TUNDE and Wunmi Obe have been together for more than a decade. And their relationship as artistes, label mates, business partners and couple has been growing from strength to strength. Now promoting their fourth album, the talented crooners let ENCOMIUM Weekly into their private lives in this Thursday, September 22, 2011 exclusive interview held at their MKO Abiola Gardens, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos office. They also traced the origin of their successful band (T.W.O), what makes them strong, their expectations, life as showbiz couple, amongst other issues.
What has sustained you this long in the last 23 years?
TUNDE: First, I think we came together with a purpose. I mean, the God factor, the fact that there is genuine love between both of us and we have always lived our lives as if it is a journey that we’re undertaking as a unit. So, if you’re married, and you’re really married to your partner, I don’t see anything that can go wrong. Nobody can come between us.
WUNMI: In everything we do, we put God first. So, with that we can’t really go wrong, and we are friends more than anything else. That has really helped us and we’re able to communicate because communication is the very key.
What has really been the challenges of TWO as a band, and as an act?
TUNDE: I don’t think we have any challenges as a band, because what we do, what we went out to do, and what we’ve been doing is to set ourselves up as a premium brand and premium brands are not seen everywhere. We never wanted to be a run-off-mill artistes where every event, we must be there. We priced ourselves properly and we’re placed in such a way that we’re the champagne of the music industry, and you don’t see champagne at every party (laughs). So, we have no problem. Those that can afford it use our services and of course, our friends and dear friends like ENCOMIUM, whom we have also done things for on friendship basis.
What attracts the T.W.O Band to the high in society?
WUNMI: I think it’s basically what we do. What we do is not different from what some bands do. It’s the way we deliver and the way we present and package ourselves. That’s what makes us different. We package ourselves in such a way that you’re proud to identify with us and say, “Yes, these are the people that performed at my show.” We’re perfectionists, we’re not trained to mime to CDs. We are trained to rely on our voices and we’ve been doing it for four years. So, it comes like an effortless thing for us right now.
TUNDE: Just the fact that we are one of the professional bands in Nigeria, and we’ve never, ever in the history of T.WO disappointed our clients. We don’t take people’s money and disappear and when people know you to stand by your word, they can pay you and go to bed. They don’t have to worry about anything. Everything and anything we agree with our clients, we supply for their event. So, if you have one hundred per cent record of delivery, people will always come to you.
Of all the shows which is that particular one you cannot forget and why?
TUNDE: I can’t really pinpoint any but there’s something good about entertaining the president of your country and visiting presidents, or guests at a dinner, where out of all the Nigerian artists, you’re the one that has been chosen. And I’m proud to say that T.W.O has played for every president since we started and since Aso Rock came to existence, and we’re on their preferred list when it comes to entertainment in Aso Rock.
How many albums so far?
TUNDE: We do one album every four years. Currently, T.W.O Legit is the fourth album.
Why one album in four years?
WUNMI: It wasn’t deliberate. That was when children were coming and we had a lot of things to settle and strike a fine balance between raising a family and facing our career.
Which is the most successful one?
TUNDE: Obviously, everyone will talk about Adupe and Mo gbo mo ya from the last album and Fine Bara, so those are the biggest hits we have.
Who initiated the concept of Fine Bara?
WUNMI: It was my husband that came up with the concept and also wrote the song.
What are you working on currently?
WUNMI: Our new DVD, hopefully before the end of the year, by November.
How would you describe him as a business partner, co-artist and husband?
WUNMI: My husband is like fine wine. He gets better and better with age. There are so many qualities about him. He’s very organised, very principled, very responsible, a law abiding citizen and a very responsible father. With age, he has learnt to calm down and be more tolerant unlike me. On the other hand, I’m quick to fly off the handle, shouting and screaming when things don’t seem to work out for me, and he’s able to say, ‘hey chill out.’
You said he has learnt a lot, before then, what was happening?
WUNMI: Just like everybody, we all mature and we all grow. In the past, he could be quick to anger. But he has learnt to be more tolerant. That’s what I’m trying to say.
When that happened then, how did you handle his imperfections?
WUNMI: I’m not perfect myself. This is the person I dated for eight years before we got married and I understand his character. He’s getting better but I’m still there. Like when, we have management meetings, I’m the one to quickly get angry and get upset.
How would you describe her as an artist, wife and as a business partner?
TUNDE: As an artist, I’ve gotten used to working with her. She’s extremely talented and our styles have blended properly. As a wife, she’s irreplaceable because any negative characteristic she tells you she has, she’s gotten twenty good characteristics to make up for it. She’s extremely, reliably dependable, hard working and dedicated as a wife and a mother. God gave us each other for a purpose and our characters complement each other.
What are those little things you don’t really like about her?
TUNDE: The little things are very insignificant. My wife is a very passionate person and r still caution her to think before she says things, because sometimes she talks the way she’s feeling and if you understand her and you’ve been with her for a long time, you’ll know that she has a very good heart. But if you’ve not been with her for a long time, you may easily take offence. So, I always caution her to consider her words before expressing herself.
How come you have managed to escape scandal for more than two decades? No marriage break-up tales?
TUNDE: God created it so. Both of us work on our relationship. I think a lot of people take their relationship for granted but we don’t. When God has put two people together, there will be differences and there will be areas where they need to dialogue and agree upon certain things. The most important aspect of any union is respect, be it marriage, business or whatever. If two people are doing something together, if you don’t respect your partner, it can’t work. The way you talk to that person like a lesser individual is what will bring problem. But if you’re communicating with your partner and you talk to her like somebody who is equal to you, when expressing something you’re not comfortable with, the person will also reciprocate. We’ve worked on it; we want to be together so we’ve made an effort to make sure everything works out.
What’s the relationship between you and your late brother’s wife, Stella Damasus?
WUNMI: The relationship is cordial because the children are still there. But you know she has remarried.
What do you remember most about your late father?
WUNMI: What I remember most about him is that he was way ahead of his time and all the things he did back then are what people are doing now. Like bringing foreign artists and organising fashion shows. My father was doing it long before. He was also bringing models.
Where is T.W.O headed?
TUNDE: We know we’re going to remain relevant. Be it running event centres or event places, hotel and leisure business. Be it music, television, we’re going to remain in entertainment. And we want to help young ones to make it easier for them, because we know what we went through in our time before we got to this stage.
How many kids do you have?
WUNMI: We are blessed with three beautiful children. A daughter and two sons. Modesayo is 11 years, Ricardo, 9 and Audrey is 7 years.
Can you reveal your wish list?
WUNMI: Please, get rid of Boko Haram. Let there be peace and the crisis in Jos should stop.
– UCHE OLEHI and ADESOLA OLAYINKA
*This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, October 4, 2011