By Rita Okoye

Nigeria has a thriving music scene where artists continuously innovate, always trying to stand out in a very competitive environment. One of these trailblazers is Gbemiro Tokunbo, better known as GT Da Guitarman.

After a 10-year break from the music industry, he is back with a new Extended Play (EP) titled ‘Elody’. The EP is aimed at catering to the ever-changing and dynamic tastes of music fans.

In this interview with Rita Okoye, GT Da Guitarman opens up on his musical journey, new EP, and musical influences amongst other issues.


How did your music journey begin?

My musical journey immersed me in the nostalgic tunes of Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, and Onyeka Owenu at family gatherings, where I joyfully danced alongside my father. My sister, a choir member, further ignited my passion by harmonizing with me, blending treble and alto seamlessly. During my years at Mayflower Secondary School, hymns from the Revered Mary Mayflower Hymn Book deepened my musical connection. Collaborating with childhood friends, we formed groups like Pairs of Gloves and Tempo and Excel, fueled by our shared love for music. A chance encounter with a guitarist in my neighbourhood sparked my determination to master the instrument. Self-taught, the guitar became the perfect companion to my voice, enriching my musical expression. Encounters with influential figures like Omobaba the comedian and Dare Art Alade led me to Storm Records, where I spent transformative years crafting memorable songs like the ‘Champion’ remix. My musical journey continues to unfold, shaping my artistry and legacy. 

Who are your biggest musical influences?

I draw inspiration from fearless trailblazers who have reshaped genres and left a lasting impact on the world. From the revolutionary sounds of Fela Kuti and Bob Marley to contemporary innovators like Lauryn Hill and John Mayer, each artiste has motivated me to pursue greatness in my artistic journey.

What do you like the most about being a singer?

As a singer, what resonates most deeply with me is the electrifying experience of performing live alongside a talented band, surrounded by my devoted fans. There’s an unparalleled intimacy in connecting with my audience through music, as I pour my heart and soul into each performance. Sharing the stage with my fans, seeing their enthusiasm, and knowing that my music touches them on a profound level is an incomparable feeling. It’s the culmination of solitary creative expression transformed into a shared experience that brings immense joy and fulfilment.

What else do you do besides music?

My passions extend to a myriad of creative endeavours. Alongside my musical pursuits, I immerse myself in acting, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. Whether it’s collaborating on film projects, exploring business ventures, or giving back to my community, I constantly seek new avenues for self-expression and growth. Beyond the realm of music, I wear many hats—a trader, a miner, and a multifaceted individual with diverse interests and skills.

How does your environment impact your work?

Related News

My background, deeply rooted in the cultural richness of Nigeria and shaped by personal experiences, significantly influences my choice of work. I recognize the importance of speaking fluently in a global environment, utilizing languages such as English, Yoruba, and Pidgin to reach a wider audience. Incorporating African languages and cultural elements into my music adds authenticity and depth, allowing me to tell stories that resonate with listeners from diverse backgrounds. Ultimately, my background serves as a wellspring of inspiration, infusing my music with authenticity and enriching its storytelling capabilities.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your new EP “Elody”?

I am excited to release an EP titled ‘Elody,’ marking my comeback to the music scene after a decade. Consisting of five tracks, it symbolizes my enduring presence and commitment to my craft. This release underscores my pledge to continue creating music, reaffirming my dedication even in 2024.

How long did it take you to put the “Elody” EP together?

Crafting Elody was a labour of love, spanning many months and years of creative collaboration and introspection. From the initial spark of inspiration to the final mastering stage, it involved countless hours of dedication and effort. Despite moments of sabbatical and the need to step away from toxicity, the journey was filled with excitement and planning. Overall, it’s been a beautiful process, marking a significant milestone in my artistic journey after a decade-long hiatus.

What is the profitability of your music career like?

While financial success is important, my primary focus has always been on creating meaningful art that resonates with listeners. Music has opened doors to diverse opportunities and experiences, enriching my life in ways that transcend monetary gain.

What are your expectations for the EP?

My expectations for the new EP primarily revolve around showcasing that GT is forever evolving, and capable of reinventing himself. I possess abilities beyond my comprehension, delving into deeper layers of myself, and revitalizing the GT brand to resonate more with Gen Z.

What is your opinion about the state of mental awareness in the music industry?

Regrettably, mental health awareness remains sidelined in the industry due to a lack of resources and support. Artists often lack proper guidance to navigate their careers and personal struggles, contributing to a cycle of self-destructive behaviour. While organizations like the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) are making efforts to assist artists, more needs to be done to combat issues like substance abuse. Education on the dangers of drug abuse is crucial in safeguarding the well-being of artists and fostering a healthier music community. 

What is the most challenging part of being an artist?

I believe the most challenging aspect of being an artist is finding profitability in your craft. It’s a realization often learned when passion wanes, realizing the need to safeguard oneself in an industry prone to change. Navigating the dynamic music landscape while maintaining artistic integrity demands resilience and adaptability. As Tuface once said, “If I tell you it’s easy, it’s a setup.” This chosen path requires dedication and love for the work amidst constant challenges and uncertainties.