If the summary of your life embraced a little of the early 2000, you wouldn’t only have been overwhelmed by bulky clothing and bad choices, but you probably would have met the controversial ‘King of Akpako,’ Terry G.
The bell-ringing, hyper-energetic singer, songwriter and music producer is known for his eccentric personae, backed by his unusual music and outlandish looks.
A careful look underneath all the ‘paraphernalia’ of his trade, will unveil Terry G’s most impressive arsenal; a first-rate music mind.
His music, a genre of his own creation, is called ‘Chante Music’- it can be described as feverishly fast-paced percussions, layered with odd intervals of bell ringing.
The creation of the ‘Chante Genre’ came together in a series of coincidences.
“The bell which is a unique feature of Terry G is something I added or rather bought when I went shopping for musical fixtures for my studio then. I saw it hanging on its shelf and got it out of some weird coincidence. If you notice, you hardly hear bells as part of music percussion over time, so I decided to add it to my music and behold it became a part of Terry G’s music,” he explains.
With over a decade of more or less single-handedly building a successful music brand, the demands of maturity and that ever-vengeful biological clock demanded an heir and Terry G soon succumbed. A boy.
On how he manages to balance fatherhood and music, he opens up rather honestly.
“Well if I say it’s been easy I’d be lying. But one has to face one’s fears rather than run away from it. I have managed to handle both parts, by making sure that I give the right amount of attention to each, without jeopardizing the other.”
Music was the first responsibility he had to face and he honed it carefully until he became a force to be reckoned with. When family came into his focus, Terry G had to do what every responsible father would do; not allow the music interfere with his fatherly duties.
How exactly did he do it?
“I separated the two and knew where to have boundaries so none suffers as a result of the other. It wasn’t easy, especially for family, there is no manual so to say, hence I drew strength and wisdom from what I learnt from my own parents and added divine wisdom to make my own type of family where love, discipline and care is paramount,” he added.
‘Adura’ is Terry G’s latest musical effort, featuring ‘that’s-how-star-do’ crooner, Skiibii. ‘Adura’ which means prayer in Yoruba is not a particularly strange messaging, considering Terry G’s older offerings. His need to invoke a higher power in his music is reminiscent of a side of the eccentric artiste that we often never consider.
“The song talks about what prayers can help achieve. It extols the divine importance of praying to God for forgiveness, mercy and grace to forge on in life against all odds,” he explains.
A sizeable portion of music consumers today didn’t grow up enjoying Terry G’s peculiar brand of music and he insists that understanding history will help us properly curate the future. He clarifies the statement further.
“When I said that I’ve always been unique it can be better understood in some of the new acts who took a leaf from that ‘weird and crazy’ persona of Terry G to mould their own personality today. So there is some sort of connect for the millennials in this respect. They still have that Ginjah aura of Terry G in their choice of music so the work has already executed itself (laughs)….Akpako still liveth in the music scene in Nigeria.”
Although his career is not marked with many music awards, even after four viral albums, the self-acclaimed, ‘Akpako Master’ believes in their significance in recognizing quality work, regardless.
“Nigerian awards are getting there. Rome wasn’t built in a day but surely we would get to where the Grammys and Oscars are today. But I must add that it doesn’t really depict a creative mind’s worth in that you may not have accolades or awards but you can be a force to be reckoned with in your field; it is called creativity and there is no hard and fast rules to the extent of creativity for the mind. What is applauded today could be shunned tomorrow and vice versa.”
Terry G has been producing his own music for as long as anyone can remember. He insists that it’s a crucial part of the ‘Terry Ginjah’ brand but is not ruling out co-creating music with the likes of Sarz, MasterKraft and Don Jazzy to name a few. On a global level he would love to trade beats with big-shot producers like Dr. Dre, Swizz Beats and Timberland.
It doesn’t take much for Terry G’s energetic, self-assuredness to show up; it took a question about whether we should expect an album anytime soon.
” (Rings Bell)….look out for an embodiment of musical masterpieces coming through….a body of work that will get nominated in virtually all genres of music in any award nomination,” he boasts.
‘I’ve featured a few Nigerian artists in the past and presently like Pretty Boy Do and Skiibii Mayana. The rest you’d get to know when it is out,” he adds with a conspiratorial wink.
Should we expect a Terry G stand-alone concert in the near future?
“Expect The Return Of Ginjah coming soon.”
Nothing further was given.
Although millennials profusely dismiss its relevance, it doesn’t change the fact that experience features dominantly in the making of successful enterprises. When we urged Terry G to give a word of advice to the new generation of artistes today, he didn’t waste any time.
“One word of advice….never give up with your imagination because many great leaders of today were once seen as weirdos but today they are now globally acknowledged.”
On the current global health crises, Terry G goes all philosophical, stating the resilience of the human spirit and our God-given freewill as tools that will help us come out of this better than we were.
“Funny enough with the advent of technology, nobody ever thought virtual concerts could be possible but during this crisis we’ve had virtual concerts and other forms of virtual activities going on. So yes the industry would get back on its feet post-coronavirus pandemic,” he offers with a smile.
On what he misses the most as a result of the lockdown, Terry G gives the equivalent of a wail.
“Omo I miss going out to meet people. Chai…staying in one place for a long time is not a small somethings. “
It is a well-known fact that music veterans are not properly appreciated in this clime, but if a few more of them could be as self-assured as the amazingly-talented Terry G is, then their fame and influence will be effortlessly trans-generational.
This article was written by Henri ‘Yire; connect on Instagram with him here