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SEXUAL SLEAZE MADE ME QUIT NOLLYWOOD –TRACYNITHER

By ’Nonye Iwuagwu

If she enters anywhere, there is no way you won't notice Tracynither Nicholas, an actress and singer. She is not necessarily gorgeous, but she exudes a carriage and I-am-a-star looks that make her stand out at occasions.

With that same attitude, she walked into a fast food joint in Lagos this week for her appointment with Spectacles. Expectedly, all eyes were on her, but the Queen of Soukous was not distracted. Despite the glances and the hush, hush sounds that trailed her in, Tracy was forthright in speaking with Spectacles about her career, the scandals and life after now.

With the way she looks and dresses, it will be hard to believe Tracy attended a convent, is a born-again Christian (as she claims), and attends Mountain of Fire Ministries. And she was looking hot! She didn't have any apology for that.

“The reverend sisters raised me. I spent six years of my life in the convent. I would have been a reverend sister, but I felt I had a higher calling. I got born again in 1998 and since then, I have been a member of the Mountain of Fire Ministries. I don't believe Christianity is what you wear. Christianity should be from the inside. I don't have to showcase my relationship with God by wearing turtleneck blouses and tyingscarves on my head. I don't have to look untidy because I am born again. My God, and is not a dirty God. I don't need to be a hypocrite for people to believe me. I know that I have a strong relationship with God.”

A graduate of Foreign Languages and Literature from the University of Port Harcourt, Tracy joined the entertainment industry soon as she left school.

She recalls how her interest in entertainment started.

“Right from the time I was a kid, I always loved to sing. I have always loved entertainment. So when I finished school, I had to follow my dream.”

That was how she got into Nollywood. She has featured in more than 17 movies; and she added Miss Nigeria, Queen of Aso Rock and Valentino to the bargain

But Tracy suddenly quit the entertainment scene, and she explained why to Spectacles.

“I left the industry then, because I couldn't be part of the perceived corruption. I couldn't, for any reason in this world, sell my body for any kind of role. If you are talented, you are talented. When I was there, the industry was so dirty. Then, for a one-scene role, a producer could sleep with more than 21 girls. I couldn't afford to do that.”

She said she was a victim of sexual harassment in the industry.

“Many of them wanted to sleep with me and I refused. I was very blunt and people felt like, 'Who is this girl?' 'Is she better than the rest that are doing it?' A producer once showed me a script, said he had a job in Enugu, and that he had shortlisted me to play a solid role. He read a long list of other actresses to me and said that all of them had come to see him.

I said, 'Yes, I am seeing you and I don't know what other ways you want me to see you.' He said, 'You touch me, I touch you; you make me happy, at the end of it, you will be on the poster.'”

If she had given in to the pressure, perhaps her career would have soared; but Tracy does not regret her decision to remain principled.

“I am very principled. Movie is just a part of entertainment. I had to leave that industry and go to another area of entertainment rather than sell myself.”

And so, Tracy dumped the movies and entered the music scene. She came out with an album, Reality, which has so many tracks including Ma Mere, Where were You and Jehovah is the Reason. The video of Jehovah is the Reason is already on air and is being commended and appreciated.

She said, “God gave me the inspiration to do that song when my car broke down on Third Mainland Bridge, Lagos. I looked down and I saw people living on the water. I saw a little baby of about two months old drinking from the water. That was actually where I shot the video of the song.

I did that song because it would be so surprising for you to know that people in government go to such places to ask for votes during campaigns. It baffles me to see that those people don't even have power. They don't even speak English. I did the song to tell people that God is our strength. He is the reason we sleep everyday and we wake up. He is the reason the poor man smiles and laughs. The song is very divine. God asked me to give it that title and I obeyed Him. That is why it is a success.”

Tracy does not have a marketer, and she is not under any record label; she chooses to do her thing on her own. She claims it is not any fault of hers.

“The country has made it so, the industry has made it so. Our country does not value talent. Nobody wants to associate with you when you are not yet up there. Everybody wants to associate with success. I have got to work hard on my own. If I keep hoping that a label will someday come and make me, it doesn't work for everybody that way. We just have very few known record labels that know what it is to make an artiste.

“After working hard, I believe God will send a foreign company who will believe in what I am doing. I have to work hard for them to recognise me.”

As hard working as she is, Tracy does not get the opportunity to feature at shows like other artistes.

She said, “Every artiste wants to go for shows. I know how many shows I have featured in, in Abuja. But I don't depend only on shows. Those who depend only on shows are those who have lost hope, who feel nothing can come out from the sales of their CDs due to piracy. Piracy can only affect those who have left their future in the hands of the marketer. I don't depend on any marketer; I am on my feet 24 hours a day. I make so much money from the sales of my CDs alone, I am not bragging, the documents are there. I always make sure that my CDs get to the right point. That I don't go for shows in Lagos for now does not mean I don't go for any at all. My schedule is very tight; my hands are full.”

Truly, her schedule is tight. Tracy is currently doing a concert taking her round the 36 states of the country. She just finished the Abuja tour, and she is jetting off to Calabar and Uyo.

“The Abuja tour was successful. People came out en masse and they appreciated my music. I am going back to Abuja to celebrate my birthday with prisoners. Then I will continue my tours. After the states in Nigeria, I will start touring African countries before I move to Europe and the States.”

Concerning her love life, Tracy said she did not have any man in her life and marriage is certainly not on her to-do list for now.

“Marriage for now is not on my list. Whenever I am ready, you will be the first to know. I will get married to a God-fearing guy, a guy who believes in me, a guy who is going to be very supportive. God cannot send me a guy who will tell me to leave the entertainment industry.”

Grapevine reveals that Tracy dated Soul E (the musician), who later dumped her and married a much older lady because of her money. How would she react to that?

Tracy laughed her head off, saying, “Soul E is just my brother. He is my colleague. I speak with his wife and I speak with him. I stood by him when he had problems with his record label. We never dated; he is just like a brother to me. We were actually partners; we registered T and S together. We wanted to work hard to push our career forward. Till tomorrow, he remains my brother and my very close friend.”

If she didn't date Soul E, how come she had a fight with her very good friend, Muma Gee, the Nubian Queen, for trying to steal her boyfriend, as the same grapevine alleged.

Tracy paused for a while, then looked into the empty space and swallowed saliva.

Then, she said, “First of all, let me correct one impression; Muma Gee has never been my friend. We are not age mates; she is far older than I. She is just my colleague. She is a sister in the industry. Every female artiste is a sister to me. So it is very wrong to say that we split.

“As for taking her man-friend as you put it, it is a bloody lie. I cannot comment on that either. Are you sure I was the one they talked about? It can't be me. How can I fight over a man? I told you I am not in a relationship. How can I be in a relationship and I am touring the 36 states of the country? I would be there for my man, taking care of him and all that.”

She also debunked allegations that Muma sent thugs after her.

“Nobody sent thugs after me. I did not send thugs after anybody either. Those are all lies.”

Scandals or not, Tracy says she is not bothered at all. She doesn't even see those stories as scandals.

She said, “I have never had any scandal. For an artiste, whether good or bad, scandals give publicity. But as long as this industry is concerned, I have not had a bad press.”

No matter the challenges she faces, Tracy believes she is going to remain relevant in the industry for a long time to come.

“I don't think I will ever quit from this job. Music is something that never dies. It is going to be music for life for me. I am going to be more than relevant. I know the sky is just the starting point for me. It is not just about how fast, but how well you do it. I know what I want and I know my calling. I know what God has deposited in me. I am going to go far, beyond Africa. People are going to be proud of me,” she said.