Abolore Akande, popularly called 9ice, talks to ’NONYE BEN-NWANKWO about his life and why he has been missing in music scene for awhile
These days, you are always seen with Don T, are you now under his management?
Don Tee is my new manager. I am now with Dicotyledon Entertainment management which has Don Tee as the head.
What is he really supposed to be doing for you?
He is in charge of 9ice, everything that has to do with 9ice, including his image. He even determines the kind of food I eat and the places I go. It doesn’t have to do with only performance. He is in charge of everything.
But somebody was doing it before?
Oh yes. He was managing me on stage and not off stage. He used to book shows and get shows for me. But now, Don Tee is involved in so many other things. So far so good, the experience has been so good.
Nothing much has been heard about 9ice, what is happening?
I went back to school. I decided to chill for a while and I decided to go back to the drawing board to see what new thing I can do that would set me apart from what I was doing 10 years ago.
In those moments you were ‘chilling,’ some other artistes came on board and they are doing absolutely well in the industry. Don’t you think they have taken your place?
The industry is very small but even as small as it is, it can take more than 10 million artistes. Going by our population in Nigeria, we are close to 160 million. Even if one artiste sells one million copies, more artistes can still sell that number. Don’t forget there are some artistes that may not be seen on TV or read about in the magazines but their CDs sell.
And now that you are back, should these artistes be scared?
We are not on the same level. They are in the river and I am in the ocean. Let them just do their thing. I am on a different level. They are making money. That is nice. They don’t disturb me and I don’t disturb them either.
You have a new album, E ke kan, how is it doing?
It is doing very well. It is produced by Don Jazzy. It has a video already.
How come you decided to go back to school?
I have always loved academics. To have a degree is very important. While I was back at the drawing board, I had an opportunity to go back to school and I used it.
We hear you are studying Criminal Law? What has that got to do with music?
I have always been a fan of Law. Now that I got the opportunity of going back to school, I decided to study Law that I have always loved. I didn’t want to go to school and just study ‘anything’.
Could you be preparing yourself for the future, because we heard you want to go into politics someday?
Politics is not something I came across all of a sudden. It was actually annoyance that made me want to go into politics. When you see people who are there and speaking ‘big’ grammar and not doing anything for the people, it can be annoying. You don’t have to earn a degree to make a difference in your community anyway. All you need to have is an understanding of what your community is yearning for.
Will you start with grass root politics?
Politics at that level is difficult. I want to be where I intend to make an impact. I want the change to be felt by the people.
Will you be doing music and politics at the same time?
I don’t want to be doing music when I am 40 years. I can’t do that. It is not for me. I can’t be 40 and still be jumping on the stage. This is a personal decision. I am not condemning those who are doing it. For me, when I am 40, I want to be doing something more challenging. I am too much of a serious person to be doing music at the age of 40. At 40, what I would be singing might not go down well with so many people. I would rather stay out of music and do another thing.
How come you don’t wear bling bling and tattoos like a typical Nigerian artiste?
It has to do with who I am. I just want to be in the midst of everybody. I want to blend wherever I go. I don’t want to be noticed. I want to dress like every other person. If I am on stage, that is a different thing. But once I am off the stage, I want to simply be like every other person.
Why did you deny you had twins when they were born?
I did say I didn’t have twins then because I believe it was personal. If I have N1m, I think it is only my account’s officer that should know how much I have. In fact, he wouldn’t even have the right to check my account unless I ask him to do that. He couldn’t just cull up my account details and start checking how much I have. This is not a car we are talking about, these are human beings.
But when they grow up, do you think they will forgive you when they read that you once denied them?
I will tell them the reason I did that. It was the same way my father gave me his own reasons. I didn’t know him until I was 22. I got to know my mother when I was 18. They gave me their reasons for doing what they did. I asked my father where he was all the time I was growing up and he told me where and how and when he was a part of my life. If my kids grow up to ask me why I did what I did, I would certainly explain to them. I didn’t say I didn’t have kids just because I wanted to lie, No. I had my reasons. I had my life to live.
You are in showbiz, so you shouldn’t expect to have a private life…
But there are still some elements that are personal. I didn’t fight anybody when the stories came out. I just didn’t say anything because I wasn’t ready to talk about it. I wasn’t ready to share the story. When I got ready, I even shared the pictures of the twins. Who knows, I could have even used their pictures to make money and sell to a publication that wanted them. But I just released the pictures.
Do we see you getting married to their mother soon?
I will get married soon. But it might not be tomorrow. It might not be as early as people expect. It might even be earlier than people expect.
So, will you be getting married to the mother of the twins?
It is very possible.
But is she the one you are with at the moment?
I am not saying anything on that. No comment.
What of your first son?
He is very fine. He is in America at the moment with his mum. Education is good in Nigeria but we wanted him to grasp a higher quality of education. His mum decided to go back to America so he had to go with her.
Do you communicate with them often?
Oh yes, I was even in America last month.
How involved are you in his welfare?
I have never been left out. I have always been involved in his welfare right from the time he was born till now. It will be like that till I give up.
You have not really talked about your marriage with Tony Payne?
News is always about assumptions and rumours and gossips. It is left for people to pick out the meat. The media has already stolen the show from me. There is nothing to talk about again. I was one of the crowd and I was watching as the news were flying.
Do you regret that marriage?
I don’t. I have never regretted that marriage. I have so many reasons.
What are the reasons?
It is not only because of my son. Without that marriage, I will not be here today. I see life from a different perspective now. There are things that are inevitable. So, many things are bound to happen in life and there is nothing you can do about it. When such things happen, you have to face it. You only have to manage it when it happens and from there, you move ahead. If you don’t move ahead from that situation, you will never go to the next level.
Is it likely you will get out of the marriage institution when you go into it again?
I pray I don’t. I always say that marriage is not for this generation and a lot of people question me when I say it. My mother would always be in the house by 5.30 pm. Whether my dad gave her feeding money or not, there must be food on the table when he got home. My mother would give us school fees whether my father gave her or not. But women of these days, even when the husband is at home, the wife can come home later than 10pm and nothing would happen. She would even stop by the eatery and buy dinner instead of cooking. The principles God lay down for this institution is not there again. What we have now is ‘manage institution.’ So, whatever situation we find ourselves in, we should manage it and then there won’t be any trouble. Now, how many marriages last? Because it is 9ice’s marriage, everybody is talking about it. Check your neighbour. It happens everywhere.
Let’s go back to what you said earlier on about not knowing your parents until you were a young man, how did it happen?
It is going to be in my autobiography. I am going to make money out of the story. I am not divulging it. Nobody knows about it yet.
You also ventured into acting some time ago…
I was ‘pushed’ into acting. It was a one off thing so that people would not say I didn’t do it. That industry is another thing entirely.
What happened to all those artistes signed under your Alapomeji label?
That is a misconception. I never signed on any artiste. I only gave them a platform to showcase themselves and go on their own when they are established. Nigeria music industry is not ripe enough to sign on any artiste.