Alughere Louis Maduabuchi, popularly known by his stage name, Louis Spectre, is a fast-rising Lagos-based musician and actor. He came to limelight through his popular hit tracks, E don tey, Time, Ego ji olu and others. He has also featured in television series like Celebrity Tailor, where he played the role of Chidi the Igbo Guy. In this exclusive interview he spoke about his musical career, why older folks see today’s music as meaningless, why he is referred to a ghost on stage etc.
How did your music career begin?
Music is part of my family. My mother is a singer and dancer. Almost everyone in my family is into media or entertainment, so it is in our blood. During my days at Saint Dominic Secondary School, Orlu, Imo State, I started with my church band group and played bass guitar. Professionally, I would say I started in 2011 when I recorded my first song.
How did you fund your first music?
In 2011, I worked for my cousins and got paid monthly. Whenever I went on errand I either rapped or sang my original songs. One day, my cousin asked, “Is that your song?” I said, “Yes, it is mine and I want to record it, but I don’t have money.” He asked, “How much do you think it would cost?” I said, “It is N20,000 per track.”
When he came back in the evening he gave me the complete money and I went straight to the studio the next day. After the entire production sessions, I brought the song to him. He was very impressed with me and always played it in his car. I was based in Owerri. I could not perform in the club because I was not up to the age, so he always took me to popular bars like Ibari Ogwa and others to perform.
What style of music do you do and why?
Afro pop and highlife. At times music is not what you would restrict your creativity; you have to allow it flow to suit your audience. I do not limit myself to Afro pop or highlife, it is mostly based on how the inspiration comes. I cannot say I am doing 100 per cent hip-hop in Nigeria. The likes of Phyno, Olamide, M I and Vector are great rappers in Nigeria, but they don’t restrict themselves to rapping. At times, they do Afro highlife or hip-hop. My environment, which is Nigeria, influences my style of music.
Are you a fulltime musician and actor?
I cannot say I am. This is because I realised that as an upcoming artist and a person not signed to any record label, if I say I am doing fulltime music without a source of income, it cannot work. I am an independent artist not signed to any record label. I sponsor all my music and videos. Therefore, to say that I am into fulltime music would mean that I do not have any other source of income. I work in one of the multinational companies in Nigeria, from where I am able to fund my musical career.
Have you ever been discouraged at any point in your career?
Yes. Two years ago, I made up my mind to quit, but after sometime, my friend called me and said, “O boy, I just heard your song on Ray Power FM.” I asked if he was serious and he said, “Yes, your old song.” I told him I did not put the song there, maybe they just found it worthy to use. I pondered within myself, ‘so somebody somewhere is listening.’ That reignited my passion and I decided to continue. This time, I did it more professionally.
Who do you look up to in the music industry? Do you have a mentor? Do you mentor others?
In the Nigerian music industry, some are greedy and selfish. Even when you come close to certain people to mentor you, they would feel you are coming for something else. I don’t have a personal mentor.
Kezyklef, the producer of the ‘Zoro’ song by Phyno and Flavour created a group chat and added some artists, and I am part of it. In that group, he would always mentor us on what we need to know about the music industry, so I would actually call Kezyklef a mentor. He motivated me on the song I did last year. He said I should not think people were not seeing me, adding that he saw all my works before adding me to the group. He encouraged me to keep doing what I am doing well, saying that one day I would get a life-changing call or offer.
I have quite a number of younger friends I mentor; they rap and sing well. I try to guide them and even pay for their studio sessions. I do not want them to make the same mistakes I made. For me, helping without finance is bullshit, so I pay for their sessions to motivate them. I strongly believe we grow by lifting others.
Older folks say the new generation of musicians has a lot to learn; some people even refer to today’s songs as meaningless. What is your take?
When they say our generation is not making sense in music they are not really lying. At times, the kind of songs we do these days surprise me as well. When you listen to the old songs of those old people like Tuface, Faze, P-Square, Dbanj, Don Jazzy and others, you would discover that their lyrics make a lot of sense. You cannot compare them to the songs we do now. And I cannot exclude myself because at times I do songs that are crazy, talking rubbish and dancing.
But music is evolving every day. We all do it for money; it is like a job for us. Popular demand pushes us to do those kinds of songs. I remember when I did Ego ji olu and Time, which were very good songs with powerful lyrics, people said they needed something like Lamba, lamba, lamba.
Another example is when I was invited for a show through the social media @Louisspectre. I travelled for the show, and when I got there, the organiser listened to most of my songs and said, “You don’t have Lamba.” I asked what he meant and he said, “People always like Lamba and that’s what they always demand for.” He said next time I should try to record more Lamba. To be honest, popular demand has made me shift my creativity into another phase. For me, aside the Lamba, at least an artist can try to drop a sensible song that people can listen to, relax and say, ‘So this guy has sense like this?’
You are Louis Spectre, how did ‘The Ghost on Stage’ come about?
The reason I am called Ghost is because earlier, when I performed in schools, whenever I was on stage, the crowd would always scream, “Ghost!’’ I believe that when I am on stage nobody sees my back. I do it more than anybody else. You know, literally, spectre means a ghost; so it is The Ghost on Stage.
I see myself as the best. The secret remains that in music, you have to be your own biggest fan. I always encourage everyone into entertainment or creativity, like a writer, blogger, artist or any professional to put in his/her best. See yourself as the best and be your own inspiration.