Morell Akilah, trick or treat?

Happy Eid to everyone out there. Here is a fun article to read. I am wishing a lovely day to All.

On the 3rd of August 2016, I finally got to interview Morell. We met at the well known ‘Tahir Guest Palace‘ in Kano. Thanks to the hotel’s pool area manager Abbas, Morell and I got to catch up by the side of the hotel’s crystal blue pool. Sitting in colorful chairs on the neatly manicured lawn, we were served Nespressos and delightful fruit smoothies. We then started talking. I finally had the perfect setting to find out ‘why’ Morell was becoming so popular, busy with a multitude of bookings for all kinds of events.

After a slight debate about who had to sit in the sun, we concluded that I needed the tan more.

B: I can tell that you love music, because your songs all have a special twist, when would you say it dawned upon you?
M: Are you recording?
B: Err, Yes?
M: Around the age of 9 or 10, when I was in junior secondary school. It was actually due to my brother. We used to listen to cassettes and rewind them.
B: I’m sure you used to also pause, write down the lyrics and mime them feeling all cool and ‘what not’.
M: Exactly! With time I realized that I preferred rap but refused to like the mainstream rappers of the time like 2PAC and BIGGIE.
B: How could you not like 2PAC???
M: My brother liked 2PAC so much that I wanted to be special and like someone else.
B: Is that the only reason you became an underground 2PAC fan?
M: Yes. I preferred listening to Heavy D and Big Pun.
B: What about today’s artists? Do you find any of them inspiring to your creativity?
M: Lately I listen to a few people. I have been doing my best to stay away from modern popular music because a lot of it sounds the same. I think I’m just trying to make sure I keep my sound unique and stay away from the temptation to sound generic.
B: That’s so true I noticed the fact that a lot of pop songs sound similar. Even within Nigerian music the only ones that really stand out for me are Burna Boy, Blackmagic and Banky W. The rest are just nice jams but similar in sound
M: I listen to John Bellion, Mali Music but ofcourse I come back to the likes of Jay Z every once in a while.
B: I think you might like a guy called KAMAU, who sounds like a mix between Outcast and Mali Music.
M: Sounds good, will check him out.
B: At the live event, I noticed your voice sounded auto tuned in real life. Share the trick.
M: Funnily enough, I learnt to sing listening to auto-tuned songs and got used to it. Even now people who work with my voice when mixing have a hard time trying to avoid making me sound too auto- tuned.
B: So whilst miming these songs you decided to become a performer?
M: Not at all. When I was finishing secondary school. A group of us danced in secondary school. Once I rubbed chalk in my hair feeling a little like Sisqo. During the dance I started sweating and chalk got into my eye it was such a disaster. But with this group we travelled to Federal Government Girl’s College in Yola. I remember when everyone was screaming happily  during the performance, I realized I wanted to be a performer.
B: So you decided to become a star.
M: No I concluded that I was a star. I did not want to hear of any obstacles.
B: Oh Lord that must have been a sight to see. When did you decide to sing?
M: In University. During my year of remedials I found people and started joining them for meetings every week. As I was the new guy they would not let me join in the performances at first and then they gave me a chance and they even paid me like 3 or 4 Thousand Naira. Then I became quite popular as I featured on Rugged Man’s album and Naeto C’s as well.
B: Wow, Lets have some coffee and take some pictures.
B: How did you parents react to the fact that you went against ‘Herd mentality’ of becoming a doctor, lawyer or engineer?
M: Well the signs were there early on. I was quite a good science student and my Dad pointed his finger and said, ‘You are liking this music, of a thing way too much’.
B: Oh dear, did you tell him then?
M: No. It happened one night. There was hotel in Abuja called ‘The Grand Mirage’. They wanted to open a branch in Lokoja, where we were based at the time. A guy recommend that I write a jingle for them, so I worked with a couple of singers and we wrote a jingle. At the time it was amazing. so they invited us to perform from 6pm till the next day. I knew stuff SH*$ got real and I would have to wait for my dad to fall asleep before leaving the house. My dad was the commissioner of police at the time so I ended up having to bribe the security guardsmen and snuck out of the house on a small bike. It was mad. I got to the venue late and told them I had to perform ASAP. I performed, got paid (under 20,000) and rushed off home, feeling like a sharp guy. I knew something was wrong as I reached the gate. The guardsman said, ‘You are dead, Oga is by the front door’. I entered to the vision of my dad holding a belt.
B: Noooooooooo
M: In fact he wasn’t even holding the belt. I just knew it was loyally waiting in a corner. He said ‘you are an armed robber and a criminal, you sneak out in the midst of the night when even your elder brother is sleeping in bed, thinking we are fools’. And I answered ‘No, baba. After which, he released a can of whup ass on me. He even threw in some dirty slaps, in case I was still doubtful. We went to sleep and then I woke up at 2 am in the morning, woke up my father and told him  ‘This is what I love and this is what I want to do’.
B: And now for your taste of Kano lets go for a ride.
M: I remember my mum, who was super supportive telling me to let him sleep and just wait till the morning but I was adamant. I was like ‘YO’, of course I was not really like ‘yo wagwan’. In reality I told him that I don’t see anyone around him who can judge me and noone would would do anything for me without the presence of my father, so their opinions did not really matter’. I also stressed that music is something that can support me.
B: Yes, you tend to select what you are best at. That’s a very nice good reason to become a performer.
M: I told him I wanted to do music because I enjoy it and not use this to live a wild lifestyle. I guess at this point he realized how passionate I was so he just told me to go to sleep and promised a talk in the morning. In the morning, dad woke me up before he left for work and said I could do it. I was so relieved and thanked him. He replied that it did not mean I could start right away. He gave me the condition of finishing school first before pursuing a career in music. A week before I concluded my year of remedials we lost him.
B: My sincere condolences.
M: Hence my album title ‘Musa is coming’ as a kind of dedication to my dad. But that is how I got the blessings from my father. And Music paid my tuition from year 1 up until year 4. It was during this time that I completely switched from sciences and went into ‘Creative Arts’

We arrived at Garden Playgroup, Nursery and Primary School on Lodge road to take nice photographs in a beautiful setting. Morell wanted to have a look around. I introduced him to Lora Kabir the proprietress, who very kindy previously agreed to us using her school. This was the greatest mistake as she almost stole my spotlight. They got along so well that we ended up Inviting her and an assistant of hers called Adam to meet us for a second coffee break after the pictures.

To my surprise in a blink of an eye Morell had made friends with the pupils and teachers. This only strengthened my observation on his humility and easy going character. As an outside observer at the time I found it impressive, that someone like him showed genuine interest and care in all our normal lives.

He really found his happiness in her playgroup section where he creepily started hugging her sing along VHS tapes. The laughter was over the top. My interview was potentially going to blazes with everyone around me deciding it was a jist-session.

We took a stroll and scoped a spot for a good photograph, taking quite a few along the way of lemon trees that the pupils had planted which bore fruit for the first time in a year. A group picture with the school children was taken.

Once the photo session was done, we screeched off, to Tahir Guest Palace to Round up the interview. On arrival I received some light criticism on my driving technique but I assured our Star that he was lucky to be be alive. We had a good laugh as we all moved the table where previously sat to a shady area in order to avoid repetition of the ‘who will sit in the sun’ fight. Which I had earlier conceded to out of sheer politeness. I can officially say I have self control as I ended up not stabbing anyone. SATISFACTION! I already planned the treat I would get myself for such good behavior.

We invited Abbas the manager to join the table which already had Sanjay (sanjay_concepts), Lora (@lorakabir), Adam and Morell (@imorell, @nordanortty_). He introduced himself and had coffee with us whilst we took some nice photographs.Watch out for additional dialogue.  Anyway, back to the interview, which to my disdain had at this point turned into a general discussion. I’m glad I don’t have emoticons yet because this is the point at which I would have inserted half a dozen ‘eye-ball rolls’.

B: Have you thought of producing?
M: M- I already produce under the label of ‘NORDANORTTY’.
B: I see, I have seen that tag on IG and at the video premier but did not put 2 and 2 together. How about your personal life. Is it safe to say you have found a special someone.
M: Yes I have but We are still keeping it on the low just to protect her privacy.
B: I agree in Nigeria we have no ‘CHILL’ and some people just come online to spread negativity, Im sure when the time is right we will know her as well as we now know you. Excuse me guys I need to leave for a second but they have brought the coffee and I’m leaving my audio recorder.
L: Well its wonderful to finally meet you. Betty has told me quite a lot about you she kept on telling me you sound so ‘Real’. I have no idea what that means in this slang of nowadays.
M: Yes we met through Instagram and she seemed like a wonderful person so we agreed on this interview. I think your school is very beautiful. The trees and flowers make it feel like its some paradise get away.
L: Thankyou, I have been running it for 40 years and have always thought of how greenery calms a person and creates a peaceful environment for studies. Also purifying the air around. And the children love playing here so its a way of motivation to also study harder for them.
The school needs more publicity.
L: I am trying to filter only good publicity.
M: I’m surprised you speak such good Hausa Adam.
A: Yes I grew up in Bauchi and studied there most of my Life and then Moved continuing further in Bayero University of Kano.
M: I was born in Bauchi in a local government area called Yalwa. I went to University of Maiduguri.
B: I’m back so we can continue with the last couple of questions. So in a few words describe your ideal woman.
M: M- My kind of woman,or more my ideal woman is someone who is more natural. She should not have to do much to impress me. She should be really comfortable around me. I want someone who as free with me as I am with her. I respect a woman that can honestly tell me anything and not hold back, be it criticism or praise. I believe in honesty so full transparency is mandatory, we should not hide things from each other. Sh should be as proud of me as I am of her. She should be my moral support who I can talk to about anything in the world.
B: Well you just proved that I was right to interview you. I feel its important have a woman who is at least comfortable in her skin, they are always the happiest.
M: I am also very attracted the woman who has her own life, hobbies and is focused on getting her own. A woman that can tell me what she wants to do and present the pros and cons to her decisions so I can be as supportive as possible.
B: At what age do you see yourself married?
M: Around 30 is my ideal age. So hopefully in the next 2 years.
B: I’m just grateful you rebelled. At least now we have gotten a taste of your talent. I feel more children should be allowed to diversify their careers and interests. Having hobbies that society might frown upon, is tough but sometimes it leads to a reduction in boredom. More time dedicated to hobbies is less time dedicated to mischief. I genuinely can’t wait to see more of your performances. Thank you so much for your time and it was a great pleasure to have this chat.
In conclusion I must say I had so much fun spending this time finding out about our star. Since this is my first interview. It really helped that he was down to earth and not arrogant. I found it easy to talk to him. With such humor and positive vibes one can’t really go wrong. It was an exciting experience.  Now we wait, IMPATIENTLY for the album release of ‘MUSA IS COMING’ by MORELL AKILAH.

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