King Sunny Ade’s Ring Back Tune Shocked Me—GT Tha Guitarman
My Song As King Sunny Ade's Ring Back Tune shocked Me - GT The Guitarman
Working With Storm Record Is Possible Again But.... GT The Guitarman
Establishing Record Company Isn't As Easy - GT The Guitarman
Releasing Debut Album Was My Greatest Achievement At storm Records - GT The Guitarman Confess
Call Me The Mouthpiece Of The Street - GT The Guitarman
Working With Late Da Drin Was A Great Achievement - GT The Guitarman Confesses
You would remember the soulful voice of GT The Guitarman, whose real name is Gbemiro Olaolu Tokunbo Akingbogun on the song, 'Dreamer' and wonder what has become of him in the recent past. He spoke with Nollywoodgists about his current activities.
He confessed to loving and respecting women a lot, his other businesses and his time at Storm Records
Who is GT The Guitarman?
GT The Guitarman is the artistic side of Gbemiro Olaolu Tokunbo Akingbogun. GT is my initials. I am a musician, composer, song writer, band leader, vocalist, guitarist and the list goes on. I am an entertainer.
I am the first son, the second born out of three children born into the family of Mr and Mrs Akingbogun. We hail from Obafemi-Owode Local Government in Ogun State.
Why GT The Guitarman?
When I got signed to Storm Records in 2005, I could remember I was in his office, the Chief Executive Officer of Storm Records, Obi Asika. And after performing one of my songs, 'Dreamer', He was like 'Young man, what is your name?' and I said, 'GT' and he said, 'From now on, you will be known as GT The Guitarman'. And that is how the name came about and it stuck!
I think musically, anything can influence me, from local musicians to international musicians. From just street musicians, there are have been so many people who have influenced my direction of music. People like (King) Sunny Ade, (Evangelist) Ebenezer Obey, Onyeka Onwenu. Internationally like BoyzIIMen, Back Street Boys, Michael Jackson, Baby Face. People like Plantainshun Boiz, So many of these guys, I listen to them and I try to tap from them back then.
I attended Community Primary School in Mile 2. Secondary school was Mayflower School, Ikenne and Amuwo Odofin High School in Ogun and Lagos States respectively. I studied Economics in Lagos State University, Lagos, and I am still a student of life.
How Did You Get Signed To Storm Records?
The guy who introduced me to Storm Records was Dare Art Alade. I could remember back
was in 2005, I was in my house sleeping waiting for my telephone to ring when a friend of mine, Abiola Amoda said, 'There is someone i want to introduce you to.' And I said, 'who?'. He said, 'Dare Art Alade1' I was like, 'Oh really...'
I picked up my guitar and we took a bike to Dare Art Alade's house. He was sleeping when we got there. We entertained the people that were at home and started singing for hours. And I could remember that one of my guitar strings broke along the line. I had to quickly rushed back home and picked up some strings. When I got back, Dare was already waiting there, we both sang together. We did some freestyle sessions and all that. And he picked up his phone and called Storm Records, I think that was it!!!
He set up a meeting with Obi Asika and I was at Obi Asika's Office. Obi Asika signed me on the spot after listening to me perform. That was how it happened.
Greatest Achievement With Storm Records
Let's see as there are quite a number of them... Being on tracks with so many people like the late Da Grin was definitely one. But I think the greatest achievement should be releasing my debut album. Every musician at some point or the other had thought of a particular when he would see his album on the shelf and would be excited. I think that was my greatest achievement.
What did your parent think when you started music?
Like every other parents, they had issues with it but I only had my mom to convince because it was a single parent situation. It has hard trying to convince my mom that she needs to see that I am different and I am trying to do music especially for a profession that is known for vices like smoking, womanising, drugs and all that stuff.
But I was able to convince her, I think, because we fought a lot but eventually, I had to have my way. She had to allow me have my way. It was pretty much difficult like you would expect.
Your relationship with Korede Bello who appeared in your music video, 'Ejika'?
Korede Bello is family. I got introduced to him through his former label. They wanted me to meet this new kid who is talented and they wanted us to work together. I was excited to meet him. Aside his musical talent, he is a very humble dude. We kind of really flowed well over the years which should be about eight years. It is really exciting and fulfilling to see him climb to such heights, to see people accept him for what he does. I wish him many more successful years in future.
Why has GT been off the radar for a while now?
There are times when you are up there and times when you are down there and you are still eyeing the price back up there. There is nobody that is up there forever. Remember that the person that was up there was not born there, he climbed his way there.
I was under a record label and when when parted ways, I started my own company, 'Ember Entertainment'. Obviously, things that I thought would be easy were hard, and things that I thought would be hard, were easy. But this is my own cross, this is what I have chosen to do. so flying to another level is a no-no for me.
My company is the future. We might be down here now but it is he who is down that will eventually come up.
Any disagreement that caused the separation?
If there is any disagreement, I do not know of any. But it is normal that when you have been under a label for a long time, like say, five years, there is always that feeling that comes with it that you decide you want to leave and start your own thing. For me I got nothing but love for my old business partners.
I still believe that we would still do business in years to come; it might be now or later. The option is open but under different terms. I had a three-year contract with them but ended up staying five years and I enjoyed it there. I had an option to renew my contract but I decided to leave.
What is GT The Guitarman doing now?
I have been spending more of my time in the studio. I now produce under the name Freek. I produce, mix, master and I am also into business; real estate together with my partners. I am also into supplies. I am a broker. I do other businesses that put body and soul together aside having a studio. I am still an artiste because I perform. I just recently released my audio and videos on my new album titled, 'Baked'
The inspiration behind your kind of music?
My immediate environment. I like to call myself the 'mouthpiece of the street'. I like to speak the mind of humans. Sometimes it is the experiences that me and my friends have passed through. I like to basically pass a message across for the love of art.
How do handle your female fans?
I love women a lot and that is not so hard. But then you need to understand that you have to draw up a line because I am an adult and whatever decision that I might is mine. I am the one that would bear the consequences. Sometimes I fall and do things I am not meant to do but the woman I am going to marry, I am going to fall for her.
I could be tempted when a lady is s3xy and you would have to just call 'Jesus' to help you. Give or take I try as much as possible to draw the line and understand the fact that these people just like what we do and I respect the women a lot. If they ask me for things I can not do, I back off and if it is something I can do, I simply do it.
Most shocking moment for you as an artiste?
Almost nothing shocks me anymore. But there is one interesting thing that happened some years back. I was at an event of a popular comedian and I was back-stage waiting to go on and I met King Sunny Aside, KSA, who said, 'I have been following your career secretly', for me that was awesome.
I met someone outside who asked if I have met KSA and I replied, 'Yes'. The person said, 'Your song is even his ring back tune!' for me I think that was shocking because he was someone who I have idolised for a long time. I am a huge fan of KSA and my dad is responsible for that as he had a huge collection of KSA songs. That was shocking.