Adabamu Abel, popularly known as “Adaz” had to leave the music scene for about 3 years due to contractual issues he had with his then record label, an action that he regrets. However, in a bid to make his way back, Adaz sprang into action, releasing some singles and videos to go with, which made it look like he never left. The “Zaro kome” crooner, who hails from Isoko North, in Delta state, in this interview with our correspondent, FRANCIS OGBONNA, talks about what transpired with between him and his record label, his endeavours during this period, his return and plans for the future. Excerpts…
You were off the music scene for a while what happened?
It was because of the issue I had with my record label, but I am not going to talk about it, because we have resolved it amicably. I just decided to go back to my drawing board, to see how I can re-arrange, re-enforce and come back into the industry in full force and be able to do it right. I took time within that period to really do a lot of brainstorming and strategizing. I didn’t want to do music the way I did music before. Within that period I tried to visualize where I was going, design definite plans to help me get there, I really told myself some home-truth then, I wanted to come back and rule the music scene and that I am going to do.
What was the nature of the quarrel you had with your label, did it have anything to do with your contract with them?
It was just a little is understanding bordering on failure to honour terms of contract from the label side, but I am not going to go into details. I believe in putting the past behind me and moving on…
How long did this period of sabbatical last?
A little over 3 years! I actually decided to wait until the contract with them expired, so that I can move on.
So what was Adaz doing within that period of waiting beyond strategizing and brainstorming like you said earlier?
I had some things going on for me. I was doing business with some of my friends within and across border.
What were the signs you saw that made you decide now was the right time for you to come back? That is apart from waiting for the contract to run out?
Everything within and outside of me pointed to this fact. I just knew that the time was right; you know when you have the premonition. You know I didn’t just wait, I also did a lot of things to develop myself career wise. I refused to do music professionally during that period, I didn’t do any show, no recording I just wanted to take time and really prepare. I just wanted to build capacity so that I can carry the weight of the level of music I would be doing.
Were you not concerned about how your fans would take this absence?
I know that my fans might have been waiting for too long, but I believe by the time there hear what I have for them now they would know that it was worth the wait. Though I am sorry for the vacuum, they will be happy to hear from me again and won’t be disappointed, like I said before; it would be worth the wait.
You came out with a new single and a video lately, “Ulena” which featured hi-life crooner Flavour, what does the word “Ulena” meaning and what language is it?
Ulena in Isoko means “the song”. I did it basically for my fans. I wanted then to know that this was the song they were waiting for and so far the reception has been incredible. The acceptance level is off the hinges. I am so glad about it. Thanks guys for you support, you’ve been amazing. The video, featuring Flavour N’abania, one of Naija’s finest hi-life singer and its You-tube as well as enjoying airplays on TV station (terrestrial and digital). It is played all over the globe men.
What is the acceptance level of the video, what has the feedback been like?
The feedback has been amazing; it was as if I never left at all. Nigerians are the best set of people on the planet. You guys rock. I am very happy about the feedbacks coming in; it has really been great so far. The fans love it and can’t seem to get enough of it.
What do we expect from Adaz in the nearest future?
I am presently working on an album. I have also just released another single titled “I dey here” and I am going to shoot the video soon. After that, I will drop another video, before I will compile the album and release it early this year. It promises to be the bomb. It will be Adaz on another level. It will be something like you have never heard before.
When exactly did you start singing professionally?
If we are talking about when I came into the industry professionally, it was in 2006. However, I have always done the life band thing. I actually lead a band for about six years. That was and still is my forte. I did more of band or if you like live performances those days…
What was the name of your band?
It was “Rock Circle”. I was the lead vocalist. I left “Rock Circle” and formed my own band the “Slam X” band which lasted for about a year before I came into the industry. It is not as if I stopped running the band; we just had to put it on hold because I needed to change a few members of the band. I wanted more experienced personnel s o as to convey a message to people that I knew what I was doing. I have really grown to another level and I wanted everything around me to reflect that. So the life band we are putting together could be a much more experienced and bigger band in terms of players and what they have to offer.
Which is your strongest point, live performances or studio situations?
More of live performances that the studio stuff! Having said that, I need you to also understand that this does not mean that I have got weaknesses when it comes to studio works. It is just a case of preference. I am a very versatile and creative artist, even when it comes to working in the studio. I can produce songs all by myself and also do a lot of co-productions. I don’t just sit in the studios and watch the producer do everything, when I am in the studio, it’s cross-pollination of ideas that takes place. That is why my productions usually come out better than the average musician.
Do you play any instruments?
I play a little bit of key board but play drums very well.
A lot of artistes would say they started singing very early, some would even say they started singing in their mother’s womb, when exactly did you start sing?
I discovered myself when I was in primary school. I used to sing while beating drums with my desk. My classmates kind of liked it and nudged me to go on. They said they were entertained by it and wanted me to do more. That was when I started paying attention to the music thing, those commendations then made me feel like I had something to offer. So I continued doing it, even though I was just a little child in primary school. Well it improved as I went and when I got into secondary school it took another shape, you know? As you mature your mentality changes and that determines a lot of thing. Well I kept getting better and better with time and here I am now.
When did you write your first song?
I wrote my first song when I was in Junior Secondary School, what we called JSS1.
What was it like?
Well for that age, I think it was nice…
What was your childhood like?
I grew up in a very strict Christian home. So a lot of restrictions were placed on me. I was not allowed to make or keep friends, especially the types I wanted to. I didn’t have the opportunity to relate with people in my environment who had the same vision with me. My father was the strictest man I ever knew. But all that didn’t stop me, because I had the hope that someday I was going to be my own man.
What were your parents’ responses when you told them you wanted to do music?
They were both totally against it, but some of my family members, some uncles and aunties supported me. The only thing they said was that I shouldn’t get into music until I was done with school. They maintained that I should at least finish my education before I delved into music.
If Adaz was not doing music, what would Adaz be doing?
Catering! I love cooking. I would have started a restaurant, but of course I would run it differently from the regular restaurants…
Do you still have plans of opening a restaurant in future?
Sure I do…
How close is this future? Very close or still far away?
Not very close.
Where do you see yourself in the nearest future?
I see myself being number one in this country when it comes to music. I am a musician not an artist. So I see myself being celebrated and being the greatest musician in Nigeria. I also see myself discovering some young talents and helping them realize their dreams.
What is your assessment of the music industry in Nigeria today? Was it better then than now?
When I came out with my song, I was like king, very few musicians had the same level of giftedness that I had, I could comfortably say there was little or no competition, but now it’s a whole lot different. For example, the level or standard of videos we had then helped put us on top, but the quality of videos out today would dwarf those videos. Obviously, now you have a lot of musicians. There are so many good songs and video to go with it. In fact I am challenged, but I know I am up to the task.
How would you describe your genre of music?
I do more of hi-life, but I put in other feels of songs. That is why I don’t say that I do any particular genre. I sometimes combine genres. I just do good music.
Do you have any regrets?
The little regrets I have is that I stayed away for so long, but I don’t totally regret it because that period of recess for me helped me strategized and rediscovered myself.
What is you final message to your fans?
I will like to tell them that I love them and thank them for keeping faith with me and believing in me. I will also like to thank them for being patient and I want to say that I was sorry for keeping them waiting and I am promising that I will make it up to them by making and giving them only good music. I am not going away again. I am back and better.