To celebrate his birthday tomorrow, J Martins would be releasing a new song as “a gift to his fans”. Martins who boasts a series of international tours and numerous awards speaks with Azuka Ogujiuba about his career and insatiable craving for wrist watches
Your new single is titled kpomo; tell us a bit about it.
It refers to the popular cow hide used as delicacy in most dishes and it’s one of my favourite in our local dishes. Also, I like using catchy phrases in my songs and kpomo is just one of such.
What sort of impact has the music industry made in your life?
It has made a huge impact in my life positively. It has taught me as a musician to be playful and young at heart so as to be able to make ever green music that will appeal to all age groups. As a singer it has made me to understand music more and as a composer, it has made me to understand a lot of talents that I have worked with and know what work in this part of the world musically.
Your birthday is tomorrow, how do you intend to spend it?
Actually, I am not one that keep tabs on birthdays. In the past years, I always just reflect back on life’s struggles and give thanks to God for adding a new year to my life. But tomorrow looks like there is going to be a little twist as I have got a birthday gift for my fans which is my new single, Kpomo, and I will also be doing a lot of radio interviews, reply tweets and so on. I think my birthday this year will be all about my fans because without them, there will be no J. Martins.
What are the three newest things you have learnt about marriage since you got married?
I have learnt that forgiveness is one of the keys to a successful marriage. I have also learnt and practice more on the principle: “talk less, listen more”. And I have learnt that it’s all about team work. I certainly cannot do it alone. In marriage, with the help of one’s companion, the best always comes out.
How did you meet your wife; was it love at first sight?
(Laughs) Actually we met and became friends and it remained that way for a very long time before we eventually started dating. So, for me, my wife is not just a wife, she’s my best friend.
A lot of artistes love fast cars; are you one?
Everybody loves fast cars but l’m not such a car freak. Provided it takes me to my destination, I’m good.
How true is the notion that artistes live above their means, that they are flashy out there but often agonise in secret because their bank accounts are hardly ever healthy?
It happens most times but it is not peculiar to artistes. You have bankers, lawyers, policemen, engineers, and people from various occupational backgrounds who live above their means. And this doesn’t just happen here; internationally it happens too. We have had quite a number of musicians who topped the charts in terms of money that have gone bankrupt after their music failed because they were all living borrowed lives.
Who are your musical influences?
I have four people that influenced me musically: Osita Osadebe, Nico Mbarga, 2face Idibia and Psquare.
How would you earn a living if you give up music?
A lot of people are in music today for the fun of it and fame alone. Now you cannot be a successful musician and not be famous, but I am glad that with all of these, I have been able to understand music and entertainment and music as business. So, definitely, I will go into
business and because of my interest in politics, I will also be a key player.
What book are you currently reading?
Because of the nature of what I do, I hardly find time to read books. But once I find a slight chance I grab any positive spirit-lifting book. Currently, I’m reading Authentic Manhood by Dr. David Ogbueli.
If suddenly you are announced as the new president of the country what is the first law you will implement and why?
I can hardly think on this one. I will immediately make provision for the basic necessities of life like light, clean water, food etc so everyone, rich and poor, can benefit.
What is your favourite place in the world?
It has to be my studio. No matter where I am in the world or any studio I find myself abroad, it’s not compared to the feeling and comfort I feel when I’m in my indoor studio. I can spend hours there and forget about eating.
What is the most expensive piece you ever splurged on?
It has to be my wrist watches. I believe it tells more of a man than even the car he drives.
What is your fashion weakness?
I think it’s shoes; I have so many shoes some of which I haven’t even worn. I
just enjoy buying good shoes.
Describe your fashion sense in three words?
I am not a fashionable person. I just want to look good. My fashion sense is that of a well tailored man who likes comfort, looking well always.
What is the greatest sacrifice you have ever made in your life?
When I spent my last dime to assist someone else.
What is the greatest lesson you have learnt in life?
I have learnt to always learn from my own mistake and never repeat a
Which celebrity in the world has a near perfect life you like?
I really cannot picture anyone. Honestly, I don’t look at another man’s life. And I don’t think any man’s life is perfect. Not even mine.
Which celebrity’s dress sense do you admire most and why?
I admire quite a few like Peter Okoye of Psquare, Efemena Tommy of Excite on TV, the designer Mai Atafo and Taryor Gabriels.
Which celebrity in the world would love to scroll through his or her phone?
(Laughs)None, I mind my business a lot. I think that is invading one’s privacy.
Who in the world would love to dine with?
Bill gates and Steve Jobs – if he were alive. These men are self-driven men, who achieved their dreams against the odds and today they have become role models and icons to even greater people in the world.
What where your childhood experiences?
I had countless childhood experiences and it would fill your entire pages if listed all. But truthfully, I wasn’t that child who was living the perfect life of a silver spoon child. Yet, I’m glad I
was brought up the way I was.
Who is J Martins?
He is an African award winning musician who is calm, nice,
friendly, very liberal with the fear of the almighty God in him. He has a diploma in mass communication from IMT, Enugu, and instead of going for his one year programme, he went back to school and attained a degree in business administration from Enugu State University of Science and Technology. I have a very loving and supportive family, although my father wasn’t initially comfortable with me doing music at the beginning; but we are cool now.
How old are you?
I am in my early 30s.
So why did you decide to release a new song as a birthday gift to your fans?
It’s my seventh year as a performing artiste, though I have been around for
13 years as a producer. Seven is a perfect number, so I wanted to use the opportunity to give something to all my fans who have supported me from the day I decided to do music. No amount of material gift would have gone round sufficiently. So, I thought what better way than to release a new song and dedicate it to my fans worldwide.
What is the most stupid thing you ever did for love?
I’d rather not share that. Let it remain stupid to me.
Which Nigerian artistes have impacted your career?
The likes of P-square, 2face, Ill Bliss, Waje, M.I, Dbanj and more.
How did your musical career begin?
My love for music actually sprung up from my mom being a choir mistress, and being in the choir just made it easy for me. So from there on, I learnt a lot about music, understood the rudiments and started producing before I decided to record my first song. Since then on, it has been no looking back.