Jeremiah Gyang is one name that cannot be ignored on the Nigerian music scene. His debut album Na Ba Ka is still a favourite among music lovers. Gyang, who is also a celebrated producer, is yet to release his much-anticipated sophomore CD, titled The Love Album.
He told Correspondent, Kemi Yesufu why. The native of Plateau State also spoke on his love life and why sponsorship is a problem for northern artistes.
The last time we spoke, you talked about releasing your second album, have you done that?
I have to start by saying you and all my fans have to forgive me. I am sorry the album hasn’t been released yet. I’m really working hard to make things happen, because in this part of the country, it’s really difficult to get sponsors. But I am re-launching myself, so to speak. I am starting with bringing in an orchestra and I am working towards getting sponsors to underwrite the show. I have a page on facebook that gives the whole details about my album; you can even listen to some songs from the album. The CDs are hopefully going to be in the market by December.
Is there any other reason you are yet to come out with a follow up to your debut CD?
No, there is no other reason.
A lot of music lovers will find it hard to believe that you couldn’t get sponsors in spite of the success of Na Ba Ka. Is it that none of the marketers in Alaba market is offering to buy the album?
I am resolute about this; I won’t be selling my album to any marketer. I refuse to sell my album.
The offers from the marketers weren’t good, I guess.
Even if the offer is good, I won’t be selling my publishing rights. No matter how good the offer is from a marketer, I will not sell my album, because it is my work, it is my intellectual property. If I get a distribution deal that makes sense to me, I will rather work with it than selling the album outright.
So you mean that no marketer has offered you a distribution deal worth your while?
A couple of people have approached me with a deal, but we are yet to finalise things.
Are you probably being careful because you did not have a good deal with your former record label?
I think so, I will not settle for less than what I know I deserve.
Some people say you’re not on talking terms with Audu Maikori, your former record label boss. How true is this?
That is untrue, we are human beings, a lifetime is not enough for two people to be friends. Things were really bad between us, I must say. But nothing should be so bad that we wouldn’t be talking to each other. I don’t think keeping malice makes sense.
It seems you are taking so much time to get your second album out to the public, aren’t you afraid that music lovers will get tired of waiting for a new thing from you?
No, I am not worried, neither am I afraid. There is time for everything. There was a time I was the best thing, everybody should have their own time too. I want to be known for giving a certain type of music. I don’t want to seem desperate to be looking to stay in the spotlight. I want to be known for being consistent in dishing out a certain kind of quality of music to people.
With your second album still in the works, how have you been paying your bills?
I am into music fulltime, so I make money from shows, I make money from producing songs and I make money from endorsements.
Steve Gukas hired you as music director for his upcoming movie A Place in the Stars, this must be your first time and what’s the attraction for you doing music for a film?
It is not my first time doing music for a film. I took the offer because it is something I do with a certain level of efficiency that has made film producers contact me, especially foreign film companies.
Many are of the opinion that Lagos remains the best place for a musician to ply his or her trade. And you are based in Jos.
I don’t have to be in Lagos to carry on with my career. I am going to be in Lagos tomorrow for a performance, I don’t live there. I believe that whatever is mine will get to me. I’m trying to make it easier for people to reach me. I know that one of the major problems I have is that I had to change my numbers a couple of times because of stalkers. Things have been made easy with facebook. If you send me a mail my people will connect with you.
Coming back to the album, have you changed the title? Have you added new songs or is it still the way you made it waiting to be pushed into the market?
It is still The Love Album, but I have added new songs. The album used to have nine songs, now they are up to 15 songs. The album sounds really good, I have had one major listening session and two smaller ones and the response has really been amazing. I did a lot of the work on the album; some of the songs were recorded abroad.
From what or whom do you get inspiration for your songs?
I get inspiration from my experiences and that of others.
Are you in a relationship?
I’m in a relationship with anyone who knows me. I don’t have a girlfriend if that is what you are asking.
Why don’t you have a girlfriend?
I’m so busy now; I don’t think I will have the time to share with anyone who will be my woman. My tight schedule has made me sceptical about getting into a relationship.
When you eventually decide to start a relationship, what kind of girl will you be hooking up with?
First, she has to be beautiful. They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so she must look beautiful to me. My dream girl has to take me with all my flaws. My dream girl has to have the same values I think a woman should posses. It is very hard to find a girl who will be your friend no matter the situation. A girl whom when things are either down or good, she cares about you.
How would you assess the music industry?
It is growing each day.
What has life taught you?
God cannot be mocked, whatever you sow, you shall reap. There are so many other things I have learnt, but what has stuck with me is that what you sow, you shall reap.
How difficult is it for you a born again in the entertainment world?
I am not religious, I don’t follow any form of organised religions.
What do you do when you’re not making music?
I watch films. I take walks to the railway. I sit with friends and we gist.
Earlier, you talked about changing your phone number to avoid stalkers, one gets the feeling that you are one star who will not get used to being famous. How do you cope with fans?
I love my fans a lot. Some fans can be crazy but I love them too. Sometimes I need a quiet moment and when I do, I change my phone numbers. It is not that I don’t love my fans.