I will use music as a tool for Pan-Africanism, says Ad-Terry
Abuja-based artiste, Ad-Terry in an interview with Ajuluchukwu Brown, talked about growing up, his music and Pan-Africanism. He expressed his passion to use music as a tool for Pan-Africanism, unifying Africans with his music. Tell us about the brand Ad-Terry.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Adamu Itopa Lawal. My stage name is Ad-Terry. I was born in Katsina State but I hailed from Kogi State. I hold a degree in Political Science and a Master degree in International Relations. I am an ardent lover of great music as both a music consumer and music creator.
Share your journey into music with us. What informed your decision to do music?
In the early 2000s, I was always listening to artists like Craig David, Joe Thomas, 2Face and Tyrese Gibson. I am a huge fan of Tyrese. At that time, the major medium for listening to music was through radio stations. I am also a fan of Brandy. I started getting interested in music. My father was also a very talented musician who sang in our local dialect. Music gives me so much excitement. I used to mime songs of my favourite artists at birthday parties and school talent shows, and I would shine. There was this studio called Studio 5 in Kubwa, Abuja, where I grew up. In my Senior Secondary 2, I went into the studio, met with the producer and made enquiries on how music recordings are curated. He explained everything to me and told me a session cost N3000. I made my first song titled Girl of My Life in that studio. It has been music for me since then.
You are not signed to any record label. How has it been as a solo artist?
In all honesty, it has been tough being a solo artist. Funding and connecting with other big artists is the major challenge. It takes a lot of finance to make a song, promote it and create a visual of that song. Attachment to a record label would make it smoother to navigate the financial, networking and marketing vehicles of the music business journey.
Define your music. What genre does your music fall into?
My music is Afrobeat in the general sense. But specifically, I would call mine Afro-House. A sub-genre of Afrobeat.
What project are you currently on? An EP or Album?
I am currently working on an EP titled, Afro-South. It is scheduled to drop on October 13. I intend to use that project as a catalyst for Pan-Africanism. I already have four top Zimbabwean artists featured in it. I intend to collaborate with more African artists. I also just dropped a single titled, Somebody, featuring Yunique of Abuja. It is a banger. I returned to my roots with that jam. The single is on all streaming platforms. Please people should go stream.
Let’s talk about Pan-Africanism. What inspired you to that line of thought?
First, my background as a Political Science graduate and International Relations set the tune. I feel that consciousness is not enough. I visited Zimbabwe to meet with a friend and to perform in one of Burna Boys’ shows. I was bewildered by the serenity, the friendliness of her people and the beauty of the country. It inspired me to do a song in Shona, their native language titled, Tatenda (We give thanks) which had a great reception in Zimbabwe. I intend to do more and use music to foster healthy relationships among all countries in Africa. While leaders strive to achieve that in politics, I will do it in music.
Do you have any influence from any top Nigerian artist?
Yeah. Wizkid and a bit of Burna Boy.
Have you collaborated with any Nigerian artist or who do you intend to collaborate with?
I have worked with the legendary Faze of the defunct Plantashun Boys. I have a song titled, For You with him in my first album. Currently, I have a song in rotation with Yunique. I would love to work with the rave of the moment, Odumodu Black who is also based in Abuja.
Are you satisfied with the slow-paced movement of entertainment in Abuja? Specifically, music?
I am so not satisfied. Abuja used to be a stronghold for music back in the days. Great artists such as Mode 9 and Sixfootplus were based in Abuja, and they did well. When some of the group artists started splitting up slowly, Abuja lost that glory. Now, everybody is running to Lagos. But I believe Abuja will return to its glory. Another thing limiting the growth of music in Abuja is the lack of collaboration among music artists. Everybody thinks they can do it without the help of the other guy – that feeling of superiority over other artists. But if we all come together in a united front, Abuja will compete with Lagos in entertainment and specifically music.