Today is the birthday of popular ‘90s dancehall/reggae singer, Blackky, and LIB sat down with him to discuss a number of things ranging from why he isn’t married at almost fifty, if he has kids, his opinion on the music industry as it is today, his plans etc.
He also weighed in on the Tuface/Blackface feud. Blackky whose birth name is Nya Edward Inyang came into the limelight in 1990. Soon after, he released his debut album, ‘“About Tyme’, one with songs like ‘Rosie’ that stood the test of time and remain green till date.
He went on to release six more albums. He was in his early twenties at the time his first album hit our airwaves and now, 26 years later, Blackky opened up for the first time in a long while about his personal life.
He disclosed exclusively to LIB that he is not married, has never been and doesn’t have anyone he’s serious with. There are also no little ones who sprang forth from him and he gave reasons for his situation.
“As at press time, there’s no Mrs. I am of the view that a lot of marriages are crashing these days and it’s obvious, love is almost dead in this side of town. Everybody is getting married for a motive. If really it’s not for feelings that you married the person then why do you bother? It’s just going to end up in divorce.
“The reason why I’m not yet married is because I strongly believe in love, in true friendship and in companionship which is devoid of motives, betrayals and all that and until one finds that level of comfort, one has to keep climbing that mountain top.”
When asked how he will know when he finds that someone he replied,
“Your heart will speak to you and you’ll be granted the spirit to discern what really is real from what is unreal.”
“Let me also make it very clear and categorical, I have no children.”
The real age of Blackky has been speculated on by his fans and most are certain he is 50-years-old today, but Blackky debunked that, yet hesitated to give the exact figure. He, however, gave clues and asked those interested to do the math.
“I always want to keep them guessing, but I’m sure my fans will know. My first album will be 26 years this year, I started singing in my early 20s so do the math. I’m in my forties though.”
A number of present day entertainers are of the opinion that the Nigerian music industry has evolved positively, but the music veteran strongly disagreed, saying that we do not have a music industry in Nigeria at the moment.
“We have a lot of problems with the music industry. I wouldn’t even call what we have a music industry, I’ll call it a music scene. We have not grown to the level of a music industry. Can you imagine a whole Nigeria, we don’t even have one single recording company. When I started we had three recording companies, but now what we have are just labels. We don’t really have a music industry because there is no structure. What we have is just the content. We have artists that are hustling, trying their best to put out good music, but there’s no structure, no marketing, no distribution, there’s no record company that can invest in this music and take it global.
“Now the artist has to hustle by himself and try to push the music. Music sales is a mess right now, artists have to take their music and pay for them to bootleg and pirate it. People are downloading for free songs artists worked hard to put out. How do we call that an industry?”
He disclosed that as a veteran he is making effort to help revive the Nigerian music industry and he is doing so by tackling it from the root, which means engaging with the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN.
“I try to follow up on what our Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN, is trying to do because if anything is to change, it has to change as a collective effort.
“There’s a lot of squabbles in PMAN right now but we are hoping that with the new leadership, we’ll be able to untangle a lot of this underdevelopment that is taking place in the music scene. My duty is to follow up on what PMAN is doing and try my best to participate as much as I can so that we can all put heads together and chart a way forward.”
Another aspect of the music industry Blackky would like to change is in the area of the artists and the quality of music they put out. He believes artists should be consistent by sticking to a particular genre of music they are known for rather than experimenting with all.
“What I’ve noticed with a lot of sounds these days is that everybody is following one lane. Everybody is playing the same beats. When we started we had music producers, now they have beat makers who just make the beats and that’s it. Most of the music these days do not have soul.
“That’s one thing I’ll love to change, for artists not to be afraid to stay on one particular genre of music. Ask artists today what genre of music they play, they’ll tell you I play a little bit of funk, a little bit of pop, a little bit of dancehall… they’ll mix every single thing. When you have event ceremonies coming up even the event organisers don’t even know who is under what category. The average artist wants to join all genres just to play it safe.
“I’ll like to encourage artists to build on one genre and then have the confidence to push that brand of music forward. When you get involved in all genres you lose your identity over time.” He advised.
So far, it’s been ten years since his fans have had the pleasure of his music and Blackky told LIB that he hasn’t stopped performing in all that while. He also promised that he has returned to the studio and he’s working on an album which will be released soon.
He said: “Still music, still live performances… those are what I’m up to. I did the Ajebutter live concert, I performed in the Lolo concert two years back. I was at the Love like a movie concert last year and at the Classic FM concert, so I’ve just been performing.”
The fight between musicians Tuface and Blackface was renewed just a day ago and Blackky gave his opinion on that, leaning slightly in favour of Tuface.
“It’s important that if you are an artist that really represents your art and you are conscious of the music that you are posting, it’s important always to feel the pulse of the masses and be able to always go out there and speak on the masses’ behalf. If you feel the government is shortchanging the citizens and downpressing the citizenry, you as an artist, it is your job to be able to use your voice to amplify the people’s frustration.
He added, “So any artist who takes that step without any financial motivation, but solely for the humanity of the country in which that artist dwells, he should be encouraged.”