I’m in music for the passion – JoeEL
I'm in music for the passion – JoeEL
JoeEL Amadi popularly known as Joe El is an up-and-coming artiste on the record label of Kennis Music. Amadi, who many refer to as Second Tuface, because of the way he sings, is also a native of Idoma in Benue State just like Tuface Idibia. He was at the corporate headquarters of Independent Newspapers Limited (INL), Lagos, recently and spoke with Senior Reporter, Anthonia Soyingbe, about his music career, the stiff opposition he experienced from his father when he decided to go into music and other sundry issues. Excerpts:
You sing like Tuface Idibia.
(Cuts in) I never knew you too will say this, which means there is wahala (problem) for me. I am not trying to imitate him; I am trying to be myself. He is not someone anybody can imitate because he is up there in the sky. I came out and I started doing my own thing, people said I sing like Baba (Tuface). I can't hide from it because people still say that now. All I want is to sing and make impact. I felt that I don't have a career in music judging by how people tend to believe that I imitate Tuface. Initially I felt bad because to me, I felt that people see me as a copycat. In 2007 when I recorded my two songs and people said I sang like Tuface, I cried and ran to my mother, she felt so concerned and said, 'I should move on since I love what I am doing and passionate about what I am doing.' She further admonished me not to relent in my career. Her counsel went a long way in boosting my confidence and I am quite optimistic that I am original and unique. Baba is not someone I want to imitate but I admire him. People even say that I look like him and really I look like this great man.
Have you worked or met Tuface himself and how did he react when he learnt that you sing like him?
I met him long before I signed on to Kennis Music. I have been to his house and we met over and over again in the studio. I don't think he knows that I am a musician. After I got singed on to Kennis Music we have met twice at the club. I think he now knows that I sing but I am sure he is a cool-headed man so he won't make issues as regards my singing like him.
Will you say that Tuface is your mentor?
No. Bob Marley is my mentor but I love Tuface so much and I can mime his song from beginning to end.
Sure you love Tuface and you undoubtedly won't mind picking any of his features, which include fathering children from different women?
He is a blessed and talented musician. He is my elder brother and we are from the same hometown. I love him so much and I don't mind treading his path. There is this mutual affinity between myself and Tuface. Some people who knew him while he was growing up say I am just a replica of Tuface in everything. Recently I told someone that I have bad legs and whenever I stand for a long time I feel pains all over my legs and the person said Tuface also experiences this. I just pray that people out there understand this; in 2003 I told my mother that I won't marry but I will have children outside wedlock because of the way our girls portray themselves, she was very angry. I said this before Baba started multiplying. I may have a change of mind but I doubt if I will.
At what point did you delve into music?
Professionally I started in 2007 in Kano State. I started singing at age nine as a chorister in Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) in Sokoto State since then I have not stopped singing till date. I do R and B, hip hop and reggae.
Since you were once a chorister, one would have expected you to be a gospel artiste?
I started with gospel but I diverted because of my father's overbearing influence. Daddy never supported my career in music because he believes that musicians are never-do-well and that they are wayward. He, like other members of the family, is a chorister. He loves music but he frowned against us singing outside church especially singing secular songs, which to him are against God's injunctions. The day I told him that I want to release an album he told me outrightly that he can't support me. He said once I release an album, I will start mingling with rascals who will lead me astray. He cited R Kelly as an example of a gospel musician who strayed away from God. His reaction created lots of chaos in the family and I picked few clothes and left my father's house after borrowing N1000 from someone; I left for Kano State. I got a job with Mr. Biggs Restaurant as an attendant where I worked for three years before I finally relocated to Lagos in 2010. I relocated to Lagos because while working in Kano I do come to Lagos from time to time and I met lots of people who were ready to give me a helping hand as regards my career. I met Ifeanyi, a very good friend whom I squatted with when I relocated to Lagos.
Now that your career is blossoming, have you mend matters with your father?
He now calls me from time to time to ask after my welfare. It seems as if he has realised his mistakes but he doesn't readily admit that he was wrong. Big thumbs up to my Mama (mother); she has always been supportive right from when I started though she doesn't have the financial wherewithal to back me but she has always been there spiritually and emotionally. My father has the money to support but he believes that music is not worthwhile hence he is not ready to part with his money. The last time I saw my parents was April 2010. He tried to lure me with land and other valuable items, but I also played a fast one on him by telling him that I will come back once I dispose my album in Lagos. He still calls me from time to time and I keep lying that my marketer is delaying me.
How far did you go in formal education?
I have a diploma in accounting and auditing from Kaduna State College of Education. But because of the crisis between me and my father, I didn't further my education as I opted for music. My father was ready to finance my education, but he insisted that I have to come back home before he can spend a dime on me. I will further my education later. I am doing music not because I want to amass wealth but I am doing it for the passion I have for it. There are other avenues one can get money from but I do music because I have passion for music.
There is a popular belief that it is necessary to seek one's parent's blessings before the start of a project. Do you think you can go far in this passion of yours lacking your father's blessing?
Let me tell you one big secret; my father loves me so much but he is the kind of man that never admits he is wrong whenever it has to do with any of his children. My father is very fond of me, but he never readily admits this when I am around him. He is a very disciplined man and he doesn't want me to derail because of the love he has for me because I am his only son. I know he wishes me the best and he wants the best for me from time to time.
How many albums have you released now that you are on Kennis label?
So far I have not released any but I have three singles, I am doing promo but I want the demand to be high before I release it into the market.
Aside music what other thing do you do?
I don't watch sports, movies or do any other thing aside music.
Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years?
By the grace of God, I see myself up there doing good music to the admiration of everyone around the globe.