I don’t worry about negative opinions again —Teriba
Gospel singer, Lanre Teriba, famously known as Atorise has been in the music industry for over two decades and has become one of the most notable Nigerian artistes making the country proud. In this interview by SEGUN ADEBAYO, he addresses misconceptions about his career, life and future plans.
Not much has been heard about you for some time. You seem to have chosen a quiet life now. Are you getting tired?
I don’t think you are the first person to say that I have been quiet. But the truth is that I disagree with you because I have not been quiet. I have just been busy and staying away from the media space to focus on my work, my career and my life. It is not very correct to assume that when somebody is not talking or putting out words there, it is easily taken that he’s getting tired or as people would say, he has lost relevance. I have been in the music industry for over two decades and I am still very active.
Are you still enjoying the fame?
The fame has not waned. Those who go about saying otherwise don’t know me. I wish they knew how richly blessed I am. But you don’t have to explain yourself to people all the time. I want to keep my focus on my career. My songs are still being played everywhere and I get feedbacks from my fans. Many people call me for shows and I even turned some shows down because I chose to not because I don’t like those people, it is just a matter of principle and time.
But you can’t be quiet and remain relevant in your kind of job; people want to hear from you. What is your take?
At this point in my life, you don’t expect someone like me to still be jumping on the bandwagon effect. I have mastered the game and I have paid and still paying my dues, so these things don’t get to me because those who know me and what I can do have not stopped reaching out to me. I am grateful for the grace to have come far. So my take is that people should not worry too much about me, they should just keep supporting the brand and the music. We would not have got to this level if they have not been supporting and showing us love, so I urge them to keep the fire burning and I assure them I would not disappoint. Lanre Teriba is doing just fine.
You have been going on tour for some years but this year, you took it to another level. What necessitated these trips?
It is the prayer of every artiste to keep expanding and taking his music beyond the borders. Going on tour has always been my joy but this year, I was super excited to visit new cities where a lot of my fans have been yearning for my music. I had lined up these shows for over a year and I am happy that the dream is fulfilled. From the first day the tour started and even till now, I have received so much love and care from people that I have never met in my life. In different cities I toured in Europe, particularly in America, the love was massive. I was shocked to hear people chorus my songs in places I have never been to. It can only be God.
Some months back you were trolled on the social media for saying some of Nigeria’s secular music stars were seen as up-and-coming talents in the US. That statement did not go down well with some people and they said you were only being jealous of their success. What do you think about this?
I don’t want to talk about this issue again because it had been laid to bed. I never tried to deride anyone or rubbish the success they have recorded. For me, I was only trying to express my displeasure as regards to how American promoters and Americans see our music stars as up-and-coming artistes. It is a great concern to me, so I only made my comment innocently and it was devoid of any form of bias.
Some people believe you raised the issue just to draw attention to yourself?
That suggestion is wrong. I didn’t make that comment to trend online because my music is doing very well. I don’t know why people would think that anyone who raised an issue about a general problem in Nigeria or overseas, it is believed that the person is seeking relevance. It is so unfortunate. We pay too much attention to mundane things and ignore the real issues, especially on the social media. Negative things trend online but people pay lip service to noble things. I am not surprised that people didn’t look at the real thing in the issues I raised. But we have moved on and everybody is fine.
Do they see you as great gospel musician overseas despite being a popular name in Nigeria?
These people don’t even see me as a great gospel musician too but I am proud of my talent; I can raise my head high anywhere in the world. What matters to me is that people understand my message and I can take my music to any part of the world.
What do you think about Nigerian hip hop artistes making the country proud across the globe?
In one of the interviews I granted while the issue was on, I made it clear that I have nothing against anyone. Everybody is very good in their right and is making Nigeria and Nigerians around the world proud. I don’t hold any grudge against any of my fellow gospel musicians, so why would I do such to other artistes doing different genres of music. We are all one big happy family.
You have always maintained that you are a versatile musician and we have seen you take your songs to the club, churches and even places that people see as unworthy for a gospel singer to associate with. How does this make you feel?
I don’t feel bad. In fact, I feel very great taking my songs to those places where other don’t want to go. The gospel is not meant for those who are saved but those who are still missing the grace to join the fellowship of Christ. I have never seen myself as a gospel singer but a musician with God-given talent to sing and worship Him across the globe.
How do you cope with temptations that come from those places?
Temptation comes in different ways and trying to sing secular songs is something that can cross the mind of any good musician like me who is very versatile. I can sing secular songs too if I feel like, but my calling is to use my talent to praise and worship God. As far as I know, I am a versatile and inspirational gospel singer.
How challenging has it been for you staying true to your career?
There are so many challenges in life and my gospel music career has taken some bite of it; for instance, I sing in my mother tongue but many Yoruba people are not proud of their language. Most of them love identifying with the English people; they do not understand or value traditional music. I am not bothered about the challenges I face but I want to keep using my gift to bless souls across the world.
You have a praise concert coming up in a matter of days, but people are raising eyebrow over the ticketing which is on the high side. Do you think your brand is big enough to stage such concert?
I have come a long way and I am very certain that many people are looking forward to the concert. Lanre Teriba is not a brand that people are not familiar with, so if I say I am staging a concert and the gate takings are on the high side, it is because of the caliber of people expected to grace the event. It is an executive concert and it is not meant for those who should not be there. The people will be thrilled, that I can assure you.