Out of the Garden City, a star is about to take a great leap into the music scene. They call him Pacino Royale. Pacino has been around, jump starting shows in some cases, and releasing a couple of singles to his credit which can be found online. But the reggae musician appears set this time to set Port Harcourt ablaze with his brand of reggae.
Telegraph’s Publisher, Ogbonna Nwuke engaged Pacino in a chat. He spoke about his dreams, his album launch, and his aspirations and talked a little about the music industry and the place of Port Harcourt in it.
Here are excerpts:
Telegraph: How did you come to choose music as a way life? In other words, what attracted you to music?
Pacino: I would humbly say that music chose me; I didn’t choose music you know. Everybody is born with a talent and I think my own gift from my heavenly Father, Jehovah is music, the art, singing and dancing.
Telegraph: You seem to have chosen to play reggae and sing reggae. Why is Jah music your passion?
Pacino: I chose reggae music because reggae music is love, reggae music is unique. Reggae music is a sacred kind of music, music for the saints; music for the conscious mind. Yes…I would always like to associate with good things; not negativity
Telegraph: There was a time “roots rock reggae” as some would like to describe it had a strong followership across the country. Of course there were men like Ras Kimono. Do you think that Nigerians who appear to embrace hip pop still have a place for reggae in their hearts.
Nigerians still love reggae music. I would say there is very minimal supply of reggae music right now in Nigeria. That is why people tend to embrace what they hear, what they see; what they get. I believe that if they get more of reggae music, they will still clinch to that because reggae music is always unique. Reggae music is a natural kind of music (laughs). Whether you a lover of reggae or not, sometimes when you hear the drum and the base, you know, and the lyrics, you ask yourself, man this guy is saying some truth, hitting it hard, and that’s what it is all about.
Telegraph: Who is your reggae idol? Why?
Pacino: Reggae music means a whole lot to them great artistes that me look up to you know. First of all Bob Marley and we can talk about Prince Malaki. People call him Prince Malaki but I call him Prince Malakia. He is another great reggae artiste. Down here in Nigeria Majek Fashek. Majek Fashek is the man every time.
Telegraph: You are about to launch your albums. What are their titles? What inspired you to make those albums?
Pacino: Yes, I will be launching three albums on the 14th of December, three albums – the album, ‘Babylon Burning’, the album ‘Singing My Reggae’ and the album ‘Royale’. These albums are inspirations I have had a long time, a lot of songs I have had a long time. So they are a compilation of my works, a lot of my works.
I could have gone on to make like five albums, but people would be wondering what’s up with this man. The album launch for me is a confirmation, a confirmation because I have had several singles out there over years and time, and people were asking for albums. Not everybody, what should I say has the patience to go online to go search for songs and buy them online. So I am making it available to the masses straight up, yes! So, you can see on the street, you can see it everywhere and buy it.
Telegraph: Port Harcourt has been associated with great names in the music industry, names like King Sunny Brown, Prince David Bull, Daniel Wilson. Many who want to make it big in music are running off to Lagos. Why do you think this is so?
Pacino: People are running off to Lagos. Sincerely, Lagos is a bigger market. I feel that the market in Lagos is more ready than Port Harcourt. But Port Harcourt, I think, we still have a lot of good stuff coming out. All we need is a little bit more of exposure, you know, that’s it. But music has also been here in Port Harcourt. The artistes here in Port Harcourt are very good, but we need more people to key into the industry financially.
Telegraph: Let’s talk a little about you. Who is Pacino? Why did you choose that stage name?
Pacino: Pacino Royale is a reggae artiste, an international conscious reggae artiste. The name Pacino was coined by my friend Daniel Wilson. We met in 1986 when we were in the university and he was planning for his first album, his debut album ‘Daniel in the Lion’s den’ and we were altogether. He needed people to like, jump start the show. You know, those days you organize everything yourself. So, I was one of those he chose. I needed a name; he was not going to call me by my name on stage. He realized I was so much in love with the great actor, Al Pacino. So, he said yes, Al Pacino and that’s how I took that name. But later in time, I found that the name, Al Pacino was already taken when I went to register it. So, I had to do away with the Al and then I made it, Pacino Royale. I added Royale to it.
Telegraph: What message do you have for music lovers in the Garden City and their counterparts across Nigeria?
Pacino: My message to music lovers, the artistes, the world is to believe consciously; flee from negativity; open your eyes to reality; never give up in the struggle; the struggle of life, nothing comes easy. So, we have to work. From the sweat of our brow, we shall eat our bread. Everybody should realize that all hands on deck would make a better society. Yes, that’s my message to the people. They should keep watching out for Pacino, Pacino Royale everywhere in the world. I am coming out with big, big tunes, tunes that people would listen to in a life time.
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