Monday, November 29, 2010

NMVA 2010: How it Went Down

Against all odds the fourth edition of the Nigerian Music Video Awards held at the Expo Hall of the Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday, December 28, 2010. It was, as usual, a gathering of the stakeholders of the entertainment industry in Nigeria who trooped out in their numbers to come and witness this year’s version of the oldest music video awards in the land hosted by the longest running music TV programme in the land, LIVEBEATS, which is owned by Cally Ikpe’s CALLYVISION NETWORK.
In the buildup to the event he had complained about the lack of a major sponsor for the event. This fact, even though, it didn’t stop the event from holding definitely reflected on the quality of the show put up. The economic crunch has definitely affected the entertainment industry in Nigeria and while the $200 million dollars promised by Mr. President is a welcome development for it, the early and necessary access to it by brands such as the NMVA and other laudable entertainment projects annually put up in this country would go a long way in improving their quality and sustainment.
While there were no clearcut sweeping winners in the 24-category award like in last year's event where Darey, held sway, 2face, Clarence Peters and Dipp still managed two awards each while the rest of the winners got one each. Yet Clarence Peters could be said to have won the most awards as coupled with his individual two, his videos also won the Video of The Year, Best Use of Costume, Best Contemporary Afro and Best Video By a New Artist. Here is the winners' list:

 2face – “Only Me”
Mr. Raw Nwanne – “O Chukwu”
T.W.O – “I Need Someone”
Dekunle Fuji – “Funmilayo”
Sound Sultan – “2010”
Bouqui – “Take You Away”
Fela – “Viva Africa”
TOSIN IGHO – “Don’t Leave Me”
2face – “Only Me”
Dipp – “Pop Off Selecta”
J. Martins – “Eva”
General Pype – “Champion”
Djinee – “Overkillin’”
Dipp – “Pop Off Selecta”
 Kefee – “Thank You”
Goldie – “You Know It”
17. BEST R ‘n’ B:
Banky W – “Strong Ting”
KSB – “Turn Around”
Solidstar – “One In A Million”
JJC – “We Are Africans”
Clarence Peters
 Clarence Peters
Frizzle – “Taka Sufe”

Friday, November 26, 2010

P. Square Celebrates Birthday in Style

The Birthday Cake
On the evening of their 30th birthday which fell on Thursday, November 18, 2010, P. Square hosted a talk-of-the-town party at their new home in Omole Estate, Ikeja Lagos. Present were the major figures of the Nigerian Entertainment Industry including the extrovert Deputy Governor of Lagos, State, Mrs. Sarah Sosan, who presented them with pictures of the city. Their home, aptly named Squareville played host to the Red Carpet, cocktails, dinner and dances as all guests enjoyed themselves till the wee hours of the next morning. Here are some pictures from the party:

With the Deputy Governor

With Pictures of Lagos City

About to cut their cake

Jude and the ladies

Lola Omotayo

Paul and Darey

Uti, Gbenro and fans

Mrs. AY and Queen Ure

Mo' Cheddah

Sound Sultan and Olu Maintain

Obi Asika


Darey, J. Martins & Tee-Y Mix


Freeze and Eku Edoho

Efe Adabamu

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


In the buildup to this year’s event, SOUNDCITY, owners of the SOUNCITY MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS (SMVA) simply said “Expect Everything” and while their employment of this phrase cannot be comprehensively delineated, it definitely pointed to their intention to explore a wide range of options in putting up a display of activities at this year’s show.
So on Saturday, November 20, 2010, after elaborate and painstaking preparations have been made and last minute details tidied up, the crème de la crème of the entertainment industry in Africa trooped down to Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos for the third edition of the SOUNDCITY MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS.
PRE-AWARD RED CARPET AND FASHION SHOW: As is usual with similar events all over the world there was a red carpet session where the stars and guests were welcomed. This was the paparazzi’s forte and they had a field day as star after star happily posed for their cameras. This session also accommodated the fashion show which held at the poolside of the hotel while cocktails and small chops were being served round. It was an exciting visual experience produced by the Namibian-born Jan Malan Umzingeli who is the Creative Director of the event. He brought together some of the continent’s best, most accomplished and boldest designers and labels to put up an amazing show similar to what he does for the FACE OF AFRICA and AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL. Designers on parade were David Tiale and Dax Martin of South Africa; Jewel by Lisa, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, Momo, Odio Mimonet, Tiffany Amber, Zizi Cardow and Mai Atafo all from Nigeria plus Tanzania’s Mustafa Hasanali. They lit up the poolside of Eko Hotel and the guests who excitedly gathered to watch beheld a sight reminiscent of the classiest fashion shows anywhere in the world.
This however dragged beyond its allocated time of 6:00 to 7:30pm because it wasn’t until almost 10pm that the guests were allowed into the Expo Hall of the hotel where the awards proper was to hold. And even by then, they were only dislodged by the rain. Then came the long wait inside the hall as behind-the-scenes arrangements continued while the guests sat idly and listened to music being dished out by the DJ. It was a live broadcast on the SOUNDCITY channel and even the help of prolific director, Clarence peters, was also enlisted.
THE EXPO HALL: As guests waited for the start of the show, a glance around the large Expo Hall revealed a vast improvement and progress from the last SMVA. There was quite enough seating space for the audience and comfortable standing positions for those that ended up at the back. The gallery was arranged in a roundtable format while the main hall was in theatre mode. LCD screens adorned the front walls of hall and larger-than-life images of the stage were simultaneously beamed to the audience. All these were in sharp contrast to last year’s awards which was held at the now removed tent on the other side of the Eko Hotel grounds.
10:33: FINALLY THE START BY P. SQUARE: A voice boomed from the speakers and welcomes the guests. It then asked them to please resume their seats as the live broadcast would begin in the next 5minutes. It came back exactly 7minutes after to announce P. Square on stage.
The Okoye twins were the perfect tonic to kick start events and they did not disappoint. Their pumped up performance was with the full complement of a live band and they revealed the excellent sound quality that would be experienced all evening. They started off with “E No Easy” accompanied by two dancers who joined to display some of the choreography that has made them one of the most sought after bands on the continent. Kaffy come joined them as they launched into “Gimme Dat” to showcase her own GUINNESS record breaking dance steps and their combined choreography really excited the crowd. But the girls really went wild when Peter pulled up his clothes to reveal his well toned packs. Their performance helped lift up the atmosphere and they again welcomed the crowd before leaving the stage.
10: 50: UTI AND BIG BROTHER: The winner of the recently concluded BIG BROTHER AFRICA ALLSTARS, Uti Nwachukwu was the official host of the show and the ecstatic screams of the large retinue of ladies in the house revealed the extent of his newfound popularity. He arrived in a shiny overall in the company of three bikini-clad models who stripped the overall off him to reveal a black bespoke suit which he later disclosed was designed by MAI. He then went on to introduce himself and welcome the audience again. His speech was interrupted by “Big Brother” which brought a lot of laughter from the audience. Uti then announced Steve Babaeko and Michelle Dede present the very first award of the evening which was for the Best Male Video. As the nominees trailers were played on the wide LCD screen on the stage, the audience cheered heartily to the videos of Banky W, 2face and Da Grin. Banky W won with the video of “Strong Ting” and mounted the stage with his protégés EME Wizkid and Skales. He dedicated his award to Segun Demuren, Cobhams who produced it, his label EME (Empire Mates Entertainment) and Da Grin.
KSB BAREFOOT FOR GOLDIE: The second award which was for the Best Female Video was presented by Darey. Goldie’s “You Know It” which received the loudest cheer during the nominees video reel was the winner and since she was absent, her KENNIS MUSIC label mate, KSB, came up to collect it on her behalf after a short lull. “It’s a KENNIS MUSIC thing,” she said on Goldie’s behalf and then went on to reveal to the audience who hadn’t noticed that she was actually barefooted because she had to rush off her seat in excitement. Eldee who featured on the song also made a short appearance on the stage.
***Rapper, 2shotz presented the third award which was for the Best Choreography and it went to Mozambique’s Dama Do Bling who was also not present.
11:07: Uti returned to the stage to congratulate the winners so far. MTN Project Fame co-anchor, Adora Oleh was the presenter of the next awards and looking delectable as ever, she came onstage in the chaperoned by three trunk-wearing male models. Djinee’s “Overkillin’” was the winner of the Best Special Effects and in his speech he thanked all those who contributed to the success of the song – Jesse Jagz the producer, his father, CHOCOLATE CITY RECORDS and his father. He then asked Niger-Deltans to put down their guns.
***Performance by Deep Level of South Africa.
***Actress, Nse Ikpe-Etim and Kenny Ogungbe were the presenters of the next award for the Best Editing. P. Square won and Paul who spoke on their behalf thanked God, SOUNDCITY and everyone. He also described it as their birthday gift.
***Photographer, Kelechi Amadi-Obi and Lola Maja were the presenters for the award to the Best Duo. It went to South Africa’s Deep Level who had just performed and when they didn’t come up to accept it, Uti had to come out to release the presenters who had been waiting for someone to come receive the award.
SASHA’S PERFORMANCE (YEMI ALADE THRILLS): The First Lady of STORM RECORDS who just returned from performing at the CHANNEL O Awards was on hand again to deliver. The stage was opened for her by soul singer, Bez, who came on with his guitar, three male flutists and three ladies. One of them was upcoming singer, yemi Alade whose single, “Efimisile,” with Eldee is still being heavily rotated on the airwaves together with its video. She was Sasha’s backup and while the STORM First Lady presented a strong performance, it was Yemi’s sexiness and sassy high-pitched voice that caught the eye.
***YQ, another STORM artist was next on stage to sing his, “I Like Girls.” He and his slightly heavy but flexible dances got a very loud cheer at the end of their performance.
11:45: GBAGAUN! MR. NIGERIA, “CAN I HEAR YOUR HANDS UP?”: Current Mr. Nigeria, 2nd Runner-up Mr. World and the fifth sexiest man in the world, Kenneth Okolie, rubbished all those records when in his attempt to rouse the audience, he blurted out: “Can I hear your hands up?” He and the current Miss Nigeria, Damilola Agbajor had come upstage to present the award for the Best Cinematography and the audience, most of who didn’t know who he was had quite a laugh at him. He made matters worse when he proffered the lame cliché, “English is not my first language” as a form of excuse. The trio of the South African Teargas lifted back the spirits with acceptance speech. Their “Praise be to God” got a very loud “Alleluia!” and when one of them dropped the lines of Banky W’s “Lagos Party” as a parting shot, the crowd gave them a standing ovation.
11:49: UTI AND BIG BROTHER AGAIN: Uti has changed into a white suit and returned to the stage in the company of three male models. But as he tried to work the audience, “Big Brother’s” voice interrupts with mimicry of Sheila’s voice. This was in obvious reference to their love affair while the BIG BROTHER AFRICA house. Their repartee delighted the audience.
***The trio of BEAT FM’s OAPs – Gbemi, Toolz and Oreka presented the next award for the Best Hip Hop Video. South Africa’s Jozi won but they weren’t around to collect it so the ladies decided to receive it for their station, BEAT 99.9 FM.
11:55: ASA’S TAKES THINGS TO THE NEXT LEVEL: The stage is set for the petite songbird and her 7-piece band take positions. Uti was heard singing the National Anthem reminiscent of his BIG BROTHER AFRICA winning reaction in the background. He then announced Asa who received a standing ovation from the audience. Performing tracks from her newest album, BEAUTIFUL IMPERFECTION, she caressed the genuine musical taste buds of the audience as she strutted about the stage and sang happily and heartily to the adoring audience. Hers wasn’t a physical or energetic act but it was emotive and her energy was felt in the inner linings of the audience’s hearts. She got another standing ovation as she left the stage.
12:11: MIKE TO RELEASE AND AWARD: The smart young winner of the MTN PROJECT FAME SEASON 2, Mike Anyasodo, was announced as the winner of the Best R&B Video by the duo of Eldee and Rukky Sanda. In his excited acceptance speech he kept saying, “I dedicate this album…” instead of “award” and when he finally realized why the audience was trying to correct him, he sharply told them that what he just received was the album and that he would be releasing the award soon. He got a very loud ovation for it.
***Actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Segun Arinze presented the following award for Best Pop Video. It went to 2face for the video of his song, “Implication.” The amount of love and goodwill he enjoys from his fans was reflected in their cheers. The award was received on his behalf by his producer, J-Sleek.
***Teargas performed next.
12:27: Toyin Subair and Chris Ubosi came on to present the award for Best Collaboration which went to Sarkodie of Ghana. The DJ collected it for them.
***Matse of WAZOBIA FM and Freeze of COOL FM presented the award for the DISCCOVERY OF THE YEAR to JR of South Africa. He was also not present.
THE ALAPOMEJI BELOW PAR PERFORMANCE: A trio of performances from the ALAPOMEJI crew fell well below the audience’s expectations and they were happy to see their backs. First up was a group of three which included Snow which simply failed to impress. Next was the sweet-voiced Kayefi but this time, with her song playing on the background CD, her voice only served to spoil the melody while the Ajayi brothers simply completed a set of performances which the audience didn’t appreciate.
12:49: Damilola Adegbite and Gbenro Ajibade of TINSEL presented Banky W with the award of the Best Video. Banky who was preparing for his performance had to come from backstage to receive his award. He cited this as his best year and the night as his best night.
***Former Miss. Nigeria, Omowumi Akinifesi and actor, Fred Amata presented the award for the Viewers’ Choice Video which Buffalo Souljah of Zimbabwe won. He was not in the house but Fred Amata insisted that someone come up to receive it for him. When no one arrived, he personally nominated Zaaki Azzay to receive it on his behalf. Zaaki then went on to say that he would board a plane to Zimbabwe to go take the award to its owner.
BANKY W, WIZKID AND SKALES’ PERFORMANCE: Seats were arranged on stage and Skales opened the floor. The classroom scene of Wizkid’s “Holla at Your Boy” video was reenacted with dancer Kaffy acting as the teacher. A well rehearsed and dramatized choreography followed when Kaffy told her students that she was leaving for a meeting. Her return met music in her classroom and as she attempted to restore order, Wizkid threatened to report her to Banky. Banky then entered as the performance seamlessly transferred into his own as Kaffy sexily led the choreography to the appreciation of a loudly cheering audience.
1:09: DA GRIN WINS AN AWARD: The award for the Hit Producer of the Year went Sossick for producing Da Grin’s “Pon Pon Pon.” He beat off competition from Don Jazzy, Jay Sleek, Fally Ipupa of Congo, M.I and JR of South Africa to an emotion-laden delight of the audience. He climbed the stage in the company of GINI, the director of the video and a number of other Da Grin enthusiasts. His singing of the chorus of “Dreams” drew loud sighs from the audience.
***Dr. Sid came on next to present the award of the Best African Act to 2face. J-Sleek again collected it on his behalf. Then a trailer of DJ Jimmy Jatt and M.I speaking on the impact of the SMVAs on their careers was played on the LCD screen.
***The Ghanaian trio of R2Bees performed next.
1:28: Mo’ Cheddah and Wizkid deliver a well rehearsed presentation sequence by drawing drama from each other’s songs while presenting the award of the Best East African Act to Wyre of Kenya who also wasn’t present.
JULIUS LAMENTS FOR SPONSORS: When the duo of the comedians, Julius Agwu and Tee A came to present the award for the Best South African Act to Pro of South Africa, Julius used the opportunity to lament about the lack of sponsors for such an event. “A big event like this should have sponsors queuing up but look at the wall – very empty!” Julius lamented.
1:35: THE MO’ HITS THRILL THE CROWD (D’ BANJ’S BODYGUARD GOES VIOLENT): Uti who has changed into his third outfit of the evening announce a performance by the MO’ HITS crew. They were preceded by the fat, energetic and athletic Special Ed who pranced around the stage in excited frenzy while “acolyting” Dr. Sid. Dr. Sid’s sounds are among the biggest hits of the year and the crowd’s reception reaffirmed this fact. From “Over the Moon” to “Pop Something” and “Something About You” then D’ Prince’s “Omoba” and the quite new “Give it to Me” which featured D’ banj got everyone on their feet and jumping. D’ banj and Don Jazzy join them on stage at this point “Mr. Endowed” followed.
But here a very excited fan somehow evades the ground security to ascend the stage and would have sad tales of his experience for some time to come. Because D’ banj’s bodyguard, a well trained ex-military boxer appears from the background to give him such a violent shove that had his fall not been broken by an alert bouncer on the ground, he would have broken his neck. The stage was at least 6feet above the floor and it goes without saying that a milder approach would have nonetheless gotten him off the stage.
1:48: THE VIDEO TRAILER JAMS: When SOUNDCITY VJ, S. Dot came to present the award for Best Central African Act, the audience was surprised that there was no nominees’ video trailer. But the repeat of the same incident at the presentation of the last musical award confirmed that the trailer had failed to play. The LCD screen on the stage then remained blank for the remainder of the event. Sasha and Kingsley James presented the last award of the night to Tania Tome of Mozambique for her video “Nhi Ngugu Haladza.” The very excited lady who was present to receive her award thanked everyone possible – from two boys to her husband and so on.
***Uti then came on to present the special recognition award to Governor Timipre Silver of Bayelsa State. It was received on his behalf by a representative. Rehab and Tribeca were announced as the dual venues for the after awards party.
2:00: TIMAYA AND DEM MAMA SOLDIERS: The Egberi Papa 1 of Bayelsa commemorated his governor’s award with the final performance of the event. He ascended the stage with three of his DEM MAMA Soldiers and a large portion of the crowd remained to watch them wrap things up before departing for the after-party venues and others, their homes.
THE SMVA, A PAN AFRICAN AWARD: The expansion of the awards to include other African countries is one major part of the fulfillment of SOUNDCITY’s promise of “Expect Everything.” All African regions received something. The excellent packaging reflected painstaking and detailed preparations for the event which is a success in almost every facet. The sound production and quality is the dream of every artist and event organizer but the recurrent “African Time” syndrome has continued to bog down our events in this country. The organizers still succeeded in filling up the magnificent expanse of the Expo Hall even while selling tickets at N10 000. The exportability of this project is very visible yet that sponsors are unwilling to support speaks volumes of the entertainment industry in the country. But the $200 million dollar grant of Mr. President might just be the answer such projects need. We will continue to wait and watch while for the present massive kudos goes out to Mr. Tajuddeen Adepetu and his team for a show to be proud of.

Banky W – “Strong Ting”
Goldie – “U Know It”
Dama Do Bling (Mozambique) – “Moza Girl”
Djinee – “Overkillin’”
 P. Square –“Danger”
Deep Level (South Africa) – “We Run The City”
Teargas (South Africa) – “Mlobo Wami”
Jozi (South Africa) – “Wildlife”
Mike Anyasodo – “Fine Fine Lady”
2face Idibia – “Implication”
Sarkodie (Ghana) – “Lay Away”
JR (South Africa) – “Show Dem”
 Banky W – “Strong Ting”
Buffalo Souljah (Zimbabwe) – “Ezandlha Phezulu”
15. HIT PRODUCER OF THE YEAR (As Used in a Music Video):
 Sossick/ Da Grin – “Pon Pon Pon”
2face Idibia
Wyre (Kenya)
PRO (South Africa)
Fally Ipupa (Congo)
Tania Tome (Mozambique) – “Nhi Ngugu Haladza”

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Here is a sneak preview of the new inspirational book, TESTED AND TRUSTED SUCCESS SECRETS OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS, written by Azuh Arinze, the editor of ENCOMIUM MAGAZINE.
The book which contains quotes and interviews with about 100 leading businessmen, entertainers, sportsmen, veterans and respected elders is a must read. It tells in very short and concise formats the secrets and beliefs that took them to where they are today.
 The book which promises to be a bestseller would be presented to the general public in the early parts of January 2011.

"Polygamy was Never the Plan" - 2FACE IDIBIA

Innocent '2Face' Idibia is known as 2Baba to his fans and admirers. The 'Baba' is an appellation and a form of respect in recognition of his person and his music. He is constantly  in the limelight, not just because of his music, but also because of some of his escapades, ranging from gun attacks, his five children from three women and most of the activities of those women. An example is their alleged fight after his fantastic concert at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, on Saturday, September 18, 2010.

I recently took him up on different issues, including his music, women and lifestyle. Ever humble (the major reason why he has survived up until now), he happily responded to all my questions as I sat down with him at a hangout in Ikeja, Lagos… (Excerpts and quotations from this interview has appeared on various websites and blogs since it was published in ENCOMIUM MAGAZINE a few weeks back but here is the complete version.)

What went into the show? What did you put in to bring out the kind of performance we saw at Eko Hotels on September 18?
A lot of money, time and dedication on the part of the crew involved in it. The band, dancers and media who hyped it up and the people who came out, paid money and took out time to come. Then, the grace of God. We rehearsed for about two weeks non-stop before the show.
You have been performing with a live band for sometime now, when did you decide on that line?
Towards the end of last year was when I decided that I was no more going to perform with CDs again. I don't want people to come and watch me and only
 hear what they have heard on CD before. I want to give them something different, because if it's the CD they wanted, they might have as well stayed at home and played it on their sound system. I wouldn't have even needed to perform on stage at all. Performing live with a band gives the people the chance to get a different feel and at the same time enjoy the music.
How do you advise other artists to go about leaving their CDs and go with a live band?
It depends on how you are using the CD. It's not everybody that can sing with a live band. Some people's strong points might be dancing or other performance skills. Others might get their timing right with the live band, but no matter what you are doing on stage, just try
 and make it worthwhile to your audience.
You are already past ten years in the industry, please talk about your development and evolution through the years?
I just thank God for what has happened to me musically. I discovered my talent early and I decided to follow it up. So far, I am not exactly where I want to be yet, but I will say I am heading towards there. I thank God for where I am today.
How do rate your contribution to the Nigerian music industry in your years there?
Personally, I have brought some prestigious awards back to Nigeria soil; I have encouraged the new generation to embrace whatever form of music they are comfortable in doing. In terms of record sales, I will say I was the first person to have sold over a million
 copies of my records and my label declared it and it was confirmed. I have done over three successful albums, Face2Face, Grass2Grace and The Unstoppable, International Edition. To me, those are very big achievements and they have gone a long way in encouraging the younger generation of Nigerian musicians.
Who were some of the people you looked up to while coming up?
Over the years, we have had a number of different top class musicians who I have looked up to. There was Majek Fashek. Femi Kuti, Lagbaja, Baba Fryo, Daddy Showkey, Blackky, Weird MC and so many others. I can't remember everyone, but it's not like I want to omit anybody.
How successful has your experiment with The Unstoppable: International Edition been?

Overwhelmingly surprising, because many people thought that nobody would buy my CD for N1000. But surprisingly, people now call and just make requests and place orders. They don't even want to deal with the paper packs anymore. It all comes down to the fact that if people like something, they will go for it, no matter how costly it is. Definitely, the number of people th
 at would buy it for N1000 will never be the same with those that will buy for N150, but if 20 people buy for N1000 and 100 people would buy it for N150, we have already cancelled out their number.
What were some of the things you took into consideration before embarking on such a venture?
Number one was sacrifice, because nothing good will happen in Nigeria if people are not willing to sacrifice. And that sacrifice is the gamble, but one thing is certain, if you believe in something and you want it to work, God will be with you. The thing is that I just want quality to come back into music. From the sound to the CDs and the way it is packaged. When those happen and you sell it for the appropriate price, we will be able to make more money and be able to compete with our counterparts in other parts of the world.
The N1000 is not even up to what other internationa
 l acts sell their CDs. Their CDs go for $15 to $20, which is more than N1000, but we are on our way there. With time people will realize that that's the way my CDs are and if you buy anything else, you are supporting piracy. I never ever thought for one day that it would be easy or that my CD was not going to be pirated. Piracy is still in the system, but with dedication, seriousness and concerted efforts we can reduce it to the bearest minimum.
What are some of your suggestions toward the eradication of piracy?
The public, the government and the agencies involved in the implementation of the anti-piracy laws should all put their hands on deck. The people should please shun pirated copies, just like they run away from fake drugs. If piracy doesn't see people buying it, it will fo
ld shop.
The government should clamp down on pirates too. They are criminals, just like the thieves we catch on the streets. The agencies should go all out in stamping out piracy. No crime syndicate should be stronger than the government. We know that it cannot be wiped out in one day, it will take time, but we all should come on board and start on the right path. Just like our count
ry, nobody can arrange Nigeria under four years, but we can start on the right track in that time. Under one year, power should be taken care of, roads can be taken care of and so on.
Going back to your concert, what was the idea behind the Tonto Dike dance part?
Tonto is one of the very talented actresses we have in their generation and she is beautiful. In my song, Flex, we just wanted to add a little drama to it. We thought of a whole lot of other beautiful ladies to use, but either some will not be available on the day of the show or something else. So, I called Tonto who is my friend and a professional actress. It was all part of the job and Tonto is crazy too. She liked the idea and we put it into practice.
Do you have a deeper relationship with her?
No, we are just good friends.
The little girl you used as the Africa Queen is Annie's daughter, why did you choose her among the other children?
I chose her because she is my daughter.
Don't you think the other women would feel bad or neglected?
No, nobody felt like that.
How are you managing to keep all of them happy?
I just try to be a good person. No ojoro, no partiality and no favouritism and everyone is happy.
You have been pictured at different times in matching dresses with each of them at different times?
If mommy and daddy do a naming ceremony for their child, I don't see anything wrong with us wearing the same clothes. I and Pero wore the same dress during the dedication of her child and it was the same thing with Sumbo and Annie. It's just for our children to see our solidarity during their celebrations.
Looking at the period when the children came, d o you agree with most people that you would have been bigger than you are now if you hadn't involved yourself with all these women?
I don't know if I would have been bigger than I am now, but one thing I know is that it really affected me. There's no doubt about it. It definitely affected me.
But all in all, people will talk and others will criticize and others w
 ill rejoice at their fellow man's misfortunes because that's how human beings are. But they really affected me.
Yet in saying that I would have been bigger is what I don't I don't know. Maybe all those things happened to prevent me from doing something worse. Maybe they even calmed me down and diverted me from doing something that was worse, but I don't know.
But looking back, would you have done the same things again?
Polygamy was never part of my plan. I never ever planned to be polygamous. Everybody has their plans, but mine was never to be polygamous. But I would have done the same things agai
 n, which is to accept the children. Everybody has choices and I chose to take my kids.
You are home-based artist, you were born and bred in Nigeria and have been here ever since. In some of your trying periods and even at normal times, have you ever consider quitting the country and going to live somewhere else?
It has never crossed my mind. Never ever. But now you are talking about it, it could have been a nice idea to relocate from the country.
What do you think about people not really embracing the Unstoppable album in 2008, and now singing the praise of this new international edition?
I think when the old Unstoppable came out, most of the negative stories about me affected it and also the promotion of the album was poor. The style of music I did was
  geared towards the intellectuals, than the layman, but it wasn't because of the songs, but the promotion. But I just added a few things to this new one and it worked.
What about the number of 'collabo' you have do ne, it seems you are involved in far too many collabos at the moment?
Well, if you don't do, people will talk and if you do, people will also talk. But at the moment, I have stopped all collabos. Anyone you hear now was done sometime ago and there are still more that are yet to be released. Some are as far back as three years ago that are still to come out, but right now I have stopped.
How can one succeed and progress in music?
First and foremost, you have to have a talent. When I mean a talent, it's either you know h
 ow to sing very well or you know how to rap very well or you know how to entertain and to get the right people to work with you. Then, hard work and humility are very important.
What are some of the mistakes to avoid?
To start believing that you are too much, believing that you have made it and that nothing can affect you again.
What is your advice to the upcoming ones?
I just want them to know that music is not an escape route, it's a full time profession and they should take it seriously and they should respect people and respect God.


After a series of transformations, the group, SIGNATURE, has finally crystallized into a solid musical triplet made up of Uchenna Uchegbu, David Ovia and Nwabueze Paschal Amaechi. They started out in 2002 as a group of eight with the stage name, Paradise Large, but four of them left after just one year due to parental pressures to concentrate on their studies. The remaining four then continued as Faith in One but another two left in 2002 but the remaining two didn’t want to continue like and with the help of their then manager, they were able to get a third member on board. They then changed their name to DTU-an acronym of the initials of their names.
It was as DTU that the music actually started coming forth. They first recorded “We Need Love” with Cobhams in 2005 but were unable to give it the required promotion due to financial constraints. A few more tracks including “Can’t Give Up Believing” and “Emijojo” followed but never really saw the light of the day. In 2006, another member left the group but two more joined to make them four again and their name changed to D’ Flud. Again, one more left after some time and the remaining three swore never to leave again no matter the challenges. They put this in writing and signed on it and thus came the name Signature.
Currently, Signature has three songs and one remix on air. One is “Dream Girl” and its remix, then “African Beauty” featuring Don Kally and “Ntefo.” “African Beauty” and “Ntefo” were produced by K-Solo while “Dream Girl” and its remix were by Edmund Benson, aka Theory Sound. The group is already working on the video of “Ntefo” which would be directed by Akin Alabi. Their debut album which would contain 11 tracks is also taking shape. It would be entitled JUST BEING ME and would feature the likes of M.I, Timaya, Mallam Spicey, and the Mamuzee Twins who they have worked as backup singers for.


Nigerian artists won six awards out of their 17 nominations at this year’s edition of the Channel O Music Video Awards held at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa on the evening of Thursday, November, 4. They came a close second behind South Africa who won seven out the 14 categories of the award. The only other winner from another African country was Ugandan-born Obita for his video, “Everybody Dance” which features Loyiso.

The Nigerian winners were D’ banj for “Fall in Love” but he wasn’t in the house and Wande Coal who came up stage with a nerdy looking Sunday Are told the audience that he was in Kenya for some business. P-Square won for the Most Gifted Group or Featuring but were also not in the house and Nigerian South African-based video director, Godfather, collected their plaque on their behalf. Naeto C took the whole STORM RECORDS crew up stage to collect his award for the Most Gifted Hip Hop Video which came to him courtesy of the song, “Ako Mi Ti Poju.” 2face also continued his wonderful showing this year by carting away the prize for the Most Gifted Video with “Implication.” Another STORM RECORDS artist, General Pype beat off competition from heavyweights like Batman Samini of Ghana to win the prize for the Most Gifted Ragga with his song, “Champion (remix)”. The original version of the song has become one of the official tunes of the SUPERSPORT channel while the remix which won the award featured the late Da Grin who Pype reconised in his speech, Sasha, Vector, Naeto C and GT the Guitarman. The young Mo’ Cheddah who was making her first appearance at the event dusted the older Nigerian lady, KSB to the Most Gifted Female with her song “If You Want Me” which featured Othello of the Knighthouse crew. Mo’ Cheddah was accompanied to South Africa by another member of the Knighthouse, Rogba. M.I and Djinee who got the highest number of nominations, three, for the video of “Safe,” directed by Mex, didn’t win any award.

A special recognition award went to Somalian global star, K’ naan whose song “Waving Flag” was one of the official songs of the 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP held in South Africa. He also was absent from the event but made his acceptance speech via e-presence from Los Angeles and later performed another of his songs, “T.I.A,” via the same route at the end of the show.

The Sandton Convention centre was given a flight themed decoration and the co-hosts, Lungile Radu and Thomas Gumede, were in black pilots’ uniforms complete with the wings. Big Brother Africa host, IK was one of the presenters of the evening and he also had his pilot’s wings. Another was 100% Naija host, Tana Egbo, who joined a long list of guest presenters from the channel O family to make the evening a memorable one. Nigeria’s Sasha and Dama Do Bling of Mozambique led the performers list with a sassy display on the song, “Making Money,” while Liquideep, Teargas, Wyre, Buffalo Souljah, D-Black and Kwaku-T all made very strong showings at the event which was broadcast live on the cable network. Three brand new Chevy Sparks were given out to lucky winners who voted for the awards.

The Channel O Music Video Awards, also known as Spirit of Africa Music Video Awards is a Pan-African music award organized by South Africa -based Channel O television channel. The awards ceremony was first held in 2003 under the name Reel Music Video Awards. Since 2005 the awards have been held annually. The winners are voted by Channel O's viewers across the continent through SMS and on the internet at

AFRO POP VIDEO: D’banj: “Fall in love”
MOST GIFTED EAST AFRICA VIDEO: Obita ft.,Loyiso “Everybody Dance”
MOST GIFTED KWAITO: Big Nuz ft., DJ Tira: “Umlilo”
MOST GIFTED R ‘N’ B: Urban Reign: “Addicted”
MOST GIFTED DANCE VIDEO: Liquideep “Fairytale”
MOST GIFTED FEMALE VIDEO: Mo’cheddah ft.,Othello “If You Want Me”
MOST GIFTED NEWCOMER: L-Tido ft., TP: “Calling”
MOST GIFTED HIPHOP VIDEO: Naeto C “Ako mi ti poju”
Teargas “Party 101”


Thursday, November 4, 2010

'I've Not Yet Gotten The Credit I Deserve In The Industry' - 2shotz

Earlier this month, rapper Williams Orioha, aka 2Shotz, became the first contemporary artist in Nigeria to make it to his fifth album. He has been in the industry since 2001,and through the period of the four previous albums, he has been able to drop some memorable hits and slangs for the music loving people of Nigeria.
Here, we talk about his career so far and how he has been able to remain relevant. He also used this opportunity to reveal how he feels that he has not yet received his full due and respect in the industry. Please, read on…
You are the first contemporary pop or hip hop artist with five albums, how manage?
I don't even know. It should have been six, but there was a period I stayed away for sometime and couldn't drop any album. I was trying to re-invent myself and every other thing was on standstill. But honestly, I have always worked hard and done my music and it's not the number of albums I release that matters, but my impact on the industry.
How have you been able to retain your fans and audience for this long?
I started with real hip hop music before learning to use pidgin English and that worked. Then, I tried Igbo and I decided to mix everything together and that kind of gave me fans from different backgrounds. But in this new album, I have gone back a bit to the roots, to real hip hop, which is where I started from.
Looking at the music scene, what was the need for that?
We are still growing musically, but we are gradually beginning to accept hip hop music and serious rap music. Nigerians have started accepting hip hop the way it is done and understanding it. We normally listen to a lot of foreign hip hop music, but Nigerians have found out that Nigerian artists can give them even better than they get outside. So, while we have defined our kind of hip hop, I decided to also bring in some of the original flavours of hip hop back in my album.
What do you think of the Nigerian music scene both from the audience and artist perspectives?
The audience seems to have categorized Nigerian artists and songs into a three month life span. Every major hit lasts only three months before everybody would start looking for another. That also has to do with the artists because there are so many people on the scene who are just there for the fame and money or who just see it as an alternative route out of a difficult situation and they feel that music might work for them. Immediately they see their neighbour singing and also making it, they will come on because they also feel they can make it. These two issues have adversely affected the music industry in Nigeria. Because most of the so-called artists are not serious or good enough, the audience also carved out a three-month lifespan for them and sometimes they generalize.
Talking about hits, let's take some of the hits you've had since you first album.
The hit songs of the first album, Pirated Copy, were “Delicious” and “Carry Am Go”. The second album, Original Copy had “Which Levels” and “Shake The Ground”. The third album, Commercial Avenue, had “Make Dem Talk”, featuring 9ice. That was 9ice's major break in the industry before he even met Ruggedman. The fourth album had “In Case You Neva Know,” with Terry and “Kpef Dey Go”.
What was the relationship with Big Lo then?
Even till now, people still think we are a group. We were just very close friends, but never a group. He produced some of my songs and “Delicious” which was a very big hit back then.
At one point, we had a very well publicized fight, but later quashed everything. It was actually the press that overplayed the issue, but we settled everything back then and went back to being friends. He even worked on my fourth album. He didn't work on this current album, but we are working on something together. We have an album already and it will be out soon.
From your first album to now, how well do you think you've done and how well do you think music has done for you?
Over time, music has done very well for me. I live in a good house, drive a good car and walk into every club without any hindrance. I have also paid for all I have through music and I have also had my down times.
But looking at it now, I do not think I have totally gotten the credit and respect I deserve in the industry. I am still waiting for it to come. I don't know when, but I know it will come. I feel I have not properly and honourably been credited for my contributions to the serious growth of the music industry in Nigeria.
Let me remind people: it was my movement that made people aware of how deep piracy was cutting into the music industry and how badly it had affected the artists. I created the awareness and led the fight to save the necks of the artists so that they can eat of the fruits of their labour. There was a time I fought a marketer publicly for ripping off artists.
I think there are just very few artists of my time and kind who have constantly remained in the game and in the business. But God's time is the best and I believe that my time will still come. Yet, I have been respected and recognized by the fans, and for that, I am very grateful.
Can you point to any factor (s) as the reasons for your not getting your due respect as you have said? Could it be because of your genre of music?
No. I don't think so. Rap is fully appreciated in Nigeria. I can't really say the cause, but I think I am just a very stable artist. I am not down; I am not up. I am not struggling for position with anybody. I am just there. If you come from down, you will meet me and if you come from up, you will meet me. I am just there and everybody respects my space. I also do not over reach and I am very happy.
The titles of your previous four albums seem to have been of that anti-piracy movement, why the play on your name now?
I like my name, but more elaborately put, I Am William is an indept representation of the man. He’s telling us about himself; about the real him. William is the brain behind 2Shortz and he is telling us about that person. Behind 2Shortz, there is a William. The album is a presentation and representation of music the way I see it; feel about it and the way I want people to hear it.
Tell us about the songs on the album.
Starting with the intro, “Are you not entertained,” which has someone screaming to the crowd and asking the audience if they are not entertained. It is my way of saying that I have done the job, and what else do they want me to do. The song “William” talks about how I came into the industry, people I met, people that helped me and all that happened to me. It is a story of my journey in the industry from 2001 till now. “Which kain nosense” is where I talked about the Nigerian artists and the things we do wrong. People that came into the industry and messed it up and so on. I have “Oyoyo,” featuring YQ. It was the first single and video which I released. Then, “Duttywine,” with Shank. Then, in “Whether you like” is where I really talked about myself and who and exactly what William is and how I am not getting my respect in the industry. Then, “Money for pocket” has Jesse Jagz and Ice Prince.
Generally there are two kinds of songs on the album, the 2Shortz type and the William type. The 2Shortz ones are the normal ones I am known for: funny, witty and rap. The other is the William type of songs. The song, “Shredded Roses” is that kind. It is the classic type where I talk about emotional things. There are so many other songs, plus the Campari song.
So, what's the deal with Campari?
It is not a full endorsement deal yet, but they are sponsoring the album. I am embarking on a Campari tour and the release parties around the country. They also have their logo on my album. But we will have more to talk about it soon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

‘Why I Changed My Name’ – Mr. Raw Nwanne

Mr. Raw Nwanne
Nigga Raw has changed names. He is now officially known as Mr. Raw Nwanne and wishes that his fans and everyone else take notice. But that’s not all about the artist who was born Okechukwu Ukeje. His marriage to Ewere would be a year on October 31 this year. He also recently returned from his first ever visit and mini-tour of the United States of America. His latest album, the third after Right or Wrong and Everything Remains Raw entitled End of Discussion dropped on Independence Day, Friday, October 1, 2010.
He talks about all these and his relationship with comedian Klint Da Drunk who featured on what is arguably his biggest hit so far, Obodo and so many other issues on his mind. Please read through…
How many years have you been in the industry?
I have been into music since 1992 while I was in school. In 1999, I took part in a musical competition but only came third. In 2002, I participated in the Benson and Hedges Grab the Mic competition which I won but I see 1999 as my start of year even if I didn’t win the competition. It was also in 2002 that I and Klint Da Drunk competed in the first ever Star Quest and came second behind KCPresh. We went with the name of the comedians then. So, I could also say started professionally in 2002 because hat was when I got fully introduced into the industry.
Since the release of your debut album Right or Wrung in 2005, how well do you think you have done?
I think I have done well. I don’t need to be everybody’s favourite or the number one but I know being relevant and consistent in what you are doing matters a lot. Since I released my first album in 2006, it has been lots of blessings from God. I have seen a lot of people come and go. Without being able to replicate the success of their first album and I thank God for keeping me there till now.
What are some of the challenges you have faced so far?
The major challenge is piracy and secondly people complain a lot about me not having media presence and I believe that is actually my own fault. I am on the quiet side and love my privacy and have not really put in much energy in my media profile. People are surprised to know that I have been in Lagos since 2005 because I don’t always come out to the clubs or events.
Those have been my challenges because in this business, visibility matters a lot. If I were to be as visible as I ought to be, I would have been bigger than I am today.
What prompted the recent change of nomenclature?
I was using Nigga Raw – an acronym for that Nig Guy Anakpo Raw but I never knew that this music would take me to where I am today. Because years back when I started it was just for fun and since then I have been facing embarrassing moments trying to explain the meaning to different people who ask me everyday. Most people see the ‘nigger’ as a swear word which it’s not but I just felt its time to drop it and change to something else. Also after getting married, I gave it serious though and ended up deciding to drop it. Because in the near future, I won’t want to attend and event with my family and they would feel embarrassed when my name is mentioned. It is also a form of rebranding.
Your marriage would be one year old on October 31, how has it been so far?
Marriage is not an easy thing because you really have to cut off a lot of excesses. I now have to balance my career, my fans and my wife and make everyone happy and it has not been very simple. I plan ahead a lot now and prioritize. For example, if my just released album makes it as big as I expect it to, then I will be moving around playing shows and looking for means to maintain my family.
I have also been making a lot of explanations because while I was a bachelor, I could get a call to come play a show and take off from there but now I can do such I must get home and explain to my wife before anything else. I make plans unlike before and I am more responsible than I used to be.
How has your wife taken to your profession?
It’s not an easy thing but she’s handling it well. Even though I have more work to do as per explaining things to her and keeping up with my fans and I take her along to most places but all in all, she is handling it well.
You recently returned from a tour of the USA, how was it and how many times have you been on such tours?
I have been to different countries but never to the United States. Going there to perform is like going to a seminar because they brought rap to us. So there’s this thing about going there but I learnt a lot, there and it was also fun because lots of Nigerian and Igbos came out and showed me much love. I really didn’t regret travelling to the States and I enjoyed myself.
Travelling to the States was a kind of fulfillment the prophecy I made in my song, Obodo, because when I sang it, I didn’t even have any plans to getting a visa. I just sang and today I have actually been there.
The trip was actually supposed to be a guest appearance thing for the Umuigbo Unite, an organization of the Igbos in the United States. They were having their convention and just wanted me to come and grace the occasion but when I got there it turned out to be a different ball game because I didn’t know I had loads of people looking forward to seeing me and when they heard that I was in town, it turned to a tour. I now had to move from one city to another, playing shows which wasn’t in my initial plans. But I couldn’t turn their request down and it ended up being a very memorable experience.
Back home now, you have just dropped a new album, what is in it and why the name you gave it?
I picked the title, End of Discussion because there’s this story that people spread around that I am just one lucky chap who is not actually talented. The discussion has been on since my first album that I was lucky people accepted my music, the way it was. I rapped in Igbo and that people accepted my music because it was just a different kind of music and not as a result of me being a genuine musician, so I did this album and entitled it End of Discussion. All gifts are from God and there’s no need to keep talking about it, so let’s end the discussion.
We are all humans and it’s not everyone that take nicely to criticism. But I see every criticism whether positive or negative as constructive and as something that can help me grow so I always try to blend it into what I am doing. I do music for people to listen to and they cannot all think the way I do and may not accept all that is acceptable to me. So, that’s how I took up that title. I am still the same old me but I am better than I used to be.
What are the things you have in the album?
I have a lot of songs in the album. But the album is just out and I am looking forward to the feedbacks and the criticisms. I featured a lot of unknown acts who are really good and I am excited about their prospects. Nobody did it for me as in featuring me and introducing me to the public and I wish someone did so I am doing it for others. The few known ones are J.Martins, Ruffman and Flavour.
I have a song entitled, O Chukwu, which means that It’s God. The one with J.Martins is Alleluyah and the one with Flavour is Adama. With Ruffman is Nutty Nutty and most of my songs are produced by Pheeno, an Enugu-based producer.
In the past there has been stories about you having problems with Klint Da Drunk which is why you guys broke up as a group and you haven’t done anything else with him…
I and Klint were never a group. Klint was already an established comedian when I was still coming up. We attended the same school and he was already well known as a comedian before Star Quest came up in 2002. He registered for the competition before me but we had done one or two songs together before then and performed at few shows.
At the registration, they demanded for two original songs and one copyright. Klint was more versed performing other people’s songs for his shows and I didn’t know any copyright songs. I was trying to bring out my own songs. So, we decided to pull together as The Comedians which came about because of the fact that they saw my music as funny and Klint is a comedian.
Then when we excelled in the competition, people began to see us as a group from Enugu. But Klint continued with his comedy and I went on with my music and I featured him on Obodo which was in the first album. While I was recording my second album, Klint was very busy with shows outside the country and I had a deadline which I was working with and I couldn’t bring him on the album. Even on this third album, I still didn’t feature him because he is very busy. We are not having any issues and Klint remains my brother till tomorrow.
Even there are so many other artists I could have featured on the album but they were either out of the country or very busy and that’s why we are praying for. If you call me and I am always available, it’s no good news. It means I am idle or lazy or that business is not coming my way and that’s not good. If my song is good, there will be need for me to perform and for me to make money, I have to travel and perform. So, if you call me and I am not available to you, don’t see it as bad thing. If there’s any artist that drops an album and is at home every weekend, it’s not god news and I don’t see it as a big deal if I call an artist and he’s not available to me.
What are you final words?
I am grateful to everyone that has supported me and the entire Nigerian music industry. God bless you all and please look out for my new album, End of Discussion and get back to me with your thoughts on it. Thank you.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Emmanuel Babayaro Talks About His Music

Emmanuel Babayaro
Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Emmanuel Babayaro is now a musician. He officially released a couple of singles earlier in the year to announce his entry into the scene. A couple of weeks back at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, he held a launch for the now completed album, entitled, Best Of Both Worlds.
Present were his brother, Celestine, who played for Chelsea and Newcastle in the English Premier League. Chief Rochas Okorocha was the chairman and Cobhams Asuquo, Sound Sultan, 1924, Obie Rhymz, Klint Da Drunk and Coach Fanny Amun who took the Babayaro brothers to the national teams were all there to show their support.
Emmanuel backed by the group 1924 who are also signed on to Rectitude Records with him took the audience through most of the songs on the album. It was a really entertaining display and most of the audience who had never seen him on stage before were quite taken in by what they saw especially the performance with Cobhmas who also produced the track…
What were some of your fondest memories of your playing days?
I started my playing in the Islanders Academy where my godfather M.H Sabo Babayro ran with Agriculture and Co-operative Banking (NACB) in Kaduna before I got into the national Under 17 and Under 20 teams before to the Super Eagles.
These were very great moments for me because they made me who I am. They were very awesome moments for me because I had loads of privileges. It was during the military era and daughter of the head of state at that time. People recognized me everywhere I went and showed me much love.
One of the most touching of them was when a woman with a little baby saw me at the Lagos airport and brought the baby to me and asked me to lay my hands on him and bless him. I was amazed and even told her that it should be the job of a priest and she insisted and when I finally obliged, she was so happy that I felt embarrassed. I had to go into the restroom because I was shedding tears. That was one of my most memorable moments.
And since you retired from football, what have you been up to?
When I was done with football, I had to go into the next thing that made me very happy which has always been there – acting and singing. I went to acting first because my youngest brother Kennedy wanted to do music and I decided to support encourage him at it. I did the movie, Growing Up, Taking Chances, You Are My Sunshine and most recently Fantastic Fanatics. I was the actor and producer in most of them.
People don’t really know that music and acting have always been there since. At age, 12 and 13, I and Celestine were entertaining people in weddings and parties. Football has brought me fame and fortune and after it, I am now living my other life which probably is my real life – music and acting and I am very grateful to God for it.
Are you still acting?
Yes. I am about shooting a movie now. I only put it on hold because of my album launch and the runnings around.
Do you think you will be able to get to the same international level you got with football with your music?
I actually think I will achieve more success with music and acting than I did with football. In football, I wasn’t so much of a professional. It was more a talent thing. I never gave 100 percent to football because I hated the hard work.
I remember during the launch when coach Fanny Amun was talking about me and my brother, he talked more about Celestine than me and when I went to thank him, he laughed at me and told me he had to talk more about my brother because I was always on the reserve bench. That was because I never gave football my all.
But right now I am doing something that I really love and I am very passionate about. This is who I am and music is something that comes to me easily. When I did my first movie, Growing Up. I did creditably well and my close friends really congratulated me on my performance. I have always been a lyricist and music is my passion. I am going to excel in it and I am not going to be a reserve on this one.
On the Nigerian music scene, we have a lot already, what new and spectacular dimensions are you adding to it?
First and foremost I am coming from a free minded point of view. I am not competing with anybody. The Nigerian market is very huge and the world is very large so there’s a market for everyone. I am not looking to copy any artist, I am just doing my thing. The most unique thing about me is that I am me. From the first to the last track on my album are all mine and original. I didn’t copy anybody but the only similar thing to others is the intelligence and IQ behind it. Songs are all written by me.
Coming in at this point, what are your expectations in the next few years?
We are talking about the present. The idea is to be on top of the world, to achieve international recognition and respect. The album is just out and I look forward to constrictive criticism and feedback from the public. However, I am really confident with what I have put out.
Who are some of your role models that have influenced your music?
I don’t really have any role models because every human has a flaw. I cannot copy anybody out and out as my role model because I could get caught up in hero worshipping and imbibe some of the flaws of my role model. I simply take something from everybody I come across and in that particular sense, that person is my role model. I cannot take up any particular musician as my role model rather I respect them a lot because they are talented people.
A lot of people inspire me because of the amount of talent they have. Look at the late Michael Jackson, 2Face, Ludacris and even my folks in 1924, a group under Rectitude Records. Then Obie Rhymz, another talented guy on the label and so many other artists both home and abroad.
Tell us about the contents of the album?
The title Best of Both Worlds means me. I have conquered the world of sports- football and now I am on to the entertainment – acting ad music.
The first track, Best of Both Worlds means me. I am the fly guy – I have most of the things a man could wish for. I have fame, money and anything you wish for. It is just a feel good song about me enjoying myself. Role Model on the second track is me talking to the younger ones and advising them on how to make a success out of their lifestyle. Then there is Where You Dey? Where I was wondering about the whereabouts of an old flame who is now a show host on TV and what was going to tell her if she ever invited me on her show. One Day talks about what an ideal country would be like on day. Naija Area was originally a rap tack which my label boss, Ceasefire an ID Cabasa, the producer made me sing as a song.
It is a song about Nigeria, what we are going through, who we truly are and how the outside world thinks about us. Then Rags was written by Obie Rhymz and when he freestyled it for me I fell in love with it and did the rap verse. Onobule is me rehearsing how best to serenade a babe. My Party was an instant thing which I did in Frenzy’s studio. It was just me freestyling on a beat I really liked and asking everybody to come party with me. Then there’s Agro and Jigi Bam Bam which were the ideas of my label boss who wanted me to do a club song.
Coming down from music and everything, tell us about yourself, where you are from and the link from the east to the north?
My name is Emmanuel Hyacinth Iwuoha. I am from Amaigbo in Imo State. I was born in Lagos and brought up in Kadune. Babayaro is the name of my godfather who trained I and my brother, Celestine in football. We took the name as a trademark. It was just a feel good thing. It was never really a very serious matter. We took the name and it stuck. The other members of the family don’t answer Babayaro and didn’t play football. We were just kids.
Looking at the decision in hindsight, are you comfortable with it or do you regret it?
I have never really bothered about it. My parents were alive when we started bearing the name and they never complained about it. I never really thought about it. It’s just a name and it doesn’t affect who I am. It never stopped my parents from being my parents.
That means you have two homes where you are well accepted?
I have only one home and that is Nigeria. I am not into the north-west-south.east thing. Nigeria is just one and my parents never brought me up in those lines. I am happy to also be that way. I do not subscribe to segregation and I believe in only one Nigeria. I have brothers who are Yoruba Igbos and northerners.
How many are you in the family?
We used to be eight, six boys and two girls but our last born left us and we are now seven.
What about your immediate nuclear family?
I have a daughter and I have a very beautiful woman. My daughter is Angelita (little angel) and she is my life. I love her so much. She is just six months old. She is an angel sent to me by God.
What are your final words?
I believe a lot in God and I believe that I am going to excel in music just like I did in football. I just want people to pick up a copy of my album, Best of Both Worlds, listen and pass their judgment.