BY tony Ogaga Erhariefe
Gabriel Oche-Amanyi, popularly known as Terry G ranks among the most celebrated entertainers in the country. However, he is controversial, which makes people to see him in different light. The talented musician cum producer in this interview with The Entertainer talks about his career, family and why he prefers to be called Lucifer. Excerpts:
You recently had a concert in Abuja. Tell us about it?
It was my album release concert. The title of my latest album is Book of Ginger, so we tagged the event Book Of Ginger Concert. It was held at the This Day Dome, Abuja.
How was the concert?
To God be the glory, it was a massive success, even beyond my expectation. Honestly, I can’t thank everybody who made it a success enough. I need to thank people like Charly Boy, Timaya, AY, Klint Da Drunk, Skales, Solid Star, Gordons, Denrele, Kcee, Akpororo, Jaywon, Chuddy K and Ozzybosco. They really made the concert a success with their contributions. Based on the success of the Abuja edition, my fans in other parts of Nigeria have been clamouring for such concert in their places. I promise they will have it. My team has actually considered more states where the Book of Ginger Concert will be held subsequently.
You had your first child sometime ago. How does it feel to be a father?
It’s the happiest thing that has ever happened to me. There is always a feeling one has never felt before, especially when it is the first time. It’s full of new experiences, and the truth is that it has brought good luck to my life.
Has it changed anything about you?
Yes, definitely. It has changed my lifestyle; I’m now a homely man, always at home playing with my kid. It has made me to be calm.
Tell us about his mother, Mimi?
She is lovely, understanding and very intelligent. It is always difficult to find the right partner, but I’m lucky to have found her.
How and when did your paths cross?
Mimi and I have been together for five years now. We have also been working together, she has been in charge of my music affairs, and when it comes to the organization of my projects, she has been quite supportive. Though, she doesn’t come out in public, she has been awesome.
What attracted her to you?
I told you it is very hard for men of nowadays to find the right woman. What I was looking for was a homely girl; that is the best attraction any man can get. Even your mum will tell you that you must bring home a responsible girl. That is the image she has.
Many people don’t know you also direct musical videos. What can you say about this?
I have been getting compliments from people as regards this. I direct most of my videos. I directed See Groove, So High, AK-One as well as Pull-Off.
When did you discover the skill?
It has been there for a long time, there has not been the right opportunity to exploit it. It has to do with your imagination. As an intellectual artiste, you should be in the best position to interpret the visuals of your songs. You just need one or two technical abilities. I have actually waited for this time and we are getting there.
Your personality means different things to different people. Who actually is Terry G?
Terry G is just a businessman, and a man who has chosen a path to follow. He is a crazy entertainer on stage, up to date and energetic.
When you first came to the industry you referred to yourself as Mr. Bling Bling, later it was Ginger, Akpako Master, and now you said people should call you Lucifer (devil)?
A lot of people got it wrong. Nevertheless, I’m in support of controversy. I knew it was going to cause controversies. What I actually meant was ‘look, see far’; meaning I’m seeing ahead. I told my crew members that it was going to generate controversies and I’m enjoying it.
To what extent do you enjoy controversies?
Not 100 percent because there are some controversies that are accidental; you don’t plan for them; and there are some controversies that come for good. For instance, I just had a baby, bought a car; these are positive controversies that everybody likes. Let me say I like positive controversies.
Considering how wild you are, many people will not believe that you started music from the church, and as a gospel artiste?
Sometimes, you need to put yourself in people’s shoes. When a preacher is preaching to you, and you already knew all what he was going to say, it might not sound interesting. I think God knows why He chose a path for everybody because if you look at it, everybody seems to have done gospel music at some point. It worked for some people, and didn’t work for some. That is because we have different purposes in life.
I know you recorded a gospel album before delving into secular music. How would you describe yourself between then and now?
I will say it was a process. Everything in life demands experience. Some people are there right now just because they understand the market. It will get to a level where you will understand that it is more than just singing; it has to do with showbiz – the talent and business side of it. So, I have understood that with time, there are certain ways you can still do it.
Are you saying gospel music don’t sell?
I didn’t say so. The truth is that in all my albums, there is an element of gospel. There will be a track where I will praise God. Gospel music comes from the heart, because what you sing should portray who you are. You can be singing gospel music and still be a great sinner, so you can’t judge me for playing secular music.
Would you go back to gospel music anytime soon?
By God’s grace; it has been prophesied that God is going to use me to prophesy to multitudes, and I think I’m already doing that in a way, but when God calls me at the right time, I will go for it.
You need to make certain clarifications about your personality. Perhaps, due to your energetic stagecraft and lyrics, some people perceive you to be an addicted Indian hemp smoker?
Well, these things are attached to secular music. Everybody doesn’t do it but I think 99 percent of us are seen doing it. The fact about life is that everything has control. There is a reason for everything. If you ask me, it doesn’t have to do with the fact that people say I take Indian hemp. It has to do with the talent that I have. If I take Indian hemp and I’m not creative or naturally intellectual, it won’t work. Besides, if you look at it, I’m not the only one.
How do you write your songs? Where does the inspiration come from?
I was born in the ghetto; in Iju area of Lagos. I will say my environment inspires me. I’m a very down-to-earth person. I relate with the people you don’t expect, just because I have an agenda. I’m a businessman and my market strategy is the streets, so I have to relate with the street to get my content. Basically, my environment inspires me.
You are adjudged one of the best beat makers in Nigeria. How do you feel?
I have been a producer even before I started singing. I play all the musical instruments, so I’m full of sounds and creativity. I don’t write my music, the beat is the inspiration behind my freestyles and songs. This is because I make the beats before I sing, so my beat inspires me.
You don’t write your songs?
I have never written any of my songs. I only do freestyle. You can ask anybody close to me. It is an imagination, a magnetic memory. The environment itself helps. You just need to decide on the topic first, then everything in your memory comes to play. You can use creative words that are not existing, add them to the ones that exist to make a good sound.
What’s the meaning of Akpako?
Akpako means scope. Interviewing me now means you’re nacking your akpako. Your akpako is journalism. As a lawyer, you nack your akpako when you’re in court. My own akpako (scope) is music. So, if I’m referring to a girl that ‘tile make I nack you akpako…’ that means I’m making sexual conversation with her.
You’ve been quite consistent since you came into the industry. How challenging is it to maintain this level?
I don’t have challenges. I just try to improve myself; I don’t compete or copy anybody because my style of music is different from what other people do. I try to be versatile in my own way.
You have done much collaboration. Which of them is your favourite?
Malonogedege with Timaya. That was a very good sound; it gives you life when you listen to it. I love the song and I appreciate the fact that I did it with Timaya because he is my good friend and my son’s godfather.
You also did a song, Crazycally Fit with Tonto Dikeh. How did that happen?
You know that Tonto Dikeh is also controversial. When she dropped her first two singles, everybody was criticizing her, but I like the fact that she has a market that other female artistes in Nigeria don’t have. She has this crazy female swag that will make her relevant for a long time. I was the one that called her on phone after making the beat. She came and we killed it. I’m happy that the response on the song is good. Music is not all about talent, its about the producer’s ability to discover the potentials of the artiste and give the necessary support.
What was your experience with her in the studio?
It was cool. She listens to instructions and always ready to work, and that is very vital. The problem we have with some artistes in the studio is that they don’t listen.
I guess she is one of the most difficult artistes you have worked with?
Not really. The song we did was good.
She didn’t sing off-key like she did in her debut singles?
No. Every good sound comes from the producer because he has the right to monitor the production and voicing. So, if it is not good to go, he won’t let it out. So, you can’t blame the artiste, you blame the foundation of the song. Everybody can sing; they just need a good producer to coordinate them. It is a step-by-step stuff.
Some artistes have in the past accused you of stealing their beats or songs. Can you clear the air?
People often make this mistake; you don’t say someone stole your beat when it is not your intellectual property. A production belongs to the producer, and he has the right to give his beat to anybody. If I give you a free beat from my heart and you stab me in the back, I don’t have to be violent because there are ways to kill your market. That is why I deliberately do some stuff. I’m a human being.
Where do you place yourself in the industry?
I’m at the top of my game and I wish to be better everyday.
What does your daily routine looks like?
I said it earlier on that I’m more of an indoor person now. If I’m not working in the studio, I will be with my son at home. I don’t go out anymore.
What’s your definition of fashion?
Fashion means presence; it is value and determines how people rate you.
You pierced several parts of your body. Don’t you get uncomfortable with it at times?
You wouldn’t want to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. The only way it might inconvenience you is when you listen to the negative things people are saying. So, if you want to do something, do it the way it pleases you. I’m comfortable with my piercing.
If you have the privilege to change something about yourself, what will it be?
I love driving, and I deny my driver of his duties most times. Maybe I need to change that. But talking about my person, it can’t change. You can’t change what brings food to your table; so far it is not negative.
How has piracy affected you?
It doesn’t affect me. If you are wise in Lagos, you will know that you need to keep dropping hits so that you can get shows and make your money. I don’t depend on album sales, so I concentrate more effort on releasing good music that will keep me relevant.
Are you fulfilled?
Yes, I’m fulfilled. The Bible says that whatever you say with your tongue shall come to pass, so I’m fulfilled.