In an exclusive interview with Naij.com, Alapomeji Records boss, 9ice (real name: Abolore Akande) talked about his foray into politics, the proposed Coded Tunes Reunion concert and his current relationship with ex-wife, Toni Payne and their son, Zion.
Naij.com: What prompted you into politics, service or financial gain?
9ice: For me, what prompted most of the politicians or let me say moneyticians into politics is financial gain, but what prompted me into politics is service. I am one of those ready to serve the people even without being paid a salary. When you are willing to serve the people it does not have to be about money, it has to be based on selfless service. You want to see your community grow from strength to strength, you want to see families live a better life believing you can take the community you want to serve from one level they are to another level by rendering your own service. So it is not about monetary gains for me.
Naij.com: You seem to have returned to music following your disappointment at the polls. (9ice campaigned for and lost his bid at the primaries for the House of Representative for Ogbomoso North/South and Orire federal constituency. He ran under the platform of the All Progressives Congress.) You have dropped a couple of singles, shot some videos but are you still in touch with your protégés: Seriki, Alan B and the rest or have those connections being cut off permanently?
9ice: I am sure Seriki is doing his own thing; he has his own record label. Ajayi brothers too have their own record label but you know we all cannot be out there like that. I am sure they are doing their own things and doing it to the best of their ability.
Naij.com: Earlier this year, preparations were in top gear for the Coded Tunes Reunion Concert, the noise just faded. What happened?
9ice: Coded Tunes Reunion Concert is like, Yoruba man pa owe kan pe ojo ti eniyan bati mo iyi ara e, ni igberaga made. It’s like we didn’t know our worth, we didn’t know what the response of the people was going to be like and we just said ok, we just wanted to this. But having seen the way people are (interested) in it, we had to rethink it. It has to be big and worthwhile; that was why we went back to the drawing board. Anything worth doing, is worth doing well so the concert is still on; we are just trying to get things right.
Naij.com: You have set yourself apart in the industry with your lyrics, often infused with Yoruba proverbs. What inspired your style?
9ice: The key to my lyrical success will be trying to stay true to yourself, trying to talk about what people will feel, putting yourself in people’s mind, speaking the language they understand, use your mother tongue – those are the things that paid off. I am an artiste that doesn’t believe in sound without communication. Rhythm, sound melody has to communicate, it either touches my life or makes me party. I believe music is about communication, passing across a message to the people and that I hold in high esteem. Maybe that is one of the reasons why I am lyrically strong.
Naij.com: What is your favourite song?
9ice: It has to be Anytime, because Anytime talks about my life, it talks about things I experienced myself, a lot of people… It actually talks about things I went through personally.
Naij.com: At the peak of your career, you were a favourite at award shows. Now, it seems your rise has dipped, what would you say is the reason for that?
9ice: People I started music with I am sure most of them are no more doing music, maybe a few of them. It takes much energy, much synergy, much going back to the drawing board. Trying to give the people the best. To get there is very easy, to remain there and last forever takes hard work. Like you rightly said in one of the questions, I do politics, I do other stuff but now I am back and proud to be back.
Naij.com: You currently have a four children from three different women, how do you handle these relationships?
9ice: I can handle it because I was born into a polygamous family so I have the experience.
Naij.com: How do you create balance among the mothers of your children and the kids themselves?
9ice: The imbalance is one of the element of being in a polygamous family. Nuclear family is selfish because everything has to be among you guys. Like, ‘Daddy I want this,’ and it shall be given. You lack certain things in polygamous family and those things you lack are what will build you up to become an independent person in life. So, the advantage of polygamous family is much. I am saying this based on experience.
Naij.com: Do you still communicate with Toni Payne, the mother of your first child, Zion?
9ice: I can’t remember the last time I spoke to her but I keep in touch trying to know what’s up with Zion and how things are going. I haven’t seen Zion for like a year now because he now schools in the US and he stays in America.
Naij.com: What is your greatest regret with regards to your personal and professional lives?
9ice: I don’t think I have any regret, just that sometimes I feel I should have done somethings better. But regrets, no because if you start having regrets you will have setbacks as some of your regrets are part of your breakthrough.
Naij.com: What are your current plans for your music?
9ice: Just to keep doing what my fans know me for and probably do it better. Not just songs but evergreen songs that will be played twenty, thirty years from now; those are the songs I plan to release.
Watch the video version of the interview: