Monday, 14 September 2009
STORIES BY CHUKS NWANNE
WHEN gyration music is mentioned in the country, Tony One Weeks name will hop up on top. His album, You Go Bow, made this sort of music more popular than what it was with the university Campus-based Kegites Club.
“Everybody knows me as the gyration master in this country, and to God the glory,” he says at a recent meeting in one of Lagos’ popular hangouts.
But what happens when the gyration master goes hip-life, a genre associated with Ghanaians?
Well, that’s exactly what you are going to hear in his latest work billed to hit music shelves soon. However, worried lovers of gyration music need not fret, as Tony still has something close to that in the offin.
Tony came to limelight when he repackaged gyration music and recorded it for public consumption.
He became a household name in gyration music, featuring at major gigs in the country. Songs such as Onwa December and Obowede oh yes were on the lips of very many young persons.
Eleven years after he stepped out with his wave-making You Go Bow, the gyration master, is back with a new work, The Champion.
Away from his usual style, the 14-track album features hip-life tracks, which he believes will be a must-listen in many homes in the country and beyond.
“I’m assuring Nigerians both home and in Diaspora that something is about to happen. Hip-life is derived from the presence of hip-hop in the beats; it’s a combination of highlife and hip-hop. It has songs such as The Champion, which I did with Sonny Bobo, Monkey No Fine and others.”
ACCORDING to the film producer, the new work is a kind of innovation. He adds that his usual gyration work will be released at a later date.
“We actually planned to combine the two albums together, but my producer decided we split them into two different works. So, you are going to see The Champion 1 and 2.
“Everybody knows me as the gyration master, but this work is away from the traditional gyration you know. For instance, the track featuring J Martins is not gyration, but it’s a good song. When you listen to it, you discover that it’s the gyration master singing. If you want to call it an experiment, then you are not far from the truth,” he says.
On why he went hip-life, the Anambra State native explains, “ to me, music is about acceptability; I don’t even want to know how it sounds. Once the music is acceptable to the people, I don’t have problem with it. My doing hip-life is by choice because hip-life is taking over gradually. If you hear the guitar in Onyeacha, a track featuring Duncan Mighty, you will first think it’s the late Sir Warrior. But because of the hip-hop flavor, it makes you dance. If I play pure highlife, I might be attracting the older generation, but hip-life cuts across.”
But it’s likely going to affect your identity?
“No, I don’t think so; good music is good music. I’m still the Gyration Master giving you something you might never imagine Tony One Week could do. If directing a movies and acting could not affect my identity, I don’t think playing hip-life will have any effect.”
FOR Tony, who is now based in Abuja, producing the new work was financially challenging, especially with the number of artistes featured.
“Ordinary flight fair that went into this production is unbelievable; Niggar Raw flew in from Enugu and I had to go pick him up from the airport and lodged him in a hotel, flew him back after the production; the same thing with Storm Rex and Duncan Mighty. In fact, I had to bring Duncan back to repeat the track he featured; the producer noticed something in the song, so, we had to repeat it all over again. I was in Owerri to work with Sonny Bobo… the cost was much! But my happiness is that everything came out the way we wanted it.”
Already, Iyk The Don Entertainment has been contracted to distribute the work both locally and internationally. According to the CEO of the outfit, Ikenna Ezeh, plans are afoot to ensure the album gets to every nook and cranny of the country.
“Tony has been my friend for sometime now, but my decision to take up the job has nothing to do with our relationship; the album met my company’s requirement. We have a solid distribution channel within and outside the country and we are going to apply it in this particular work. We were responsible for the Marketing of Asa, Infinity, J Martins, Midnight Crew and others. We are still going to approach this work the same way we did with the others.”
For promotional purpose, one of the video from the work, Ife Osolugi Mebe, is already showing of TV stations across the country.
“It’s a promo video featuring Flavour. Naturally, when you are bringing out a new album, it’s normal to release just one promo video. If not, pirates will help you market the work. So, what we did was to do a promo video, but the other videos will follow in no distant time; before Christmas, you will get the new video. I expect every Nigerian to grab a copy of the work, because we are reaching out to both children and adults; there’s nothing vulgar in my music. I’m sure this album will satisfy the desire for good music.”
BORN into the family of Gabriel and Angela Muonagor of Obosi town in Anambra State, Tony attended the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, where he cut his teeth in entertainment; he formed a group, Thriller Entertainment, organising major shows on campus. He was also at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus for his Post Graduate Diploma and Master’s degree in Business Administration and majored in Management.
Atinuke sings Majemu ife
Right from his childhood, Atinuke had always dreamt of becoming a very popular musician in the country; taking up a white-collar job was never in the big picture of her life.
Her love for music actually spurred her into joining the Christ Apostolic Mission Church Choir in Lagos, at a tender age of seven.
“I was known as Iyabo then, because they believed that my late grand mother came back through me. But I dropped the name later because I know that I’m me; I’m not a reincarnation of one old woman. So, I changed my name to Atinuke.”
Unlike most artistes, who go through difficulties in getting their parent’s nod to become musicians, Atinuke’s case was entirely different.
“They were very supportive; God rest their souls, they are late now. My parents were organists and my Dad was a composer. So, I think music runs in our family.”
On her choice of doing gospel music as against the hip-hop tradition that has become popular among youths, Atinuke Show, as she’s fondly called said, “Maybe because of my background as a child; we were brought up in the church; that kind of spurred me into playing the kind of music I do.”
But some people view gospel music as ‘church music?
“Basically, the biblical translation of gospel is good news; everybody wants to hear good news. If we are singing about God’s blessing, it does not mean it applies to Christians alone. But because the word is popular among Christians, people tend to see it as church thing. If you listen to the lyrics of people like Sunny Ade and some juju artistes, you will hear a bit of gospel in it. So, it’s not for Christians alone.”
She continues: “Some artistes are more concerned about the commercial aspect of their music, so, they can afford to shoot any video without looking at the moral implication. A lot of them don’t even bother about the kind of signal they are sending through their songs. As far as it will sell, they are comfortable with it. But for me, music is about message.”
For Atinuke, music is a calling.
“It’s an in born thing; it’s not an all comers affair. If it’s your calling, the spirit will drive you. Personal experiences somehow influence the kind of lyrics I write, but basically, God is my inspiration.”
She recalled her first experience in wiring music.
“It was an English song, I got it from the book of psalms. I was supposed to do it in this album, but my producer decided we put it in the next work. I wrote it about seven years ago. I think it’s a good song; we’ve done a demo of it.”
Atinuke’s first effort, Shout Halleluiah, a four-track album, which was released in 2005, could not go as far as she expected.
“It was ok, but you know the problem of up-coming artistes with marketer and thing like that.”
This time around, the singer is back with a new work, Majeku Ife, which is already on music shelves. Arrange and produced by Dare Ojetola, Atinuke is optimistic that the album will make a good listening.
“It has always been my dream to write and produce my own songs. At a point, it was a bit difficult; you write a song and it’s not good enough, you had to rewrite it and make it better. Gradually, with good producers, I was able to come up with what I have now.”
If yoy think making music is easy, then hear Atinuke: “Nothing good comes easy; singing itself is a whole lot of task. Some people think it’s easy, but the truth is that it’s much difficult than people think. You don’t wake up and jump into the studio,” she notes.
Have you ever slept in the studio?
“Several times,” she quips. “If I’m not doing my work, I will be backing other artistes. Meanwhile, I’m also into voice over and jingle production; I write scripts too.”
After Lagos, Face-Offf heads to Abuja
The first edition of the Face Off, which was held last November, at the Expo Hall, Eko Hotel, Lagos, was a bang. The hall was filled with fun lovers, who came out in handful number to be part of the show that saw artistes slug it out with the Islanders Basket Ball Club in a match.
Featuring notable names such as Tuface Idibia, Banky, P-Square, D’banj, Sound Sultan, Basketmouth, Kefee and others, the event saw the celebrities show their skills in basketball. It was fun all the away, as the entertainers take their turn to thrill the large crowd with music and comedy at various intervals.
Smirnoff Ice added colours to the event by taking up its sponsorship and branded the whole arena and the court in its colour. Indeed, Face Off opened a new page in the entertainment circle.
Following the success of the first edition, Playcentre, the entertainment company behind the event, has announced plans to host this year’s edition on October 24, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The Managing Director of the outfit, Olatunde Michaels, informed that the company is putting its act together to ensure that Face Off 2009 blows the mind of fun lovers beyond expectation. Michaels noted that the show is being packaged to give Abuja fun lovers a more exciting experience.