GAME CHANGER: Eddie Kadi
IN 2010 he made history by becoming the first black British comic to sell out London’s sprawling O2 Arena, yet Eddie Kadi is possibly one of the most humble men you’ll ever meet.
Hailing from north London, via the Congo, Eddie hit mainstream headlines when he announced that he would take on the “biggest gig of his lifetime” by attempting to fill the 20,000-seater venue, often frequented by international stars such as Beyoncé and Prince.
Although a huge star on the black comedy circuit, consecutively selling out the O2’s smaller IndigO2 venue in previous years, the funny man was relatively unknown in mainstream circles – a fact that raised a few eyebrows or two.
His story featured on the BBC, The Independent and ITV News to name a few, with one provocative headline reading “The most famous comedian you’ve never heard of.”
But on September 4, 2010, Eddie silenced every single critic.
Granted he was a few thousand tickets short of his 20,000 target, but his one-man show at one of London’s largest venues, stands as an amazing feat for the comedian and for black British comedy in general.
“It still remains the biggest moment in my career so far,” Eddie says.
“To have so many people who I have never met personally come out to support me was overwhelming and humbling. The journey to the O2 was very exciting and hectic, but I had a fantastic management team in Black Grape and everyone pulled together to make it happen.”
When I mention the word ‘pioneer,’ Eddie interjects: “That title never crossed my mind when we were considering taking up the task. We just knew that we needed to consistently aim bigger and get attention from places we hadn’t been before. As risky as it was, someone had to do it and find out if it was possible. I’m proud to be a part of a team who dared to dream.”
Asked whether he ever gets nervous about having to top the success of that night, he pauses:
“That was a significant step in my career and it has opened doors that were previously shut, so it doesn’t get me nervous, it inspires me to always aim higher. Every project has a new purpose and the O2 Arena gig served it’s purpose to allow me to do new projects.”
And that it did. His stint on the east London stage opened up a plethora of opportunities. The Manchester United fan, who can list footballers Fabrice Muamba and Djibril Cisse as friends, later went onto land a weekly slot on Choice FM, a radio station he “grew up listening to and always wanted to be a part of.”
“I’ve wanted to get into radio for as long as I’ve been a performer. A lot of opportunities came my way after the O2 gig and one of those was a call from Choice FM to become a part of the team.”
Eddie had completed a pilot show months before the call and had resigned himself to the fact that he “wasn’t good enough.” However, he was reminded that his talent far exceeded comedy when he was offered the coveted Saturday morning slot.
He spent close to a year at the national station before leaving to focus on “other exciting projects.”
In fact, when we catch up, he is just coming down from the high of completing another sell-out show, this time at Stratford’s Sync venue alongside fellow British comic Kevin J.
EDnKEV saw the long-time friends, both from Tottenham in north London, share the stage for an exclusive one-off gig Eddie describes as “repackaging the old model.”
He said: “Kevin and I are good friends and share a lot of good ideas on paper. We wanted to bring them to life, but package it differently to the model our audience are used to.
“We’ve both had successful solo careers and have travelled around the world with our set, but it’s nice to bring our audiences together and take them on a different journey.”
If you’re planning on joining him on his personal voyage, you’d better pack your comfortable shoes; it’ll be quite a ride.
Not content with a venture into music earlier this year alongside UK singer and “mentor” Donae’o, which produced collaborative effort Hello and sparked forthcoming single Twister with band Trick The Fox and Ghanaian producer Kaywa, Eddie has set his sights on the silver screen.
“I am now slowly falling in love with acting and was blessed to be a part of two British films coming out in 2013. The first is It’s A Lot, written by Femi Oyeniran and Darwood Grace and then there’s Gone Too Far written by award-winning playwright Bola Agbaje.”
But despite everything, the comedian, who will see in the New Year in Ghana after a Christmas with family, says he is looking forward to nothing more than good health.
“I hope 2013 gives birth to all the investments in 2012. I aim to remain relevant to my audience while introducing myself to a brand new one. Good health is the top of my list, though,” he laughs.
Keep up to date with Eddie’s latest projects via www.eddiekadi.com or follow @EddieKadi on Twitter