I PAY TITHE TO MY FANS— MR. OLU
Olu Maintain, a member of the defunct Maintain group, was in Abuja recently and performed at the Abuja Carnival. During the show, he was throwing foreign currency like pounds and crisp naira notes to the fans, an act, which a lot of people considered crazy. He spoke with P.M. Entertainment on his action and other issues
Q: When you performed at the Abuja Carnival, you were throwing money to your fans. This was considered to be absurd. Why did you do that?
A: That's my tithe. I pay 10 per cent of anything I earn by giving back to the society and the people.
Q: But a lot of people saw that as an unnecessary move to appreciate your fans?
A: No, it is part of entertainment. Which ever stunt or gimmick I put up on stage is a channel to entertain the crowd and turn them on because that is the reason why I am being paid. If my fans don't scream my name or yearn for my music, promoters won't call me to play for them. So, 10 per cent of whatever I am given by a promoter is what I give back to them in cash. That is my policy.
Q: Don't you think that can spring violence?
A: I don't see it from that perspective.
Q: Is it not better to visit orphanages as a way of giving back to the society rather than doing so on stage?
A: I do that as well. But you must remember that the people at the orphanages don't go to shows as well as the disabled. I am giving back to the people that usually find time out of their busy schedules, to pass the night and watch me perform on stage. They deserve something in return and that's why I am showing appreciation to them.
Q: Apart from Yahoozey, what else do we expect from you?
A: Watch out for my new single entitled Tomato. I am going to shoot the video in America and UK.
Q: Is it true that you are not the rightful owner of Yahoozey as alleged in some quarters?
A: Well, let them come out to say that if they have anything to present, I am waiting. Even the world is waiting to hear their own version. There is no success in this life without criticism, but some criticisms are baseless and unfounded. If they say Yahoozey is not original and not owned by me, then let them present the original version. They are proving about 1.5 million people wrong, because that is the number of people who have bought the original copies of the audio CD, while over one million people have purchased the VCD.
Q: What actually is the concept behind Yahoozey?
A: It is just the dance. It is only once in a decade that you get such a dance. About five or six years ago, it was Makossa and now it is Yahoozey, which is totally Nigerian. And by next year, we shall import it to America because I am going to do another version of the video of the song and the project is sponsored by an affiliate of BEC (Black Entertainment Company). The dance is what we intend to project because Sisqo was in Nigeria about two years ago and he crazily devised to the song. Ja Rule was at a club where the song was played recently and he also danced Yahoozey well and because the dance is in vogue in America, there is need for us to shoot an American version of the song.
Q: Is it true that it is only Yahoozey album that has given you all the fame and money you have always desired?
A: It is a hit song and you will agree with me that with the royalty on the song alone, it is enough for me to smile to the bank. I have been playing concerts from Thursday to Sunday at a stretch in the last two months and I get well paid.
Q: From where do you get the strength to perform on stage?
A: It is a part of me and I have been doing so for close to 10 years now, so, I am not new in the game. It is my way of life.
Q: You were a member of the defunct Maintain group, like the Plantashun Boyz. Why did you guys break up?
A: We were together from 1997 to 2005 and the natural development in life is change. We got to a point where the only inevitable development was change and we had to go our own ways because I wanted to continue music, while my partner wanted to quit. The group stayed together for close to a decade.
Q: But are you happy about this development, especially when your career was blossoming then?
A: It will get to a point in life when you will like to try something different. I only feel we got to the point where we had to do something different from the usual thing. My partner wanted to try something different from music, while I wanted to play music.