Veteran singer, Zaaki Azzay, in an interview with Saturday Beats, revealed that starting off his career in music was difficult as no one believed in his talent but only judged him because he hails from the North.
He said it was very discouraging as sound engineers and producers laughed at him and called him an ‘Aboki’.
He said, “It was not easy (because) it was very competitive at that time. It was discouraging as most people did not take me seriously because of the part of the country I come from. They did not believe that anyone from that part of the country could do well in entertainment.
“When I needed to contract a producer, pay for a studio session or work with others in the music industry, I got the nonchalant attitude of, ‘let’s go and do anyhow because this man obviously doesn’t know what he is doing’. They laughed at me and called me names such as ‘Gambari’ and ‘Aboki’, asking which kind of music I wanted to sing. When my song, ‘Fatima’, was released, they were shocked by what I was able to do. From there, I started getting respected. At that time, there was no hip hop (music) in Nigeria.”
On the perception that northern entertainers don’t relate well with their counterparts in the south, the torchlight-wielding singer said, “It used to be like that but not anymore. Northerners have begun to see the importance of the entertainment industry. Some of them have even gone to the extent of encouraging their children to go into industry.
“At that time, people saw musicians as uneducated rascals who were not to be taken seriously. (But) over the years, given the achievements of Nigerian entertainers and the international attention they are currently enjoying, everything has changed. People like us made the sacrifice for those enjoying it now.”