What are you up to now?
Right now, I am on sabbatical.
On sabbatical from music or what?
On sabbatical from talking to the pressâ€¦(laughter) or have you heard me talking all this while?
What about music?
You can never be on sabbatical from music. What is in your system is in your system. I am working on something and I am not ready to talk about it yet, but my band plays twice a week at Ikeja G.R.A - on Thursdays and Fridays. I play totally exclusive shows. They are not shows I would want people to know about. They are exclusive private shows.
So when are you coming up with an album of your own for the generality of the people to dance?
I am working on that as well. I wonâ€™t release my work until it is perfect.
What kind of music are you promising the people?
What I have always done â€“ Jazz and highlife. I am infusing highlife into Jazz music. That is what I do generally.
You were once the second vice president of PMAN but when controversy broke out in the union, you suddenly went underground. Why?
To be totally and completely honest with you, I donâ€™t know what happened. In my mind, I am still the second vice president of PMAN. I was never fired and I never resigned. So, I donâ€™t know what is going on.
Somebody has to explain it to me. I was very visible at the secretariat then. I did my job. I was never sacked and as far as I am concerned, there hasnâ€™t been an election that has removed me from office. So, it is not the question of whether I am thinking ifâ€¦ I am still the second vice president of PMAN. I was returned unopposed at the Kaduna national delegate conference and election. I am not aware of any other election ever since.
Then why have you not been visible at the unionâ€™s secretariat?
As far as I know there is somebody in my office, why should I bother? Should I go and fight? I no go fight am. After all, no bi my papa business. There is somebody sitting in my office as 2nd vice. PMAN, till tomorrow, is not paying me. They did not give me one kobo when I was going there. So, I wonâ€™t come to PMAN and fight. I have other things that I am doing.
Do you still contribute to the union?
If I am asked, why not?
Must you be asked to make meaningful contribution to your union?
As far as I am concerned, I need to be consulted. Otherwise, I have no business being there. I remain a PMAN member like any other musician out there. Abi? Na so now.
Why have you not re-opened your club, Mama Gee, at Apapa?
It was not working the way I wanted it to work. So, I closed it down and I am not thinking about that now.
Who are the people you normally perform privately exclusive shows for?
I am not going to tell you. They are exclusive and that means, I am not going to divulge the identities of my clients. My band performs twice every week at Ikeja and I donâ€™t perform with them. I perform my exclusively private shows and my clients are exclusive to me. So, it is not for the public.
Is your family happy seeing you playing music?
My family is happy with anything that I do, as far as I do it well.
Since over a decade you had a daughter for Sammy Okpozo, why havenâ€™t you thought of marriage?
That is my business.
Really, do you have any other man in your life?
That is between me and whoever I am with. I donâ€™t discuss my private life in the public. It remains in my own house.
Does that mean you are now in a manâ€™s house?
I am not telling you anything. It is my private life. I donâ€™t discuss it on the pages of newspapers. We have discussed music. That is my public life. My private life is my private life. I donâ€™t discuss it on the pages of newspaper.
What else have you to say about your music?
When you have been doing something for about 23 years, it gets to a point where you sit back and do a rethink about what other steps to take. I am one of the most experienced female singers in Nigeria. I want to be well focused with it in doing my album.
Does music actually pay the bill, or your other businesses do?
It is both ways.
Why is it that you have not performed on bill board concerts all these years?
I donâ€™t have an album in the market. I think that has a lot to do with it. But I am very happy making my money from my exclusive private shows and I am sure I make more money than most of those artistes that have been playing your so-called big concerts.
Like how much do you charge?
If I tell you my prize now, you go run.
Say it, I wonâ€™t run
No, not you, you go run.
So what effort are you making to come out with your album?
I am working on it now.
Who is your producer?
I am working with two people. Chris Okoro has done some work with me and one other person whom I am not going to give out the name. I am really not ready to talk about a lot of stuff I am doing right now. I have refused to talk for a very long time now. When I am ready to talk, people will hear me live and direct.
Some of your family members are into politics, are you also dreaming of going into politics?
Never! I am a musician, a total musician.
How would you appraise the performance of female artistes in the industry?
We donâ€™t have female artistes. They are all in the church.
But there are some out there?
How many are they compared to the men? All the girls that sing are in the church. One thing I try to do as second vice president of PMAN was to bring them out to the limelight. But you know what? With girls, it is hard, because the churches pay well and it is easier for parents to understand that their daughters sing in the church than for them to understand that she sings at night club. We are in Nigerian society where parents are particularly protective of their female children.
How is your daughter?
She is faring well. Thank you.
I suppose she is still schooling?
Yes, she is in SS2, she will be 16 this year.
Here in Nigeria or abroad?
She is here in the country.
When are you hoping to have a second one?
No bi me. I don born finish.
How can you be through with just one girl in the Nigeria society?
Excuse me.. is it because I look like a young girl? I am 45 years old now (laughter). Na lie o, I no born again. I don close road. Small time now, my daughter go born for me. Then, I go become grand mama. How many years left for her to be 23, 24 years? That time, she go begin born for me. Not now.
So, you are okay with just one issue?
For now, that is it. Only God knows what can happen. Everything na God. If you see me with pregnancy next month, na God.
You have repeatedly called Godâ€™s name, are you now born-again?
What is born-again?
That is when you become a true child of God by giving your life to Him as your God and saviour.
I have always been a true child of God. My biggest respect and fear in this world is for God, which means I donâ€™t do anything without Him.
Do you obey His commandments?
I try my very best to obey His commandments
Are you obeying Godâ€™s commandments by going to nite clubs, taking alcoholic drinks and smoking?
Show me anywhere in the Bible where God said I shouldnâ€™t go to nite clubs. Give me the chapter and the verse. Even Jesus drank wine the day before He died. So what are we talking about? I donâ€™t know about smoking cigarette. But Jesus Christ drank wine; it is not those things as far as I am concerned. It is your heart that counts.
Do you think music has given you fame?
I would have been famous anyway. My name is Gloria Ibru. That name "Ibru" alone, is famous. So it is not about fame but passion. I became Mama Gee and many, many young musicians passed through me and became better people through me. That makes me happy.
Are you happy that you have not dropped an album in the market after 23 years in the industry?
I really donâ€™t care. If you know my history in the industry, you will understand that for the first 10 years of singing to entertain people in Nigeria, I did not collect one Naira from anybody. It was thereafter I put my band together and I had to start making money to keep the band going.
My band has been together for almost 15 years now and still waxing stronger. You can imagine the number of musicians that must have passed through me. I am a bloody fantastic singer. If nobody says it, if you hear me the first time, you would want to hear me again. I know my onions.
What message do you have for your fans out there?
My heart goes to the young people and my message for them is that anything you want to do in life, you should not allow anybody to stop you, especially if you know you are good at it and that is what you want to do. You should stick to it and do it with all determination.
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