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I Am Through With Wasteful Spending – JJC

With his band, JJC and the 419 squad, he won the KORA awards for Best Artistes from West Africa in 2004. Also, his hit song African Skank was a club favourite at one time. Today, Abdul Rasheed Bello, who was in the United Kingdom, is back home. In this interview with The Punch, he speaks about his career.

JJC
JJC

Tell us about yourself

I was born and bred in Kano. I am the last of 13 children. My father is from Kwara State while my mother is from Delta State. I moved to the United Kingdom when I was nine years old.

What inspired the name, JJC?

My nickname JJC actually has its origin in the United Kingdom. At the time, I used to talk with an African accent and people called me ‘Johnny Just Come,’ because of my accent.

How did you come into music?

My elder brother introduced me to music at a very early age. When I was 18 years old, I put together a group called Big Brothers. We got signed on by Sony Music. We were a multi-platinum selling group with top 10 singles in the United Kingdom. After that, I formed JJC and the Crazy Girls, which was another group I got signed on in the United Kingdom.

When I decided to explore my home environment in Nigeria, I set up JJC and 419 Squad, whose members were all Nigerians. The group consisted of D’banj, Don Jazzy, Queen and Smokey. From that group, I ran a label called Backbone. After that, I decided to concentrate on myself. I am planning to drop an album under the JJC brand; it is going to be the first official album I will be dropping in Nigeria since I moved back from the United Kingdom two years ago.

What informed your relocation from the United Kingdom to Nigeria?

My decision stemmed from the knowledge that there is nowhere like home. One can be celebrated anywhere in the world but nothing can be compared to being celebrated in one’s home land. My objective of relocating is to bring all the knowledge and professionalism that I have gained in the United Kingdom back home in order to add value to my people.

A lot of other musicians have occupied a large share of the market while you were in the UK. How do you hope to fit into the system?

The way the industry is, there are enough opportunities for everybody to grow. I have been in the industry for 15 years and within that period of time; fans already know that music is my business. My music, African Skank, had a tremendous following in Nigeria when it was released.

What is your music genre?

My genre of music fuses African music with contemporary sounds. Now I am doing afro electro beats, a combination of African and up tempo contemporary beats. I am always discovering new sounds and trying to determine the kind of sound that will work for the African market.

What image are you trying to cut for yourself?

I am called the International African. I draw my influence from the places I have lived in abroad. But whatever I do, I try to portray that African part of me.

How are you coping in the Nigerian entertainment market compared to the UK?

I have learnt a lot from the UK market. The market has a far-reaching influence. There are lots of structures on ground to help artistes and the music business thrive. But even in the UK market, there are still issues with piracy, the same way we have them in Nigeria. That is one of the reasons I came down. We had discussed the prospect of bringing all the stakeholders together to discuss ways of tackling the numerous problems besetting the industry.

A lot of Nigerian artistes are given to flamboyant and extravagant living, are you different?

Everybody has a different lifestyle. I have had my own season. I made a lot of money and spent it the way my mind told me to. But I am a more matured man now. I have grown wiser and I now think more in terms of investing against rainy days. It is normal in the arts; people go through a life cycle of making money and spending it. It is important for artistes to engage the services of a business manager who can advise them on how to handle the money coming to them. The amount of money one makes now may reduce or increase as each year passes.

How do you deal with attention from female fans?

Fans are always going to be there. I appreciate my female fans. They are the ones who would drag their boyfriends or husbands to watch JJC perform. They are the most vocal and appreciative of my music. I appreciate their support for me and my music.

What influences your style of dressing?

I love to create a look that is a mixture of international and African style. I incorporate the African look into any style I choose to create. I may have a blazer with African patterns in it. I may dress like an African prince but with a hood on my shirt. My stylist is urban African .

What are the kinds of clothes you will never wear?

I don’t think there is anything out of the realm that I will not be caught with. But I like to create my style, differently from what other people are doing. I don’t think anyone has caught me in agbada before, but if I have to make one, I would want it to fit into my overall image. I would also not want it to be too elaborate. For me, comfort is the key. If I am not comfortable in the outfit, I can’t wear it.






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