9ice – “New Yoruba rappers are no threat to me”

9icePopular Yoruba lyricist, 9ice, who is currently on a playing tour of the United States, says he is not giving up on his music career, in this interview with  JAYNE AUGOYE

Many fans of the popular singer, Abolore Akande, aka 9ice, have wondered why he has not been visible on the music scene lately. But the lanky singer, who serenaded his fans with hit songs that include ‘Gongo Aso’, ‘Photocopy’, ‘Attitude’ and ‘Energy’, has been ‘missing in action’ says he has been away on a playing tour of different parts of the world.

The tour is part of the current drive by his new managers to prepare him for a more result-oriented future.

  He says, “I’ve been silent because there’s a difference in approach to my promotions, shows, tours and song releases. I always release an album every year. But after I dropped ‘Bashorun Gaa’ and ‘Versus’, I decided to release a double album every two years. My last double album was released on December 7, 2011, to be precise. Another album is due to be released in December.”

On his latest single, ‘Ike Kan’, the artiste engaged the services of top music producer, Don Jazzy. The track did not gain as much attention as his past works. It remains unnoticed in certain quarters.

But 9ice, who hopes to drop a follow-up single,’Life Drama’, later this month, has a contrary perception.

“So far, it has been so good. Three weeks of Internet promotions and the attendant public reception has been massive. I haven’t printed a copy of the single album for promotions yet, but the song is known everywhere. What more can I say? The magic touch does the job,” he says.

Although the singer, who began writing songs at age 14, may have been temporarily off the scene, he insists that he has not lost his sparkle.

 “In terms of record sales, recognition and acceptance, I have achieved more after the ‘Gongo Aso’ album was released. If they want to judge me in terms of appearances in public, then I can agree a bit because lately I’ve tried to limit my movement to professional engagement venues. More so, I’ve performed in a lot of shows outside the shores of the country and I have also tried to stay away from controversies,” he adds.

The singer, who is currently on a playing tour of the US and having recently covered Dublin, Ireland, and Glasgow, Scotland, speaks glowingly about the experience.

“The reception for me is the same everywhere. I am accepted in Nigeria and abroad. So I can’t say which is better. The feeling I get both ways is superb. Austria is the next stop. I will also touch Aberdeen, China, Dubai, Moscow and also Amsterdam by the end of November this year,” he gushes.

Owing to the lull being experienced in the music industry, most artistes fall back on endorsement deals. But 9ice, who is yet to bag any deal, is only optimistic for now.

“It will definitely come one way or the other. With or without it, I have sustained and maintained my standards. My focus is to make good music, inspire people and change my environment positively. Every other blessing is an addition. Endorsement is a good idea for celebrities to upgrade and reap the sweat of their labour while promoting and adding value to the brands,” he says.

Eight years down the line, the singer, who was once a member of the group known as Mysterious Boys, says he is contented.

“I believe I have achieved many of my goals. I can say I am on 50 per cent achievement right now and I am looking forward to another 50 per cent to wrap up my score sheet. So far, I have won a MOBO award. So, all I am working towards is getting a Grammy. My record sales are on point, my acceptance is never shaking, credibility is evergreen and inspiring songs are always coming,” he says.

9ice adds that the new school of artistes does not pose a threat. As far as he is concerned, it is a level playing field. “The sky is more than big for every bird to fly. Before Da’grin died, there were so many artistes that could rap, sing and chant in Yoruba language. Now the number has increased. I can’t be threatened because many more are still coming. I don’t follow trends. Mind you trend always changes, what would be my legacy if I just follow every trend? Trend always fades out. What is trending today may become annoying tomorrow,” he says.

With his highly anticipated G.R.A. album scheduled for release in December, the singer now looks beyond music. He says, “I am studying public safety and Common Law at the Capella University in the US. Law has always been part of me from my days in secondary school. I feel a lot of people in my community still don’t understand the essence of law and so many are ignorant. I love being my brother’s keeper and fighting for the less privileged.”

Fame like wealth, sometimes comes unexpectedly. For the unprepared artiste, it is a huge task managing both. But, 9ice says he has been lucky in this regard.

 “I was able to cope based on the fact that I was opportune to learn the basics from the likes of Lord of Ajasa. Now the new generation can do as they wish, one man’s food is another man’s poison, but generally speaking investing in ones future is the way forward.

Looking into the future, 9ice is optimistic, yet he silently nurses a fear. “Failure. I don’t want to fail in whatever I do. I want to excel, break grounds, discover new ways of making music, and retain the identity of an icon or legend,”he reveals.

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Oluwafemi Toslaw -Webmaster, Young Media Entrepreneur, Blogger and Founder NaijaOlofofo Media

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