Hey everyone, it’s yet another edition of the 9DF Celebrity gist and today, we have the pleasure of speaking with Nigeria’s number 1 Afrobeat talking drummer and of course, we know you may or may not know him but what we do know is, you know some of the hits he’s played on. For instance, For You by Teni featuring Davido, Uyo Meyo & of course, so many others .
He’s been associated with almost all the A-List artistes like Adekunle Gold, Simi, Teni and a lot more and he has not stopped serving us fine talking drum flavours everytime he links up to make music. Join us to welcome Alabama Georgia.
Deks : Alabama Georgia, before anything, I want to ask, is that your real name or a stage name and if it’s a stage name, how was it formed ?
Alabama Gerogia : Alabama Georgia is not my real name, It’s my stage name and it was given to me about 11years ago today, in Atlanta. That was actually my first time in America “9ja at 50”.
The name was given to me in a store there in Atlanta by the owner when I went for shopping. The owner of the store had actually been in my show prior, the store was just opposite the hotel where I was lodged at the time, Marriot hotel.
Deks : Tell us about yourself
Alabama Georgia : My name is Babatunde Alaba, I’m from Ogun state in South Western Nigeria, Abeokuta to be precise, I’m the last born from a family of 4 and I’m married and blessed with 2 lovely kids, I grew up within Ifako, Orimolade and Ogba.
Deks : What has your musical journey been like ? For instance, did you start out as a talking drummer or a singer ?, When did you discover music ?, that kind of stuff.
Alabama Georgia : I started my journey from the streets with what we locally call “pangolo” every night, so much that if people do not see me on the street, they would keep wondering where else I could possibly be, more like “where is that boy that normally disturbs us with plastic , bottles, or tins, every night”….Lol.
Like I mentioned earlier, I would play my instrument around the street, sometimes in front of my house then at Orimolade, Ifako and Ogba area. You know, from there to my Cele church where I started learning how to play the Omele, then later shifted interest to the talking drum. I started music in 1996, but I came into the limelight in 2003-4(ish), I started working with A-list artistes like African China, TWO, Xproject, Benita Okojie, Late Sunny Okosun ,Late Kefee – the Branama crooner, Obesere and a couple of others.
Deks : What’s your take, do you think the talking drum is limited to a certain type of
Alabama Gerogia : At all, its not limited at all, well, for those who know, not everyone that plays, knows the rudiment of the talking drum or how to apply those rudiments to certain genre of music.
That’s why my craft is so unique and different from that of other talking drummers. I’m unique and renowned because I know how to apply my sounds to any genre of music, say Pop to Hip-hop, R&B, Reggae, Blues, Jazz, Juju, Highlife, Makosa, Fuji, Apala, you name it.
I can play on any kind of sound, I know where to apply lows, mids, highs, then where to embellish and all that. For example, when you are playing Juju or Fuji or Apala or even Gospel Fuji, the talking drum has to be loud and have more lows to compliment the lead vocalist because that is what that style requires essentially, You just have to give it what it takes. In other genres, it doesn’t work like that.
Deks : When was that breakthrough moment into mainstream music for you and what did it feel like ?
Alabama Georgia : My breakthrough period was within 2002 till 2005 there about and it felt exhilarating. Like I said, I started music in 1996 but came in fully in 2003 and since then, I’ve been on the scene and indeed people started noticing me more because I started playing for A-list artistes, even more, because I started playing on different platforms likes on MTN Project Fame, Nigerian Idols and so many others, I always put up an extra-ordinary show and I’m quite selective of gigs, you wouldn’t find me on just any random show.
Deks : Nigerian music is on a very global level now, how does this make you feel as a musician & how has it impacted your craft ?
Alabama Georgia : I feel great anytime I am on tour, our music in Naija or Africa as a whole has really cut through, especially our Afrobeat, my area of specialisation, has really moved, 100%. These are the sounds that bring us together as a nation, as a world, as a country. Out there, they respect our sound 100%. Anytime I’m on stage in a festival. The feeling is amazing, I absolutely feel on top of the world. The ambience, atmosphere, down to the logistics and back stage, while on the road, the hospitality and all. My brother, its a whole different ball game, I have really met a lot of musicians and music minded people from all over while on tour since 2010 that I’ve been on the road. Everyday or anytime I find myself on any project, for either cooperate bodies or artistes, I feel good and overwhelmed because I deserve it, yes, but more so because comparing where I came from or started from to now, its not an easy task.
Deks : Who are those that have influenced your craft and what inspires you when creating sounds because we know you play this instrument in a way that’s unique to you.
Alabama Georgia : Lagbaja , Majek Fashek, KSA, Aruna Ishola Tussaud Olatunji, Celine Dion. These are some of those who their music influenced my style coming up. Listening to these talents helped me a lot. Basically, I get inspired by the sounds I listen to. The kind of sounds that really inspire me though are Old-skool songs, Reggae, Jazz and a couple of others.
I took my time to study different genres though, to allow me play my instrument more fluidly and creatively. I play once there’s a melody already going, like a guitar or piano melody, it allows me know how to sweeten what is already going on with my drum.
Deks : Social media and trolls, do you get any and if yes, how do you deal with them ?
Alabama Georgia : Well, for me, I don’t really get trolls
Deks : Asides playing the talking drum, do you also play any other instrument?
Alabama Georgia : I play most percussion instruments, so yeah. I play the Conga, Bongo, Omele, then other English accessories such as shakers, woodblock, triangle and lots more.
Deks : What does the future hold for Alabama Georgia musically ?
Alabama Georgia : I believe the future holds greatness for me, I see myself working with bigger artistes internationally because I have worked with big artistes here in Nigeria and I’m still working. I see myself on bigger stages with international acts doing projects like recording with them, you know, them vibing to my sound, seeing myself on billboards, charts, Time square New york….lol….being the face of brands, yeah so, those sort of things.
Deks : Can you list some projects you’ve worked on (Songs & the artistes), because we do not get to see lots of mentions besides the producers and artistes.
Alabama Georgia : I have been behind so many percussions like ; Chidinma – Jankoliko
Darey art Alade – Naked Album (Pray for Me, Aya mi, Orekelewa, Delilah)
Adekunle Gold – Orente, Gold the Album (My life, No forget, Beautiful night, Nurse Alabere, Temptation, Fight For You, Pick up), About 30 Album (Ire, Fame, Money, let’s go back to the start, Delialah).
Falz & Simi – Chemistry
Simi – Thief , Jamb Question, Open and Close, SIMISOLA the Album (Smile for me, Aimasiko, Ayo, Selense, Love Don’t Care, Complete).
Teni – Uyo Meyo, Come and See,
Teni & Davido – For you
Falz Moral Instruction Album (track 8), Loving
Yemi Alade – Talku Talku and so many more and counting.
Deks : Do you consider yourself a spiritual person ?
Alabama Georgia : Yeah.
Deks : How do you unwind when you’re not creating ?
Alabama Georgia : I take some whiskey, relax, go out to meet up with friends, party even with them, so I can refresh my brain and see and hear some other things asides music and from there too, I get inspired and exposed to another atmosphere of life.
Deks : How can your fans reach you ? Your socials to be specific.
Alabama Georgia : On Facebook, I’m Alabama Georgia, on IG I’m @alabamageorgia1
Deks : Say something to your fans
Alabama Georgia : I love you guys, keep listening, keep watching because without you guys, there won’t be Alabama Georgia, thanks for the love and likes, even nice comments all the time. God bless and keep you all.
Deks : It was beautiful speaking with you Sir, absolutely exciting, we wish you best of luck in your future endeavors.Do you find 9jadailyfeeds useful? Click here to give us five stars rating!