It feels great to be called dad – African China

*African China
BY IFUNANYA OBINMA
 His name is Chinagorom Onuoha but he is more  popularly known as African China. African China he says stands for “African Children Have Ideas Natural for African”.  Chinagorom started music in 1985 at the age of seven and by the time  he turned 21 1999 after finishing secondary school education he became a professional.

That same year he was rewarded with his first ever award at the Nigerian international song festival N.I.S.O.F.E. 1999.

And when he dropped his first  album “Crisis”  it went on to win more awards Like: *The Best Reggae/ Ragga Dancehall For Fanta Fame Musical Award 2003, Merit Award*, *Unfication Peace Award From The Opc, 1st Nigerian Entertainment Award, Best Award And Grand Hotel Award For Best Performance.

In this interview, he opens up on his ‘grievance ‘with the National Broadcasting Corporation, why he decided to quit the  kind of songs(activism) he’s known for, his successes, career and more .

Excerpt:

We haven’t heard from you for a while, what has been happening to you?

I have been in the studio working on so many jobs. It’s just that the media is now focusing more on politics. So they hardly have time to make people know what is happening to people like us.  The National Broadcasting Corporation is also not allowing private stations to bring our works to the public.

Are you saying that your songs are not aired because of the NBC?

Yeah . Nowadays, people don’t want to listen to the truth anymore. That’s why Fela’s songs were banned and that’s why people don’t want to listen to African China anymore.

People need to be told the truth so that they’ll know the difference between right and wrong.

The NBC is also not helping matters. They feel that when you talk, you’re jeopardizing the image of the country. For instance, some songs filled with vulgar words are still being aired. That is wrong. But whenever people try to say something different and enlighten the citizens about what is going on in the country, they quickly say you’re against the government. So, I say that NBC has been politicized.

You did a song with Tuface how successful was it ?And what is the Title?

Yeah it was titled Loving You Everyday . The song is a success. And at the moment, we are planning the shooting of the video. On the same song, we also have the remix featuring  myself ,Tuface, and Flavour.

How many duets have you done after that?

I did some with Face,Nigger Raw,Trigger and  some up coming artist like Maggi, M. Mark. I also have a duet  which I did with  Terry G. It’s coming up soon.

How successful was the duet with Bantu?

The song with Bantu was not my album but I co-wrote the song. It was Bantu’s song and all I did was come in with a verse. The song was also recorded in my studio so, it’s a plus for me. It was successful because I got calls from Bantu that people love the song.

Recently, it’s like you are moving away from the militant songs China is known for to R and B songs. Why?

That’s not true. But for now, there’s love in the air,  so we need to preach love. Don’t forget that great legends like Bob Marley,Michael Jackson,Lucky Dube,even Fela Kuti preached love. So it’s not just talking about what’s happening in the country, I still talk about how beautiful Africans, especially Nigerian women are.

You have been holding forth in the Reggae genre of music and since Ras Kimono is back to help revive the Reggae music, are you thinking of doing a duet with him?

Ras Kimono and I have spoken about it because he’s like a father to us in the industry. So soon he, myself and Blackky met and discussed about doing a reggae track. So, I’m planning on doing a duet with Ras Kimono, Blackky and other reggae artistes.

How has it been, being a family man with a kid and with another one on the way?

The experience has been a wonderful one. I could remember when my daughter was just a baby, but now, I look at her and laugh because she’s growing. And anytime she looks at me and calls me daddy, it puts a smile on my face. Whenever she recites some of her poems to me, I’m happy .

You’re a handsome man. How does your wife cope with you having to always perform on stage?

Well she understands  the business. She has to accept that she is married to a public figure, a person that a whole lot of ladies will admire. So she doesn’t worry at all.

What has been your greatest challenge

It has to do with the industry and how it has been manipulated. Piracy issue is very huge. It’s terrible when an artiste produces a CD and does not make anything out of the sales. An average artiste will spend  not less than N1.5million for just one track. But at the end of the day, the album will still  not make a huge sale in the market. So, it’s a challenge for me.

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