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Piracy in the US shocked me –Anne Inyang

By Christy Anyanwu
Anne Inyang
Anne Inyang

Princess Anne Inyang, the gospel singer of the popular 'Akanakwe' song chorused in all churches today, is an unassuming personality. Despite her strong faith as a believer, she says she is someone who hardly condemns but gives an open reception to all and sundry. She adds that her background as a Christian has really humbled her and shown her that nobody is a cast away.

“Give everyone a chance and when they keep hearing the word, they are bound to tow the right path”.
In a recent interview with the dimpled artiste, she talked about one thing that made her shudder during her stay in what is supposed to be God's own country, America.

“ The issue of pirating was a bit of a shock to me over there. What gave me concern was the rate of piracy of Nigerian music and movies. Everywhere I went, every African musical shop, I discover they had pirated products. There was none that was original, it was sickening. If you see the pack, they are very different from the pack we use here in Nigeria. From the pack, you can identify a pirated product. We suffer a lot and other people are reaping from your sweat. This is not fair. I think groups like PMAN and other people should do something about it.”

Singing abroad
She says she went to Washington D.C to perform at the Akwa Ibom State 21st annual conference organized by Akwa Ibom State Association in Washington D.C.
“It brings all the indigenes of Akwa Ibom state in the Diaspora together; six of us were invited there for the programme. I performed there and Darlene Cobham, Emem Isong, Ini Ikpe, In Edo and others were also there. We were the stars of Akwa Ibom invited to grace the occasion. It was a wonderful outing. I also did a tour of the United States.

I was in Los Angeles, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, and Detroit Michigan. I had concerts and shows organized for me there. It was gladding to know that people out there appreciated my work and they came out at short notice. I was very happy to know that the Nigerian communities are in touch with what is happening back home”.

Singing about beautiful skin
Apart from music, Inyang also loves talking about maintaining a beautiful skin. Once she set eyes on you, she immediately touches you to feel your skin texture and tell you what you need to do to keep a glowing complexion. She says she learnt the rudiments of cosmetics during her stay in the US.
“While I was abroad, I became a consultant for Mary Kay products. I love make-up and all things to do with the skin, but Mary Kay is not about make-up, it is about skin-deep beauty. As an artiste, you should also be beauty personified. Before an artiste gets up on the stage, she has to look beautiful. That is the area I'm developing interest in right now”.

More than a studio act
On her music, she says many people are surprised to learn that she is more than just a studio artiste.
“It's funny but do you know that recently, I ran into a friend who I used to attend the same church with and she was telling me that her husband was going to celebrate his 50th birthday big time, and she needed me to recommend a band to play for them. I said to her, "Ok, my band manager will call and discuss with you or your husband". She said: "Do you have a band that plays at events? I thought you only release albums". I was amazed. I couldn't laugh. Since I left the bank in 1998 to get into full time music, our best period has been when we are performing live.

What we have now are sound track musicians - I mean big award winning musicians - but all they can do is mime their music. You can know a good musician when they perform live. That requires intense rehearsals. For those of us who started our musical career with a live band, it is easier. I only do sound track when the organizers cannot afford to fund the whole band - but it is not the best because it does not allow flexibility and creativity.”

Sound track stars
She seems sad that despite the amount of work that goes into proper live performances, big bands like hers are often paid the same engagement fee as the 'sound track' stars.

“Some of my colleagues, who perform in some big event where they are paid big, only do sound tracks. We get invited also to the same programme and sometimes are paid the same amount, yet we have to share it with our 10-man band. Live is what separates the men from the boys. I believe in giving my best and my best is seen when I perform live with my band. We travel to wherever our services are needed. We do concerts, company events, church programmes, government programmes, weddings, birthdays and other events.”

Challenges
“My major challenge has been in the area of Marketing. I am still trying to get a marketer who will market my work throughout Nigeria. My manager and I are having some discussions and we are hopeful that something definite will come up soon.”

Fears
She says as a Christian, there are few things she fears. But she is not afraid to admit her fear of God.
“ I fear God; it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God but people don't know it. With human beings, you can quarrel and sometimes you can make up but when God's decision is final on you, who is going to save you? I fear God.

That affects the way I operate because at the back of my mind, I know that there is a greater being watching over me and one day I will stand before Him and give account of my life. It is not the kind of fear where you are afraid to approach a father but reverential fear. I know that He made me in his image, He made me according to His lifestyle and if I veered off, I know what He would do to me. I can't come all this way and begin to behave anyhow.”