Ukwu’s crooner, Timaya is one Nigerian artiste who is on top of his game at the moment. With several hits to his credit in 2014, including Bum Bum (remix), Sanko, Bow Down, among others, the self acclaimed Egberi Papa of Bayelsa is counting his blessings.
ENCOMIUM Weekly cornered the outspoken singer on some of his many controversies in an interview held on Sunday, December 14, 2014, at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Let’s start with Sanko, one of the hit singles in your new album, Epyphany. How did you come about it?
Because I have realized that everything is revolving. People are tired of all these songs we do nowadays. I need to switch it off; take it back to the old school, because that old music brought us here. Now, it’s a lot of recycling. People don’t even sing any more, they just talk shit and I know that I talk shit too, but it should be meaningful at times.
You see all those old musicians, you see Baba Frayo, Daddy Showkey, they sang meaningful songs with lovely messages. Listen to Daddy Showkey singing…”if you see my mama…
Hossanah…Tell am say – I dey for Ketu. And so on. Those were meaningful songs. But for now, you say you like the Bow Down. I gave you the Bow Down for you to know that I still know what I’m doing, but my brother “na money comes first, na this thing dey feed me.” People love those bad songs, they might just be pretending.
Was that the reason why you shot the video for Bum Bum remix with Sean Paul or a way of re-branding?
Whether you agree or not, the fact is people like bad things. We talk about bom bom bom bom everywhere in the bum bum video. A lot of people condemned it, yet in six months, it has more than 13 million views.
Who is deceiving who? I didn’t go the vulgar way because I wanted to rebrand, but that’s what pays. That’s what makes me richer. I’m not doing it because you need to hear something good. The problem is that Nigerians love to pretend. Even you (referring to ENCOMIUM Weekly’s reporter), didn’t you love the video?
No Nigerian musician has ever rebranded. Go and do your findings. None of them has ever rebranded because you can see it is obvious.
Everybody started the same way, they have been the same way. I took off my dreads. There are old people that are still carrying their dreads that I know, they are still like that. I don’t want to mention names. You see, after this rebrand, another rebrand will come. It’s a phase. That’s what makes you an artiste.
Some people think that cutting off your hair is significant to how things have been working out for you, is it true?
(Cuts-in) You see, everything about life is planning. At a point in my life, I wanted to carry that dread, I wanted to be rude, I wanted to be crazy and arrogant because I was a Niger-Delta kid. I needed to be heard, I didn’t have that money for publicity. So, I just needed to be angry.
Most of the things you read in papers about me, I did them myself knowingly. So, now I have achieved it, you people now know my face. That is not new. I want to be a normal guy that I am. So, mine is Egberi Papa… but it can be another thing next time.
We have noticed that on Instagram, you take pictures with your kid a lot…
(Cuts-in) Is she not my daughter? I love her a lot. That’s my daughter, that’s my life. I love her too much. I’m not a fake.
You show so much affection to your child. Are we expecting Timaya Junior soon?
I don’t know anything about that.
We look forward to seeing Egbere Mama [I] Bayelsa. When are you getting married?
I’m not ready. If you’re expecting marriage from me now, na lie. I’m too young for that. Let me tell you something, marriage is not all about money and you don’t know if I have money, because you are not my accountant. Do you understand? People lie, musicians lie a lot.
They will tell you this one just bought this, that one just bought that, it’s all hype and packaging. So, don’t believe all these musicians that tell you all these things. They lie. So, don’t tell me you know what I have, you don’t know. Do you understand? What I’m trying to say is that it’s not about money. Money is not about marriage. It’s you being ready. I’m not ready for that. I don’t want to sit down and tell my woman that today I’m going to Jos and she starts complaining.
Can you give an insight into where you see yourself because you’ve been able to break into that international market. Where do you see yourself?
I tell you, my prayer everyday to God is blow me to your direction and I see myself somewhere high. Somewhere big enough for me, I just pray to God that these are my heart desires but please blow me to your direction. Don’t let nobody speed on my process. I Just try to take my things gradually. Slowly, but surely, I’ll get there. I don’t try to work so much, so hard for something. I just try to do it. Like a lot of times I get built up on instagram, telling me “buy followers, buy followers and all that.” Why will I buy followers? There was a time they asked me if I wanna get verified. If I’m not good enough for verification, don’t do it. I don’t need to pay for it. That’s it.
2014 has been marvelous for you, 2015 is around the corner, what is your plan?
Every day I say my prayers, God let your wind blow me to the right direction. Of course, I have made plans and preparations for 2015. I went to Shiloh this week so I have committed my 2015 into God’s Hands; and for the fact that my 2015 has been committed into God’s Hands, there’s no shaking.
– RASHEED ABUBAKAR