How is it like coming back home?
Wow! My country is amazing. Entertainment has become something else in this country. It’s like America, very big. The music is rapidly growing .Sincerely; I’m very impressed about Nigerians.
Which particular artiste has really impressed you?
I know D’banj is doing very well for himself. Naeto C is doing well for himself, Tuface, so many people. We had a show with Tuface in Dubai, it was hot. He put up a very good show. Africans came together for the show. It’s about six months now, Nigerian music is becoming very international.
Are you not bothered by incessant power failure in the country?
We want light. Please highlight that. Every other thing is growing rapidly but we still have problem with power supply. There are lots of privileged people, and the privileged people might not feel it as much because they have the money and they have standby generators to stay on 24/7. But for those who don’t have, how do they cope?
I tell my friends "you need to come back to Nigeria. There is so much going on."Cool. If they come they will be amazed but when you go to the other side it’s not something to be happy about. People are suffering. Now there is no light, no air conditioner, and no generator. How do they survive?
It’s a sad thing to be used to. I think the government should do something about it and help Nigeria have constant electrical power supply.
Seeing potholes around, is it not scary to you?
It’s a bit scary but back in the days, the potholes were gutters, now they are filling up gradually. So with patience and with hard work those potholes will be covered and they will become smooth roads.
It is part of the job of entertainers to make sure they mention what brings about change in their music, not just talking about women and beautiful girls. We should also talk about our development and how the country should improve.
So why would you leave your comfort zone to come back to a country where basic amenities are lacking?
It is because we can make a difference. Entertainment is so powerful that even when you are voting, even Barack Obama, the president of USA, they all call the entertainers to do songs and to make a statement more powerfully because they listen to you on radio and television. They watch your video.
So if you are doing something positive and letting them know that there should be light and everybody is doing that, everybody is saying that, for those who don’t know they will be aware. And those who get aware will do something about it.
So I’m coming back to this zone to exercise a few things that I think and we all think should be stable and should also help the country grow.
Where do you think Nigerian artistes are getting it wrong?
Some people are just singing without saying anything. I think we should take our time to put things proper. Back to the movies like I said, you hear background noises; you see shadows of other people walking past, while you’re shooting. The cameras are not steady, they are shaking.
The sound track we play for our commercials, movies, the background music…they should take much time to make it professional. For example, if you watch America movies you see how they put something together. Their music is serious. And that is why their movies or music is number one on the chart.
Some Nigerian artistes choose to shoot their musical videos abroad. Why are you coming back home to shoot yours?
What they need and what they go abroad for is what I studied. I studied film, I studied audio. I have a team of graduates, all very good in what they do. Justin Amuquo Ashifon is a Cameroonian. He is my audio producer. Ope Oluwa is my producer as well and few other international producers that I have there.
Now those ones are not Nigerians. Justin is a Cameroonian, which is a neighbouring country with Nigeria. So I consider him a Nigerian as well. These guys have gone there to learn these things. And by the time we bring in all we have learnt back here we can make the difference.
Now you can be here and get the same quality of what you used to go there for. That’s why I’m coming back. I’ve been there so long and I have learnt what I have to learn and I’m bringing it back to my country to make my country better.
What inspired you?
First of all, inspiration is derived from anything. The truth is you can be driving on the road and see a poor beggar and you are inspired to write about a track called Faces come and go. Now, I did a song called Faces come and go, which talks about what’s going on all over the world - poverty, tragedy, death, war, natural disasters, everything on this side.
Faces come and go is a track that you can just go online, it’s free. You can go online and read through. And it’s a song that when you watch the footage, most people that I know that have seen it have told me they cried.
I put everything that is happening there. And we are in Nigeria to do the same thing in featuring variety of artistes all coming together to sing the same thing. So it’s not going to be me. It’s going to be the same song called Faces come and go featuring a few other Nigerian artistes. That is going to be in the video as well, saying the same thing with the same footages of what’s going on in Jos and other places.
In what way have your parents influenced you?
My father, mother and family have been most supportive people. Abubakar Hamman is my father. Elizabeth Hamman is my mother. They are my greatest supporters and my biggest fans as well.
Are you thinking of marriage right now?
(Laughs) When you talk of marriage it can either distract or help you be focused. But the fact is that marriage itself could be a distraction sometimes. There are some things you have to achieve as a man before you say you want to settle down and be married. So it is not time for me to settle down and get married.
How old are you now?
I’m 26 years right now, but age is nothing but a number. The more the world evolves the more you start understanding that even younger people are doing so much right now. It’s quite obvious. And even in Nigerian mentality that believes older people are the ones to do things have started allowing the younger ones to handle things so far.
You can see the ambassadors that we have now for Globacom, Etisalat, they are young guys. Age is nothing but a number
But how do you cope with distraction from ladies?
If you are a focused person, this is what I mean by the things you have to go through in life to become strong. The industry’s shadiness, the distraction from the women, even in the Bible you know how women were. So I believe you put God first and you stay focused.
So when the time comes, would you go for a white lady…?
(Laughs) I like everybody. I love my African queens. It could be a white African girl or black African girl, but I love my African queen.
What should your fans expect from you?
They should be expecting a smashing album very soon, my international album and a few hard Nigerian collaborations with Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and Pidgin English. Now this is the time when we want to put our experiences into our material and put something serious out there.
How come you use Hausa, Yoruba?
I speak Yoruba and also speak Hausa. My father is Hausa, my mother is Yoruba. I was born in Lagos but I’m from Borno State. My mother is from Abeokuta in Ogun State. So I’m a proper Nigerian from every angle. My parents are both Christians.
I schooled in the UK. I did audio in UK and I came to Nigeria, worked on my music. Then I moved to Dubai where I did film production