After brandishing the weirdo image for eight years, the Ginjah Master, Terry G, takes up a new character writes Jayne Augoye
It is normal for an artiste to rebrand at some point in his or her career. For the once self acclaimed Gingah Master, Terry G, real name Oche Amanyi, that time is now.
After serenading fans and flooding the Nigerian music scene with his weird and wild persona, addictive auto-tune laced hits like ‘Testing Microphone’ and ‘Free Madness’, the singer, producer and music video director is carving out a new image for himself.
Apart from the fact that he now wishes to be referred to as Honourable Terry G, the Chaante Chante singer now possesses a calmer mien, which is evident in his response and disposition to questions posed to him by this correspondent.
For the 27-year-old singer, who has a son from his lover, Mimi Omoregbe, late last year, it is safe to say that becoming a father for the first time has given him a different outlook of life.
“Having a kid has a lot to do with it. Sometimes you see life in a different way. You perceive it in another way another time. When I had a kid, I saw so much value in my life and the future. I became humbled and developed the mindset that anything that has to do with my future must automatically involve my son as well. I started changing a lot of things and it actually scared a lot of negative friends from me. It helped me resolve and re-organise myself again.
“In the past, some children appeared scared to come close to me, but all that has changed. Fatherhood has been awesome, amazing and a miracle to me. My son is my replica.”
Shutting critics who often accuse him of singing ‘meaningless songs that sell nonetheless’, the Benue-State born artiste includes a love song titled ‘Love Affair’ in his recently released fourth album, Book of Ginger .
In the album, the artiste explores a variety of genres, which, he says, depicts the many sides there are to him, musically and personally. Yet, despite the ‘bold’ move, he reckons that the feedback isn’t too pleasant.
He explains, “It was quite challenging because some people did not actually believe that it is Terry G. They were like: ‘Is this Terry G on the television?’ It was quite a big shock to them and so I got both positive and negative news , but with the negative topping the list.
“It was really shocking to them that I went R ‘n’ B. The romantic side of me has always been there despite the fact that I have been portraying a particular image all the while. In fact, I used to sing love songs before I discovered the Terry G image. I felt that at this point in my career, I could risk doing something even though love songs are not commercially viable.”
With the new image, Terry G says, he has been forced to adopt certain lifestyle changes.
“I still party because of what I do; you know our job requires you to party. But I prefer what I am now because I am more coordinated. I strongly believe that it is better to go out for a reason than for nothing,’’ he says excitedly.
During the course of this chat, the singer attempts to clear the air with regards to his controversial album titled ‘Terry Gzus’, which was released in 2011.
According to the artiste who started out singing in his local church choir, the title was only a play on words, with no religious undertone whatsoever.
“With the title, Terry Gzus, I didn’t mean JESUS, I simply mean, GZUS. Because I knew the pronunciation sounded like the Jesus, I already foresaw that it was going to create a huge controversy but that was why I named it that way in the first place. But it was intentional; it means (Terry omo Jesu) and I chose not to say anything because I wanted the buzz,” he explains.
He is also quick to add that while he has gotten used to the controversies that usually trail him, an ‘erroneous’ story of hit-and-run involving him last year, nearly dented his image.
Although he refuted the allegation at the time, he says the damage has already been done.
“When I drive through certain neighbourhoods, people still yell at me, saying, ‘Baba hit and run’. I had nothing to do with the accident because I was in London when it happened.
“It was one of my boys that hit somebody with my car and not me, as reported. He was driving a Black Toyota Camry car when he hit the person and then ran away. Because eye witnesses did not see who the driver of the car was, they assumed it was me; perhaps this was due to my number plate. I had to pay with nine hundred thousand naira for the person’s treatment,” He recollects.