‘Americans tempt me with drugs’----2 FACE
From humble beginnings in Benue State, Tuface Idibia has risen to become one of Nigeria's most successful artistes in the last decade. And as the case is with stars, he has had his own fair share of controversies.
In this exclusive interview with http://nollywoodgists.com, the singer opened up on his mum, his love life and the day he was tempted with hard drugs in the USA.
I can see some tattoos on you. Tell us about them?
I cherish my tattoos very much. One is a music note and the other says In God We Trust.
Are you so close to God?
Well, hhmmm…I know that everything I have today I owe to God but I am not a churchgoer. I don't go to church all the time. Sometimes, I do have my church at home.
I Can see many awards before me. Which do you cherish most?
I think they all represent something special for me, so its difficult determining but I think I cherish the World Music Awards most or maybe the MTV Awards.
What does the World Music Awards mean to you?
It makes me to know that my music has transcended Nigeria and Africa. I am now a global brand.
Some times you see negative reports about you in the paper. How do you feel when you see those publications?
Naturally, I feel bad but I am one person that does not believe in hiding things from the world. I am very plain and open.
You are the most successful Plantashun Boy. What is the secret to your success?
I just like to do music for the sake of music and not because people are doing it. I do music for the love of it. I don't try to follow the trend, I just do my thing.
Could you recall the early days in Benue State.?
I come from a very peaceful home. And I schooled in Benue and while I was a kid, I practically lived music. It was all I thought about, it was all I did. So it wasn't easy but my parents wanted me to go to school and do music on the side. They did not know how serious it was for me until I decided to take it fully.
What was their reaction; Your mum and dad?
Naturally, they were like 'oh boy, chill out and get your degree now.' Then I was at IMT with Blackface.
When you were dumping education for music, what were your fears?
Will this thing succeed? I was scared of what my parents would say if I did not succeed. I was also aware of what friends could say and do like 'oh boy, you go die alone.'
I saw you playing video games. Is that the way you relax?
Yes. I love playing Grand Theft Autos, Scarface and football
Let's look at your last album, Unstoppable. How's it doing?
To be honest with you, it's not been too bad but it's not picking up like the previous albums either. I guess, people are still trying to get used to it.
What do you think is responsible for this?
Right now…I cant really say
Are you missing Kennis Music?
I must state that this thing is all about personal growth for me. It's all about me trying to discover myself and grow. You understand what I am saying. In Kennis Music I was in school, now I want to start practicalising all that I learnt and its not automatic but gradually I am getting there.
Let's look at your album. Your track Enter The Place is under fire from your critics, who insist that it's not your style. You were trying to do what everybody was doing?
Are you saying that I wanted to do what everybody was doing or people wanted to do what I was doing? Everybody is doing what I have been doing. For instance, a song like Catch The Vibe & Catch The Feeling, a song like Some People Dey act Like They Know it all, a song like True Love. So basically, you see, many styles that are in vogue now are what I did before.
Okay, if you care for my opinion then you'd love to hear me talk?
In your first album there was a lot of experimentation. But in your second album, you were much more focused. The Reggae was just oozing out of you so people were expecting that you'd take it to the next level which you achieved with some songs but critics are saying that the track you chose to use for promo sold you short. It does not represent the Tuface that has matured over the years.?
Okay, I get the drift but I wanted my fans to feel that side of me.
How close are you to your mum?
My mum and I are very close. I am closer to my mum than my dad though I love them both equally. But let me tell the irony, there are things I couldn't tell my mum that I would tell my dad. That's the funny part of it.
Do you still talk to Uncle Kenny these days?
Yes. I call him and say 'Baba, I hail-o. How body, how everything.'
What's happening with Hypertek?
Hypertek is a building process and once I start I want to get it right. We are coming up strong but first we are putting the basics right.
A while ago we heard that Da Natives were signed unto your label. Now we hear that they have broken up. What is happening?
They just decided to go solo so we are working on their solo albums for now.
Tuface, you have traveled all over the world in the name of music. Tell us about your greatest experience?
It was Cote D' Voire. It was massive! The response was great even though it was a French speaking country, they were singing the songs word for word. The love was so touching.
How would you describe your style of music?
It's eclectic but with a solid base in Raggae music.
Let's look at Bob Marley. He popularized Raggae music. What does he mean to you?
Bob Marley is the definition of what I want to be like in terms of music. He sang love songs in a very spiritual manner. He talked about everything and he did it brilliantly. There is a spirit that flows through his music so it is not about the music anymore and that's one thing that got me feeling him a lot.
You've met Bob Markley's wife. Tell us about the experience?
Wow! She's such a wonderful, nice and peaceful person. I was like, this is the legendary Bob Marley's wife-o! She took us every where, introduced us to the entire family and showed us a lot of love.
Which of your tracks did she love?
She loved Africa Queen and If Love Is a Crime. She said I should just do my thing because there is going to be a lot of controversies. I should not let them get me down.
Tell us what your most challenging moment was?
My most challenging moment was the transition from being under a label to being a solo independent artiste along side the controversies that trailed me. It's been my greatest challenge so far I must confess but I am putting everything in God's hands and hoping for the best. I am just trying to remain positive and move on with my life.
I understand that you're doing a duet with Mary J Blige?
Hey, who told you that?
I am a journalist. I have my sources.?
To be honest, I don't know how you got wind of that but I am trying to keep it low for now till everything is fine tuned. I met with her and we got chatting and we are doing stuff together.
So, what track are you doing with her?
I don't have a title yet but we are working on a few things.
Tuface, you have traveled all over the world. In the line of duty, have you ever been tempted to take hard drugs before?
(Laughs) There was this studio I went to in Los Angeles. As I was singing and trying to get my lines right, I was having problems.
Suddenly, some guy came and said, ' Hey can I bring you something.? He produced a powdery stuff and I was like 'no men, I don't play with that. I don't go that way. And that was it.
Weren't you tempted?
No, I was not. I was scared. As soon as I saw the stuff I did not want to hang around anymore. I left and never came back. I have never tried that sh*t before. I was like, so na so this thing go just come if person no fit control imself. Na so e go enter am. Once you try it you're addicted! And then there is the criminal implication. I am against it in all it's ramifications. It all begins with one sniff. All this made me say abeg O, I don't want my story to be like that.
Tell us about the glamour of the industry in America?
It's massive. Sometimes if you are not careful you could get carried away and wreck yourself because you want everybody to know that you are the baddest dude.
What's your favorite perfume?
Hhhmmm…I will give it to my man PDD. Its not like it's the best perfume I ever bought but what trips me is that he is doing it so seriously. The fragrance is actually nice.
You have enormous goodwill as a brand. Are you not going to come out with your own fragrance and clotheline?
All that's in the works. I can't do everything at once. I am fine tuning the clotheline arrangements right now. I started it once but I was sinking too much money into it. The people I was working with were not giving me results so I quit because there is no point doing stuff and not making money. Currently, we are restructuring and I am talking to a couple of people in that field. Definitely, before the third quarter of this year, we should be on ground.
Tell us about the first serious money you picked up in music?
The first serious money was with Plantshun Boiz. It was N300, 000 in 1998. Rothmans Groove in The Hood was the platform. Men, you couldn't beat the feeling! Blackface and I used the money to rent an apartment and bought a couple of other things like mattresses, TV and some clothes. Then we booked some studio sessions.
In the past couple of years you have been attacked by armed robbers. severally?
I am bothered but then on a very broad basis. It's not about myself but my fellow Nigerians. I am bothered that stuff like that could happen in Nigeria without any trace of the perpetrators. People got to know about my case because I am Tuface and that scares me. Thousands of victims that are never heard abound.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is that some people have just decided that we will fook Tuface up! There are some people I don't have a problem with but somehow they have a problem with me.
How do you handle them?
I show them love and hope that whatever made them develop that mindset will change.
What domestic core are you good at?
When I am serious, I like cooking. I like beans and yam. If you want to make me chop everything from the plate, cook beans and yam.
What's your favorite pet?
I am not a pet person. It's just that I don't have time for pets. I fit travel leave am and e go starve to death.
Tuface, once upon a time you wore your hair curled but now…
I am bald. God de shave one side I de shave the other. I am not trying to slow it down or stop it though there's technology to that effect but it's a natural thing. I don't have time for all that. If I see one that's cool, I may use it. Really, I don't care.
They also say that bald men are virile? What do you think?
It's obvious that I am very virile so maybe it's true.
They say that you have five kids is that also true?
Let's live my family out of this.
Let's talk about your women?
Please let's leave them out too.
Tuface when are you getting married?
(Laughs and sings) I want to party this year and marry next year.
Is your mum not bothered that you are not married yet?
She is extremely bothered. She is extremely disappointed in me but as a Christian, she knows that I am not perfect so she has forgiven me for the embarrassment that I caused the family. You know the normal moral expectation is that no mother would want her child to have kids outside wedlock. Somehow, it happened and I did not run away from it. I love the kids and I want to make the situation positive.
You should be dating a woman right?
I have a woman but I don't want o talk about her
There is a rumour that you are back with Vien Tetsola?
I can't tell you if she is the one or not. When we get married you shall find out who that person is.
But is Vien still your friend?
We are still very cool.
What are you doing to give back to youngsters who want to sing?
I feature in their albums for nothing. I encourage them in any way I can. Apart from that, I have an NGO called Idibia Reach Out Foundation and there's a whole lot of talent-oriented programmes on this platform. I also have a small football team. Instead of doing nothing, I have decided to reach out to these footballers so that when they leave school, instead of hanging around and getting into trouble they would play football.
What's the greatest advice your mum ever gave you?
She has given me a lot but the one that touched me most was that I should always shine my eyes.
What was the greatest advice Uncle Keke ever gave to you?
Baba Keke is a great man. I had this royalty to collect, it was my first royalty for African Queen. Keke said 'Tu, this is your first royalty and more is coming.' It was over three million from record sales for three months. He was like Tu I fit give you if you wan collect am but e get this shares wey de now we de very tight. I want you to invest. I will divide this money into two, use half to buy shares and buy a car for yourself and use the rest to solve your little problems.' That's how I became a shareholder. And till today, I have never regretted that decision.
People say you are humble. How did you learn humility?
I am flattered by that but I guess it's a virtue that came from my parents. I was brought up to respect people because we are all God's creatures. My dad made me know I could have everything in the world but that doesn't make me better than the next person.
At a very young age you have achieved so much. Do you have any political ambitions?
No. I don't have the spirit for politics. Some of them are just liars. They are there for the money and that's all. That's why I did For Instance.
What are your dreams?
To be part of a very vibrant and successful music scene in Nigeria and Africa and to be a successful entertainment business man.