Monday, August 14, 2017
HOW GROWING UP IN BARIGA MOLDED ME INTO WHAT I AM TODAY
Music star, 9ice, stormed City People Head office last week to keep a date. He had missed the recent City People Music Awards and he came to keep a date.
9ice is an award winning artiste, who has won numerous awards and has established his name in the Nigerian Music Sector. 9ice whose real name is Abolore Adegbola Akande was once again on Sunday, August 6, 2017 honoured at the City People Music Awards with a Special Recognition for his contribution to the music industry.
He has carved a niche for himself as a great song writer and hook man who placed creativity and originality at the forefront of his endeavour . His ingenuity broke boundaries within a very short period, left lasting impression on anyone that cared to listen to his strongly worded and lyrically loaded songs. As a youngster, he enjoyed the success of his single and album, entitled “Gongo Aso”.
9ice performed at the Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday Tribute concert singing “Gongo Aso” in London on June 27, 2008. This was his first time outside the country, a feat he never dreamt of happening due to the struggles he faced on the street of Bariga.
He was recently hosted to a round table by the Showbiz Desk of City People Magazine Headquarter Office in Gbagada, Lagos where he spoke extensively about his Music and Political career as well as his upbringing on the street of Bariga. Enjoy the Interview below.
What have 9ice been up to lately?
Presently, I’m working on some new songs as we are planning to release an album this year.
Your recent releases gave you a massive comeback, how were you able to achieve that?
It is God’s doing. God’s time is always the best. I just kept recording songs like I always do. It’s God’s mercy on me.
On your recent clash with Falz over your song “Living Things”, what really transpired?
We all need to know that what we do is a body of message and we have to be careful the type of message we pass across to people. Artistes are like representatives of the masses and we as Nigerians when we hear the word “Wire”, we link it to online scam or fraud. The truth is, there are so many people I have come across in my line of music and not everyone who does online transaction is illegal. Well, I believe the controversy has educated a lot of people now.
After the controversy sprang up, you refused to perform the song at a certain event, why?
If you notice, I was given 20 minutes to perform at the event and if you calculate that at 5minutes per song, that would result into 4 songs. And since the guests were elderly people, I decided to perform 3 popular songs that they know and add a new song. So I performed 4 songs within 20 minutes and that was about it but the DJ kept playing more songs and I had to be professional and stick to our agreement, as I didn’t want to bite into other performers time, that was why I didn’t perform the songs.
Share with us how you were able to resolve the problem with Falz?
There was no problem first of all, the thing there is that we all need to learn how to answer the media when asked questions. The media always have a way of pulling a different meaning to what you actually say. One statement you make could have 4 different meanings as against what you actually mean. So, it’s very important we know how to respond to questions, and I’m sure that he has learnt.
So what’s next for 9ice?
Like I said earlier, we are working on a new album and it is titled G.O.A.T – Greatest Of All Time.
What’s your relationship with ID Cabasa like now?
It’s very cordial, we are still close as ever and the relationship is still strong.
What informed the title of your latest single, “Living Things”?
I actually went to Ilorin for a show and they were celebrating Yam Festival, so we went for the Festival, it was in Ogidi, Kwara State. So, after the festival, while leaving, some boys stopped us and said we must give them money, so I gave them some money but they still insisted on more that the money I gave them wasn’t enough and they kept saying they are “Living Things”, and it just struck me like what is “Living Things” doing in the context. Anyways, I gave them more money but the words “Living Things” stuck in my head all through the journey to Lagos and when we got back to Lagos, I decided to do something around the words and I started developing my lyrics and that was how the song “Living Things” was created.
There was a big pause in your career before your recent comeback, what were some of the lessons you learned?
Well, I wouldn’t call it a big pause because I was still releasing music but like I said earlier, you need to learn how to answer questions from the media and you also have to realize that you are public figure, if you don’t like it, then don’t do music so that people won’t talk about you. You also need to know how to position yourself as a small god so that people won’t ride on you.
What informed your move into politics?
I have always wanted to be a lawyer as I am a very serious minded person, so when the opportunity came for the ticket, I went for it. You really don’t have to be a graduate to go into politics; it’s about having common sense and the fear of God.
So what’s your take on more and more music artists going into politics?
They are making a joke out of it. It’s not a joke. There are some of our artistes who can only be an artiste and don’t qualify for politics. You can tell from the kind of song they sing the kind of politician they would become. It is really not a joke. They should really stop taking it as a joke.
So what happened during the election?
They didn’t allow my region to vote. If they had voted, I would have won the election. A whole local government was held from voting, that’s wrong but again, that’s politics for you.
Did you fulfill the entire requirements before attaining a ticket?
Yes I did, I bought a ticket as an APC party member. I got the clearance only for me to be told at the last minute that I should go or “State” and relinquish my contest for “Federal” and I told them no, I wouldn’t deny another person his position. On the election day, they didn’t allow a whole local government to vote. Another strategy they used was how they delayed the election and made others vote in darkness. They didn’t allow the biggest local government to vote, can’t you see why I lost.
So did losing the election inform your Special Adviser appointment?
I was appointed but did you see me there? I know what I want. what I was given is different from what I want. I would still retry. That I lost now doesn’t mean I won’t win later. Buhari tried 4 times before he became President.
You sang a song where you referenced some prominent Nigerians like Olusegun Obasanjo and co. Do you think people would understand the message in the song?
They might not understand what I am talking about in the song but I do know the message I was passing across. It’s not everyone who would understand you. When Fela was alive and singing his songs, no one from our generation understood him.
Dealing with controversies in the industry, how have you been able to?
Whether you like it or not, controversy is part of life. You can’t have fame and expect to avoid controversies. From my song “Living Things”, I can tell you that when I say “Wire” it doesn’t necessarily have to be negative, it could mean online transactions via Money Gram, Western Union. People now do online money transfers and so on. So, why the link to Yahoo Yahoo? The people I mentioned in the song are socialites, when they buy drinks for me in the club and I drink.
Going back to your first album, it was a massive hit, how did you feel as of that time?
Well, it is as a result of that album that I am here today. It has brought me so many blessings and some controversies. As at when the song and album was reigning, I was still learning then. I was like “how long is this going to last”? It is now that I am just getting to believe it.
Did you see it coming?
I never saw it coming.
So how many copies did you sell?
I really don’t know. It’s hard to keep count of album sales in Nigeria but what I do know is that the album is still on stands and on the street for sales.
What’s your defense to the news spreading that your voice is fading?
Voices don’t diminish or fade, they change over time. Go listen to Pasuma’s Orobokibo, D’Banj you would notice the change in voice. Same for K1, go and listen to his first track and then listen to him now, you would notice the change in voice. It’s same for any musician who has been consistent in singing. The more we sing, the more the voice thickens.
Take us back to your early years
I was born and bred in Bariga, Odunsi Street to be precise. Did my primary and secondary school education in Bariga, I later did part study for a year in Nigeria Opportunities Industrialization Centers (NOIC) before attending Lagos State University.
How did music start for you?
Music started for me when I was in Nigeria Opportunities Industrialization Centers (NOIC). That was 1999/2000. I started out with a group called “Mysterious Boys”. But because it is a vocational school and we did the course for just a year, when we finished our programme, we couldn’t keep up with the music because my friends were staying far away. So I moved on and formed another group called “Abinibi” and we did that for 2 years before I started my own solo career in 2000.
What made you go into music?
Nothing really, I just didn’t want to be idle. An idle hand is the devils workshop and I didn’t want to do anything illegal like crime, thuggery and so on. So I had to use music to keep myself busy.
And professionally, how did music start for you?
Professionally, it was ID Cabasa who made me start music. There was a time I noticed he had no helping hand and I felt he needed one. Though, it was not like he couldn’t do without one but I was determined to help him so I approached him and offered myself as an helping hand in his studio and he agreed. That gave me 100% chances to learn the trade; learn how to produce, mix, master, learn some instruments and so on.
How long have you known ID Cabasa?
Since 1998, he has been recording me as a group artist before I went solo. I lived with him for about 5/6 years.
So did you start off singing?
No, I was a rapper while I was in the group but he told me to drop rapping and try singing. So most of my songs that were rap then was converted to RnB. A song like “Little Money” was initially a rap song before we converted it.
What informs the strong Yoruba slangs and adages you use in your music?
I grew up with my stepmom and she always used these Yoruba proverbs and words to converse with me. I lived all my life with her. She hails from Ibadan but we lived all our lives in Lagos. I learnt all the proverbs and words from her and never believed it would someday be beneficial in anyway. It was when I was trying to be creative after Cabasa had advised me to be different and original that I started infusing the Yoruba proverbs in my song.
Would you say been from Oyo state also informed the Yoruba in your music?
In fact, you should give a state to Bariga. I’m from Bariga State. That’s where I lived all my life. We only left Bariga to Oke-Aro Agbado later.
So how did been a Bariga boy influence you?
I really wish every one of us went through the street and learnt from it. The basic knowledge is from the street, not everyone who read a certain course in the university would end up practicing it. The basic knowledge comes from what you learn at home and on the street and that is what would evolve and bring to being a man.
Can you fill us in on some of your street experience in Bariga?
One thing was for sure in Bariga, we all lived like a family. I still remember one of my Igbo neighbors whereby his Egusi soup is what we would use to eat our Eba. Even when people fight, they still look out for each other. It’s like a family oriented community. You can never be in Bariga and not experience such reality about life.
What was it like coming from the street to actually touring the world?
I never had a National Passport and I never thought I would ever have one until when I had to travel for a Mandela program. That was the first time I travelled out of Nigeria. It wasn’t in my dream that I would ever travel outside Nigeria, because I saw it as impossible. How would a Bariga boy ever dream of travelling out? It was a UK Visa I got first, then UK was the first place I travelled to and Virgin Atlantic was the first plane and it was a First Class flight. I never expected it. In fact, I turned it down like 4 times because I kept asking myself, if I travel to London, what would I buy for people back home. The first time I travelled I was given 1000 dollars and I gave some of it to my stepmother and friends, this was in 2008 for the Mandela 90th Birthday Tribute Concert.
What informs your new look?
It’s about staying in trend. Music of today has a lot to do with how you look, your appearance and style. It’s not just about the songs you sing, you look can also sell you.
Your relationship with women?
It’s pretty simple, I keep it that way. But for a profession like music, it is the female who spread the music. So, we can’t do without them.
Any plan for another marriage?
To be honest, I have had my fair share of it. It is not in everything that you succeed, I have failed with marriage but I have children. Anything can happen in the nearest future, but that’s for time to tell.
How did your deal with Temple Management Come about?
I used to work with CEO of Temple Management when he was a Personal Assistant to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, so we have a cordial relationship. When he decided to venture into Entertainment, I talked with him and he said he had the passion for entertainment and I said ok, go ahead and seeing what he has been doing with people like King Sunny Ade and the likes. I just had to come onboard.