By Tony Ogaga
Hip hop/fuji singer, Abolore Akande popularly known as 9ice, has declared that marriage is not on his wish list for now. The musician, who was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 20th edition of CityPeople Awards last weekend, revealed to Entertainer that he was not keen on walking down the aisle anytime soon.
He said: “The most key element in life is finding happiness. I just want to be happy, so if settling down will be my happiness, so be it. But if being single will bring me happiness, fine. I just want to be happy.”
Recall that his marriage to Toni Payne sensationally crashed barely a year after they had a secret wedding and the pair had gone their separate ways. But recently, it was his birthday and Toni Payne was all over social media gushing over him.
Are they back together?
9ice waves his hands as he responds: “Anything that has to do with my family, I don’t like talking about it in public.”
In an interview he granted recently, the musician said that he wished he had all his kids from one woman. Was he regretting? “I wasn’t regretting. I was saying that it would have been much easier for me, because it would give me less stress having all my kids from one woman. Some of my kids are in Abuja; some are in New York and so on. If they were all in one place, the stress would be less,” he explained.
New album, new deal
Last year November, 9ice dropped a new album, his eight studio album named after ID Cabassa, his producer and the man behind his greatest hit so far, Gongo Aso. He talks about the project which he says is very close to his heart: “The album is doing well. Ever since it was released last year November, the response has been wow! It is entitled ID Cabassa and has 22 songs including Lord’s Prayer, Hadiza, ATM, Olorunsogo, Alo, Glass House and Aunty. The response has been so fantastic. We did not expect this much. The album is just growing on people.”
Opening up on his management deal with Temple Management, the artiste states: “The purpose of the deal is to reach out to as many clients as I can. I am talking about expanding the brand. Temple Management is always there for you; they know how to take care of business whether you are there or not. What I am saying is that they are the ideal management company in Nigeria.”
If 9ice had been told 10 years ago that he would be so loved and popular, would he have believed it? His response: “No, I won’t because of my background and upbringing. What I am saying is that ‘butter is not for monkeys’. There are people that are privileged and things come to them naturally. My up-bringing did not give me that option.
“I had to take whatever was thrown my way or given to me. My dream has always been ‘get a self-contained apartment and settle down’ with my family and not to be buying many cars and traveling abroad at the snap of a finger, and to be known all over.
“It took me a year for reality to dawn on me that Gongo Aso had gone far. It was when I went to London to perform at the Mandela’s Birthday Concert. From the instance I started leaving the shores of this country to where you don’t expect people to know your song, and they are singing the song word for word, I knew Gongo Aso had gone far.”
How did he handle the fame and stardom? “It is all about staying true to yourself and keeping your head low,” he posited.
Multiple awards winning 9ice added yet another feather to his cap at the CityPeople Awards held at Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos last Sunday, April 2. How does he feel winning? “I feel honoured because if you notice, I was the youngest among those that received awards that day,” he says amid laughter. “It is not a child’s play. I feel honoured and privileged and I want to say thank you to CityPeople Media Group.”
So, what should fans expect from him in 2017? “I have just released a video, and aside that, we are releasing Glass House video by the end of this month. So, from now till the end of May, we will be focusing on the ID Cabassa album and making sure we promote it very well.”
Does he have any regrets about going into politics and not succeeding? “I have not given up on politics, neither do I have regrets. For me, it is ‘never say never’. I can still go back to politics any day.”
“That is when I am with my family and my kids.”