The controversy between Blackface and Tu-face , two Nigerian artistes are far from over as Blackface claims that he is the rightful owner of the original concept of ‘African Queen’, the song that brought Tu-face to limelight. Because of this, he says Tu-face must pay him 50% royalty from the song. ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM spoke with him recently. Excerpts…
What is your relationship with Tuface?
We are ex members of Plantashun Boiz.
When was the last time you and Tuface communicated?
Omo the communication just dey o. Everybody is on his own but I communicate with Faze often.
Does that mean you are closer to Faze than Tuface?
Yes, because I like a kind of somebody that I can discuss music with. I and Faze often talk about music, rhythm and career development. Faze is more of a person I can discuss that kind of thing with unlike Tuface.
The song, ‘African Queen’ has generated a lot of controversy. Who is the rightful owner of the song?
I know the song has generated a whole lot of revenue. Right now, I and Tuface have joint ownership of that song. But from the inception it was not like that. My publisher, BMI had to find a way to work that out. All the funds the song has been generating, I’m supposed to have 50 per cent of it, which I’m not getting and I don’t just know what is happening. I’m still trying to find out what is happening. There is even a situation whereby somebody in Jamaica sang African Queen and some other persons like that of which I was not aware.
Nobody told me that he was going to sing my song. So, there are some issues that I and Tuface need to sit down and iron out, but Tuface is difficult to get on the table.
So I have decided to do it on my own. Surely, with time, we’ll get to the root of the matter because we both have 50 per cent rights to the song.
That means Tuface has been cheating you?
Yes, because I was not being paid and you know the way it is in Nigeria, the ideology is that because one is not on one particular record label, they won’t put his name to a song he wrote just because they don’t want to promote the person.
But the fact is that your intellectual property remains your own; nobody can take that away from you.
But you sang your own version of the song
Yes, I have a reggae version of ‘African Queen’, which I’m still going to record. I did that because there was a time some people were trying to claim ownership of the song.
Did you ask him to include the song in his album?
Yes, we wrote it together and I gave him permission to do so because, when he was recording his album we were still living in the same apartment. I found out that the album was not making any sense, so I told him that the only thing that will allow the album to make sense is to include the ‘African Queen’ which we both wrote. But I didn’t say he should take away my own right. That is the rider. For the fact that I wrote a song for you to perform does not mean you should claim it and deprive me of my own right.
Who came up with the idea of the song?
It was actually one Idoma man called Willy Walkman. He told us to do a song for his soap opera and the title of the soap opera was ‘African Queen’ that we should write a theme song for the soap. We started writing in earnest. Then one day, he just came saying we were not serious about it and that he would not be our manager again, unknown to him that we were already doing what he asked us to do. That was how he threw us out. So ‘African Queen’ was Willy’s idea.
‘Ota Mi Leyin Mi’ is one of those songs. All of a sudden, I discovered that people started avoiding me. You all heard about the fight I had with my former landlord. But I think everything happened for good, because I’ve learnt a lot from it. It was a bad experience that I will not forget in a hurry. I was in a hostile environment in the midst of Yoruba people.
I was just caught up with so many ideologies. So, ‘Otami Leyin Mi’ is for those who claimed they are friends and they are not really friends.
Those kinds of friends should get of my back. Some people are actually out there and they claim to be your friends while they are not. They need to leave you alone so you can move on with your life.