Autor: Richard Constantinidi
Etichete: African Praise House, American College Nicosia, Christian Ihumezie, Dancehall, Eminik, Housa, Ibo, Lagos, Nigeria, Romania, Roxana Nemes, Yoruba, Yoy
Known for his ability to rhythmically take control of any genre of music while still maintaining his Reggae/dancehall flavor, the BEFTA UK 2010 Best International Act Nominee, NEU Europe 2013 Best Reggae /Dancehall Artist and Nominee (for Best Dancehall Song and Best Dancehall Artist of the Year at the 2013 ADMA Merits Awards, scheduled to take place on the 26th of October in Amsterdam, Netherlands) has recently released YOY, which created an online buzz with over 100,000 downloads in two weeks, and Boom-Bang, with label-mate Roxana Nemes (both working with Romanian manager Radu Groza).
ClickZoomBytes touched ground on some personal subjects in the following interview with the Nigerian Reggae/Dancehall composer and lyricist currently based in Europe (who has rocked stages alongside Reggae/Dancehall music chart busters like Mr. Vegas, Baby Cham, Beenie Man, RDX, Muhombi and many others.
RiCo (CZB): You grew up in Nigeria. How many nations are there and which one do you belong to?
Christian Ihumezie (Admiral C4C): Yes, i grew up in Nigeria… Lagos, to be precise. Lagos is fondly called the Entertainment capital of Africa. It is widely believed that growing up or living in that city, you have no reason not to become a success. Also, it was previously the capital of the Territory of Nigeria.
Nigeria is one nation which comprises 36 states and over 400 tribes… but for some reason (which I guess is political), the population is narrowly grouped under three major Tribes: Housa, Ibo and Yoruba.
My dad is originally from Imo state which is in the south-eastern part, which belongs to the Ibos. So, you can say I am an Ibo man.
RiCo (CZB): Is it true that you grew up like an orphan and how does this experience mark your music spiritually?
Admiral C4C: Yes i lost my dad, Mr. Columbus Ihumezie (who was an ex-Naval officer) in a ghastly motor accident. I was barely 10 years old and that automatically changed our lives (my siblings and I) my mum found it difficult to cope with a lot of things - mainly frustrating and intimidating decisions being forced on her by my dad's family (as I grew up to understand, 'cos I was so young and can't basically say what the issue was but these are the things I was told) so she returned to the United Kingdom where she has always felt more comfortable, I guess, or maybe a way to get away from the situation.
Her leaving left us growing without parents.
I guess that's what being an orphan means?
So I grew up with no parent, no Guardian - just the streets and music /entertainment which was one of the positive forms of everyday culture we have thee, alongside football. Hahaha… yes, the street shaped me into who I am today.
It taught me perseverance, long suffering, determination, focus, to be smart and attentive ...or get a bullet!
Spiritually, when you have to live each day waking up to the corpse of the next man down the street gunned down over some meaningless argument or dispute, you begin to learn the true meaning of life… That it is nothing but a gift.
You begin to understand the value and meaning of self respect. You begin to wake up to the reality of your existence., to be of relevance to the people around you while you still breathe. Yes, the streets taught me how to handle people (the good, the bad and the ugly). Never say die spirit, competition and many more to mention. I am a focused man, determined to succeed yet NOT at the detriment of others - because my passion for humanity, most especially the poor, the widowed and the orphans will never make me bend to segregation, greed or nepotism. Yes, I believe all men should be treated Equally, regardless of your skin color, class or creed.
This is how it has affected me positively as not just a musician but a life changer, which to an extent many close-sight minded people that see you as rebellious for refusing to bow down to their so-called modern day slavery in the name of "what is in Vogue" and thereby allow themselves to be eluded with fantasies. Music is dead and it's sometimes a shame to wanna be identified as a musician/ entertainer which used to be something of pride from or predecessors.
So that's the negative part 'cos I BLUNTLY WILL REFUSE TO GIVE IN TO MEDIOCRITY.
CZB: You lost your father at an early age; are you still in touch with your mother? Can I find a song on YouTube dedicated to one or both of your parents?
Admiral C4C: Yes, I got back in touch with my mum 5 months ago. Before then it was a kinda on and off thing, through indirect contacts or through the phone.
I swear, I won't lie about it… I grew up with a lot of sadness about her, and I refused to talk to or about her, so we were not in good terms. It even made me avoid the United Kingdom …like a plague. I didn't wanna have anything to do with her because I had and still do have more than a million questions to ask her when we meet. Which, deep down I pray, God helps me meet her again. Yes, we have not seen each other for over 20 years now. I got a shocking call when me girl was pregnant with our son Zion. 2 weeks before delivery - and behold, it was my mum. She said she called 'cos she head the news and wanted to name him. That was striking. All my anger melted away... I took the phone from me girl and put it on speaker, she now asked my mum what name she wanted, and she named him Columbus, in her words "that is the name of the love of my life, my late husband, the one that killed me from the day he left this earth and with the birth of this boy, I believe my husband is back" (still makes me cry even as I speak).
Well, that was it. Forgiven, and life goes on.
That's blood for you, far thicker than water. My girl is on her way to the United Kingdom this week with Zion (our son) to see his Grandma. I cannot leave now because I have a very big project on ground which is the video shoot and promotion of my brand new single Boom Bang ft Roxana Nemes, and I hope to link up with her as soon as possible.
Yes, I have a lot of songs written about my parents but none I have put out; they were too personal. I wrote songs to express myself every time I would think about them and how life deprived me of many things, including not having them around. Right now, due to the recent reconciliation between both of us, I am planing to release one of those songs, a very conscious and spiritual reggae song, strictly for the mature minds and authentic reggae lovers… not the bullshits I hear these days from "reggae wanabees". LOL
CZB: What does C4C stand for and how were you nicknamed Admiral?
Admiral C4C: The name C4C… People that know me to my roots already know, and for some very strong conscious reasons I decided to stick to that name, and I bet by the time you know the meaning, you will be dazed.
…and for the name Admiral, it was carved out of numerous superior ranking names my fans have called me in the past due to my command of the dancehall... I have this kind of charisma when I grab the mike and step on the stage... some even say my vocals carry a kind of command. …so from the words dancehall commander, some call me Officer, some say Dancehall Don… well, from all these hailings, my dad being an ex-naval officer, my childhood being filled with all the navy souvenirs, and all the love for the navy / marines remains undying - so I chose something similar from all that people call me, relating to the navy. I chose Admiral which means superior ranking Naval officer.. so call me Dancehall Admiral "C4C"
CZB: Why/how did you move from Nigeria to Cyprus?
Admiral C4C: I moved to Cyprus after passing a College application - so basically I went to Cyprus to study. Like I said previously, of all the choices I had, definitely I refused to settle in England 'cos of my mum being British and knowing she is there, I just couldn't fathom it. So, Cyprus being a kind "British base" but not Britain itself, (meaning, life in Cyprus is influence by the British, I found it convenient for me, the massive flocking of Brits there, the sweet life of tourism mixed with multicultural holiday makers that couldn't resist the small paradise was all I thought a guy like me (who was in pursuit of mastering the craft in Entertainment and crowd pleasing) needed. So, I went there and studied Travel and Tourism Management at the American College Nicosia.. and of course, music being my lifestyle, followed side by side simultaneously… it was hard, but Thank God we made it, and look where we are today, though still there is much more to Achieve. It's my life! and I will keep doing it 'till my last breath.
CZB: When did you discover your passion for music/singing?
Admiral C4C: When I started knowing where to direct food when I take it off the plate and straight to my mouth.
Like learning ABC... I can't even remember.
I just found myself doing this.
I never chose music, Music/ Entertainment chose me. IT'S MY LIFE!
CZB: Why Dancehall music?
Admiral C4C: It's like I said previously… I dunno… just woke up doing it maybe 'cos of the cultural background or the street upbringing... just maybe 'cos I know soul, hip/hop... reggae/ dancehall, soca, are all are kinda related. It's a way of life of the black race. We're born into it, so if you grow up in a black community, you are bound to be influenced by these international genres of music I mentioned for sure. So, I guess I fell into the reggae/ dancehall sector of conscience music of great poetic delivery, 'cos we always have something to say growing up with many actions happening around you like you see in the movies.. :)
I was born into it… as A GIFT.
CZB: If you could meet with an important personality (dead or alive) who would this be and what would you like to ask him/her?
Admiral C4C: I would like to meet two people: My God and My dad! .. the most important man who ever lived… first when I ever get to meet God, I would like to ask Him the same Question I would ask my dad..... Why??
Why did you have to take him so soon …and then my Dad ... Why did you have to leave so soon.
CZB: What is the first Music Award you received and how did you feel when you received the Prize?
Admiral C4C: My first music award came from the AFRICAN PRAISE HOUSE, for Best Gospel/Reggae Artist. For your information, I kicked off my career professionally as a Reggae/ Dancehall (Gospel) Artist.. so now you can imagine how deep my lyrics can get. I was a master of the art of composition inspiring lyrics.
Oh, how much I miss those days when you stand in front of people and sing and you see tears rolling down their eyes with your lyrics thoroughly battling their conscience to Live a rightly life of love towards their fellow man. Yes, that was what earned me that Award in 2004, or 2005?
I remember the award in front of big names and men of God in the big Church Auditorium… That was very touching for me... Wow. Funny how time flies and how much bigger things we get to achieve, look at where we are now, LOL :)
CZB: When did you decide to become a professional artist?
Admiral C4C: .... Like i have truthfully said, never have I really chosen anything for myself, when it had to do with my career being music/entertainment. It chose me!. Everything just happened! First, I caught the vision, and of 'cos you know the most fruitless battle is trying to stop a man with a vision. So I caught this vision of being a great live changer on the streets as a kid when I was about 11 years old.. submitted myself absolutely to God, who is my Shepard (and I am his sheep) and simply allow Him o lead me while I stupidly follow in his infinite wisdom and I guess looking back and seeing where I am today...HE (GOD) HAS BEEN FAITHFUL!
CZB: How did you get to Romania and why Cluj-Napoca?
Admiral C4C: I got to Romania through Facebook!... Hahahaha!..
Yes, so don't you ever underestimate the power of the internet or social media.
In short, I will tell you today, 90% of all the great things I have achieved today or have today could be linked to Facebook. from a simple Like, that lead to a simple "Hi" I like your music... Here I am today… with the girl who is the mother of my great Zion (baby) found me on FB, introduced me to a team of managers out here that brought me for a club tour; it was sooo massive and impressive that we did it again and before you know it, I and the lady were meeting often, and before you know it, we were loving each other, and before we could say "Jack and Jill went up the hill".... it's all history now. She getting pregnant automatically became my magnet to this country. My love and value for not just her alone but humanity, growing up without parents, I WILL NEVER LEAVE MY BLOOD ALONE. So that, I guess, sealed my connection to Romania. It is not a connection made out of selfish desires or worldly pursuits for supremacy - as many have mistaken - as I have persevered around (though I might be wrong) but I just want Romanians to know that my being here is Divine.
It is not "man made" in my career as a musician and rolled with de la crème truly Romania is the last place a guy of my status would wanna choose, not to talk of Cluj, but yes, its me Admiral. God leads, I follow. My family is in Cluj, so I owe them a non negotiable commitment as a father, brother, in-law, hubby TO BE THERE FOR THEM!... So i am always coming back to Cluj.
CZB: How did you meet your current manager Radu Groza?
Admiral C4C: I met Radu Groza through my girl.
In short, it is her city, so all I do here is NOT without her. she is my better half so she has equal decisionmaking in all I do from the day we chose to be together.
CZB: How long have you been living in Romania and what music vibes are you getting from our country?
Admiral C4C: For now, I don't personally live in Romania, but from your previous question I guess I answered this already… I am connected to Romania By "blood" so I come here often, most especially for the past 5 months, since my son Zion was born. if I am not in any country on assignment (concerts/recordings and all), I am in Cluj for and with my family - but unfortunately assignments take up most of the time… yes, daddy's got to work to keep mummy pretty/cream and have Zion's milk bottle and dipper sack always full :)
CZB: How did you team up with British producer Eminik, who has helped you with most of your hit songs? How long have you been working together?
Admiral C4C: I met Eminik on Facebook too :) he is from Liverpool in the United Kingdom and we have been friends on Facebook for many years …but just casually. We were watching each other and not even exchanging messages with each other - just appreciating each others talent and works 'till i started frequenting Romania and then my son was born so the first 2 months I was basically in Romania… and suspended everything I had to do - simply just to stay with my new Family.
It was then that I had a lot of time to be on Facebook and actually see what's going on really from people I don't talk to usually on a daily basis. Then I came across one of his posts for a song that blew my mind and I told him on chat " when are you gonna give me that Hit?" Hahaha, straight!! People that know me on Facebook… I think I am the most social and interactive public figure you will ever get to meet. I relate with my friends and fans like we're family and that works for me. And so Eminik laughed and said, boss whenever you're ready I am here for you …so that was it... like a bullet locked in the chamber, the trigger was pulled - and KABOOM!! We are here today shooting down mediocrity and making Hits together, :)
CZB: Why/how was Roxana Nemes chosen to feature on your first single released from Romania (Boom Bang)?
Admiral C4C: Roxana Nemes if you may know, is like my little sister… being a label mate, so that's it basically. It was a professional decision by our manager and I liked the idea. You see, when I am on a Team, or working with people, in short in all I do, i only see the positiveness in people and wanna be a positive addition in their lives as much as I can, so meeting Roxana, I told myself, as usual, what is positive in this girl and she trusts me a lot I see and I am still digging from the things we have done together, you can already see the outcome and there is more to come. Boom bang is the tip of the iceberg ... you ain't seen nothing yet.
CZB: Where do you consider Home to be and how often do you get back to Nigeria?
Admiral C4C: Hmmm.. right now to me, Home is anywhere I find love and comfort... and as I speak ..Home is my Family (Zion and Ana first! others follow). Wherever they are. Be it in the Bermuda Triangle, that's where you will find me... for Nigeria, it's been ages - but there's hope to be there soon again.
The CZB Interview was conceived by RiCo
Boom-Bang was produced in Germany by Two Fingers project. Vocals were taken and structured in Cluj Napoca, Romania by Patriciu Pop of Big Time Studios and post production: mixing, editing and mastering was done in Liverpool, United Kingdom by Eminik who is the brain behind most of his hit songs.
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