Folake Olowofoyeku is an actress and musician. She is one of 19 kids and grew up between Nigeria and London. She then moved to New York and is now living in LA. Folake can next been seen in Universal Pictures’ “Death Race 2050”. In the film, the future government keeps the masses placated with violent virtual-reality entertainment. In “Death Race 2050”, the most popular event is the Death Race where drivers compete in a cross-country road race where they score points for running down pedestrians and killing each other.
Folake has many credits to her name including Female Fight Club”, “Modern Family”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Law And Order: SVU”, “30 Rock” and “White Collar” and the upcoming film, “If”.
Check out our interview below.
upfrontNY: You are both a musician and an actress. Can you tell us how you got involved in the arts?
Folake Olowofoyeku: My father played the organ, classical piano, and I have brothers that I found out later on all taught themselves how to play the guitar. It was something in my blood. I knew from early on that I wanted to be a performer of some kind. I kept exploring that idea up until I moved in New York in ’01 to study Theatre.
upfrontNY: You lived in Nigeria, London, then moved to New York. Do you feel like living in different places have shaped you as an actress and musician?
Folake Olowofoyeku: It shaped me as an actress, it shaped me as a musician for sure, it shaped me as a human being as well. Growing up in Nigeria I was exposed to a lot of content from a lot of different parts of the world. A lot of countries on the African continent, a lot of European content, American content, both music, acting, and arts in general.
I think I have a lot of empathy for different cultures and understanding. It has broadened my approach to characters that I have come upon. It has made me to want to dig digger in understanding the psyche of a character and where this person is coming from. It helps me add colors to characters; I am able t to draw from different people I have seen across the years and different situations. It has also helped me a lot with theatre.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about your new movie “Death Race 2050” and your role in the film?
Folake Olowofoyeku: “Death Race 2050” is a remake of the original “Death Race 2000” in the 70s. It stays true to that genre kind of a satirical cult classic. It’s outrageous and fun. I play Minerva who is this rock star and intellectual woman who has devised her way of dealing with post apocalyptic corporate America. It is working very well for her. She is sexy, loud, outrageous, she speaks her mind and is very opinionated. She has joined the race and it is her first time. She comes into the race as a familiar, well-known artist. Her music is one of the top in the country. She is tackling the race as a new venture, but I feel she is always trying to find herself and come to terms with the sacrifices she’s made.
upfrontNY: What was it like to play this character and how did you prepare for the role?
Folake Olowofoyeku: I feel like I am Minerva in my head so it was like I am playing an alter ego. I feel like these are some of the things I imagine saying or doing and I never actually do. It was fun to let that out. It was a lot of fun playing her and she is the type of character I would love to continue to play.
upfrontNY: You are also in the movie, “If” can you tell us about your role in that film?
Folake Olowofoyeku: My role in “If” is somewhat of a cameo. I play one of the barbers in a barber shop that is housing a former military vet who is suffering from PTSD. It is written and directed and starring Mario Van Peebles. I think it is going to be a great movie. The trailer is out.
upfrontNY: You have many great credits. What has been the best experience filming?
Folake Olowofoyeku: That is a tough question because there are certain things I’ve loved about certain productions. “Death Race 2050”, I got to film in Peru and experience that culture, the folks there were amazing. I loved everything about that and being on location in a great city.
I really enjoyed “30 Rock”. The energy on set there was really positive and I was hoping to continue to work on that. Also “Westworld.” In general it is hard to say which is a favorite.
upfrontNY: How would you describe your style as a musician?
Folake Olowofoyeku: I don’t like to call myself a musician because there is a lot more that goes into it that I am not doing at this moment. I like to say that I like to express myself musically. My genre is Afro Electro Rock. Something that I am pioneering, I kind of put it together. It is a fusion of Afro beat, some electronic elements, some synthesizers and stuff like that, I play electric guitar, and that is the rock part of that. I had a chance to play at the House Of Blues before it closed down in Hollywood. I’ve had a show in Nigeria and in New York. What you can expect from my show is fun. I like when folks come out and are participating and dancing and having a good time. I like to involve the audience into the show. I look for it to be a fun time, forget about your worries.
upfrontNY: Your music has been featured in your films. What is it like being able to bridge those two worlds together?
Folake Olowofoyeku: It feels perfect and I am achieving a huge goal and dream. I am honored the production thinks enough about me to want to use my music on such an amazing project. I am hoping to do a lot more of that.
upfrontNY: You had a song in “Female Fight Club,” what was that experience like?
Folake Olowofoyeku: Preparation. Even before I knew about the project I have been training in Israeli martial arts, Krav Maga. We also had some fight choreography and fight training for pre-production. It was great working on it because I don’t remember outside of theater, working on a production with a huge female cast. It was great working with women, fighting, and the women winning the fights. I think it is a perspective that the world needs to see more of and is hungry for and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be.
upfrontNY: You have had many great experiences. Are there any paths you are still interested in trying?
Folake Olowofoyeku: I haven’t jumped out of a plane yet. I am planning on doing that for Christmas. Work wise- There are a lot of things Id love to do. I’d love to man my own franchise of science fiction adventure, that is my goal. I’d like to work on more sci-fi fantasy adventure flicks like the Marvel DC comics.
I’d like to work more on my music and take it home to Nigeria and do more music in Europe and here in America.
I think I would be in a happy place if I am able to work on a franchise movie wise and perform music in different parts of the world.