If money can’t seperate us, no woman can —Bracket
With their hit track, Yori Yori, singing duo, Bracket, shot into instant fame in the nation’s music industry. The group made up of Obumneme Ali (Smash) and Nwachukwu Ozioko (Vast) has since proved not to be a flash in the pan. In this interview with DUPE AYINLA-OLASUNKANMI, Vast, one of the singing duo, talks on their staying power, his battle with cancer and plans to get married.
YOU guys are travelling abroad for a show soon; so, what is it all about?
We are going to the U.S. for the African Musik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA). It is owned by Big A Entertainment and we have been contacted to headline the event. Before the awards proper, we will also have an appearance in Baltimore, U.S. Also, when we return, we have other shows. But the one that has been confirmed is the show in Cotonou on August 24. But according to our schedule, we have other shows before that.
How does it feel being selected to headline that event?
We feel honoured and it shows that the name Bracket is being recognised. It also shows that our work being pushed out there is doing great and it is a challenge too. Because if you are doing great and you do not keep up the pace and even do more, then, the result will not be good.
What will you describe as the staying power of Bracket, considering that some other groups have broken up?
I will have to bring God in, though the upbringing also matters a lot. In my family, my father teaches love and unity and the need to be at peace with whoever you are working with. And I think the same thing applies to my partner, Smash. We handle issues as if we are related by blood. We remove pride and we don’t want to put anybody first. We both are equals. That is what has been helping us to be together this long.
Apart from your music, what other projects do you have at hand?
For now, it is just our music. But we are trying to set up a cancer foundation, which will take place very soon. Knowing it is a very long process, we are trying everything possible to make it stand; and soon, we will start the promotion. You know, I was sick and every other thing had to be put on hold. But now, we are putting all our resources and time together to make it a huge success.
You were lucky to have a partner who stood by you…
(Cuts in) I must say I am a lucky person to have such people around me. My partner and manager stood by me. One thing about life is that the people you hang around matters a lot. You just don’t hang around people because they are successful. You have to think about the positive impact they can make in your life.
With regard to your experience, what came to your mind at that time?
It was a horrible experience and I do not pray for anybody to go through such. It is like a nightmare. I pray for whoever out there is laid up with such a disease because it is a matter of grace, if you are able to survive it. In fact, only a few survive it.
In your own case, would you say you were lucky?
It was a miracle because I was as skinny as a stick of broom. I was very skinny and you could see that this person was almost gone. People who used to know me would describe me as chubby. But all that went away and whenever we visited the hospital, they always started with HIV test because I am a musician. After all tests, nothing was found until an ultra-scan was done, which showed that something was growing outside the organs. If it was inside the organs, then, it would have been a closed chapter. It took eight to nine months to go for treatment and it was not easy. But I thank God.
We’ve seen partners fight and break up because of women. Have you guys found yourselves in such a situation?
(Laughs) Money has not separated us; so, women won’t do that to us. We had a little issue about money in the past and we settled it. So, when it comes to women or when Smash sees me with people who will not add value to my life, he warns me. And when I don’t listen, he will let me be. Then, when it all goes wrong, he is still the same person I come back to. I don’t think women or money can be a problem between us at this stage.
Musically, what do you guys have in the pipeline?
We just released the video of Nana, which is gaining a lot of views at the moment. And with the pace Nana is going, we are already in the studio working on other songs. We cannot do a song that is below that standard now.
You have been able to keep up the pace; so, what is the secret?
It is God and consistency. A lot of our musicians think dropping a hit song is the best you can do. But you have to keep up with that pace because you cannot afford to do something below that standard that you have set with the hit. Most times, once they release a hit track, they relax. That is the mindset of most Nigerian musicians. But these days, it is all about consistency because music does not last that long; so, you have to keep it up. And if you are not capable of doing a good song and shooting a good video with it, then, I pity you. Back in the days, you would just release your song and give it to a marketer. But now, things have changed because you will hardly see a musician who would drop an audio without a video to follow. I believe these are the things that have kept Bracket going. Even while I was in hospital, we shot a video. That is to show how hard it is for you to be up there.
It has been reported that you attended the Institute of Management Technology (IMT), but you claimed to have passed out from the University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka. So, what is the true story?
You know people mix things up. When they come to interview Bracket and we are asked about the schools we finished from, one person will be talking and Smash will say, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. And that is what will be put in the interview. And when I am being asked the same question, I will say, Institute of Management Technology (IMT). That is where the mix up comes in. But in some cases, you will see where the different schools are written. So, it is not intentional.
The group had come out with different names and people before it eventually metamorphosed into Bracket…
(Cuts in) Well, I don’t know about that. We have always been Bracket. We were three in number. Things happened and Bracket ended up with two and we have been doing well since then.
So, what is your relationship presently with the third person, Bistop?
Yeah, we are just friends. He is just a friend; we don’t communicate, maybe because we travel a lot out of the country. He has been trying to do his own music, but he is not really coming up the way he expected. And we don’t really see at events. But maybe if we had met at one of the events, we would have exchanged contacts.
He seems not to be happy with you guys, particularly with the way you left him out of the group.
Anybody can say whatever he or she likes. But one thing I want people to know is that, if our hands weren’t pure, God won’t have taken us up to where we are today. Whatever anybody says, I don’t care. All I know is our hands are clean.
You guys are not getting younger; so, are there no pressures from your parents to get married?
It is a must-do thing and we are not getting younger. Within the next two or three years, we should do that. We are still single, but we are not getting any younger. We love to get married and we believe that most artistes think about it and they look forward to getting married. Even 10 years ago, we were getting the pressure too. But it takes time and you also have to be wise. If we had done it 10 years back, they might not be enjoying what they are enjoying today. But they are enjoying it today because of hard work.
Talking about your health, how are you feeling now?
If you leave here now, what will you tell people about the way I look? Healthy, I guess?
Physically, you look healthy. But within, one doesn’t know how you are?
That is true. But a lot of tests and scan were done about five months ago and nothing was seen. So, I might have to go back when we are back from America for another medical check; and by His grace, nothing will be found.
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