By BENJAMIN NJOKU
He strolled into the expansive hall, looking humble, tamed and apologetic. It was obvious that he has gone through some kind of transformation in recent times. And for anyone, it was almost unbelievable beholding the once crazy, yet controversial singer painting a subtle picture of a calm and changed personae.
Indeed, Terry G has left ‘madness’ and is ready to re-brand. A partnership deal between his management company, TGP Entertainment and Ogbuefi Udochukwu a.k.a Fire’s Basic Entertainment which was sealed during the week in Lagos, appeared all that the “Free Madness” crooner needed to relaunch his dwindling career and perhaps, reclaim his enviable spot in the Nigerian music scene.
Before he went underground few years back following his crazy lifestyle, Terry G, born Gabriel Oche Amanyi was the toast of many lovers of freestyle music in the country. He was described as ‘godfather’ of the sonic riptide of street-hop currently sweeping off the feet of Nigerian youths. Suddenly, the light went out and the giant crumbled, almost finding it difficult to get back his groove.
While in his heydays, the Benue State-born singer and instrumentalist courted controversies that derailed his vibrant career and made him confess umpteen times that he never enjoyed fame because he was always having one problem or the other. But all that is about to change soon, as Terry G takes a leap of faith to return to the mainstream music world, courtesy of Basic Entertainment.
“My fans are waiting and salivating. But it’s better that they are disappointed in me than I am pushing out content that will not stick with them,” Terry G echoed, while responding to a question on why he disappeared from the music scene.
Going down memory lane, the gap-tooth singer, who has been silent for some years now, expressed sadness that when he started what is in vogue today, people criticized and discriminated against him and his kind of music. But they have now embraced it wholeheartedly.
According to him, “I sang and prophesied about this nonsense that is making sense today. At that time, nobody knew my aim. I just wanted to make the difference because you can’t just be doing the same thing. Now, I am of a different breed because I am the reason for what is happening today. There is need for people to understand me – that it wasn’t like I didn’t know what I was doing then. I was just taking a risk which is what is happening today in the Nigerian music scene. “
For leading a revolution in the music scene, Terry G, however, described himself as the “Jesus” of Nigerian music, saying he set the pace for the present trend in the industry. “I’m the Jesus of Nigerian music, I’m not the Christ. The Christ is the saviour, Jesus is a name, and for the fact that Jesus is the most popular name that died for us and sacrificed for us.”
“It took me a while to take this risk that a lot of persons discriminated against me and now, they see people smoking, doing stuff and nobody is talking. There must be a pace-setter.”
Terry G claimed many Nigerians frowned at him, adding that they have embraced and supported most of the things they criticized him for in the past.
The “Akpako Master said he wasn’t sorry for anything he did in the past, adding that his concern was to comeback and reclaim his place in the country’s music scene.
Claiming also that he never enjoyed fame because of pressure and controversies, Terry G also agreed that “I once said too I enjoyed being controversial.”
The hit maker recounted how his journey into the world of music began, noting that he drew his inspiration while going through people’s windows to watch MTV Base back in his village.
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He added that his quest for exposure, having hailed from a very poor background inspired his decision to go into music.” Nobody inspired me into music. I got exposed by what I was watching on MTV Base. I just wanted to be better. That period between 2007 and 2008, people saw anybody who was wearing ear-ring and smoking as irresponsible person.”
While comparing himself to rave of the moment, Naira Marley, Terry G admitted that it was not in his place to decide whether he was more influential than the Marlian President.
He said that Marley is only trying to ‘archive’ a lot , even though he sees both of them “making the world go crazier.”
Terry G also revealed that he once rejected a deal with Sony Music, claiming that it did not pay.
“They are not giants, but hustlers. I rejected Sony music deal and Burna Boy also did. It doesn’t pay,” the singer said. He, therefore, advised Nigerian singers to ensure they understand the details of every agreement before they sign deals. In addition, Terry G urged artistes to take advantage of their fame, saying it does not last forever. “When the lights are shining on you, do not think that they would be forever. My own fame was full of pressure, controversies,” he added.
Terry G is one of the singers that broke the strict rule of music and gave the licence for freestyles to be used as original acceptable musical joint in Nigeria. He created a style in the music industry thereby making the art of music easy to do, leaving the impression that anyone can wake up to do music.
“Free Madness,” “Akpako Master”, “See Groove” and “Sangolo” are some of his songs which ruled the airwaves in the late 2000s and are still enjoying airplay till date. For many reasons, people see Terry G through his songs as the star of his own multitude of beautiful musical lunacy. With his planned comeback to his first love-music, Terry G’s fans should expect nothing short of refined ‘madness.’
CEO of Basic Entertainment, Ogbuefi Udochukwu a.k.a Fire said it all, when he noted that the investment deal which will lapse after three years will help to re-brand and also remake “Akpako Master.”
“Bringing Terry G into my record label under an investment deal is something that will benefit both parties. Terry G is already a brand but Basic Entertainment need to re-brand his brand so as to bring me to the limelight again. This is because his kind of music is what is in vogue in the country today.”
On his own, Terry G’s manager, Alex Ozone said the partnership is something they are all looking forward to harnessing in future. While Terry G has lamented that he never had his own fair share in terms of getting endorsement from the corporate bodies, the new deal will go a long way to reverse the sad story. “Even if they see me as a crazy guy, the corporate people will also see the calm side of me. That’s what keeps me going,” the singer noted.