They are ever busy, taking their music around the continent where they are arguably the most popular act from Nigeria. Peter Okoye, one-half of the energetic choreographers and twin singers, P-Square, spoke to VICTOR AKANDE, Entertainment Editor, recently.
HOW do you feel that your latest single, Alingo, has been banned?
I heard of the ban, but, honestly, reasons for the ban were not specified. But what we have noticed and they haven’t is that when you ban a song you only make it popular. Banning a song on Nigerian channels doesn’t mean much because the major international channels still play the videos.
What really was the reason behind the video?
For a few years now P-square haven’t made a dance video and our fans have been anticipating, so we just decided to give them that. Alingo was a freestyle that we did even before the Invasion album; we never took it serious until it leaked, and we got good responses. Thus, we decided to shoot a video for it.
Did you have to take the recording abroad again like most of your works?
Surprisingly, no! The scenes were created and shot in an abandoned warehouse close to our home in Nigeria. It took a lot of time and energy though, because it has been five years since we did a dance video, the last which was Roll It.
How far have you gone with foreign collaborations, considering that it’s the fastest way to hit the European and American markets?
Let’s look at it this way. We have known Akon for over six years, but we didn’t have talks for collaboration, till he came to our concert in London and witnessed the reception. He was trying to open Kon Life in Africa and was looking for people to help him run it, so we teamed up in what we call a joint venture. We are establishing an office in Nigeria called Kon Life, because we are here representing him while he is out in the states representing us. So, all I can say is that the process is on. Just watch out.
Which country would you say is your biggest market in Africa?
East Africa is the biggest encouragement, a certain place to run to at any time. Southern Africa is a potential market; that is, it is still in the works because we have been working there for over a year. But a profitable market is based on an entertainer’s personal effort, because an area can’t remain hot for us every time, so we are exploring new grounds.
You are always on the road, how much time do you have for yourselves?
We try as much as possible, but we don’t get as much time as we would want. But we took the whole of January this year to rest, because last year was a very busy year for us. However, we are back on the road again. It is the nature of the business, and we are hoping for a 2013 that will be better than last year, because this year we are including the tour of United States in our schedule.
What is this rumour about you guys acquiring a private jet; can you confirm it?
It’s not true my brother. We had a deal with a private jet company, which provides that whenever we are going to a specific place, we would be provided a jet. That way, they always gave us their private jets to travel with. This makes our trips easier. On the other hand, we are close to the presidents of most African countries, so when they hear that we are coming to their country, they usually send their private jets to pick us wherever we are. But that is not to say we can’t acquire our own jet. As a matter of fact, we are planning to get ours.
How have you been able to live above the scourge of piracy, which most artistes say is the reason they have not been able to make headway?
Piracy affects all of us, but still P-square as a brand has managed to strive and be successful. The truth is that we know how to make money even from the pirates. Some of the marketers are the pirates that we are talking about, as a result, fighting piracy starts with them. We know our worth, so before a marketer buys our album, we make him provide the cost of production and profit margin. Our last album took the joint effort of three different marketers to buy.
Despite being blood brothers, are you (P-Square) likely to go your separate ways someday?
Peter and Paul are not perfect; we quarrel like normal siblings do, but we don’t let it affect our business. Even with Jude our brother, in business, he is our manager and he respects us as the artistes he manages, but when it comes to family matters, he is our elder brother and we give him that respect. Only our late mum had the power to make us split and she wouldn’t have done that. So, if there is to be a split, it will not be as a result of quarrel, but on mutual ground. Group splits are not out of place, but our blood ties keep us strong and our background won’t even allow us split. We understand each other very well.
Talking about your background, how was growing up with Paul like?
(Smiles)I was very stubborn as a child, but Paul ended up paying for my atrocities, as people often mistook him for me. We grew up doing things together and we still do. We have our mum to thank for this. I try to like what he likes and he does same, but in a situation whereby he feels differently, I just let go. We have been united from birth and we still are.
How has life been without your mother?
It’s been hectic. We haven’t sat down to do an album because she was usually there with us in the studio. As a pastor that she was, she used to pray on everything we do and even pray on our album a week before it was released. We don’t know how we will do it this time, but we hope for the best.
After doing the same thing over a long period, do you ever feel like exploring other avenues?
For P-square, music has become a part of us, but since we understand the pattern and are used to it we have started looking into other means of making money. But we also understand that making so much money and storing it is not wise, we have decided to go into various businesses; one of which is real estate business. This, we have been doing for a long time. We do businesses that we can get people to run for us without fear. We are also about to enter into oil and gas business.
They say you guys are arrogant…
Paul and I have two different personalities, so you cannot use the attitude of one to judge the group. I don’t expect all news about me to be positive. Paul, for example, waits for major events before being in the news, but I am more controversial. Our intimidating nature makes us look arrogant, but it’s really not like that.
Your brother, Jude Okoye (Engees), was quoted as saying he won’t produce any other artiste but P-Square
There was an interview where he was asked that question and I think he said it as a joke. Apart from that, Jude has a lot of businesses he’s into, so signing artistes is not really a priority for him. He keeps his interests on P-Square because outsiders might not understand the way he does his things, so he doesn’t want distractions.
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