Although budding afro-pop artiste Abiodun Akinpelu took his career professional in 2011, he says that music is all he has ever done, even as a kid. Fresh with a single titled Alagbon, the graduate of Biochemistry from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology speaks with OVWE MEDEME on his life as an artiste, plans for the industry and sundry issues.
As one who started music early, why didn’t you study it as a course?
While growing up, music was just a hobby to me. It was something I did effortlessly. So, I did not really feel it was necessary for me to attend a music school because I was already doing well in it. I was a science student in school.
And you know, the normal thing is that if you tell your friends that you want to study music, they would ignore you thinking you are not serious with life. I would have you know that I actually wanted to study medicine, but ended up with Biochemistry. I decided that if I go for medicine, the music in me might die
How did your parents react when you took music professional?
It was just natural that they would kick against it. You know the typical Nigerian parents are sceptical about some courses, particularly music and theatre arts which has to do with acting.
Then, my parents objected to my choice of career. They asked me why I was going into music even though I was doing well as a biochemist. My parents really didn’t believe I would go into music; they thought it was a child’s play because they saw me playing around music and were not bothered. But after my university education, I told my parents that music is where my passion lies.
Do you have their support now?
My parents are very supportive of my career and they listen to my music. In fact, they are the first persons to listen to my music anytime I drop a single and even before recording. My parents are supportive.
Do you play any musical instruments?
I play the voice only (laughs). But actually right now, I am learning how to play the keyboard. I don’t intend to be a producer, but I want to be able to produce my own sound. So, I am learning.
You released Gbaduwe when you were in school after which you took a break…
The break in music was necessary because you cannot chase two birds at once and catch them all. You definitely will lose them all. I felt that music is in-born, so I said music was not going to leave me. I also had to go for my one year compulsory service. During my NYSC, I was recording and writing music almost on a daily basis, but I didn’t drop any single. I needed that pause in order to go back to the drawing board and then come out with something massive which reflects in my latest single, Alagbon.
Does Alagbon refer to the popular police station?
Well, at first glance, one is tempted to conclude by the title of the music that it is a reference to the popular Alagbon Police Station, but Alagbon is an area in Lagos. You have to listen to the song to get the gist. That is what I always urge my fans to do.
How well do you think the title will sell the song?
I’m very sure there is no other song titled Alagbon out there. So, the uniqueness of the song makes it a catch because it is not a regular title. Again the lyrics and rhythm of the song make it unique.
With your music, what message do you hope to pass to Nigerians?
One thing everybody is talking about in Nigeria toady is the current economic hardship. Things are really difficult now. My music is meant to make people feel good. I call my songs good jolly songs that make people forget about their sorrows and problems in order to be happy. In my music, I preach happiness, peace, love and togetherness.
Are you working on an album?
Not at the moment. Right now, I’m pushing Alagbon. I’m also just concentrating on releasing singles. Very soon, the video for Alagbon will be released.
Are you signed on to a record label?
Not at the moment.
How would you describe yourself?
Well, I‘m a cool person. I’m also a go-getter; that is one thing I know about myself. If you ask anybody that knows me, they will tell you I am a go-getter. I don’t just do things but I break out of the norm. I go the extra mile to do something different from the way other people do theirs and come out the big way. I’m God-fearing and I always want to be happy.
What genre of music do you play?
I play afro-pop music.
What Nigerian artiste would you like to collaborate with?
If there is one Nigerian artiste I would like to do a collabo with, he or she has to be very good because you know our sound right now is going global and everybody in the music industry is really putting in their best. But If I must choose one, I would go for Davido.
What do you see in him?
I like his style of music. One thing I like about Davido is that he is very determined; he is my kind of person. He is a go-getter and he’s very hard working, like myself. I feel we’ll do good music together and that would be a good blend.
What would you say sets you apart from others.
Well, let me start by saying I am one unique kind of person. I just want to break out. My kind of music is totally different. I do afro-pop music, but if you listen to my sound you will hear the uniqueness in it. The unique sound that Teebee gives stands him out from any other artiste.
Are you married?
No, I’m not married. I’m single.
And ready to mingle?
(Laughs) Well, something like that.
What does Teebee stand for?
Teebee is a nickname given to me by my friends while growing up as a child. You know then we did give each other peculiar names. So that is how the name Teebee came to be.
If you are given an opportunity to choose a record label in Nigeria, which would you go for?
We have very many fantastic labels in the country and they all support good music because they are good brands. It would be difficult for me to choose now because they are all good. I’ll let the spirit lead me.
As a full time artiste, do you intend dropping your course of study?
I don’t think so. What I believe is that my passion is much more important than the course I studied in the university. Yes, education is key, and it is good to acquire good education in order to get the platform, knowledge, exposure and edge. But my passion for music is so immense that I can’t even drop it. Even when I was in the university studying Biochemistry, I would go for shows, events and studios. So, basically, music is where my mind is right now. Music didn’t stop me from doing well in school in terms of academic performance.
Do you still intend to practice Biochemistry?
I don’t think I ever will.