How I took to riding bikes - Charly Boy
Addressed by various titles like the People's General, President, Area Fada, His Royal Punkness or simply CB, Charles Chukwuma Oputa a.k.a Charly Boy, the famous son of Justice Chukwudifu Oputa is an enigma. His perceived weirdness has made him a subject of controversies over the years but this has not stopped him from going about things in his own way and neither has it hindered his determination to live by his own rules. In this interview with Yejide Gbenga-Ogundare, CB speaks on issues concerning his belief, career, wife and obsession for bikes. Excerpts:
Some say you are weird, others believe you are mischievous. How would you describe yourself?
Charly Boy is an entity with many flavours. It is what you sample that informs your opinion. The world is like layers, when you lift one; another surfaces and I believe I'm like that. People have mixed perceptions but I think it all depends on where you stand.
Remember the story of the ten blind men that encountered an elephant, when asked what each thought, they all based their description on the part they held individually. Charly Boy is a brand. My work had always been for the future. When I started, many people had the wrong perception and called me names but Charly Boy has always been a child of the future. I am not like everybody. I stand out, I am for people who have depth and see beyond the physical appearance.
What informed your passion for bikes?
The bike thing started as a necessity. Then, I did not have a car and I needed to move around, bike was the viable alternative. My first bike was a Honda 175 and along the line, we decided that it suited the bad boy image we were projecting then. Later, bikes became synonymous with the name Charly Boy and I got used to it.
Why did you call your latest album Ninja Bike?
People sing about whatever they like. They sing about love, they sing about life, they sing about many things and I decided to sing about my bike. The bikers' community in Nigeria is increasing, not okada o, I mean power bikes. Last year, we had a national bikers' convention and the turnout was impressive. 'Ninja Bike' is an ode to my bike and all bikers in Nigeria.
What genre of music is Ninja Bike?
It is difficult to classify. There is a little of hip-hop, a little of high life and others. Some people sing blues, let them sing blues. My music is in all classes because it is meant to touch lives at all levels and age. That is what I stand for and it is a piece of me and what I'm inspired to do.
Many believe you resemble your father physically. Do you believe this? What else do you have in common?
Do I? I have always said that an apple does not fall too far from the tree even though it can have shades of other colours. The values he taught me are part of what I have become today and we have a deep respect for each other. Though we do things in different ways, at the end we are both always working towards one goal, justice and fair play.
How do you manage to keep in touch with trends in the industry despite your age and long years in music ?
What am I, a Methuselah?
No , but you are older than many. How do you retain your vibrancy?
Like I said, the brand Charly Boy has always been for the future so it still has the vibrancy and creativity it used to have. Also, once you continue to learn and re-engineer, you can always be on top of your game. As long as there are many young people to discuss ideas with, I will remain fresh. Charly Boy is and will always be a vitality brand.
What attracted you to your wife?
At first, like every young man, it was the physical. Her beauty, height and things like that but later, the spiritual created the bond. She understands me and I think the baby in me just connected with her innocence.
What is your philosophy of life?
I aspire to be fair and to show kindness to everybody. I'm not religious but I am spiritual. I won't like to go into that aspect. However, my belief is that when you are good and kind to others, it would help you in your own down period.
You took military courses in the U.S. Why did you deviate from this path?
Yes, I know you did.
Well, I took the courses. It is not the full kind of training you think. It was short just like my stay in the U.S. I stayed only five years in the U.S. but while I was there, I wanted to have all the experience I could get. I grew up in Nigeria, spent five years abroad and came back home. So I never intended to pursue a military career. I only enrolled for a six-month course to have the experience.
What is the Charly Boy Foundation (CBF) about?
It is an NGO that I am running at my pace. CBF helps to train and cater to the needs of some students at various stages of education to the university level. CBF also rehabilitates derailing youths and sets them on the path of progress.
How do you cope with producing your programme on television, writing and singing at the same time?
It all depends on how one manages his time. There are too many hours in a day to whatever needs to be done. One only needs to be a good manager of time. I know what to do and I do it at the appropriate time