NO TIME FOR WOMEN – Music Rave, Ice Prince
27-year-old Panshack Zamani, a.k.a Ice Prince, is one of the finest in the Nigerian music industry right now. He also ranks among the topmost and most celebrated, with notable awards and endorsement deals to his credit. The handsome crooner recently chatted with YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine’s KOREDE BELLO on his success story, sophomore album and more…
How does it feel to be celebrated?
It feels like a blessing. I feel really honoured when people show love; when people show appreciation. It’s a dream come true. So, yeah! It’s a blessing.
At what stage did you decide that it was music or nothing?
I decided it was music or nothing probably around 2005. At the time, I was supposed to go to the university, but I couldn’t do that because I had financial problems and the only thing I could fall back on was music. So, it’s in 2005 I put my heart into it.
How would you describe your style of rap?
My style of rap is Nigerian hip-hop. That’s what I make. I make Nigerian hip-hop, my own way and my sound is really influenced by church music. Plateau music, Jos music. I put all of that in my hip-hop, so it’s Nigerian music. That’s my genre.
What would you say is the secret of coming up with a good song?
Honestly, the secret of a good song is honesty. If you write a song from the heart, people would connect to it. When I’m in the studio, I try not to fabricate music, I try not to fabricate lines. I don’t make music off what I heard or what I think is going to pop or what I think is going to be hot. I make music from honesty. You know it’s the melodies I sing, the things I say in my raps, the kind of beats that I choose; the strings and every other thing I put into my music that makes it real. It’s how I feel that I bring it out.
What are the ingredients needed for a hit song?
The secrets of a hit song are simplicity, melody and rhyme. The rhyme has to be on point. You know rhyme is like sugar. If you go ‘twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are’. That rhyme is the sugar in that bar. So, for me, the ingredients of a hit song are simplicity and honesty.
There are so many songs that have these same ingredients but don’t come out as hits?
I don’t agree with you. Simplicity is relative. I don’t think a lot of the artistes are necessarily simple because a lot of the songs I hear on the radio make me ask: is this guy trying to sound like that guy or this beat trying to sound like this beat? So, it’s not honest. Example is Asa. Even though it sounds like it’s complicated music, that’s simple music; that’s honest music. You can tell that it’s from the heart and that would always sell.
Where do artistes get it wrong, especially the up and coming ones?
I think where they get it wrong is that they get pampered too quick. I realized that these days in Nigeria, artistes get pampered quick. You see an up-coming artiste that has maybe one song and he’s coming to you with his P.A (Personal Assistant), with his manager, with his bouncer and all that stuff. You haven’t even blown yet, you know. I think that’s what it is. When you get too comfortable at the beginning of your career, there’s no way you’re going to be hungry. Like me, when I started, the industry was not like this. These days, artistes get pampered a little too much and that’s the only problem I have with the artistes of these days; but they work hard. Artistes work hard these days. The work is ten times more than what it used to be before because I have realized that nobody sleeps anymore. All these artistes are my colleagues and my friends, so I can speak for them; they don’t sleep anymore. The work is extra harder now, but they get pampered too early, too quick.
What’s the greatest mistake that celebrities make and what should stars in the making avoid?
You see, the thing is that I’m not God, so I can’t tell you what mistake an artiste has made. Unless you ask me about a particular person, I cannot tell you that this artiste made a mistake when he did that.
Being a celebrity , there must be some things that you avoid?
That’s if I’m talking about me personally. Let’s say for example, if I don’t post cigarette on my Instagram, it doesn’t mean that the guy that posts himself smoking cigarette on Instagram is stupid or is useless. That’s him, that’s his lifestyle. It’s different from mine. But for me personally, there are some things that I just don’t let out; I try to keep my personal life personal and what I do in private stays private.
What’s the greatest thing that music has done for you?
Music has opened doors for me, men! Music has put food on my table, music has employed me and changed my life, to be honest with you.
What has music not done for you?
Nothing! There’s nothing that music has not done for me yet; there’s nothing. Music has taken me almost everywhere around this world. I’ve won awards that I never imagined that I could win…
So, are you saying that at this stage of your career, you’re fulfilled?
Nah! Not yet. I’m still an up-coming artiste and I tell everybody that I still see myself as an up-coming artiste. I can never see myself as a celebrity. I can never be big. I can never be the superstar and God knows. God knows I’m always going to be me.
What are those things you still crave for as an artiste?
I’m not a very materialistic guy, to be honest with you. If you see me dressing good or dressing fly, there’s a guy called Snicker Boy that brings all the clothes and tells me ‘Ice wear this, Ice don’t wear that’. I’m not a very materialistic guy. All my friends know that about me, so I don’t think there’s anything that I’m necessarily craving for apart from just making music.
Why did you decide to name your new album Fire of Zamani?
I got criticized a lot for my first album. A lot of people criticized me when I dropped my first album and it almost weighed me down. It almost made me want to quit music and go back to Jos. But then again, I realized that criticism only brings out the fire in you. It only brings out the best in you, so I had to bring in all my best in recording my second album. I had to put in all my best; I had to put in everything I had musically in my head to make this album. Yeah! That’s why I called it Fire of Zamanai and I heard the line from a 2Face song and I just thought, this is the way to go.
Why should people listen to the album? Why should they buy the album?
Because it’s Ice Prince’s album, men! (Laughs)
Which of the tracks are your favourites?
I don’t have a favorite track on the album. Every track comes from a different experience or a different emotion. I don’t have a favorite. Every track affects me in a different way.
So, which one is dedicated to Mrs. Ice Prince?
There’s no Mrs. Ice Prince, so there’s none dedicated to Mrs. Ice Prince.
When are you planning to settle down?
I don’t know. I’m 27 years old, I don’t need to settle down right now, men! (Laughs). When I’m older, I’ll get married, but 27 years old living the life of a youth. I’m not saying I’m going about messing around with girls, but I’m single. Throughout this year I’ve been married to my music; making my album. So, I didn’t have time to…maybe now that I’m done with my album, I can start searching for girls, but before now I was not.
What’s your relationship with Jesse Jags?
Jesse Jags is my brother; he’s my best friend. I’ll say I started recording professional music with him, so it’s been years, men!
How do you feel now that he’s not on the same label with you?
Nah! He’s still with me. It doesn’t feel like he’s not with me at all. Him leaving Chocolate City is not him leaving Ice Prince or him leaving MI. I’m not the owner of Chocolate City, I don’t work in Chocolate City, I’m an artiste signed to Chocolate City, so you know what I mean? It happens in football; Ronaldo and Messi would play in the same team this year and the next year they will sell one of them to another team. Our relationship and brotherhood stays there forever, men! He’s my bro.
NB: First published November 2013