Terry Alexander Ejeh, popularly known as Terry Apala, is a musician who started gaining attention in 2016. Apala has been doing music for 20 years, starting out in the church as a drummer, to the streets and the entertainment industry in Nigeria. He is loved and appreciated by his fans for modernising the almost extinct Yoruba genre; ‘Apala Music’, which he calls ‘Apala Hip Hop’. He talks to Tosin Clegg about this music and his career
I have been doing music since I was nine years old
I started in the church choir and I used to go for shows, talent hunts, school competitions and I listened to music a lot which helped me to improve my skills in singing. So, from there I started composing my own songs. That was how it started and I really thank God that I am in the industry today, making waves with my sound.
I brought a new sound to the music industry
Well, I started as an RnB singer, but later I sat down and took a look at the music industry and it was as if all the artistes were doing the same thing.
Then I started to mimic Apala musicians such as Haruna Ishola, Ligali Mukaiba, Ayinla Omowura and some other African artistes to change my sound. So, from there I started fusing the hip-pop sound together with the Apala sound. Gradually, I began to train myself with it before I gave it my own name ‘Apala Hip Pop’. That was how it happened.
My song, Champagne Shower gave me my big break
Though I had some songs Champagne Shower brought me to the limelight as I wanted and that has really changed my life from nothing to something. So now at least, I can be proud of something that I have achieved.
How I came about my style of music
Well, the kind of songs I listened to are more of African songs, most especially Apala music but the song that gave me the encouragement to go into it fully was Soyoyo album by Musiliu Ishola in 2007 and from that year till now I remain an Apala Hip Pop singer.
I have actually worked with several artistes
My career has indeed been blessed and has brought me to work with people of different music genres such as Falz, Niniola, Dj Jimmy Jatt, Flavour, Korede Bello, Cdq, Orezi, Phyno, Olamide, Burna Boy, Jesse Jagz, MI, Omawumi and many more that I can’t even remember and it was a privilege, and a great one at that, working with these artistes I just mentioned because these are some of the people that helped me to where I am today.
I haven’t gotten to my peak
Because in life, anything you wanna become or try to achieve has to be done through a gradual process. So, I’ll say I’m getting there by the special grace of God.
My musical influences are the kinds of music I listen to
I’m just addicted to any music that promotes more of African sounds. I listen to Haruna Ishola, Musiliu Ishola, Ayinla Omowura, Angelique Kidjo and I also appreciate what some of my colleagues are doing, like Burna Boy, Black Magic, Brymo. I listen to these people to improve my sound.
I have a few ongoing projects up my sleeves
There is so much at the moment I’m working on; such as my international tour, international collaborations, more songs to drop and I’m also trying to spread my sound all over the world. I just believe that with time Apala Hip Pop would be heard all over the world and enjoyed by many people.
I have received few awards and I have also been nominated for several categories
In 2016 when I came into the industry, I got my first nomination for ‘The Most Promising Act to Watch AT NEA Award, and that same year I was nominated for the ‘Rookie of the Year’ at HEADIES Award 2017. I received my first award for the ‘Best Cover of the Year’ (International), coupled with a special recognition award as Best Indigenous Act. Nigerian Hype Awards, Next Rated in 2018 came after and several school’s awards also.
My music has kept me relevant
And my fans also, for being so strong with me on this journey. I’ll simply say it’s my good music that is helping my craft. I pledge my loyalty to the industry and to all my fans all over the world because these are the people that are important to my hustle.
My management and I have a bond
And it is more like a covenant. We are one family and they are really trying all their best to take me to the top; you know it’s good when you are working with people that understand your craft and people that see you as the