I kicked Bistop out, Saya Ape Planet CEO
The first time Bracket got public attention was in 2006 when they released their first album, â€˜Happy Dayâ€™ with the lead single â€˜Happy Dayâ€™. It didnâ€™t do well and they were soon forgotten. Then, they were a 3-guy-group who played by the name, Smash, Vast and Bistop.Â
The group â€˜resurrectedâ€™ in 2009 with the hit track, â€˜Yori Yoriâ€™, a song contained in a superb album which incontrovertibly dominated the music scene in 2009. All seemed okay, unless for the absence of Bistop, which was defended by his former members as a personal and voluntary decision to quit music for academic reasons.
We believed their tale until Bistop surfaced and made contrary accusations, especially about how he wrote the hit song â€˜Yori Yoriâ€™ and how he was edged out of the group by their labelâ€™s CEO, Nwachukwu MamahÂ for being outspoken after about 90 per cent completion of the â€˜Yori Yoriâ€™ album project. Smash, Vast and Bistop are students at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the trio-turned-duo group- Bracket is signed to Ape Planet records. Lolade Sowoolu speaks to the parties involved and this is an excerpt of their submissions.
How are you doing?
Whatâ€™s your name in full?
My name is Nwachukwu Mamah They call me â€˜Big Missâ€™
How long have you known the group Bracket?
This is the fourth year or thereabout since weâ€™ve been working together.
That means you knew them when they were a trio.
What was it like working with the three of them?
Good. It was rough though but we managed to conduct ourselves and so we passed through the rough times successfully before getting to where we are now.
There were three members in the group before. Now there are two of them. Tell me, do you miss anything?
Is there any difference working with a duo or a trio?
Not much difference. But you know that when someone leaves, youâ€™d definitely miss the personÂ but there isnâ€™t much to say. They are still the Bracket of yesterday and today.
Do you still have any relationship with the ex-member of the group, Bistop?
Was he ever a part of the â€˜Yori Yoriâ€™ album project?
It (the album) was in process but along the line, he had to leave.
So, you had started recording songs for the album before he left…
Yeah. Probably. Somehow.
Was the lead track â€˜Yori Yoriâ€™ recorded as at the time he left the group?
Are we to go into this? I guess we could be talking about something better, like why weâ€™re gathered here today.
This is equally important. So how, far have you gone with the recording of the â€˜Yori Yoriâ€™ album before Bistop left?
Okay, letâ€™s continue. Weâ€™d done a couple of songs and it happened that it (the work relationship) wasnâ€™t really working out. Then I had to drop him.
Iâ€™d really like you to clear the air about who wrote â€˜Yori Yoriâ€™
Hmm, I believe thatâ€™s not for me to say. I donâ€™t want to talk about that. I have to leave it out. So, no comments.
But you knew the boys well…
Yes. I know him (Bistop). I know his voice and I know his life as a musician before now. That said, no further comments.
Iâ€™ve interviewed Smash and Vast before and they told me about how they wrote the song, â€˜Yori Yoriâ€™ but that was before we found Bistop and he said otherwise.
I think they (Smash and Vast) are in a better position to answer you.
Is it true Bistop left the group voluntarily for any reason, academic or otherwise?
No, no, no. He didnâ€™t leave voluntarily. I dropped him myself.
Was it a mutually understood move?
Itâ€™s as a result of a misunderstanding that came between both of us. I didnâ€™t like what he did, so I felt he wasnâ€™t competent to work with me.
Could it be that you dropped him because he was more outspoken than his colleagues, as he alleged in an interview?
Hmm, thatâ€™s his own opinion. For me, I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s a beef (an issue) that needs to be spelled out or clarified using the press. There isnâ€™t any cause for laying blames or accusations. So, Iâ€™m not going to make any comment on that.
For me, I still see him as someone who needs help (pause) in terms of his music career. So anytime, any day, Iâ€™ll keep wishing him good, although we donâ€™t work together anymore. If I should take what he says out on him, we wouldnâ€™t be merely talking about this right now because there would have been further developments. So, I think I should just let him do his thing.
As CEO of a record label, should he come to you now for a work relationship as a solo artiste, will you sign him on?
No, I wonâ€™t. Why should I sign him on when I kicked him out in the first place.
So, his new status as a solo artiste doesnâ€™t change anything?
Heâ€™s on his own.
Why canâ€™t you work with him?
One thing about this business called music is that the industry chooses who it wants to work with. People bond together even without knowing. So, it depends on who God bonds with you; thatâ€™s who you work with. I believe that Iâ€™ve tried every possible means and asked God to show me who I can work with. Iâ€™m doing my part the way God wants me to do it, and not just because we have a reality going on. In every success, definitely, there must be a story.
So, I donâ€™t blame this issue (Bistop) coming up because thatâ€™s his life and he needs to do something that will make him get heard and get people to know him.
And perhaps, if your boys didnâ€™t become this successful, this issue wouldnâ€™t have come up at all.,,
So, imagine if it was him who blew up and we are nowhere, do you think all these (song author cum rights) issues will be discussed at all.
Is it true he introduced the group to you to sign on?
It was my nephew that brought the group to me. In fact, Smash, the one people call Fanta, is my childhood friend. We went to the same primary school and grew up together. We lived on the same street.
So, it wasnâ€™t Bistop who introduced the others to you…
I knew even the manager before now. So itâ€™s not that he (Bistop) brought anything to me.
Thank you very much for clearing the air.