In his own genre of music, R&B, award-winning musician, Darey Art Alade occupies the throne as the king. After churning out hits after hits, the singer, who re-defined how concerts should be staged in a unique way in Nigeria, through his big-budget carnival-like concert, Love Like A Movie, told ENCOMIUM Weekly in an exclusive interview, on Saturday, April 12, 2014, in Bamako Estate, Lagos, that he’s not competing with anybody. As one of the judges of Nigerian Idol, Darey related his experience so far as he also revealed plans to own a radio station.
It has been interesting and I am really excited about the experience so far. Nigerian Idol, is a great innovation and I am always in support of any platform that gives the youth opportunity to showcase their talents.
How has your relationship with fellow judges been?
It is great. It is a one big happy family. Everybody is fine. Although, there were times that we had to differ because everybody has his own opinion. We agree to disagree; disagree to agree, all the same, we are all one.
How does it feel when your favourite artiste had to leave?
What I try to do is not to have any favourite. In doing that, I don’t get heartbroken. If you don’t fall in love, you won’t get heartbroken. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have some kind of attachment with some of them. I try to make sure I keep a distance, you don’t get too involved and that way, you won’t miss them too much when they eventually get evicted. We try to tell them that being evicted is not the end of the world. I never won a reality show, but I was a finalist, but ask yourself, where is the winner today?
There was a time you reacted angrily to one of the contestants, probably because you were not impressed by his performance. Don’t you think it’s too harsh?
Harsh? What did you expect me to do? So, you expect me to tell him it was a lovely performance? I am here to tell them the truth, and the truth is bitter. Sometime, you have to be harsh to help them. You are not being harsh because you want to bring them down. If you’re too nice to them, they’ll think they are the best. They’ll say the judges are feeling them. The truth is that he had a terrible performance, and it is a bit irritating sometimes, because the person can do better.
No challenge except travelling every week (from Abuja to Lagos).
Let me take you away from Nigerian Idol. Tell us how you run your record label and how you manage your artistes?
The label, Soul Muzik runs itself, we have a nice team. Everybody is doing his job, from promotion to PR to production. We have signed great artistes, Mo’Eazy and Zaina, and they just released two singles. Mo’Easy’s single is called Ragabomi while Zaina’s single is called Sare wa and fortunately for them, within days of releasing, they are already enjoying airplay and all that. I, also, I am signed to the label.
I am an artiste, not just the label executive. I am also back into the studio, working. So, 2014 is going to be a busy year for Soul Muzik artistes.
Do you have other things you do?
I will love to. I will love to own my own station; I don’t want to work for anybody.
It is not impossible?
It is not impossible, I agree. I have already started making enquiries and plans on what is feasible. I am a radio person, I have worked on radio, and it was really fun. Since then, I felt it is good if I can achieve this by running a radio station. After all, it will provide jobs for people, encourage creativity and improve entertainment. I don’t know the format of the station yet, but let me get the license first.
The artistes/record label face-off is becoming rampant in our industry. Why do you think this is happening?
The truth of the matter is, everybody has a role to play, and they all have a portion of the blame. The label invests something, I don’t want to say too much. For every investment, you want to make a return. This is where the artiste doesn’t understand. In the beginning, they gave you a house, a car, and you think you’re talented, and come to think of it, you don’t even have anything in the market. What they gave you was based on your potential, the initial agreement that if I give you this, you’ll give me that in return.
Some artistes don’t have agreement, everything is sealed at a bar. As you drink, you signed without realizing what you’re signing. Some of them are illiterates, some pretend to know what the business is all about, but they don’t. Some of them get carried away by the glitz and glamour of it, signed without knowing what the agreement stipulates.
When they default, they start blaming the label, saying all sorts of things. But most of us don’t bother to find out what was the agreement before we go to press and write. On the other side, the label may have been obligated to do certain things, but they didn’t do it, and the artiste will complain. These are the issues.
What do you think is the way out?
I think both sides should have respect for agreement. There shouldn’t be issues if both sides respect agreement they made. For instance, when I left Questionmark, nobody heard that I fought anybody till tomorrow. Yes, we had disagreement, it wasn’t a rosy ending. But till date, they are still my friends, we work together. So, maturity is needed to handle such situation.
I am happy that I chose the right genre. I am so happy; after all, it has paid my bills. Look at where I am today, I am not complaining. It can always be better. In as much as I enjoy fuji, hiphop, reggae, all sorts of songs and I have been inspired by a lot of people, dead or alive, I am a soulful person, I am an R&B artiste. I am okay where I am because I have my community.
People call you King of R&B as well as Banky W, how do you see the competition between two of you?
There is only one king of R&B; I have never heard anybody being called King of R&B, except me.
What about BankyW?
I have never heard anyone calling him king of R&B, except if you think he’s one. But the truth is, there is only one king, and you know who the king is. If you doubt it, my new material will settle the scores. Although, it has taken some time, I am very happy the work is coming out soon.
When are you dropping the album?
I don’t know but I have dropped a single already, featuring Rita Dominic. More are still coming and then, you’ll see the best of Darey.
But do you see yourself in competition with Banky W?
Competition? Not at all. He is my cousin. However, I compete with myself; I only have a duty to be better than where I was yesterday, and that’s my challenge. I don’t try to be better than someone or to be like somebody.
A lot have been said about Love Like A Movie, can you give us the budget?
No, I can’t.
Give us the range if you can’t mention exact figure?
I can’t say because I will have to make calls to different people before I can give you a figure. People did different things. I am not part of the finance neither the sponsor. My work is creative, all the performances, lighting, the artistic element. If you ask me anything about these, I will tell you. But to mention the total cost, it is going to be difficult. For instance, the telescoping cane we used costs N1. 5 million in a day and we used it for two weeks. And that’s one element out of all that made the show a success.
How have you remained scandal free?
I mind my own business, my business is business, I don’t look for trouble. I don’t keep friends, my music and my family comes first in everything I do.
– RASHEED ABUBAKAR