Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Help! People always think I’m mad -Terry G

Gabriel Amanyi is the weird singer that answers the stage name Terry G. The singer, who has a lot of street followers judging from his type of music, recently spoke with TUNDE AYANDA and BOLATITO ADEBOLA on his life, music, among others
WHAT’S in your new album?
The title of the album is Book of Ginger. It has to do with the showing of my other side, musically and personally. It talks more about my person.
How many tracks does the album have?
I have recorded 22 tracks in the album, which has pages and chapters, including contents that make it a book.
Why so many tracks in a single album?
I have always been having this problem; it usually comes when I’m compiling the tracks to make an album. I don’t do songs because I want to release an album; I record almost everyday, and when it’s time for me to release an album, I always have problem in selection and I won’t know the one to drop or pick. People around me also add to the problem because they want their favourite songs to come out in the album. It’s not as if I’m purposefully doing many tracks; it comes with demand and choice.
Why did you launch your album with the Book of Ginger Concert in Abuja?
There was no particular reason, and thank God the concert was really a successful event and I must mention the support of my adopted Area Father, Charly Boy, who joined with the street awareness for the event. The reception and the crowd were awesome, because we did a huge publicity for the event and we had all the media houses in support. It was very memorable.
Is there going to be a Lagos version of the concert?
Book of Ginger Concert is coming to Lagos. I actually wanted to do it in Lagos but I didn’t have the opportunity. I tried to seek the permission of the brand in charge of the particular location to use for the event, but I couldn’t get the opportunity to use the venue of my choice because of the price. It was outrageous. I knew it was deliberate because I have this look that scares people. I’m also a threat to a lot of people in the music industry because of the brand and because of the fact that, by the grace of God, we plan to change the mentality about our music. Nevertheless, my team management are currently working on the Lagos version of the concert and we are getting proposals from our clients and it’s likely it comes up in November.
What is your relationship with Charly Boy?
He is my father. I won’t call him my boss. He has been very supportive even before I became Terry G. In those days when I produced songs for Timaya and 2Shot, he used to fly me to his house in Abuja where I used to produce songs for him, and he has always been like a dad to me and he always advised me. So, whenever I go to Abuja, I don’t have any choice than to see him and carry him along in anything I intend doing.
What is new about you?
So many things. Now I have a child; I’m a father. His name is Amaniyi Rex, and with him added to my life he has given me a new life. (Becoming a father) has made me to see the other side of life and it has put me in place, because when you are thinking about tomorrow, you will want to be more responsible. His birth has helped me a lot and even helped me to flow away from the odds of negativity and helped me to compose myself and think of the future.
If your son decides to do your type of music – with all the ‘ginger and swagger’ – will you allow it?
Of course I will! But I’m going to train him to become a footballer first.
Why footballer?
Because I was supposed to be a footballer.
What now happened to the dream?
The same opportunity that you see, it comes and goes. There are lots of talents out there but no resources. God has given us the opportunity; it’s just the platform we can’t find. Those days, some agents showed interest but there was no sponsor. So I believe with my platform and opportunity my son should be able to achieve where I didn’t.
But what if he chooses not to be a footballer?
Then he will do music. Even as he is growing, he will have different ideas.
What would have happened if your son had been a girl?
I don’t want a girl; I really want a Terry G.
Were you in the hospital when your wife gave birth? What was the experience?
I wasn’t in the hospital.
How did you feel the first time you carried him (son)?
I was scared to carry him because I’d never carried a baby in my life. Seriously. With the kind of image and the song I sing, my hairstyle too, children are always scared of me; so, it was interesting to me that I have a male child.
Now that someone has given birth to a child for you, is there any plan of getting married?
Marriage is coming up. When it’s time, I will let people know. But marriage is not something you can rush into just like that.
Where did you meet her?
I met her in the United Kingdom. There was a concert I attended in London; it was my first major performance in London. That was where we met. I met her through a friend and we just started chatting. What actually happened was that she got amazed knowing I was Terry G. She wanted to know about me; but when she saw the other side of me, she got interested and realised the difference between Gabriel and Terry G. Now we are able to transform the relationship to a family and I’m more responsible with her beside me.
Do your other female admirers still come to you despite knowing you have a child and likely to get married soon?
Yes, they still get in touch with me. Even if I marry tomorrow, my female admirers are very understanding; and being the fact that music is business, there is no personal sentiment in that. Even marriage has nothing to do with my music and my fans.
What’s happening in the ‘House of Ginger?’
The House of Ginger is a household name; it is a musical group created by me and personally I deserted the group for a while, though it never fades. It’s just for the entertainment and I think I wasn’t really capable of managing the group. I wasn’t that strong financially; I had a label but no sponsor. So it was quite stressful. I just had to dissolve the group and face other things. I have passion for the House of Ginger, but what is worth doing is worth doing well.
Recently you changed your name from Terry G to Terry Gzus. This created a lot of controversies. Can you tell us what Terry Gzus mean?
There are so many controversies on the name. When I say Terry Gzus, I don’t mean ‘Jesus’. I know the pronunciation sounds like ‘Jesus’ and I personally know it’s going to generate controversy; but it simply means ‘Terry-omo-Jesu’. That’s what it means, and this other one ‘LUSIFA’, I was known for that as well. I knew it causes a lot of controversies as well, but this is what I mean ‘Look-Is-Fa’. But people got me wrong.
What are you trying to portray with this new development?
I’m not changing my style of music; it’s just like the same way I do the production. Basically it is just that I want to spice it up a little, because I find out that I wasn’t accessible because of the image I portray, and most people see me and get scared because of the kind of song I do. I learn from what people say about me that I’m mad, so I decided to make a little adjustment to this and make myself accessible to people, so that they will have it in mind that this is business and I’m acting on the prepared scripts. With time, I will actually add the spices to my videos and the changing of style. When it comes to design of the videos, it has helped me a lot to relate with good people because it attracts people and bring me closer to them. Then I used to believe and feel that people love my songs, but most people don’t really like my person, because of the news they hear about me or the image I portray, but all that is changing now.
Is the misinterpretation of your music the real reason for the changes?
I’m a producer and as a producer, I’m versatile with my work and I’m also allowed to explore music in different ways. As a leader, when you follow the same partner, your followers will get tired of you; and the reason you’ve been interesting is because you spice up the job, and at the end of the day, these are the reasons your followers would love what you do and follow you – when you give them different things. So, I don’t see everybody in the industry as a threat to me; neither do I see myself as being in a competition with anybody. I have my personal style and brand, which I thank God for; and it’s been working for me, and which is not easy for everybody to get. Talking about the likes of 2Face, Dbanj and others, it has to do with uniqueness. I’m very unique with my songs. When you hear my songs, you’ll know this is Terry G . So, I never get intimidated or in competition with anybody because I know people like my songs.
What are the challenges you have overcome to still be relevant in the industry?
Like I said earlier, my image is quite threatening to a lot of my colleagues and some brands as well; but over time, I’ve been able to change things. Now, people have access to me. Though it was actually giving me problem then; it was like a challenge to me, because I don’t do brand events which will have to do with the agencies, and the agencies do not want you due to their image. But over time, I was able to conquer that and I am having personal and direct relationships with brands. They actually realised it was not my fault, because all I do is music.
People believe that Nigerian music is more of beats than the content. You are a musician and a producer; do you agree with that?
Yes, it’s like that all over the world. Even God says when you pray and he doesn’t listen, sing. He values songs more than the contents. The song actually attracts your attention before you give it the lyrics.
In the past, you were in the news for negative reasons; but now you seem to have calmed down. What’s responsible for such change?
Sometimes you see life changing constantly and sometimes you see it in a different way. I just saw so much value in my life and the future. When I say my future, it has to do with my kid, as you know. So, I started changing a lot of things and it actually scared a lot of negative influences from me. It helped me scare them away. It helped me resolve and also re-arrange myself.
What are you working on presently?
We are working on a European tour, also an American tour. I don’t really travel out; I believe in staying in Nigeria because I still have a lot to do. So, I think it’s better for staying in my home in Nigeria to do my things than going out there. But the tour will soon commence.

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