Veteran music act, African China, who has surprisingly joined the hair salon business sector, does not care what people think about it.
ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, had an exclusive interview with him, where he talked about his salon, his other business interests and music career.
You have been away from the music industry for some time now, what else have you been doing?
I have been working underground. I have been investing in one or two business interests, trying to lay a good foundation for myself and my family. As you know, Nigeria is a country that after all said and done, nothing is being done about our problems, especially our graduates.
You find most of them jobless, so, I just want to create a foundation whereby my kids will have something after school that they could manage, something they could run after education programme. I have been recording.
How do you intend to juggle music and business?
One thing about business is laying down your bag and getting the right management team to run the business. You have to separate business from friendship, separate business from family, separate business from sympathy or anything that has to do with your business going down. So, if you bring the right people and let them understand the reason for that business, trust me, the business will work well.
So, if people will come and work and I supervise everything, as the Chief Executive Officer, supervise everything and whenever there is problem that is when I would come in.
Would you say that you abandoned music as a career?
No, I have not abandoned music. Music is like a foundation. So, music stays, music stands as a pillar to everything I invest in. So, music is my first love and every other thing comes secondary.
Going into hairdressing business even though guys do the business too but for a person like you, doesn’t it sound funny. What exactly inspired the idea?
I want to say this, if people like Adenuga can invest in telecommunication which was being run by Nitel and today people like Adenuga are doing better. So, if Nigerians will see Adenuga as recharge card seller and see Dangote as provision seller or call him a rice and salt seller, if they look at 2Face that runs a night club and call him a beer palour operator, so, if they call me an hairdresser, I don’t think I have problem with that. It is just for Nigerians to understand where we are coming from, this has been the problem of Nigerian music industry.
Over the years, a lot of people fail to invest their money and when the rainy season comes, they start struggling and the next minute you see a celebrity looking like one unkempt dog that the owner chase away from the house. So, as for me, as African China, I refuse to be one of them.
Are you one of the stylists at the salon or you employed stylists?
I employed stylists at the salon. I am not one of them.
What are your plans for the business?
The plans have already been mapped out and so far so good. They have been a huge success. The salon is attracting a huge crowd and it is controlling a crowd right now. I am happy and thanking God. You know, one thing is setting up a business and the workers are there but nobody comes there to even ask about what is going on. But what I am looking forward to is how to upgrade the salon by December. That is what I am looking up to. For now, everything is working well.
Going into hairdressing as a business, how do you intend to juggle family, business and music?
It is not really an easy thing, even running music and family is not easy. The fact that I have been into other businesses apart from the salon like the real estate, my boutique, the event management outfit, the studio and now the hairdressing.
It has not been easy but God that has given me the strength to manage the first one that same God will give that strength to carry on.
Since hairdressing is predominantly a female business, why do you have to wait till now before you established it?
Everything has time and season and I would not rush into it then because I was not even thinking about it. But right now the idea came, I have to invest in it, and took advantage of it.
Would you say you have regret being in the music industry?
No regret at all, because music has been the source of my livelihood, music has given me a direction. Music has given me a way forward, music brought me from grass to grace, so there is no cause for me to regret anything with music. Music has been the light God sent to me, so there is no course for regrets.
What are you working on presently?
I am working on my album. The album will be dropping in two weeks. I have been discussing with one or two marketers at Alaba International Market and also working out something in Onitsha. We are trying to see how we can put hands together to move things forward. I am looking at October. The album would be dropping in October.
What will you say you miss about the music industry?
Nothing really because I still attend shows. I am still performing. I had a couple of shows that I headlined and I am still having more right now. I am on my way to the airport. I am going to Port Harcourt. I am going there for a show and on Saturday 11, my manager still has a booking for me.
I am still going to Calabar for another show. So, there are shows here and there. So, to me, there is nothing to regret. I am not missing anything. I am still there. Last Sunday (May 29, 2016), I was at the Yaw Shalanga show. Although I did not perform, I watched my colleagues perform. So, there is no regrets.
You have been married for years now, how has the experience been like?
The experience is wonderful, especially when you have your kids and they are beautiful and they look up to you and you are always there for them.
It is a wonderful experience when you have a family that loves you and you are always there for them. So, family is great, it is just for you to understand the difference between work and family. And the thing about work and family is you have to be there for your family.
It is a difficult task but it is something one has to work out between you and your wife. That is where unity comes in because if you two are not able to work things out, that is where things start falling apart.
I think it has to do with two people not understanding themselves in the first place, not just for only celebrity marriage but in every marriage. First, parties fell in love that means you people have been lying to yourselves that you fell in love and the next minute you start crumbling and all that. The thing is one has to understand that even brothers and sisters fall apart and have misunderstanding, not to talk about when you two are from different families, especially when you two are graduates, even though you are not a graduate.
For instance, you get married at 28 years and your husband is 30 or you are 29 and your husband is 40. So two of you have come of age and merging together there is going to be conflict, but it is all about understanding.
For me, if you ask me to define marriage, I would say marriage is management, I think our forefathers misunderstood the English and called it marriage instead of manage. Both parties have to learn how to manage because it is a oath you took from the onset. But only when it has to do with abuse then I will advice you two to walk out of the marriage. When it has nothing to do with physical abuse, then you two have to sort it out.
What exactly should your fans expect from you soon?
My fans should expect the best of the best like they have always been expecting, African China never disappoints, I am always there, the songs made recently are not hits but all I know is I am going to drop an everlasting thing that will pop Nigeria and the world will reckon with. The world has to listen to over and over again and digest it. That is what we should look forward to.
And please, African China is not quitting music, anytime, any day, not too soon, I no dey retire, music no get retirement age.