Terry G has been in the music industry for just six years, yet he has created his own brand of street music. Born Gabriel Amanyi, the Apako master has also delved into the water-packaging business and in this chat with SAMUEL ABULUDE, the talented musician from Benue State bares his mind on his brand and how his creativity was borne out of frustration. This is vintage Terry G.
What has Terry G been up to?
I have been working. Recently, I opened a factory where water is packaged for sale. We started last month and it has been good. We have some trucks now and we are planning to add more before the year ends. As for the music part, I’m dropping a video soon as it is characteristic of Terry G; I always drop 3 videos a year. We also just shot a video for one of my artistes.
Does the water-packaging business come before your music?
Not really. But music won’t put food on the table for me forever. Man must look for means of making money and meeting needs. As they say, Omi o loota (Water has no enemy); so we are making clean water available to the people of Lagos. I have a good management doing all this for me. We have a staff strength of more than 20 and will get more people.
Again, on the music side, I’m currently shooting the video of one of my songs, Gbagbe Osi.
You travel a lot, so who manages the day to day running of your company?
I have a good management team and my baby mama and fiancée manages this company for me. Her name is Mimi Omoregbe. I’m at rest that no one will steal my money because she is sound and good in business. Mimi, the mother of my son, is based in London and comes here often.
Your music is now a success story, how did you do it?
My brother if I tell you say I know how, na lie I dey lie (laughs). I have been studying the industry and I have learnt to give the people what they want. I started with Rhythm and Blues and went to shoot my video in South Africa. The buzz I got from the song was not satisfactory, so I became frustrated and maybe that frustration led me to do the street music I’m doing now- the Apako song.
Apako has given you a name and identity on the Nigerian music scene, what inspired it?
Apako is a slang in Benin which means ‘scope’. The song, Make I Nak You Apako is about a guy toasting a babe and scoping her. It means “let me scope you” or “let me yarn you that thing”. It is a slang we use in Benin and in AJ. I had to study the terrain and come out with such a song. If dem no accept my R&B, dem go accept my street music, which bonds with the people.
Youths are now eager to go into music because of the glamour…
(Cuts in) We are talking millions here. Music is now paying off, unlike decades ago.
…But most of the songs Nigerians gyrate to have lewd lyrics, what’s your take?
You see, today’s music is evil. We call it commercial music. This is the music that brings the millions. People are still doing good music here but there is no buzz. It is the commercial music which some people term ‘bad’ music that is getting us the millions. It is all about the business of music and the glam that accompanies it. I said before that I was doing good music before, but the buzz was not there. So, I researched what the need is and experimented with songs like Make I Nack You Apako and others. It is not easy doing music; recording a song is a piece of creativity and you just do it from your heart and await the feedback from listeners.
How did music come to you?
I learnt music in Church. I am the first child and was very good at playing drums. My parents are pastors at Redeemed Christian Church of God, Peace Assembly Parish. Music started from church for me and now I have taken it to the street and made a name for myself. I did back-up for FAZE of Plantashun Boyz. I thank God; I’m here and my gift brought me success.
How can a “Church boy” and the son of pastors do your kind of music?
Music is business-don’t forget that. I was in the choir; though I was stubborn growing up. However, looking back, the Church was not ready for me. I’m not sure I would have lasted if I had ventured into Gospel music. It is a matter of choice. I still pray and I’m a Christian.
It seems a lot of successful secular artistes got their start from Church, your thoughts?
It is a thing of choice. The music from the Church is mainstream and strictly Gospel; and the Church maybe doesn’t understand our language as young, creative people in search of success. I honour my parents because they gave me the foundation.
So what does the future hold for Terry G?
Only God knows that. Na Him know our tomorrow. I could become a pastor tomorrow. In fact, I want God to call me like Daddy, so that I’ll stop this drinking and smoking and also get money because pastors are rich now. Make God call me, I go leave all this (laughs).
What is your take on the music industry?
It is getting better. I have been here professionally for just six years, but I have been doing music all my life. I see Nigerian musicians making more money, with brands falling over themselves to get them to sign with them.
Any plans for marriage?
I will get married when the time is ripe. I’m enjoying my love life now and things are taking shape.
Any recent embarrassing moment?
Hmmm, well this one na Baba D-One gig, e take happen. I was on stage and was already performing. Behold light went off for about 5 minutes and I couldn’t continue. But my creative self came out and I started a drama; doing an aladura kind of singing- clapping my hands and singing… The crowd became ecstatic and they sang along until power was restored.