Monday, April 7, 2014

Tuface on Marriage, Celebrity, Journey to Fame and the False Stories About Him

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In a recent interview with the Nation Newspaper, Tuface Idibia opened up on the rumors of him getting his account officer pregnant as well as how he is managing his home and business as a celebrity and a married man. Read on..

We read so much about you in the news. Would you say that those things we read about you are true?
A lot of them have been false, while a lot of them have been true. Some are true, no doubt, but a lot, like I said, are so false. It is like that, and it has been like that.

How do you feel when they are so false?
I am always then like, why should people be so evil? So evil like that? I tend to ask myself at that point why? People are so lazy that they cannot take time to seek out the truth! Take for instance your own medium; you have taken time to seek me out. I guess that is how it should be. If you ask questions rightly, of course, you will get answers. Sometimes though, those false stories amuse me. That is being famous for you! I take it in good strides. I do not let it affect my character.

You talk about false stories, which one can you immediately share with us?
Okay, there is this recent one, which has been in the news lately, which refers to me as having impregnated my account officer. In the first place, I do not know where that story emanated from. I don’t even know where that story could have come out from. I don’t know about it at all!

But the impression out there is that it is true…
Of course it is not true. Impression you said, but impression can also be in both ways. Initially nobody said whether it was true or not. So what I did was to correct whatever impression from my twitter page. But the story still went on. It is a serious matter because now I am married. So it is unfair for anyone to put out such story about me perhaps because they want to sell their medium or sell their blog. It is really totally unfair to me, especially now that I am married. If I wasn’t married, we would have laughed over the matter. But now, I am. So I do not expect that people will play over such issues of emotion at this time of my life.

As a top celebrity, what does your image mean to you and how do you ensure that it is on smooth sail?
The truth is that, now that this has happened, I am not going to ignore such battering of image any more. We will consider and take legal actions against such people. We are not going to sit down and watch that any more. About my image, I try to be a loyal Nigerian citizen, try to live my life the best way I can, and I try to stay out of criminality.

What does it feel like to be Tuface, to be famous?
It’s not easy for me. But I feel say na me don go set myself up. I have gone out there to put myself up, so I have to live it. It is not easy. If feels good, but it is a lot of challenges, a lot of non-privacy. So many things are being flung your way, temptations, and if you are not careful, you get swept off by the evil tide. There are so many hazards in being famous and if you can’t control yourself, you get carried away within a short time. It is not all smooth- sailing. I can tell you that it is not all glamour.
For instance, I enter into an event, a place and I walk straight to go and find a seat for myself to sit. But before I know it, some people will take it personal. Meanwhile if someone else does it, it is seen as normal and accepted. So when I enter a place, I have to move around first and greet people. That is why you see me say ‘I hail o’ each time I enter a place. But you know, it is not all the time that you are in a good mood to be so friendly. But because you are famous, whether you are in a good mood or not, you have to put on a smile and greet people. Else, if you do not do that as a celebrity, such things will make you to easily make enemies. You actually make enemies without even realising it. That is the crazy part of being a celebrity and a famous person.

How have you been able to cope with fame, to avoid scandals?
I have not been able to avoid anything. And that is because I have been straight and open. I simply accept that anything that comes has come. I try to be myself. I try not to let it affect my thinking; I try not to let it affect my character. I try to be as responsible as I can be and continue with my life.

How has married life been? It has been a year already, isn’t it?
Yes, it was a year on Sunday. And the wedding actually took place on a Sunday. It was like the same day all over again. So far so good, married life is cool. We don dey do wetin married people dey do. We don dey sidon together, we go laugh, we go quarrel small (laughs), we go come hold each other again as if no be us quarrel some moments ago. Life has been kind to us since we got married. We have been living happily ever after. I know we did the wedding in Dubai and some said they couldn’t come. But I tell you, even if we had done it in Lagos, some people would still have missed it. The Dubai event was not an excuse for anybody to say anything. We did the traditional wedding celebration in Akwa Ibom State, in Nigeria after all.

Before you proposed, there were some other women in your life. Why is it Annie that you decided to propose to and marry?
I have been fortunate enough to have met a couple of nice ladies in life and two of them even have children for me. But I think that Annie and I understand each other more. As with matters of the heart, it is very difficult sometimes to find the right words to explain it. Somehow, you just know that this is the particular person that you want to stay with.

How do you handle the ‘maturity thing’ in marriage?
We try to live our lives our own way. We have never had cause to introduce the third party in our home. When we have a problem, we sort it out between ourselves. We don’t call anybody in to come and solve our problems for us. We sit down and talk about it. Like I said earlier, sometimes we quarrel when both of us are stubborn over a matter. But we do not involve the third party!

Do the other ladies still hang around?
Definitely I have a couple of female friends, just like I have a couple of male friends. Boundaries are to be respected and if boundaries are not being respected, I have to voice a respectable apology and move on. But I think my friends know this. So they ‘free’ me.

Is your wife not the jealous type?
She loves me. So she must be jealous. If I am laughing with a particular girl too much or I am going the way that I am not supposed to go, or if one girl is following me too much, she will be there to caution me. She definitely has to be protective of her man. At that point she can tell such a girl, ‘hold your side!’ And if it is I that is doing it, she could tell me, ‘cool down, I dey here o.’

How do you relate to your children from different women?
If you see me and my children together, you will think we are mates. That is how I relate with them.

And your relationship with your children’s mothers?
We are good. We are peaceful, everybody is matured. We have a cordial relationship. One love always…

Looking at you, physically you have not changed much since you got married. One would have expected that you would have become bulkier in size. The face keeps remaining the same. How have you been able to keep fit and trim over the years?
I guess it is my structure. It is my nature. I am a lean person by nature. I do not do any dieting to remain in this shape. It is my natural structure.

And no protruding stomach…
(Laughs) I try to do exercise once in a while; I try to stay on top.

What is your best food?
Beans and yam (concoction, laughs). But there is one soup called ekpankukwo that my wife cooks for me from time to time.

It is been a long journey from where you are coming from. Looking back, how do you feel? How have the big moments in your life been so far?
When I look back, I am amazed. Back then, I didn’t think that I could make it to this point. I didn’t see it coming to this height. I probably may have seen it two years ahead, but not this far. There have been many ups and downs. So many highlights and high moments; one of my greatest moments back then was the first time that Plantashun Boys’ music was played on radio. It was like Christmas! We said to ourselves, ol boy, na our song dey radio so. That was in the year 1999; we did Omode meta with Tony Tetuila in 1998. But Plantashun Boys, which was our own music, made us so excited. There was jubilation amongst us. And then after, I got a couple of awards. That made me more excited.
And then again I went solo, won the MTV Europe Music Awards. That was a major highlight in my musical career. It was a big deal to me.
My video was the first to be played on MTV. Another big moment for me was the first time that I performed with Wyclef. That had been somebody that I had looked up to, and lo and behold, there he was in Nigeria. I was sitting with him. That was a big deal to me. Wyclef was an artist that had really inspired me.
Another golden moment was hmmm, when my first child came. It is not like I was not excited over the other ones, but when the first one arrived, I had this feeling that oh yeah, I am a father now! I was all wow and wow, so I am a father now. I kept saying to myself that I am responsible for this tiny human being…It was a very emotional feeling for me. My first child’s name is Nino.
Another exciting and great moment for me was when I proposed and got married to my wife. I proposed and she actually said yes to this useless boy! (Humbly points to himself). I said to myself, ‘Hey, this girl said yes to me! I was over joyed!!!

How did you propose to her?
I knelt down (laughs). After that, I told her that we should go somewhere to rock and enjoy ourselves. Meanwhile, my friend had invited people to that place already. She didn’t see it coming at all. It was a big huge surprise.

She is an actress, and you are a music star. You are both in the entertainment industry. How do you get on with the challenges of life in the show biz world?
I guess what we do actually adds to our understanding of the general public and the general way of how we should handle ‘us’, handle ourselves. I do not have any problem with her acting and she doesn’t have a problem with me doing music. We are just blending it. Right now, she has been off acting because of what they call maternity leave. But she is going to get back to acting at some point.

How does your wife Annie feel about your music?
If you recall this song, nfana ibaha o, she was the one that actually taught me how to say it, how to do it back then. So she has been my fan from way back. If I am doing a song and the song is not nice, she will tell me straight. She could urge me to change it or adjust it. She is my fine critic.

Who inspired your popular song African Queen?
Actually there was no particular person in mind when I did that song; it was just a desire to do a decent love song. It was a desire to do a decent song that will show love and respect for the African woman. That was how the song came about. When I recorded the song, I knew that it sounded nice. I knew that people will like the song, but the truth is that, I did not expect that it will explode like that. It was what I prayed for. It was what I hoped for, but it happened so fast. Definitely that song was a major breakthrough for me. The song took me to the world.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from things that happen around me. Things that I see! Sometimes I go into the creative chamber to build songs. But generally, my songs are inspired by things happening around the world. Though sometimes, inspiration can come from fiction.

What was your childhood dream?
I never dreamt of anything apart from music. It has always been there with me. I mean my music. Though, I had to go to school first. At IMT, Enugu, Nigeria, I studied Business Administration and Management. But now, it is music.

What led you into diversifying into business, owning nite clubs, real estate and events centre?
When one has the opportunity to make regular money like I do, it is not really wise to put everything in the bank, or blow up everything. Better to turn it over instead of drying it out and going to look for it again. You have to let the money work for you.

At what point did you start to consider going into business outside music?
It had always been on my mind that at some point, I would have to upgrade and grow. So I started with Hypertek Events. We used to consult for people, package events, got artistes, do stage fixing and so on. There was also the label aspect, though I was the only artiste on the label. As I made money, I was putting some aspect aside for the company. That was because, I had to have money put aside for recording, printing of CDs, photo shoot, publicity and the like. When the money kept rolling in, I then started thinking of properties, and more recently, nite club and event centre business. Gradually we will be upgrading like that.

How do you see the business of nite clubbing?
It is fun. It is very hectic. We opened the club in Festac Town five months ago and the one at Ikeja two years ago. It has been smooth. Though as you know, it is not every day that a nite club booms. But of course, at the end of the month and then the year, you get a detailed sales record. It is good business; I guess that is why it is still open to the public for business.

Does the fact that it is owned by you attract patronage?
Definitely, there are a lot of people who come into town and stop over because they hear that it is owned by me. Also, over the years, I have made a couple of friends. Some of them have grown too. So they come around to chill out. I go there whenever I am in town. And when people hear that I am there, the place just fills up and it’s a big party. It’s good. Business is good but nothing good comes easy. Work is work. But when you are doing what you love doing, it is work and fun.

What does success mean to you?
Success to me is being able to take care of you.

How do you relate to other artistes?
I am a friend of every artiste because we all know each other. I am a friendly person. I am a jolly good fellow.

How about your ex-band mates?
We still hang out once in a while. We are still on good terms.

What is your view of the new up-coming artistes?
I think a whole lot of them are doing very well; they are trying to keep their heads up high. All in all, I am very impressed by a couple of real young guys that I see today. I see them going very far. The Nigerian music scene is exploding. Nigeria is taking the lead in Africa in the music scene right now.

What should we expect from you in near future?
Expect a couple of good things. We are coming up with some new things soon.


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