These are no fantastic or romantic times for the singer popularly known as Mr. Fantastik, Sunny Neji. We gathered that Captain Sunny, as he is also known, has been cut off the multi million naira Globacom ambassadorship deal, which has been the mainstay of many Nigerian artistes in the last four years. In fact, his picture and profile have been removed from the leading telecommunications company’s website.
Neji became a Glo ambassador in 2008 alongside other acts like D’banj, Pasuma and Sammy Okposo. But while they are still on the bill, Neji’s contract was not renewed. The decision not to renew the Ogoja, Cross River State-born act’s contract reportedly worth N20million at inception, a source says, is not unconnected with his perceived declining rating and relevance in the music industry. It is also said that Neji has not hit a commercial high since his 2006 album, Off Da Hook.
“His two-year contract expired late last year and at that time, he no longer had the equity of 2008. And when he was told that his fees would be slashed by 40 per cent, he balked, saying the new fee was demeaning. Perhaps he thought Glo would call him back but they never did and so ended the relationship,” the source says.
The Head of Public Relations, Globacom, Onyekachi Nwosu, confirms that indeed, “Sunny Neji is no more an ambassador of Globacom. The contract ended mutually and everybody is happy. It was not a question of anybody being dropped.” When contacted, the Oruka crooner also admits that his contract with Glo has ended and that they parted on convivial terms, saying, “That’s even a stale gist. I was not happy with the renewal terms and I told them I couldn’t continue. So, I took a walk.”
In spite of this seeming setback, Neji, last June, released a new album, Timeless, with N1, 000 price tag for each CD.
“The new album is doing pretty well in the market. You know it’s just a little over a month old and we are intensifying promotional strategies, one of which is why we are selling at N1, 000. This is one of the ways I think we can get the industry back to life. The creative minds behind music are not enjoying the fruits of their hard work and creativity which should not be so. People have been losing, investors are not encouraged to invest and if this continues, it would kill the industry. Until we get pricing right, we will continue to do music for free,”
Continuing, he says, “We are selling the album in select locations in Lagos - which is why you can’t see it on the street but we are working on more strategic locations outside Lagos. We know we can’t totally eradicate piracy but with God and governmental support, we will try our best.”