released albums under his belt.  Emokpae recently released a new E.P. in January and said to expect something else big this year.

“(I decided to bring Emokpae here) after seeing him at the National Association of Campus Activities and I thought he was funny and really talented at the same time so I wanted to bring him (to CMU) just based off of that,” said Breanna Pearso, Program Board’s Concert Director. “I like when an artist really interacts with the crowd.”

The musician played a mixture of originals and covers of songs such as “Fast Car” and “Save Tonight.”  Throughout his performance, Emokpae often changed lyrics to tease audience members in his songs.  He told the audience that he was going to sing “I’m Yours" by Jason Mraz in Nigerian, but after the first verse he admitted that he was singing gibberish and called the crowd “gullible.” 

Having high energy throughout the performance, Emokpae aimed to spread positivity to the crowd.  He encouraged audience members to always find good music because it’s “the soundtrack of (their) life.”  Emokpae also advised the crowd to enjoy the moment and quit worrying about the little things.

“(I hope these students gain) perspective,” Emokpae said. “Gain perspective (on what matters).  When all else fails, play some good music and cry to it, laugh to it, smile to it, dance to it, whatever that is to get you through things.  Perspective is reality.”