By Tofarati Ige
P opular singer, 9ice recently contested for the Federal House of Representatives, Ogbomosho North/Ogbomosho South/Orire Federal Constituency on the platform of his party, APC but lost out at the primaries.
However, in this edition as our Showtime Celebrity, the lanky singer revealed that he has not given up on his political ambition, and says he even aspires to become the governor of Oyo State. He also speaks on his relationship with his estranged wife, Toni Payne. Excerpts:
Your voice has changed over the years, what’s the real cause of this?
As at the time I recorded my first album, I was 24 years old, and if you compare that to when someone is 35 years old, you can see the changes in the physical body and every other aspect. Age has a lot to do with that. Another factor is that most times when we go for concerts, the microphones and other sound equipment are not right.
I end up shouting at the top of my voice. Imagine someone doing that consistently for five years. After the release of ‘Gongo Aso’ I was doing shows all over back and forth for almost five years. Sometimes, you rehearse your songs on a particular key, and when you get there for performance, they play a different key. So with all these, there is the tendency to lose your voice, and even get the voice cracking.
What’s the inspiration behind your latest singles?
Well, the inspiration behind ‘Familete’ is that we have a lot of people that are rich out there who think they have arrived. But you can be as rich as King Solomon, if you don’t keep working, your money will eventually be exhausted. I was also trying to express the way some rich people live their lives, and also the notion many young people have about riches.
They believe once they have money, the money won’t finish. It has to do with how you spend your money, and also how you relate to people when you have that money, so that when you don’t have, people who you helped will also help you. On the other hand, “Sugar” is about couples, and talking about the reason why they are in love. It also talks about the challenges and hurdles people face when in love.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learnt from your experience in politics?
I’ve learnt that Nigeria lacks leadership. It’s ‘moneyticians’ that they see, and they have no choice but to follow whoever they see. During the course of my campaign, I learnt a lot, and I got closer to the people. I listened to their yearnings, and realized that they want a lot of things, but are not getting what they want.
I will also implore people who have the passion to lead their people to offer themselves up for service. The people that we have there now are not leaders; they’re just there for whatever they’ll gain.
This is your first shot at politics, but what would you say is your ultimate ambition?
My ultimate ambition in politics is to become the governor of Oyo State. However, I’ll still run for the Federal House of Representatives to serve my constituency in the next election. I believe I can serve in that position very well, and I also know that I stand the chance to become the governor of Oyo State.
As the Special Adviser to the Oyo State governor on Youths, what are your plans for the people of the state?
My plans are to spring up so many ideas that I already have at the back of my mind. Initiatives like the Governor’s Cup in terms of Sports, and also by organizing debates. The era of debates has died, and I think we need to encourage the brilliant students who have the capacity for that in Oyo State. I intend to present such students to the governor so they can be supported academically, and if the powers that be support the idea, then I think we’re good to go.
You once said that fans sometime miss-interprete the meaning of your songs, what have you learnt from that?
I’ve learnt that songs are spiritual, and we as artistes, should watch the kind of songs we sing. Like the song “Once bitten, twice shy;” it was a quality song, but it was released at the wrong time when other things were happening. People just added one and two together, and concluded that the song was talking about my own separation. I still repeat that it’s a good song, and it’s only unfortunate that people read wrong meanings to it.
What’s your relationship with Toni Payne now?
How do you intend to combine your role as a public official and an artiste?
I don’t think one disturbs the other. My political office is during the day as Abolore Akande, and music is performed at night by 9ice. I think I have already differentiated the two.
Would you need to be cautious of your kind of lyrics considering the public office you hold?
It doesn’t limit the things I say in my music. The office I hold is about youths, and I’m a youth as well.
Music wise, what next should we be expecting from you?
Watch out for the songs I’ll be releasing soon.
You once said that bloggers should not upload your songs again, what’s your problem with them?
I’m still saying that. How could they be offering my songs for free when same songs are available at iTunes for certain price? My problem with them is that they should not put up my songs for free when same songs are being sold somewhere else. There will be a time I’ll also release some songs for free. It’s not charity; it’s business. I have to make money.
You’re into politics now, do you have any plans to work towards regulating the industry in your own way?
Definitely! That’s one of the reasons why I’m in politics. People in this industry complain every day, but there will be no change if we don’t participate. The more we are in government, the better it will be for us.