2nd December, 2023
By Taiwo Okanlawon
Nigerian afrobeat and Apala hip-pop musician Terry Alexandar Ejeh better known Terry Apala, has revealed how he was abandoned his friends and colleagues at the first sign of trouble.
Terry Apala, in a recent interview with the popular media personality Chude Jideonwo, shared how he discovered his unique sound and gained confidence to put it out there, his court case with his record label, and the deathly silence of depression.
“I am from Isoko in Delta state. And because I wasn’t a Yoruba person, my friends in Mushin use to discourage me that my music wasn’t going to work,” he said.
“They were comparing me to Haruna Ishola and other singers in the Apala genre, saying that if they were talented and they are still where they are, how do I want to go about it. I started to break down how the music is going to work by adding up English and Pidgin to my sound. I try my best to split it so that people could understand it.”
Terry Apala spoke about how his father passed in his house after abandoning him for close to 17 years.
“My dad was not there. He was just somewhere, living his life. I left my dad in 1990, and the day I saw him was the day he was dying. He came all the way from Apapa to our house in Mushin, and he was strong.
“He asked for my mom, and I said she had gone out. I called my mom and said ‘Daddy is at home’. She was like ‘what did your father come to do?’ and I was like, ‘Daddy is at home, that’s what I have to tell you.’ She said, ‘He should take his leave please’. I told him ‘Mummy said you should be going.’
“He said, ‘no, I will wait till she comes back’. So, because my other siblings heard he was around, they couldn’t come home that night. So, me and our lastborn, Obi, slept together. He slept on the bed with my junior brother. I think he was throwing up when I woke up. As I woke up, I saw that he was throwing up. He laid his head on my junior brother. That was really touching, even though I didn’t really feel bad because this man was not there, but you know, you will have to pity someone that is about to die.
“So that was the day I saw my dad last. From my house to the mortuary,” he recalled.
He shared further why he refused to join Don Jazzy’s Mavin Records and Spaceship, Burna Boy’s record label, saying his mother advised him to be the face of any label he signs to.
He said despite opportunities with Don Jazzy and Burna Boy, he chose Nelson Jack, a record label where he could be the main artiste.
Speaking on if it was a good decision to be signed to Nelson Jack, he shared, “That was a good decision, but in the long run, we had issues due to management.
“Something was not right because even my lawyer – who was more like a brother to me, was saying to me, ‘bro you signed this contract, and this is not what you signed up for’. I had a lawyer even before I got to meet Nelson Jack. They were not executing the contract. There are some things they were supposed to be doing that they were not doing.
“So, we had some issues. We already had our plans and knew how the brand was supposed to go, but some things were not right. We settled it amicably, and I said that since I can’t get these things, I have to pull out. It was a good decision as it helped me to a point but it did not get me to the height I was expecting.”
Speaking on challenges he faced and how he came through, “Two years ago, I wasn’t doing anything. I had an issue with the record label, and the court told me that I am not allowed to drop songs for a year or two. I was not allowed to have any interviews or shows.
“All I was doing was to record new songs in my home studio. I was not functioning, I went through hell, but I am back.
“At a point, I was begging for food to eat. But this whole thing taught me more about life. Sometimes, life is always wicked, you have to know what you want. Thank God for the Apala fusion because if I was doing like other sounds, Terry Apala would have gone” he added.