MUSIC has really been good to African China. The amiable singer has just completed his multi-million naira edifice at Festac Town, called The Cocaine Island on the Mainland, Lagos and has embarked on another one which would be called, China Villa. In an exclusive chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly, he shared his success story, music and other sundry issues with us. Excerpts…
What does being a music star mean to you?
Being a music star means so much to me because from day one being a star is what I wanted. It’s all I craved for, and all I have always hoped to be. Music is my first love, it’s all I have passion for. And the fact that I achieved what I set out for is a great achievement for me.
Has stardom done everything for you?
Yes. Stardom has done a whole lot for me. Stardom gave me a wife, kids, a home that I can be proud of, not only here in Nigeria, but outside the country as well. Stardom and music generally has done much more than I expected, because years back my father and my paternal uncles wanted to stop me from doing music but what I have achieved today, I can say, has proved them wrong.
What has stardom not done for you?
Stardom has not finished with me yet, because I believe there’s still a lot that stardom has to do for me. Most importantly, now that the music industry is fast growing, the fact that I have not done a collaboration with any foreign act yet is something I am not happy about.
If you have the opportunity to feature a foreign act, who would it be?
Definitely Eminem. I am a big fan of Eminem and Chris Brown. So, if I want to do something with a foreign act, it would definitely be one of these two.
What has kept you where you are at the moment?
Humility has kept me here. Being able to respect people, and keep my cool has helped me so much.
What should your fans expect next?
Something great and interesting. Something very different from the African China they are used to. I am coming out of my shell.
Do you mean you’re not doing the type of music we know you for anymore?
Not really. I am still going to do my kind of music, but my new album is going to be a mixture of the new African China and the new African China. But I’m going to promote the African China out of his comfort zone more, then go back to what I’m known for.
How many albums do you have now?
I have five albums already, I’m working on the sixth album now.
What generally inspires your music?
The society. I sing about the society and the happenings in the country. Like my new song is directed too these Boko Haram sect. In the song, I tried to explain to them that the bombings and killing of innocent of people would not solve the problem in Nigeria, rather it would destroy a lot that the country stands to gain.
You are widely acknowledged as a conscious lyricist, would you always be one?
Till the day I die, yes I would always be.
What is your take on the so-called commercial music?
A lot of artists go into the industry for the sake of making money, while others go in for the love of music, these two reasons are both accepted. So, if you do it for the love its accepted, and if it’s for the fame and fortune, it’s also alright. What really matters is for the fans. People that love you, and want to fight for you.
You just added a year, how does it feel?
(Laughs) I feel so loved by my fans. Everybody has been great to me. My fans showed me a lot of love on that day and I feel blessed.
How old are you now?
I am plus one (laughs). I really don’t want to state how old I am.
What are you most grateful for, at this stage of your life?
Being loved by the people around me, most importantly being called a dad. Being looked up to as a father.
How has married life been?
Marriage is an institution, it has its ups and downs because it’s the union of two different people from two different backgrounds and lifestyles coming together to live together forever. But the ability to understand each other perfectly is what makes married life sweet, when you have misunderstandings and you learn to say sorry.
We also learnt you are building your house, where is the building and how far have you gone?
I have completed the first duplex, and I am living there right now. But I am starting the next building very soon. It is a villa that I will call China Villa. Both buildings are in Festac. I stay in The Cocaine Island on the Mainland now.
The good Lord has been good to you, what more do you want from Him?
His continuous blessings, his smiles on my face, his tears on my head, that’s all I want now.
How much is African China worth now?
African China is worth millions by the grace of God.
- DAMILOLA ONIME and TOYOSI SADIQ
*This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on August 14, 2012