Also speaks on his ties with Soweto Gospel Choir, next big project
Multi-talented artiste, Darey Art Alade, is an interviewer’s delight; there is a connection when you meet him, which produces a sudden spark of affinity. In this interview, a collaboration between Sunday Vanguard and www.africainterviews.com, he speaks on a number of issues including his celebrity marriage, his collaboration with the Soweto Gospel Choir, Ciara, and his next big project. (You can visit africainterviews.com for more)
What inspired the song Pray For Me?
The inspiration for Pray For Me actually came from some personal experiences that P-Square had. While we were recording in the studio, producer, Oscar Heman–Ackah, told me the story of how P-Square wanted to leave home (Jos at the time), they had started dancing and doing covers but they wanted to leave home. They already saw their names in shining light, but their parents would have none of it . Their parents didn’t believe they would amount to anything, you know a parent’s worst fear – they look at entertainers as ne’er-do-wells. They had that struggle. They had to even break the sim cards of their phones, and they said to their dad, “Dad, we are leaving, this is where our heart is, and we can’t keep fooling ourselves.” That was the long and short of the story. I found their story very inspiring. Although the song is not as detailed as their story, it was their story that inspired the song and brought it to life.
Why the choice of the Soweto Gospel Choir and how was it like working with them?
Working with the Soweto Gospel Choir was in a bid to embrace Africa. Working with a Nigerian Choir would not have given it a pan-African feel. I wanted a group that had personality, character and a name, so that we could join forces to create a symbolic sound. The Soweto Gospel Choir came to mind and I got in touch with them through someone who had worked with them in the past. They wanted to hear the song, so I sent it and they loved it. Let’s not forget that they have won the Grammys and performed with the likes of Pharrell, Celine Dion, toured the world; working with them was brilliant, they have an ear for sound. Presently the song is on YouTube; it is almost like a documentary. We chronicled some of the studio sessions, it was a mixture of cultures; teaching them how to sing in Yoruba was interesting. They are really cool guys. It was a nice experience.
You talked about the Soweto Gospel Choir being cool guys, however, some entertainers in this part of the world, with a little success, usually develop ego as big as the World Wide Web. In your opinion, does this come with the terrain?
I don’t know really, I can only use myself as an example. I think it is important to have people who can help you stay grounded. That is one key thing – when you don’t have yes men all around you, boosting your ego and telling you, you are God. For me, I never had any of those downsides. I have always had a strong family support, starting from as far back as my late mum to now, my wife and children being there and other members of the family; just always reminding you of who you are and where you come from. It is easy for the fame, the money, success to reinvent you and turn you into something else, someone that you are not. So, when you see those things happen, more often than not, they don’t have a strong background. Even if you have nothing, doesn’t mean you cannot come from good stock, it doesn’t mean that you cannot come from a place where you cannot be put in your place no matter how much money you have made. Once you don’t have people who can tell you the truth about what you are doing, the situation you are in, it is easy to lose yourself. We can see that with many Nigerian stars today.
Why the choice of Ciara for this year’s Love Like A Movie?
She did fit the theme perfectly. It was a futuristic dance party. Ciara is a great dancer and performer. She was also available. All those elements helped with making Love Like A Movie 3 what it was.
Who should we expect for the next show?
Your guess is as good as mine. Time will tell…
But who do you want?
It depends on the theme, the vibe, what we want to create; those elements will determine who we want to bring.
What is the next big project you are working on?
I am already working on another album. Livespot has evolved into a company; we are doing production, digital media, entertainment, so it is one-stop shop that is expanding. I am doing more work for brands now, almost playing an ambassadorial role without being an ambassador. Also focusing on marriage, celebrating 10 years of marriage and the list goes on…
Do you have brothers who look like you and are single?
I have brothers, older brothers and they are single. We look alike but they are far away in the US.
You have been married for about 10 years now, in your opinion, why do many celebrity marriages break up?
I have no idea why people are not able to get along or solve their problems privately. Marriage is a personal thing, you don’t get married for the world. You get married for the sake of each other. Getting married is one thing, staying married is another. It takes work, perseverance, you have to be selfless, and you have to be tolerant. These are things they tell you from the beginning – you don’t realize how profound they are until you are in midstream and looking left and right for a lifebuoy to keep you afloat . But it is between both of you. Once you start to involve other people in your matter, then you might as well not be married anymore. It is just the grace of God, you just take things easy, and nobody is perfect. You being able to hide each other’s imperfections is also what marriage is. You just have to be there for each other, so it is up to you really.
Being good looking, multi-talented and famous, have you been tempted to keep a mistress or stray like some men would do in your position?
Not at all.
How is that possible? Surely you get a lot of attention from female fans?
They (female fans) are always there, you keep practicing that fine line that you don’t see. You keep them as friends and make sure they stay as friends. When you start to give people a different role, then things can happen. Again, it is just the grace of God, just being able to stay focused and true to myself.
What advice would you give any celebrity contemplating marriage?
Your marriage is your marriage. You are not getting married because of what the society thinks, or what your best friends think, you are not getting married because of what your girlfriends or your boyfriends think, or for your group or social clubs, or for your team of turn up guys. You are not getting married because of anybody. It is for you. It is between you and God, try to keep it that way. Don’t put your family situation out there, don’t put too many personal experiences out there. Even away from marriage, it is not everywhere you go to that you take a selfie to show what you just bought or are doing, you need to understand the repercussions of many things. It is just like when you speak, you think about what you say before you say it, because it can be taken out of context. It could still be taken out of context regardless of how careful you are, or how well thought out your speech is. So it is very important to keep your private life private and pray for the grace to be able to share the right things. Ultimately, you have to realize that marriage is work in progress. There is no perfect marriage; no perfect solution or formula that gives you all the answers.