The fact that 9ice is the rave of the moment in Nigeria music scene is not in doubt. His songs are bursting musical charts and he is smiling to the bank undoubtedly. His fans idolize him and he is ever willing to go the extra miles to please them.
One thing his fans have not stopped asking since he released his hugely-successful sophomore album Gongo Aso in February is the Video CD of his songs. But he insisted that the time must be right and he wants to dash the hope of pirates who are trying to catch in on people's ignorance by selling a mixture of his collaboration with other acts and stage performances as his video.
However the LASU Law student drop-out says he is now ready to release his video. In a chat with Showbiz Now, 9ice whose real name is Abolore Akande says “six videos are ready and they shall be released in the third week of June. Street Credibility which features 2face Idibia, Photocopy, Wedding Day, Party Rider, Gongo Aso and Adeori are the first set of the videos that will be released. The second batch, which will contain the other six videos, will be released in December.' Clarence Peters who worked on the video of the singing couple Tunde and Wunmi Obe, is the one shooting all the videos. The shooting took place in various locations which are Eko Reel mix, Akoka, his residence in Anthony, and so on.
Though he is still basking in the euphoria of the success of Gongo Aso, 9ice is however working on a new album. According to him, it is not coming early after the relase of his last album because his business is to make music. 'I am already working on a new album' he says. He goes further, 'a single out of the new album will be released in December while the whole album will be out in January 17, 2009. it will contain 12 tracks and I am working with ID Cabbassa, Terry G, and Cobhams. The title of the album will be 'Tradition.'
9ice, whose selling point has been his romance with tradition and heavy Yoruba lyrics says his new album will be full of long-forgotten Yoruba tradition. 'I'll go deep down into Yoruba tradition and dig out something they have forgotten' he says with delight on his face. Will people not get bored? Explaining further, he says 'you don't get bored of your language. English people don't get bored of their language so are the Indians, so why should Nigerians get bored of theirs? What about international audience? We wanted to know if the language will not be a hurdle to his ambition of being the first Nigerian artist to bring home a Grammy award. 'Language is not a barrier to music. What matters is your delivery and presentation. Yusuf Ysondo won a Grammy and he sings in Senegalese language. So, language will not be my barrier.
New album is not the only thing 28 years old 9ice is planning. He has his eyes set on the altar any moment from now. 'We are looking at 2008 or 2009 to walk down the altar,' he says with a smile one would have mistaken for that of a lottery winner.
9ice has been going out with Toni Oluwaseun Payne for the past two years and he confessed to Showbiz Now that he prays and hopes the relationship endures to the end. We even teased him about his female fans snatching him from Toni Payne. He quickly quipped, 'that is not possible. I am not someone who changes friends just like that. I am close to my roots.' He went further to reveal what made him propose to Toni Payne who shuttles between United State and Nigeria. 'She has what I want in a woman, and we have many things in common. We have been together before this popular 9ice emerged, she believed in me and loves me for whom I am.'
Creative Toni Payne is into make-up, branded shirts and designs. She studied video digital art at California State University in the United States. She was born Anthonia Oluwaseun Payne to Angela Bolanle Coker and Wale Anthony Payne. She is the only child of her mum while her dad who lives in Nigeria has other children from another woman. Toni is most of the time in US but she manages to come home often to spend time with her beau.
The two love birds met at the tenth anniversary celebration of ace comedian, Gbega Adeyinka at Motherlan'. One thing led to another and the two fell helplessly in love. Today as the saying goes, the rest is history.
And as an appreciative lover, 9ice says he has never cheated on her, but he is not ruling out the possibility that the words of Paul the Apostle, 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak can come to pass one of these days, but he prays it doesn't.
Will he give in to his flesh one day? We are not sure but one thing we are however sure of is the fact that 9ice is a destiny child.
He emerged from the most unlikely place to become the rave of the moment in Nigeria's music industry and like the proverbial river that is not forgetting his roots he says 'stardom is an opportunity'.
9ice's album, Gongo Aso is currently atop of musical chart all over Nigeria and the album released about three months ago, is close to two million copies in sale. It is hard to walk any street in Lagos without hearing 9ice's music who started out as Fuji musician being played. It is sort of national anthem for children now. To cap it all Mr. Abolore is now a millionaire at the age of 28. That is so much, more for a young man who had nothing to his name some months ago.