Mention the name J Martins and music faithfuls will begin to sing ˜Good or Bad'' and ''Oyoyo'', two of his most popular songs that have dominated the airwaves and have become national anthems on the lips of music lovers in Nigeria and beyond. Entertainment guru IDONGESIT IKONO OF NIGERIAFILMS.COM tracked down the born- again rave of the moment music star on Friday in Port Harcourt ,who is billed to perform alongside P-Square, Terry G, Daddy T and others at the 2nd Port Harcourt Entertainment Awards holding on April 23, in the Garden City, and sat him down for a chat. Read on.
You were a producer of top ranking artistes before you came out with your songs, how was it like working behind the scenes while the artistes were hitting all the limelight?
Being able to produce a lot of people before I came out, like you said, is something good. At least being able to know what your fans want from you and knowing the best way to serve the food. That is what matters most, than giving your fans food that will keep running their stomach.
How did the journey for J Martins begin?
My mum used to be a choir mistress . Quite a whole lot of the time when she used to go for church choir practice, then I was very small, she used to carry me like her bag. She would take me there and keep me on one side while she is teaching the choir. For me, I'm sure music started developing in me right from that time and the rest is now history .
So are your parents proud of their son's foray into music now?
Of course they don't have any option. Though they tried to stop me from doing music. My dad loves music but he wasn't in support of the fact that his son was going to do music. Now I can understand why he did that because the people that did music back in the days didn't really have a good lifestyle .Majority of them lived in brothels and it wasn't really a good thing and to see that their son was going into music was really tough on them.
So, what has changed about J Martins since he hit stardom ?
I have not changed. I'm still the very down to earth person. I'm still me. A lot of people expect that when you become a celebrity that you are have the so called big life, the drinking, smoking, the women, all that, arrogance , being proud. The question I always ask anybody is, before you became whatever you think you are, who were you? When you put that before you then, that will bring you to the point where you should understand that some people have actually been through that road before you and after you some people will still pass through that road.
How have you been able handle the hype of being J Martins?
Hype is hype but I believe that there is still realities of life after the hype. You can't deceive people no matter how you try to hide yourself on the TV, on the print media and whichever way, your audience the fans , the know you. You know the funny thing is that sometimes we do think that our fans don't know all about us , that you can do some things and get away with it no, it doesn't walk that way. Like you that is interviewing me now, you know the artiste that makes ˜noise''. It is not because I'm saying it. Yea, if it was before when Nigerian music didn't get so much attention you could get away with some things but not now. That you are famous or not famous does not matter, what matters most is that you still remain down - to earth.
What is the most memorable experience you have had since you hit limelight?
(He burst into laughter)I was in Kenya, it was a 40,000-seater stadium and they showed me so much love .A lot of people were crying, some fainting, some asking will you marry me?¦
so, you were really touched?
Yes. I was really touched. But there's no love like the love of your fans at home. No matter the amount of love other African countries show me I still believe home is home. When I talk about home I talk about Nigeria, I talk about my fans, I talk about the Niger Delta where I come from, I talk about everyone that support Nigerian artistes ,that love Nigerian music ,that buy CDs, that pay for shows to come to support us.
The theme of the upcoming 2nd Port Harcourt Entertainment Awards on April 23, is, ˜Rewarding the Creative Minds'' , do you think that our artistes have been given enough recognition for all they have done for the society?
I think in a way the recognition has been given but a whole lot more has to be done in the sense that so many things have been overlooked. Like proper credit is not being given to the producers and sometimes, artistes believe you can just work into the studio, open your mouth and because you are the one people get to see on TV and you play the shows that the producers don't have rights. If we go by the western world the producer has got a percentage to the shows you play and the CDs you sell. Those that organize awards should also understand that when an artiste wins an award it shouldn't be just one trophy, a trophy should be extended to the record label, the management and the producer. That's the way they do it abroad and everybody goes home happy. When a manager sees the award he won after all the hard labour he put into the artiste it makes him happy. The same thing with the producer , so that, when next he is working all his mind set will beâ€™ how can I score a goal? You may not see Quincy Jones coming out to perform but any time any of his artistes wins an award he gets a trophy for it .That's his own part of the cake. That,s the way it is.
Message for Port Harcourt fans for the upcoming awards?
Yea! They should all turn up at the 2nd Port Harcourt Entertainment Awards for an exciting experience. I will be there live with other top artistes to give them a memorable show.
IDONGESIT FOR WWW.NIGERIAFILMS.COM EXCLUSIVE