Music must inspire and motivate listeners — Triple G Ugaba
Music must speak to those the artiste may not able to stand with face-to- face. It must inspire, educate and motivate people as well while maintaining originality in sounds and lyrics. Benue State-born John Otor Ugaba, better known with the stage name Triple G Ugaba in this interview with Victor Gbonegun, spoke on his sojourn into music, the challenges of upcoming artistes, and the Nigerian music industry.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is John Otor Ugaba, and my stage name is Triple-G-Ugaba. I’m from Igede, Oju Local Government Area in Benue state. Growing up wasn’t easy; it was like being born into some kind of slavery. Life was kind of struggling hard to earn freedom. I faced a lot of challenges, and part of it was not having enough to eat and take good care of myself. Going to school was pretty difficult; I lost my mum at age 13 and everything was a kind of hellish. My father was never just there for me. However, I have always believed that once you are in the world, you are here for a reason. No matter how difficult it may seem to look, you should keep pushing on; just keep living, it is not a mistake that you are in the world. That you aren’t dead connotes there are good things ahead, just keeping hope alive.
What kinds of music do play?
I do RnB and hip-hop. I like RnB because through it, I express myself more and better than any other genre. It also makes me feel more alive. In Nigeria, when you listen to hip-hop, you listen to our own kind of music. I do hip-hop just to keep touch with our reality. Hip-hop is not basically that soulful, boring and low kind of music; it got to be danceable.
How long have you been into music and what has been the experience?
Eight years now. Let me say that if you are special, you face special challenges. Special challenges will be coming your way. Sometimes going to a show, people will look at you and you are not Yoruba, you are not Igbo, I cannot give you a chance to perform. All these sometimes almost wane me down to the extent that I wanted to give up. Again, some people will tell you music is meant for rich and great guy. You have to go and meet one native (Babalawo) or the other before you get to the top.
What really inspired you to go into music?
I didn’t go into music but music came to me; I was born with, so it was a normal thing for me to do music. I don’t have any role model, but I respect the fact that everyone has got talent. I have my own lyrics and message that I always want to pass across. I have great respect for 2baba and R-Kelly. I like people that respect music, who knows that music is a means by which you speak to those you cannot stand with face-to- face. Music must inspire, educate and motivate people and not just about shaking of butts.
How many songs have you recorded and what are you working on now?
I have about 12 songs, and I am working on releasing a new soon. I am working on my album, which I won’t let out the title for now. Basically I am trying to sell my self and brand music more to the audience. I just want the world to be my family, not just Lagos, my hometown, or Africa.
Tell us about your challenges
At the time I was recording my singles, I was the only one pushing myself and it was kind of very difficult for me. I used to work with one company where I am paid N15,000 monthly and I have to pay for my rent, transport, feeding and as an artiste, I always have to look good , while studio session for a song track costs N15,000, which is the lowest you can get anywhere around. So it wasn’t easy at all, I just don’t know how to give up on a particular thing I love doing. When I collect my salary, I take it to the studio. Somehow by determination, I have keep on, and it’s been God who has given me the wisdom and understanding to keep pushing ahead
Are you signed to any record label right now?
Not really. If you are out there and you want to sign, come and get me.
Your take on Nigerian music industry
The Nigerian music industry has come a long way, but I think we still lack in originality. Yes, our artistes are talented but they have not been able to bring out the creativity and uniqueness in them. They are scared that if the market will accept them or not, and a s result of that they are falling in line with just one particular trend of beat, which to me is not acceptable. Some artistes need to ask themselves why they are finding difficult to penetrate the audience. If you try to sound like Davido, there is no way you can meet up with him; he would rather continue to suppress you. Our artistes need to be original with their works; they need to minister through song. Yes, the Nigerian music scene deserves some credit, as we have really competed well with other climes. So, I will say that we are the boss in our own way, the number one in Africa.