Zlatan Ibile reveals how he used to cut grass for client who wanted to lay foundation for their buildings

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Singer , Omoniyi Raphael , popularly known as Zlatan Ibile , speaks on his music career , new album , stardom and other issues

How would you describe your style of music ?

When I released the song, This Year , people complained that I had changed my style , that I should have stuck to the ‘ zanku ’ style .

I just want people to know that ‘ zanku ’ is not the only music style I can do as an artiste .

I believe that there are no limitations . Anything is possible if one believes in oneself .

What inspired your album title , ‘ Zanku: Zlatan Abeg No Kill Us ?’

I gave it that title because when I started out, I created a dance step called ‘ kuzo ’ but a particular artiste hijacked it from me .

When I created the ‘ zanku ’ dance , I decided to name it after myself , so if anybody wants to steal it , they would have to steal me with it .

Also , whenever I release a new song , my fans always tell me to take it easy , saying things along the line of , ‘ Abeg no kill us (Please, don’ t kill us )’.

Everybody knows that I deliver my songs in Yoruba which limits my audience in a way.

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But despite that , I have been able to make songs people can relate to anywhere in the world .

I have taken ‘ zanku ’ to Cyprus , Kenya, US and other countries . Basically , that is why the album has that title .

When you started your career , did you expect to get this far as an artiste ?

There are so many artistes , such as Olamide , who started from the scratch and have proved that one can achieve whatever one desires .

I thank God for bringing me to where I am today .

I never thought I would get here. By this time last year , I had no house or car .

But God has showered His blessings on me this year .

However , I don’ t feel I am that big yet .

I believe I would be bigger by this time next year .

When I won a car at a music competition in Ogun State sponsored by Airtel in 2013, I was not given any money .

I recall that the competition was organised for students of all the higher institutions in Ogun State.

Then, I had just two shirts , one trouser and one pair of shoes .

It was even like they added to my problem because people kept asking me for money .

I ended up converting the car to a cab , carrying passengers from Sagamu ( in Ogun State ) to other places .

That was the only way I could survive.

The car became like a burden to me .

When I finished my education , I didn ’ t go back home because I knew it was going to affect my music career .

Do you have plans for international collaborations ?

All my life , I have never forced things to happen .

We may have plans but God ’ s will transcends all.

I am not going to force it ( international collaboration ) to happen .

If it is meant to be, it would happen .

Beyond music , do you have plans to venture into other areas of entertainment ?

I don’ t know (for now ) .

You may see me in an American movie tomorrow.

I can play football too.

I may decide to play football on weekends and record in the studio on weekdays .

Also , I have ‘ zanku ’ merchandise .

Is Naira Marley featured on the new album?

No, he isn ’ t featured on the album .

Everybody knows Naira Marley is my good friend and we have been making music together from the beginning of this year .

He wasn ’ t featured on the album because there was no reason for it ; it is not really about what people would have to say .

Though we are friends, I have my ways and my own preferences.

It has nothing to do with our friendship.

Besides, we have a joint album coming out in 2020 .

What inspired the song , ‘ Bolanle Pepper Them’?

It’ s a song dedicated to ladies for them to know that they are important to us .

There is nothing really serious about the song .

It shines the light on men who don’ t treat their women well .

Having grown up in Ikorodu (Lagos) , what plans do you have to give back to the people of that area ?

Coming out from Ikorodu means I am a symbol of hope to a lot of people .

Back then , I used to cut grass for people who wanted to lay foundation for their buildings .

Some of my acquaintances back then even ended up as motorcycle riders and cab drivers .

I wouldn’ t hurt myself because I want to help others.

One cannot drag others up when one is not balanced.

However , I have plans and I pray to God to help me achieve them .

What would you regard as the sacrifices you have made for music ?

There were days I had sleepless nights– that should be one of the greatest prices I have paid for my music .

How do you react to negative social media comments ?

Things like that don’ t bother me because life has bashed me so many times.

I have experienced such things from the beginning of my career .

Life has treated me so badly .

There were days I had nothing to wear or eat .

I don’ t allow it get to me because there are people who love me despite the bashings.

What’ s the most unforgettable criticism you ’ ve ever got?

The worst bashing I got was when I was trying to help a boy called Segun Wire and I was beaten in the open, in broad daylight.

The mother of the boy said I was making money off him .

She stripped herself and lied that I had beaten her .

Unfortunately , I got mobbed by some guys right there. I actually thought that would be the end of my career .

Luckily for me , it was a blessing in disguise .

Some people felt you mocked Tacha when you recorded a freestyle song shortly after she was disqualified?

I have nothing to say about that. I am cool with Tacha and I’ m making music .

I get inspired by everything around me .

That freestyle was nothing serious .

It’ s all showbiz .

I didn’ t intend to release the song ; it ’ s just part of what we do as entertainers .

Why did cultists attack you after your performances in some schools ?

That is normal, every other musician faces that .

When one goes to higher institutions, they (students ) always want to collect money .

We ( artistes ) regard it as part of the hazards of our job .

What’ s the story behind your slang, ‘ Kapaichumarimarichopaco’?

It’ s a spiritual slang that only I understand .

When the time comes , I will let the world know the meaning.

Which Nigerian artistes do you admire ?

I admire Adekunle Gold , Wizkid and some others. I don’ t have problems with anyone .

What has changed about you since you became famous ?

Nothing has changed .

I am still who I am .

I met most of the people that work with me online.

I give opportunities to people because people gave me opportunities too.

People like Davido and Burna Boy helped me along the way .

I believe we rise by lifting others.
What’ s your opinion on the Federal Government ’ s intention to monitor what people post on social media?

I don’ t have any business with the Federal Government .

They should do whatever they want to .

The Federal Government isn ’ t helping us in this country .

We are the ones helping ourselves .
You featured Tiwa Savage on one of your songs .

How was your experience working with her ?

The day I recorded Wake Up , I actually wanted to record
Shotan with Tiwa Savage.

At the beginning of this year , Tiwa Savage blocked me on Instagram .

I am a very shy person when it comes to talking to ladies .

My manager was the one who settled the scores between us .

He was the one who organised the studio session for the song .

Tiwa is a very nice and cool person .

After then , she unblocked me and has been checking up on me .

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