Reunion with My Twin Brother? The Way It is for Me Now, No Way!
Paul Okoye, one half of the erstwhile twin music superstars P-Square, who now goes by the stage name Rudeboy in a riveting one on one chat with Ferdinand Ekechukwu talks about his family, the P-square moment, the turning point of his music, and his new project
- When I Switched from Gospel to Secular Music, My Mother was Suspended from the Church
How are you doing and how is your family?
Okay, basically I’m good. You know I’m a family man. I have three kids; twins – a boy and a girl, and my first son a boy. Their names are Andre, and Nadia and Nathan and my lovely wife, Anita. Being a family man and being an entertainer is very tasking. It’s very difficult to manage music and marriage. Thank God for technology, you can call and video and do stuff but it’s still not enough.
How have you been able to balance marriage life with music?
Well, I try my best to balance it. But at the same time, I think it depends on who you are married to. Because at the end of the day, you find out that if you go like this you are hurting the fans, and if you go like this, you are hurting the family. If the person you are married to does not understand, trust me, there’s nothing you can do about it. You just have to understand it that this is who I am before I met you and I’m still with you. You try as much as possible not to over travel, you try as much as possible to make out time for them. Even part of your trips, you create and make it like a holiday.
So what do you enjoy most as a family man?
I think this thing of travelling and when you come back the way they rush you, they embrace you. Most times, I travel and I come back like Sunday morning. While I have not slept, I still tell everybody ‘take a shower let’s go out’. And I do that every time I travel. Sometimes, I might call from the airport and say ‘please start getting them ready, I’m coming.’ And they will like ‘no need let’s do it next week if you are free’. I will say ‘next week I’m travelling let me just do it now’.
You have twins… How do you feel being a twin with twin children?
I feel the love of blessing on them because I watched myself grow in that situation and now, my kids growing, despite that mine was two boys. But this one is a boy and a girl. So I’m trying to understand both of them. It feels good. I now know what my parents went through taking care of twins.
Some believe or rather we being Africans believe twins bring good luck to some extent. Being a father of twins, have you in anyway feelt or experience such?
I think so. I was going through some personal issues you know. But ever since my twins came, they brought this thing inside me like I think it is good luck. And trust me, since they came, everything has been more positive, just moving forward, everything just smooth; everything just outstanding. But before they came, it wasn’t. They just came… is like just saying daddy we are here for you.
Are any of your kids showing signs of music?
Yes, my daughter is showing signs of music. She sings and she sings on key. That’s one funny part. Like I’m playing keyboard now, she sings on the same key while I’m playing but the boy doesn’t.
What fond memories of your childhood do you easily remember?
I will tell you when my mum told me something. She told me she had a vision that ‘you Paul you are going to take this family out of poverty.’ She told me specifically among the children. She told me I will be a very soft person that I will always be that person that wants to bring the family together. That she has seen it. Because my mum saw it, she thought on her own what she was seeing was I will be a pastor because I was then singing in the church. So, she saw that. So it was more like gospel songs, performing in weddings. That was what she thought. But, you see, when everything started taking shape, I was like okay this was what she actually saw. That was why when I switched from gospel to secular music, my mum supported me but the church did no. In fact they suspended my mother from the church because of that move.
What project are you working on at the moment?
I have finished my album, title I don’t want to reveal. Actually I had titled the album ‘Reason with Me’, which is one of the songs I dropped. The album was ready but I keep dropping the songs one after the other. I just changed my mind. Not because I’m not ready really, but I just think dropping singles will give each song its own edge. So, what I’m doing now is album of twelve tracks. I think I have dropped four songs already. It means I can drop another two before the album. It’s better that way than just putting everything out same time. The album is next year. It might still be ‘Reason with Me’, I don’t know (smiles).
How has it been recording and performing alone now unlike what you had been used to?
I always say this. There is a big difference between what happens inside and what you see outside. What is happening inside before is still the same thing that is happening inside for me. For me, it’s the same thing that I have been doing for twenty something years; the same I’m doing now. Nothing has changed. But my opposite side is still me. That’s how it is. You know in a group, everybody cannot sing! So it’s normal. I don’t see why. If somebody goes, things will still be the same. So, like I said, it’s just the same thing that I have been doing. Listen to the songs. Has it changed? The only thing that has changed is just me performing alone.
Your new song and video (Reason with Me) has gotten critical acclaim; massive play on radio and TV, even on the streets. At the moment, it’s over 10 million views. And it appears to be your biggest feat since you went solo. How do you see that?
I’m somebody that is never in a hurry. One thing about me is patience. You can only have patience if you know what you have inside and how to come about it and how to bring them out. I was bringing out music, I knew I was in a healing process, I knew the fans too were in a healing process. So, I was bringing out music that’s why if you look very well, I don’t do give away to fans. I will explain to you when I say I don’t do give away. Maybe Christmas, I do. Anything that has to do with music, I don’t. So, what I do is I focus on the music. If it’s not good, you learn from it. You move to the next one. You see, my prayer has been doing music that people will listen to. Whether you are rich or poor, you need to understand what the song is saying. That is where I was looking at, that is why any song I’m doing, I make sure there’s a meaning behind it, there’s a message behind it. So I think that’s what happened to ‘Reason with Me’. A poor man will tell you that’s what he is going through. A rich man will tell you ‘I have passed it, it happened to me before.’ It’s a true life story exactly what happened to me, exactly my story in school. I was telling it in the beat before when I did ‘Say Your Love No Dey Lie’ . . . maybe this time I went deep with it.
The song will make your forthcoming album. Could it be taken as your major hit in the album?
I don’t think so. Because in that album, the order of the listing could be taken as number one best, followed by two and then another song on number three, that (Reason with Me) is number five. In fact I will tell you the truth. I didn’t even take the song seriously. It was my elder brother Jude that took it seriously more than me. That’s why he brought the video concept his way; whatever idea he has in his head he drops it there.
What’s your relationship with your brother Jude like at the moment?
As we grow up even as in the music till today everything that’s the way it is, still the person it is. He’s the video director, the manager, everything.
I can remember you said you have never changed your beat; you still maintain the same sound. Since your transition to a solo artiste and being Rudeboy Paul, have you in any way tried changing your beat?
Let’s put it this way. Everybody knows me… there is the highlife in me, there is the reggae side of me, there is the love side of me, and there is the funny part of me. Now, ‘Financial Woman…’, ‘Bank Alert…’ these are the funny side of me. The reggae side of me, like ‘Do Me’, ‘Busy Body’, and ‘Temptation’. So, if I have this kind of different styles, they still work for me, how do you expect me to change? It’s God’s gift. I’m sorry. So that’s it.
Opinion out there suggests there seems to be a subtle rivalry between Peter and Paul in terms of music. You pull out a single, he pulls out. Like a competition…
And if they think it’s a competition, do you think it’s a win-win thing? First of all, what people say I don’t care. Everybody knows me. I bring out song every three months. Go and check every time I have been dropping songs; every three months I bring out songs. The same way I’m doing it today is the same way I’m going to do it. I don’t know what is happening out there. What I know is that once in a while they (my fans) send me message and tag me. I say ‘oh good’ I repost it. The competition I know is that you see the way I’m doing it. In fact I’m sorry to say this but I just broke P-Square’s record. The best hit we have ever had 1 million was in five days and that’s ‘Bank Alert’. But I did three days. That same Bank Alert when we hit 10 million was four months. ‘Reason with Me’ within two months, it hits 10 million.
You recently had a concert in Angola and your picture with that of your brother was used on a flier to promote the show. Ordinarily, it shouldn’t be an issue but Peter took offence with the promoters for using the photo to promote the show…
Did you look at the page? It has 126 followers. For instance, the page was opened on the 15, concert on the 18. What do you think happened? I don’t join conversation or how things are done. Even when I got to Angola, everybody was laughing both the promoters. Even when they tried to react by releasing a statement, some of them said ‘no, there is no need for it, focus on the concert.’ This is a festival that happens every six months. Thank God, I went to the concert, it was successful, and I came back. This is not the first time this happened. The only time I even heard about this thing was when they brought the question up in the press conference.
Still talking about concert, are gigs still coming compared to when you were P-square?
At early stage it was difficult. I did not do any concert until I pulled out like three songs. And I make sure I tell the promoter that I only have five songs to perform; my three songs and the ones I did collabo. Like the song I did with Timaya, and the song I did with Phyno. And my own three songs – Fire Fire, Nkenji Keke and Somebody Baby. Then that was when I started doing concert.
Your fans out there any day would still want a P-Square reunion. Are there chances of a come back?
Maybe the day I would do song and call a bunch of people to come and dance for me. I wouldn’t lie, these are two different people. Somebody is very good in dancing; somebody is very good in singing. That was it. Maybe if that’s what you people want. But the way it is for me now, no way. I’m telling you, to God be the glory. If you want to go listen to the songs, if you want something new, go and listen to everybody’s new song. You can combine the two of them and be listening. If you think that’s what you have been hearing before, listen to the two of them. I owe nobody any explanation. The only thing I just do is wish everybody the best.
Are you an emotional person?
I used to be, but sorry I’m strong now.
What made you strong now?
When my twins came, I became strong. I used to be. Maybe because of the fear of what I built was about to be destroyed, I was trying to protect it. ‘Person wey build house no go fit destroy the house.’ So that was what kept me in that cold place people saw me. You can’t destroy the house you built, you can’t. But see this new house, the foundation is too strong musically.