From music to movie, award-winning Nigerian rapper, Vector seems to be ticking all the boxes at the moment. With a quiet but steady pursuit of his dreams, Vector says he only sees the bigger picture, irrespective of the challenges. SEGUN ADEBAYO, recently, sat down with the rapper at his Lagos residence as he poured out his mind on the music journey and why he may feature in more blockbuster Nollwood movies.
You starred in a movie recently with Seyi Shay and those who know you as a music person were surprised at your delivery in the movie, particularly the role you played with her. Tell us how it all happened?
I got a call to partake in the movie. I read the script and it was very interesting. It was not something that I am used to. It was totally different from what I have been committed to over the years, but I was ready to explore something new. One could tell from the script that the producer was ready to do everything so that the project meets global standard because I am aware that Nigerians have been yearning for global standard movies. So, the producers must have seen the project as one that could raise the bar for the Nigerian movie industry. Therefore, I started reading the script and I learnt that there was more to the movie. It was really nice working with the team of professionals.
When you were told about the movie and your possibility of featuring in it, what came to your mind?
Quite a number of thoughts ran through my mind when I was told about the movie. Right from time, I have never aimed at acting. I have always respected the art form for a long time, but I felt whatever is what doing at all is worth doing well. I said to myself that I could pull this through, no matter how hard it seemed. No matter what happened, I was determined to make every moment count. Of course, we are human beings; we are limitless. So, I just tried to put my mind to it. I wanted to see it through. I wanted to have fun and I truly wanted to learn.
I remember you lost your dad while shooting the movie. How hard was that moment for you?
It was a very difficult moment for me. But I could not stop the shoot at that time because I was already committed to it before my dad passed on. I actually wanted to continue the shoot to take my mind off my dad’s death at that time, so I continued the shoot and it was fine.
At what point did you know you would pair Seyi in the movie and what was the attraction for you?
Well, I didn’t know I was going to pair Seyi in the movie when I got the script. I later got to know that she was going to be on set. The attraction, for me, was to express myself in something new. I am always excited when I am being called to take new challenges. So, the attraction was about the craft and the opportunities embedded in it.
Did you nurse any fear taking up such a role for somebody who was just cutting his teeth in movies?
The fact is that I didn’t nurse any fear at all. I know there would be concerns and worries along if I can deliver, but I guess the only way to know is to do what is expected of you. There would be worries about questions, but the only way is how you proffer answers to the questions being thrown at you. So, I gave it a shot, and to be honest it was really nice.
Was money one of the considerations?
Actually, the money was good, but I will also say that the reputation that followed the company that produced Lara and the Beat was also another big factor. Biola Alabi Media is a force to be reckoned with and the company had done creditably well in some of the productions it has handled in the past few years. It was not hard adapting to the dialogue and other demands because we worked with professionals on the job.
Seyi Shay said kissing you in the movie was cool. In fact, she said it was nice. Did you feel same way about it?
For me, kissing Seyi in the movie was simply kissing her for the movie. You are interpreting a script and you don’t want to put your mind beyond into what is not written in the script you are playing, especially when you are very cautious about not wanting to hurt other people’s feelings or yours. We had to be professional about everything and that was just it.
With your role in the movie, would you consider Nollywood as an attraction now?
Nollywood is a big industry in the world. I respect all the actors that have put in the work over the years. If there is any major movie coming out of Nollywood any time soon, I would be glad to be part of the project.
How have you managed to keep a low profile in an industry that is constantly putting you under all manner of pressure?
If I am going to be truthful to you, my experience in life and even in the industry has taught a few lessons. You will just realise that majority of things that happen is geared towards living one’s life. Michael Jackson is dead and there is still music. Don’t be more than what you want to be and don’t be less than what you ought to be. I have always been sure of where I want to be and I have managed to stay there by being truthful to myself. I have just tried to keep a level head up with an equilibrium that constantly reminds me of what I want and how I want to achieve my goals. There is the extreme side and the luxury side to being an entertainer, but that does not determine who I am. It is always good stay in the middle ground, and that’s where I have remained.
The noise about Vector appeared to have gone down until you surfaced with that movie, what’s happening to your music?
Like you have noticed, I love to go back underground to work strategically on the drawing board. The noise about Vector on the surface might not be as heavy as some people want it. The truth is that your music being heard all over does not equate to you being making money. Free music is free music. I think we need to start realising that there is more to one’s intellectual property that if one is not careful, everything could be lost including the music. I have actually been restructuring certain things and making some moves in the underground. I am on a certain platform that not many Nigerians are quite accustomed to and I am doing great. We are always striving to do things right and appropriate. I guess that is why people have not heard much from me. My song, Adura is doing great; a massive song for everybody. I am also not doing too many favours that won’t help me move forward. I have come to understand that people ask you favour that only favours them. Unfortunately, you can’t do that for everybody except for people who you are sure would do same for you.
Some say when you hit a certain level in music, you tend to want to observe more rather than join the bandwagon, is this true with you?
You are very correct with that. For example, I have done I put My Hand on Your Waist and it still rocks dance floor at clubs till tomorrow. People still turn up to Adura as I said earlier, so sometimes you want to sit down and observe things more. I have done a lot more in the music space that at this point I can relax and expect returns from my hard work. I think it is like that with everybody that works hard. I think at a point it is okay to be a messenger, sometimes. At a point, it is okay to be more than that and the more work you do, the less time you have to be everywhere. It also gets to a point where you have to delegate things to certain people. I think I am more of that person right now. That does not mean you would not keep up with the trend in the music industry. For example, Shaku Shaku is a great movement, but the fact that it is being over-flogged by everybody that even the pioneers are almost struggling to claim the sound because everybody is jumping on it. So, if you know that it does not work for you or your brand, you don’t indulge in it. Even though we like it and I indulge in it once in a while, it is not just a typical thing you do at your stage right now.
Are you getting tired of music?
I can never get tired of music. As I said to you, over flogging something can make it tiring, but that does not mean you are tired of the music itself. You can only get tired of the same certain instrumentals over a period of time on radio and television. I will do music till I die.
How do you feel about the dearth of conscious music in the industry today with the shake your booty ruling the airwaves?
Conscious music is not dead; the audience has always been different. You don’t play conscious music to an unconscious mind. That’s all I have to say about that. If I say more than that, I will spoil the whole thing. So, let us leave it that way.
Are you under any pressure to drop hit songs?
I am not under any pressure to drop hit songs. Adura is still a hit any day. Great things are still happening with the song. I am a proper artiste and very much concerned about the art. I enjoy what is happening out there. If it is interesting, I indulge the interesting part of it. Does it put me under any sort of pressure? The answer is no.
How have you been investing your money?
That’s a very personal question. I will not divulge that personal information to the public.
When is Vector settling down?
These are types of things that make people who don’t understand self-awareness get under pressure. I will settle down when I settle down. What makes you think I am not settled anyway?
Could Seyi Shay be in the picture as some people keep insinuating that something is going on between you two?
Let’s leave that out of the question.
Does that mean it could be a possibility?
Let us leave that out of the question, I insist.
What’s Vector up to before the end of the year?
We are working underground. I don’t like to reveal what I am up to before it is ready because sometimes dreams you are working on seem too big that you want to keep them to yourself.