An Interview with Patrice Wilson

In October 2013, “Chinese Food”–a song created by Patrice Wilson and sung by Alison Gold–made it onto the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart without the help of radio play, public recognition, or a large promotional campaign.

The lyrics of the track highlight the diversity of Chinese-American cuisine, mentioning chopsticks and potstickers.

Furthermore, the video for “Chinese Food” was viewed one million times within the first day of its release, and features Gold opening fortune cookies at a Mongolian restaurant that is pretending to be Chinese.

Wilson’s previous success was the infamous “Friday” single by Rebecca Black, which many people consider to be the worst pop song ever.

At ARK Music Factory and Wilson’s own PMW (Pato Music World) Live, he has gained notoriety as a ‘vanity publisher’ of pop music. Parents can purchase a package (which includes a single, video, and image consulting) in order to help their child break into the music industry.

Wilson has been criticized for taking advantage of wealthy families, and has been accused of being a pedophile due to his presence alongside child actors in his videos.

Despite the criticism, Patrice Wilson has successfully disrupted the traditional system of cultural recognition.

Similarly to Tommy Wiseau, the creator of The Room, Wilson has demonstrated that people will buy and enjoy something even if they outwardly express dislike for it. As The Simpsons once said, people will even show up just to boo something.

Wilson’s production of music that appeals to the lowest common denominator is not as noteworthy as his enthusiasm for the act.

Over the phone, it is easy to detect that he is not an exploitative producer manipulating a medium that has already been desecrated. All of the tunes he creates, such as those about Chinese food, Thanksgiving turkey, jumping rope, or the day of the week, accurately reflect his character: blissful, frank, and purposely foolish so much so that it is intentionally absurd.

John Semley’s position is that the true measure of success lies not in material possessions, but in having the courage to stand up for what matters. True success is found in the ability to express oneself and to have the courage to stand up for what one believes in.


The inquirer raised the query of whether the interviewee was raised in Nigeria.

Wilson stated that her mother was of Irish-British descent and had gone to Nigeria where she encountered her father. Her father was a Nigerian who had been educated in Iowa and had returned to his native land where he managed a large factory.

He and his family traveled between London and Nigeria, spending six months in each place.

BLVR: Could you tell us about the musical traditions that appear throughout your resume? Did your journey with music begin in Nigeria?

PW: My mother was employed at a Christian school in Africa, and I attended it. During that time, I was a member of the choir and a social prefect.

As such, I had the opportunity to be creative and plan events and shows such as talent shows and rap concerts. As part of the program, I would participate in the performances, singing popular songs of the day, including those of Boyz II Men.

BLVR: Consequently, were you already making music even back then?

PW: My music production process involved utilizing the cassette tapes by making use of the pauses between words and looping that segment to create a full track. After creating the beat, I’d take it to the stage and perform.

BLVR: Did you come to understand the components of a successful pop song while you were here?

As a kid, I was attempting to make beats with ease and had no knowledge of how to do it in a professional studio. I figured out it was a pattern to follow, such as: first verse, pre-chorus, chorus, second verse, pre-chorus, chorus, then normally a bridge.

Because I didn’t have access to my own studio, I had to keep it uncomplicated. As time went on, I kept carrying out the same procedure and kept it straightforward.

BLVR: What time period did you first start to create your own music and perform as a rapper?

PW: I began to make music in a church studio in Nigeria. I was recorded, but had no understanding of engineering until I traveled to Slovakia. It was there that I encountered Ibrahim Maiga, an acclaimed artist from Mali. When I saw him on television, I was intrigued by the concept of a Malian musician making music in Slovakia. I hadn’t given much consideration to the idea prior to that.

As I was strolling down the street, a car with a black person inside drove by. At that time in Slovakia, the population of African Americans was extremely scarce; there were only about six or seven in the whole country.

This was a remarkable sight for me, so I said hello and asked how he was doing. He inquired if I sang or rapped, to which I replied in the affirmative. He then handed me his card and asked that I come to the studio.

BLVR: While you were on stage in Eastern Europe, did you still feel like America was the place for you to accomplish your goals?

PW: After collaborating with Ibrahim Maiga and getting a behind-the-scenes experience–touring with him, performing for an audience of five thousand, and appearing on Slovak TV–I realized this was something special.

I wanted to take it further. At the time, I was in school and I was mainly into track. I was training to be a hundred-meter sprinter for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and I was approved to compete.

I had a Russian mentor and everything was going great. Then I thought to myself, Do I want music more than staying in Slovakia and pursuing track while making music there? In the end, I chose to move to the States in 1999 and attend college here. That’s why I relocated here.

BLVR: Hence, tell me, were you in the process of being selected to compete in the Olympics for Slovakia or Nigeria?

PW: I had been set to be a Nigerian representative for the Olympics. My coach was a Russian world-record-holder in the triple jump. I was quite speedy! I may have gone through with it and even earned a gold medal. Nonetheless, I decided not to do so.

BLVR: It seems like you weren’t as enthusiastic about it as you could have been.

No matter how prestigious it may be, a gold medal does not compare to the passion I have for music. That has always been my first love.


BLVR: Could you explain to me how you progressed from immigrating to the United States for your college education to founding the Ark Music Factory?

PW: I initially tried to attend a Bible college, but after two months I concluded it wasn’t the right choice for me. I was from Europe and desired to pursue a career in modeling and music, so I decided to move to New York City.

I was unfamiliar with the lifestyle in the Big Apple and found the living arrangements in a Brooklyn apartment to be cramped. I was used to a more European type of life and just couldn’t adjust to the hectic atmosphere of New York. In the end, I decided to apply to a school in Spokane, Washington, and had to abandon my dreams of making it in New York. To make matters worse, I thought I was moving to Washington, DC!

BLVR: Distinct seaboards!

PW: I was totally clueless; I saw “Washington” and I had no idea it was referring to two separate places. I was on a Greyhound bus, and when I arrived in Montana, I was really confused as to where I was headed. Eventually, I realized I was going somewhere close to Idaho and Seattle. That’s when I got it.

When I began college and working in a studio, I was still self-centered. After a while, I left college and understood it was difficult to be a vocalist or an entertainer in a small town. I needed to go to a larger city, yet not New York, since I had already gone there and detested it.

Therefore, I journeyed to California. I had a 9-to-5 job in Spokane, and I chose to make the move. I got in my car, drove to California, and got a job. Subsequently, I started chasing music for myself.

I had difficulty getting a deal with a record label. After sending out numerous demos, I received no replies. Thus, I decided to put my own career on the backburner and start producing music for other people.

To better understand how the industry works, I did some research about the publishing and producing process. Although I was capable of making music, I needed to become more informed about the back-end business side.

I resigned from my job and hosted my first audition. My motivation was to collaborate with American singers and get them to Europe for Ibrahim Maiga’s opinion and attempt to popularize them in Europe.

I decided to call it Ark Productions due to my Christian background. Surprisingly, almost thirty people showed up and I chose ten of them. I charged each of them eight hundred dollars for a song, a music video, and promotion.

BLVR: If I were to come to you with a young artist and stated I wanted a song, video, and the whole package, what would that cost me? What is the pricing currently?

PW: Over the years, we have modified it. The videos have become superior. Now, the entire project will usually cost around $7,500. That includes working with a songwriter, either me or one of the other songwriters I work with.

Due to a rise in commitments, I don’t write as much and instead delegate the task to my songwriters. After they select the ideal song, we record it in the studio. After this, an image consultant will snap photos and begin forming plans for the music video.

Once the video is completed, we issue a press release and time it with the artist’s video launch. Generally, we want the video to be displayed on their YouTube channel. If the project is quite basic and not likely to go viral, we open a fresh YouTube channel for it.

BLVR inquires what the recipe is for a tune to become “viral material”. It seems that a lot of the same words are used. For example, when the song “Friday” is heard, no one would ask what it is called; the word simply embeds itself into one’s memory.

PW: All the lyrics I create have one thing in common: catchphrases. In “Thanksgiving,” you can hear the “Oh, oh, oh,” and “Friday” starts off with an “Oh, oh, OH!” I also use puns, like the “Ch-ch-ch-chow mein” from “Chinese Food.”

The key to becoming famous is to keep the lyrics basic and not deviate from them. If the language is too straightforward, some might criticize it as “stupid”. However, without you consciously knowing, you will find yourself singing the song inside your head. You may be doing something mundane and suddenly start singing it.

To make the song easily memorized, use fewer words. Too many words makes it difficult to recall. I don’t consciously try to make my songs sound idiotic, it’s my style of writing.

BLVR: You find it ridiculous, however, the melodies and the catchy choruses sometimes make it appear humorous, wouldn’t you agree?

Six years ago I got married, and my wife has become my harshest critic. She’ll take one look at a song and tell me, “This doesn’t make any sense.” When I wrote “Friday,” I was ecstatic, but she didn’t get it.

She’s a typical Spokane girl, and she can tell when something isn’t good. At first she would criticize my songs, but now she understands it’s just how I write.

Sometimes she’ll suggest I spend the day with other writers to craft a song, but that’s not how it works with me. I have an idea and I just start improvising, and the words come naturally.


BLVR: Did you really compose “Chinese Food” in a mere half-hour?

PW: Pretty much. Thirty minutes was all it took. I wrote the song the year before my birthday, intending it to be for myself.

After I played it for my wife, she asked, “Are you kidding me? Rhyming broccoli with Monopoly? What kind of Chinese restaurant has Monopoly?” This was a reference to an actual eatery I often visited on Hollywood Boulevard, for their delicious chicken wings.

I noticed they had a play area with board games for the children. This was the inspiration for the song, and I took it to my team and said, “Hey guys, listen! This is the new viral song!” Of course, they had to agree, being my subordinates.

BLVR: It’s clear you have a humorous side. The “H.A.P.P.Y.” the video begins with a skit where you’re a villain and are being held responsible for destroying pop tunes. When you approach it in a lighthearted manner, do any of the performers, or their parents, have any anxiety that they won’t be seen as professional? Is there ever any concern that you might be turning their kids into a jest?

PW: A lot of parents had chosen to back out, which is understandable. After “Friday”, I had the option to change my style, but it would have cost millions of dollars to create a Rihanna-style song unless I was signed by a major record label. Therefore, I chose to stick with my current style and do it to the best of my ability, even if it was considered to be some of the worst music. This way, I’m not a one-hit wonder, and people are still talking about it. That’s why I’m so pleased that I’ve done this viral thing three times in a row. It doesn’t matter if people don’t like it; there are still some who do. It’s too late to alter my path, so I’m not going to try and work at Sony Music.

BLVR: The videos have a certain “cleanliness” about them. The children are clearly having a good time – eating wings and playing board games, for instance. Is it something you do on purpose, to shield the videos from more adult-oriented music clips that may not be as appropriate?

PW: Working with kids has always been part of my life. During my time in Nigeria, I was involved with a youth ministry, and many people looked up to me. This is why I decided to keep my songs clean.

I did create one with a bit more of a sexy feel to it, but I quickly removed it. I don’t want to damage my reputation or follow in the footsteps of Miley Cyrus, who does an awesome job stirring up controversy. I want the younger generations to be able to listen to my songs.

BLVR: Working with such young children, there has been criticism that you are taking advantage of them. However, I believe it is the parents who are being exploited. It is quite possible that the parents are willing to pay due to their desire to see their child’s dreams come to fruition. Do you ever witness parents pushing their offspring into this?

On numerous occasions, we converse with the parents before we start to record a track or enter the recording studios. I suggest that they complete their research; look up my name on Google, watch the other videos, and read the remarks. It is essential to be aware that not everyone will have positive comments.

Whether or not the daughter sings a nice song, some people may still criticize. Rebecca Black had to depart school due to the same situation. It is essential to bear in mind that the entertainment business has its own issues and difficulties, and it is something that comes with the job.

Many parents think that their daughter could be more successful than Rebecca Black and make more money. I don’t argue with that opinion. I often have to deal with stage-moms and stage-dads who just want their child to become famous.

I have to point out that there is no guarantee the video will go viral, and even if it does, it will likely draw a lot of negative comments.

After uploading, there are often people requesting me to delete some of the comments. I always tell them beforehand that it’s not a good idea to remove the video because it would make me appear dishonest and make them look weak.

BLVR: It’s an intriguing phenomenon that your songs draw such hatred. On one hand, it’s undoubtedly difficult for the kids, their parents, and you. But at the same time, this animosity helps to make the videos go viral.

If it weren’t for people watching out of disdain and sharing around to laugh, the videos wouldn’t be such successes.

At the start, when Rebecca Black happened, I was uncertain of what to make of it. Then, I noticed the comments streaming in, and they were all detrimental. I was perplexed and taken aback.

Did I make the right call by leaving the video up? Was it a good or bad decision? People were saying all kinds of crazy things about me, like I was a pedophile or an imitation of Fat Usher.

If I can survive the backlash from “Friday,” then I can make it through anything. I read what people write, sometimes I even laugh. But other times it can really hurt and I’m tempted to respond. In those cases, I just try to shake it off.

BLVR: Ultimately, if an extraterrestrial were to listen to one of your tunes and then something from Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber, it is improbable that they would be able to differentiate between them. The words may be a bit more whimsical, but the musical components are mostly indistinguishable.

If Lady Gaga were to perform “Chinese Food”, it is certain that it would top the charts and be well-received. However, with an unknown artist singing an independent song, judgement is passed more readily. Even though I comprehend why, what if Katy Perry had released “Thanksgiving”?

BLVR suggested that she might fashion her lingerie out of some unconventional material, maybe even turkeys.

PW: Absolutely! People would think Katy Perry was awesome, without any doubt.

BLVR: When I observe the clips I see you in, one thing I ponder is your sense of belonging to the world you are introducing. For instance, in the “Chinese Food” video, you are participating in a game of Monopoly with the little ones. It’s humorous. Yet at the same time, I’m thinking, “Why is this person in his thirties accompanying these children in a game of Monopoly?”.

PW: It’s funny to me that people think “Thanksgiving” is a real situation when it’s being filmed by cameras and a lot of parents are watching it. But then I think about it and in children’s movies there’s always an adult around. Like in Sesame Street for example. I can’t help but laugh when I see “Patrice is in the room with no adult supervision!”

I discussed it with Wilson right before he started shooting “ABCDEFG,” the second installment of “Chinese Food.” The video is the simplest yet spookiest example of Wilson mocking those who accuse him of having improper relations with his child stars.

In the video, Wilson portrays a Mr. Rogers-like character in a red cardigan who invites Alison Gold into a black VW bus labelled a “Wilson Wagon,” then puts “Love Potion” in the punch at the bash, transforming everyone into Muppet-like characters.

It’s definitely weird and a bit disturbing. At the moment, it has about 2.7 million views on YouTube.


Everyone involved in the situation sought the assistance of lawyers to protect their interests.

BLVR: To delve more deeply into specific criticisms, with “Chinese Food” there were not just people disputing the quality of the song, but instead asserting that it was potentially racist. How do you respond to such accusations, which are more serious than someone simply mocking your weight?

PW: We were all taken aback. In the studio, my engineer and my team were suggesting that I use a particular word with an Asian accent when I was rapping. But I didn’t want to give the wrong idea. Now, people are accusing me of being racist.

It’s hypocritical of people in the United States to stereotype Chinese food. They have the Hangover films where Mr. Chow is portrayed in a comedic way and it’s acceptable, yet when Patrice does it, people become outraged. This hypocritical behavior should not be tolerated.

BLVR: Regarding your image and background, is there a Christian influence on your music? In the U.S., discussions of ethical values and cleanliness are often tied to Christianity.

PW: Alright, the idea of “Chinese Food” is global understanding. A congregation in Texas has requested for us to perform “Chinese Food.” I won’t be crafting a gospel tune, however, I would like to demonstrate the entire world coming together.

BLVR: At the beginning, producing was a means to jumpstart your own career. Now, after all the videos you have made, it is hard to believe that you would attempt to change yourself into a serious artist. Is that dream no longer a goal for you?

PW: Absolutely not. I’m actually focusing on my own projects. My music style is distinct from my current writing. My past style is closer to something Akon would sing. The lyrics are more about love and life. I have around fifteen to eighteen songs that I have written personally and am planning to release them as an album.

But I’m not going to launch it in the US. My plan is to release it in Europe and Africa since people there already recognize me. I can be very successful in Africa with music… In the US people expect me to be someone like Suge Knight according to the first article in the LA Times Magazine about me.

But I’m just a normal guy! I go to all the video shoots and chat with the parents. I don’t want to seem too superior. Never be prideful. Love what you do. When people meet me in person they are usually surprised at how trim I am.

BLVR: Do you pay that much attention to your weight? You’re not a particularly large person.

PW: It never occurred to me I might have a weight issue. But after the nickname “Fat Usher” emerged, I had to ask my spouse, “Do I look too heavy?” I think this had an effect on me subconsciously, causing me to gain weight.

I never had to worry about having a six-pack before, however, in the last couple of years I noticed it wasn’t there. However, now I work out with my wife and I’m feeling much better. So when I arrive on set, people are taken aback.

BLVR: Even though being referred to as “Fat Usher” can be seen as an insult, it can also be viewed as a form of praise. I would be ecstatic if someone said I resembled Usher, even if I was called “Fat Usher”.

PW: In the past, I was known as “Chinese Food,” but that has since changed. My nickname is now “Pedo Panda.”

BLVR: In the “H.A.P.P.Y.” video you grab a newspaper and the headline reads PATRICE STRIVES FOR WORLD HAPPINESS. Do you feel this is your purpose, regardless of whether people find it funny or are joining in the laughter?

PW: My aim, as someone who comes from a Christian upbringing, has been to improve the world and bring people closer together. To achieve this, I’ve been using popular music and working with young individuals.

As for “Friday,” there were a lot of crazy events taking place. I had no documents in place, and I assumed everyone would be kind-hearted. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Everyone got their lawyers involved, except me. Even though I wrote the song, I only got 30 percent of the writer’s share.

I made the decision to leave Ark Music Factory and start fresh with Pato Music World [PMW], which meant starting from zero followers on YouTube. To spread the message that I wanted to make people happy, I created the video for “H.A.P.P.Y.” I was certain that regardless of what was said in the comments, viewers would still be smiling.

BLVR: Is there a point in time at which this kind of lifestyle will no longer be attractive? Or will there continue to be people, both young and old, who are interested in fame and celebrity?

PW: A child has the ambition to make music, videos, and to be in the limelight daily. We could continue to do this but I’m feeling a bit exhausted from all the contractual work. My plan for the upcoming year is to demonstrate that we can produce something every year.

However, I need to rethink the business strategy and turn to other countries such as Canada, Australia, and Poland in order to find viral stars. It’s uncertain what platform we will use and how much people would pay. Nevertheless, the artist will be given the rights to their music and hence receive the majority of the earnings.

BLVR: I’m currently located in Canada and here, Justin Bieber is a huge sensation. Everyone is in amazement of him and Canada has never experienced such a phenomenon. It’s remarkable that a fourteen-year-old could be the most popular pop star in the world – it makes me think that this level of admiration must exist elsewhere.

I’d say we are more appreciated abroad than here in the US.

It’s not a secret that America has a tendency to be critical of things that are well-received. This phenomenon can be observed in many places, but it appears to be particularly common in the United States.

PW: Agreed. Take a look at the “The Fox” music video in Sweden – they definitely embraced it. Just like they did with “Gangnam Style” – it was supported all over Asia, including Korea, Japan, and China – due to Psy being an Asian singer. The situation is different in the USA, though – when something goes viral and is not mainstream, there are trolls who try to take it down.

This is why we need to expand our reach. We also plan on doing a reality show, which will give viewers a look into our production process: the auditions, my life, my wife, etc. It’s like American Idol, just with a lot more craziness. This will give people a chance to really understand what goes into the music, and thus appreciate it even more.

It Could be of Interest to You

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The impact of digital technology on our lives is immense. It has revolutionized communication, connecting people in ways that were previously unimaginable. We have witnessed a rise in the use of social media, which has enabled us to form new connections and share experiences on a global scale. Additionally, digital technology has also impacted the way we learn, with the rise of online learning and education. In conclusion, digital technology has had a tremendous influence on our lives, impacting the way we communicate and learn.

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