A former member of the defunct Plantashun Boiz group, Augustine Ahmedu, better known as Blackface Naija, speaks with MOBOLA SADIQ about his music career, relationship with his children and other issuesWhat has been your experience since you left Plantashun Boiz?After Plantashun Boiz was disbanded, I have released very good albums. I have been independent right from the start. I have put in a lot of work with my music crew called ‘Tribunal’. We have recorded songs that made waves nationwide but those songs were not promoted on the airwaves. The ‘cabals’ told them not to play my music but I still have more hits than some singers. I am respected because my fans know that I work hard.Have you won awards for any of your songs?Awards can be arranged by anybody. The question is, what music are the organisers putting in award categories? Although some songs are very good, nowadays, music artistes are not giving society the type of content they need. That is why music lovers have complained about shallow lyrics and the inability of artistes to perform with good vocals. People still crave for artistes that have the prowess to deliver good music to them. Awards do not count for people that make good music. Who will give me an award― is it the people (cabals) that do not want me to count? I have got recognition from some people who like my music; I don’t need to have awards before people know that I make (good) music. Some artistes think that having an award is what justifies good music. It is just wood on their table because their music has not touched any lives. I don’t care about awards.How do you get ideas for your songs?My inspiration comes every day from my environment, the people I see, the things I read, and what I see on television. It is a spontaneous thing.What are the most fulfilling moments of your music career?My music career is still going on, so I do not have a most fulfilling moment yet. I am still trying to get to my goals. The world will know me. People will recognise that I am the best that has come out so far. Since I started with Plantashun Boiz, I have come to change Nigeria’s music industry. Those who tried to stop me have found out they could not succeed.Why do you think there are cabals that don’t want you to be successful?Firstly, I speak the truth and not everyone likes the truth, so I am a problem for those that do not like to hear the truth. Those people will go all out to bring me down.Who are the members of these cabals?I don’t know them, so you have to investigate them.When do you want to retire from music?I am not ready to retire from music at all. Even if I am dying, I would still sing.Are your kids toeing your career path?I have not pressured my children about their career paths for now. I want them to grow up and finish their education before they think of what profession to do. However, my son can rap while my daughter can sing. Music is in their blood.Have you remarried?No, I have not. I am married to my music for now. After my divorce, I have not got married to any lady. Music is a big wife for me now.You were married for eight years. What led to your divorce?Everything is God’s plan. She has come and gone; it was just time.Are you thinking of getting married again?I just want to concentrate on my music for now. If I see somebody I am interested in, I would propose to her and if the answer is ‘yes’, perhaps, we could then get married. However, marriage is not in my thoughts for now.What category of artistes do you fall into?I fall into the category of musicians that people want to come around. I am the type that looks out for people and I’m also interested in what is going on in their lives. I am just like an overseer. Some people do not like the fact that I am loved. Those people wish that they are in my shoes. But it cannot be like that for them because God has different plans for everyone.Have you always experienced this much hatred or did it begin when you started your music career?Hatred is a normal phenomenon and almost all music artistes experience it. Some wish they have my voice and style. Some have even gone diabolical. One is either a threat or a competition. That is why we all must be careful in all our doings. I am just thankful to God for His protection and guidance.How is your relationship with other music artistes?I have many music artistes as friends. This does not mean that we should plan things together. We all have our individual lives. When we are very cordial with one another and when we have joint projects to do, we do it. I think we should all get used to being alone sometimes. It is normal for a man, so I don’t get myself worried. I am also a businessman and I am always in my office. You don’t see me everywhere because I only go for social events that are very important to me.How would you describe your relationship with your children?I am the best father they can have. I am very good friends with my children and they are very close to me. My children live with me but when I am not around, they go to their mother.How do you feel after the release of your version of ‘African Queen’?If I sing somebody’s song, the person would accuse me of infringing on their intellectual property. Now that nobody has said I infringed on their intellectual property, does it not tell you that it is my property? People should get the true picture. All they were saying before was, ‘Blackface, go and write another song’. People were speaking ill of me and saying I was jealous of 2baba.Why is ‘African Queen’ so special?The song is special because our mothers are special. African Queen is very special to me because it celebrates women.As a former member of a group, would you advise any artiste to be part of a group or be independent?One cannot really say because some bands are successful and some solo artistes are also successful, so it depends on what works for the person or the group. It all depends on the music because some people form a band and have nothing to put out. What is the essence of forming a band when you have nothing to put out?Do you prefer being in a group or being a solo artiste ?I can work with a group or anybody else; it depends on the music I want to put out. I can also sing alone. I do rap and reggae music, so I am really not worried. I just want music lovers to have good music. I cannot advise up-and-coming artistes not to form a band because theirs may be successful.Why do you think groups don’t last?There is always a reason for any association to split up, so everybody can go their separate ways. There would be different factors and those factors cannot be pinpointed into one answer. Members would leave the group for different reasons.Why do people think you are jealous of 2baba?A lot of people have that notion and I always ask them why I would be jealous of somebody I brought up and taught how to make music professionally. It is just like a coach saying he is jealous of his player because the player is scoring goals. It is only if the player acts like the coach was not the one that taught him how to be the best striker in the world that the coach may be upset. I don’t want to have anything to do with them (former Plantashun Boiz members) anymore. I just want to do my own thing. It is not jealousy or hate. I want to explore more of myself as Blackface and (see) how far I can go. I don’t want to think about other people; it’s all about Blackface right now. In 2015, I released an album titled, ‘Defender Volume 1’. Now, I am about to release ‘Volume 2’ of the album. The album will have 43 tracks and I don’t think anybody has done that before. I am all about setting records.Why don’t we see you at major concerts?Ask the promoters why they don’t engage my service. I am the best on stage. If the promoters feel I am the artiste the people want to see, then definitely, I would get to make an appearance. I cannot go to an event where I have not being billed to sing.Why don’t you host your own concerts?I haven’t done mine because I don’t get patronised. There is no brand that is sponsoring me, neither do I have anyone that is affiliating with Blackface Naija right now. Once I see any brand that is ready to have a partnership with me, it will be done. It would be great to perform to an audience that can enjoy music without vulgar lyrics.Is music a lucrative business for you?Some artistes come into the industry for the love of money, while some come into the industry because they want to show off. I came into the industry because I wanted to speak the truth and show Nigerians ‘the light’. Music is my calling; that is why I sang ‘Hard Life’. That is also why some people do not like me. Music is food for my soul. I do not lack what to eat or drink and I have a roof over my head. I am content with my little liberty and I’m not looking for a private jet. I just get into my studio to sing and also perform for people when I want to. Music is a full-time job for me; the other things I do are part-time.Do you have other businesses?I would not like to let people know my other businesses or poke their noses into the other things I do.
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