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'Voice of The Decade' Nigerian Music (NMA) Award winner, Sunny Neji, has admitted receiving naughty texts from adoring female fans.

Speaking exclusively to Sunday Sun last week in Lagos, the “Oruka” crooner revealed that he used to show the texts to his wife until a point when he became overwhelmed by the sheer volume!
“How many naughty texts do you show to your wife before deleting them?” he asked rhetorically. “It just gets to a point you ignore them.”

According to him, it was impossible to control the minds of others. “People will feel whatever way they want to feel and express themselves. Some could be very naughty. I get so many naughty texts but I have never been sexually harassed before. No, I don't have that kind of image.”

However, he rationalized: “My female fans are my fans. Without them, there is no Sunny Neji. They are the one's that spend money to buy my music and drag their boyfriends to my shows. I appreciate them.”

“Off Da Hook”

Following the below par performance of his fifth album, he has come under flak for dumping his style for R&B. He denied ever dumping his style: “ Of Da Hook” is a great album. It has lots of new stuff. It's a normal thing that it might take a little while to grow on people but we are getting incredible responses now. In another couple of weeks, we are repackaging and re-issuing the album. The remixes have been on air. People have heard them and they have been calling. The repackaged edition would also include a bonus track.

“I never dumped my style. It is still the same me, still the same Sunny Neji, I have not been singing in Pidgin English like I used to. May be, that is the problem. Life is all about taking risks. When you drive your car, you are taking a risk. I am not afraid of risks. ”Off Da Hook” was a process. I am not worried because I know that the moment it is accepted, the sky would be the limit.

The big question is: 'is it a good job? And by all standards, everybody accepts that it is a good job. What happened was the surprise factor. People did not expect what I did. I am adapting to it, so too are my fans.”

Contrary to popular belief, Neji said that the album has been doing well in the market. “The problem was that I was not getting enough air play. Now it has picked up.”

New label

Following his departure from O'Jez, Neji set up his own label 'Impact Records.' However, he said that almost a year after it was launched, it is yet to sign on an artiste.

“Impact has not signed on any new artistes. We have a problem in the industry that we are trying to address because that is the only way a label can survive. If those problems were not tackled, labels would die. I am a new comer and I am aligning with the progressive elements in the industry to chart a way forward so that the business of entertainment can forge ahead.

I am talking about the Music Businessmen Forum (MBF). We are trying to address issues and we are taking it seriously. We have major issues that have been discouraging proper investments. The major issue is piracy. The other is the NCC doing its work effectively. People are doing whatever they like. There are CD pressing plants all over pirating our works. They need to be curbed.”

Relationship with Donald Duke

The icon of Obudu Ranch said his relationship with the former River State was one of big brother and younger brother: “ My relationship with Donald Duke is the greatest thing that ever happened to not just me but Nigerian entertainment. There is no popular artiste in Nigeria today who would say otherwise. As a result of activities going on in the state, it was every artiste's dream to come to Cross River State and perform. He Duke affected the entire industry positively.”

Music and family

“As an artiste, you are on the road all the time. I try to spend time with my family but it is not easy. You must find time for your family because life is all about balance. You must fine the balance between your career and your family if you want things to work for you. I have not had problems. How is my wife coping with my absence? It is only she that can answer that, but I know that it is difficult for any woman that is married to an artiste, especially one that is always on the road and always in demand. Every woman would want her husband to be home before 7pm but you know the man you married, you know what he is into. It is something you just get used to eventually.”

Music and fame

“Fame has taken away my privacy. I do not have as much privacy as I would love to any more. I can't walk down the streets any more. I can't go to the neighbourhood mall because I would attract unnecessary attention. Sometimes, I just want to take a walk like any other human being and breath the air around me and appreciate the scenery. Look at people and buildings but I can't do that any more. But there is the flip side. People want to do things for me. People recognise me. They want to doors opened for me.”

Saddest moment

“My saddest moment is when I go out on the streets and I see pirated CDs. Everyday people exploit the Nigerian artiste. Somebody is reaping while somebody is working so hard to create but not benefiting. Until these things take a turn for the better, I would remain sad because the Nigerian artiste works too hard.”

NMA Award

“ It means so much to me. It is dear to my heart. It means that I have been visible for the last 10 years. I have been consistent, I have been progressive and affected lives. It is an award that I cherish. It is not every day that people win 'artiste of the decade' award. It's a one-thing-in-10 years. I am happy and very proud of it. I am dedicating it to all my fans and all positive minded media men who are working tirelessly to move the industry forward.”

PMAN crisis

“I am not happy with the situation. Until we begin to look beyond ourselves, and begin to see that this thing has to work for everybody, we will keep on having problems. Let people see the larger picture. The industry is bigger than any individual or collective group of people. It is a money spinner that could generate millions of naira but because of petty issues and bickering, we are not getting anywhere.”