Popular Nigerian singer Gabriel Oche Amanyi fondly known as Terry G, in this interview with Daily Trust Saturday, speaks about his career and the reason he took a break from music.
It has been a while since your fans heard any music from your stable, why is that?
I have mostly been out of town because I travelled to see my family in London. I also decided to make it a vacation for the first time.
Would you say that having a family influences the success of an artiste?
It does not affect the success of an artiste but it affects the craft. It would make you change your craft if you are sensible and responsible enough. If you are responsible enough, you will know that your child will emulate your habits; some things have to change. That is definite.
When you talk about a child emulating parents, your child is a footballer while you are a musician. Would you have wished that he was into music like yourself?
Definitely, he is into music, I am grooming him. It is a family affair and I would not really want to go deep into family matters. It is a family issue. I encouraged my son to go into football because I also played football but it did not work for me. I was not opportune or probably it was not my way. For my son, I saw the passion, love and strength he has for football. I started buying him kits for the game and enrolled him in a football academy in London. He really loves football; I was not the one that forced him to play football. He is not a Nigerian child; he is actually smarter than his father. The way we think is not the way he thinks. Funnily, he calls me by my name. I like the relationship that we have. He is my best friend; I don’t have any friends like that.
Terry G was reigning in the early 2000s but at a point, not much was heard from you. What happened?
When it rains, it stops at some point. Even Michael Jackson’s reign stopped at some point. If he did not die, do you think the likes of Chris Brown would not reign? There is time for everything. But the fact that you are progressing is what is important. I have evolved. The fact that I am progressing, that is what I am focusing on. I am very glad that people have taken note of my style, which has been heavily criticised and has affected my career but still, I am seeing the glory in others which is something that I am grateful for. I am still in the market. Terry G is everywhere.
In virtually all your songs and shows, you have a bell that you ring. What is its significance?
The bell signifies happiness and joy. When you hear the bell, everybody becomes attentive. The bell has become my style. When I sang Apako, with all the instruments I had in the studio, it was only the bell that could translate what I was singing in the song.
Some people think that using the bell is tied to voodoo (juju)…
Some people have said that the bell is tied to juju. That is a Nigerian mentality. I wish it was juju so that it would catch everybody. It is not juju; it is not voodoo. It is just our orientation in Nigeria. They could have said that D’banj’s mouth organ was also juju. It is left for you to understand our Nigerian orientation and the way we think. It is just the way some people would see a bird on your house and think it is a witch.
Are you aware that recently you have been compared with Portable especially due to his controversies?
I know. I am very comfortable with the comparison. Do not forget that he is not the first person to be compared with me. I have been compared with the likes of Zlatan Ibile, Naira Marley; it was even in the media where they went to the extent of using pictures and videos to compare us. I am comfortable with it and we have a collaboration together. Among all of the musicians that are trending now, including D’banj and Tuface, I am still the most emulated and copied musician. If you do not copy my style; you must copy something from me.
I started street music. Even if they do not give me the credit, I will credit myself. I love Portable so much. That boy is smart. At the end of the day, I got what I wanted. I am not crazy; I am an intellectual mad man. By God’s grace, this is my craft and my style and I have been able to make it for myself and it has spoken for me but it is left for people to understand. I actually don’t want people to understand because ‘market will spoil’.
You recently released a song. What should your fans be expecting from you?
Some months ago, I released a song titled Respect, but I am yet to release the video. However, this one that I just released is Kanzima. It is on social media and it is a song for all the ladies.
You have made a name for yourself in the music industry, are you thinking of venturing into acting?
If you see me in any movie, it means that they forced me. I do not have time for that stress. It is not my calling. The one I did last, I ran away from the set. They had to beg me a lot before I went back to finish the shoot. It is stressful and I would only act if they pay me a lot of money. I would perform for like two hours on stage and collect my millions but when it comes to acting, I would spend days on set. If care is not taken, they would even know the amount of boxers you brought to the set.
What do you think about afrobeat?
It has taken over. It started from the time of Tuface, D’banj and when they started bringing international artistes to Nigeria. I like the progressive part of afrobeat. I look forward to more progress. I am enjoying what is happening.