Are you an up-and-coming artist hungry for success? Are you dreaming
of the stars? Tuface Idibia, who rose from humble beginnings in Jos,
Plateau State, and is now arguably one of Nigeria’s most successful
contemporary acts, has shared his success tips.
Tuface, a member of the defunct Plantashun Boiz, who alongside groups
like The Remedies, kick-started the Afro hip hop revolution of the late
1990s that blossomed into the Nigerian contemporary sound, has
identified humility and belief in oneself as key factors to being a
Hear him: “The number one factor to success is that you have to be ready
mentally, physically, spiritually and every other ‘ally’. You have to
be ready to face challenges.”
“Number two is respect,” he continued, waving his hands expansively.
“You must respect people because people are the backbones of your
success and failure. Respect your fans and the people that contributed
in one way or the other to your career, because there is no artiste that
can come out and say he or she is an island.”
Not done, Tuface said: “You must have some level of humility as well.
It’s not necessary that you greet everybody you see on the road; but you
have to know that since you have put yourself out there, you must be
humble. And finally, you need to have talent; talent is key because it
is the foundation on which you will build your career as a musician.”
Once upon a dream…
As early as he can recollect, Tuface says his dream has always been to
sing, and while growing up, he listened to the likes of Bob Marley and
Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. However, in 1997, after he relocated to Lagos with
Blackface and they founded the Plantashun Boiz, he made up his mind to
make a career out of singing.
Recalling how he has handled success over the years, Tuface said: “You
know, there is this thing about life. If you have been planning and
aiming for something, you wouldn’t be so surprised when you eventually
get to that place. Like when I started music as a career, there was an
intention to go all the way but the speed, magnitude and stardom that
came with success was overwhelming at one point.
“And that was because when we were planning this, we never knew it will
get this big, so we just had to re-adjust to the new level on ground.
So, for me, I will say that I worked towards it. So, when it started
happening, I wasn’t so surprised.”
Indeed, Tuface has sold millions of records, won numerous awards and is
indeed a music icon not just in Nigeria but also across the continent.
Speaking about his happiest moments, he explained: “There are so many
first moments I could describe as my happiest. For me, it has been a
string of firsts, and I am glad that I am a pioneer. Officially, I was
the first artiste to be endorsed by a very big company and that was a
very happy moment for me. I was the first to be declared by a big record
label as the first artiste to sell above a million copies. I was the
first to be on the popular Billboard charts.
“I was also the first Nigerian artiste to have his music played on MTV
Base Africa. In fact, the list is endless; and my kids are huge sources
of inspiration for me, even though, when they were coming and I was
rejoicing that I was going to be a dad, some people were complaining;
thanks to their mums and my wife.”
Is he still missing the Plantashun Boiz 12 years after the group broke
up? “You know that once in a while you feel that way and nostalgia just
overwhelms you and you are like ‘wow!’ It was really fun those days
hanging out with Faze and Blackface, singing together, cracking jokes
and living together in the hotel, and all the funny things we did.”
Any plan for a reunion anytime soon? “We have some plans to still do
stuff, but right now, we haven’t fixed a particular date or anything
concrete,” he confesses.
Just like he has had his happy moments, the African Queen singer has also had his low moments.
“My saddest moment was when they were writing things about me some years
ago while I was celebrating the kids coming. Some people were using it
against me, and saying some hurtful things to put me down. Another sad
moment was when I lost my dad. All of a sudden I realised that this man
who used to carry us on his shoulders and take us out for shopping and
all that was going to die. Although, I tried all I could but I couldn’t
help him, and he died. I cried like a baby,” the musician lamented.
Are any of his kids taking after him? “Yeah… a couple of them are already showing some signs, but I am still monitoring them.”
When Tuface looks back, is there anything he wishes he could have done
differently? “I am not somebody that likes to regret. I feel that
whatever that happens has happened. The only thing I think of is how to
blend and turn things positively. I don’t just sit down; fold my hands
and start regretting. Instead, I re-adjust and move on.”
Despite his achievements, Tuface says he is not yet fulfilled: “I am
somewhere now but not exactly the place and position I want to be. I
still want to go far. I am still hungry to achieve other things as a
business man and not just a musician.”