Not many people know that Panshak Zamani (also known as Ice Prince) once stayed at home due to lack of school fees or once performed on stage with his pair of trousers ripped off. The award winning rapper discussed these, his growing up years and career with JOAN OMIONAWELE. Excerpts
What was growing up in Jos like?
It (Jos) was the most peaceful place on earth. Things were rosy for us until my dad passed on in 1999. There were times I stayed at home for two weeks because I had no school fees to pay; but I thank God because He has kept me.
What have you been up to lately?
I’ve been making music and shooting videos for my Fire of Zamani album. I’ve been working with new artistes as well.
How is your Fire of Zamani album doing in the market?
I think it’s the number one album in Nigeria now. I made different tracks for different people and my fans are excited about it. I got good reactions and good responses.
You’ve been in the industry for some years now. What keeps you going?
This question makes me old; but I think what keeps me going is the fact that music is the only thing I can do. If you put me in a bank or in a hospital, I will mess up.
So, you’ve always wanted to be a musician since your childhood?
Yes. I have always loved music. I had an uncle called Dantala, who is a local artiste in Jos. I always watched him perform. But I didn’t know I was going to become a musician till I got to secondary school. I wanted to be a pilot, and then a doctor at some point; and so it kept changing. But as time went on in secondary school, I started playing at social nights.
So far, what have been your most memorable moments on stage?
There have been a lot, but that would be when Chipmunk came to Nigeria and we performed together. It was awesome because almost all the Nigerian musicians were there and we had a feel of one another. It was a great experience.
And your most embarrassing moment?
I was in Sierra Leone (while) performing at the stadium and my trousers got ripped off. It got ripped off all the way from the back to the front and I had to put on a towel on my boxers throughout the performance. It was really embarrassing, but my fans liked it and were even screaming. But to me, it was really embarrassing.
You were featured in the 2013 edition of the TV series, Shuga. Is that another part of you that we should expect to see?
I like to play around with acting, but it is not something I would want to do fulltime because for now, I will like to focus on music. When I also did House of Gold with Yvonne Nelson and Omawumi, it was a random conversation. I was just saying ‘oh, I want to act’ and Yvonne said she had a job for me to do.
What’s the difference between Ice Prince Zamani and Panshak Zamani?
There is no much difference. I am pretty much myself; but you know as a public figure, they say I can’t go into any market whenever I want. Generally, I still move around with the friends I grew up with, my crew and producers. I don’t think anything has changed about me.
What’s your typical day like?
I am an indoor person. I stay at home because I don’t like to talk. If I am not going out for shows or interviews, I go downstairs to my studio and record songs. I am a bit of an introvert.
For an artiste...?
Yes. Bob Marley was an introvert.
So how do you pamper yourself?
How do I pamper myself? (Laughs) Why should I pamper myself? I don’t see the need to. I am a man, not a woman; only women do all that. I just get on my bed and sleep and wake up refreshed.
What’s the most expensive gift you’ve got?
My car; but I won’t tell you how much (it costs) before some people start making a fuss about it.
There was a time people said you were bleaching on Twitter, and you did not find it funny. What happened?
I was not pissed off; I only replied them saying ‘bad man bleach, never that’. It did not mean I was upset. In fact, I laughed about it because I don’t see how on earth I’m going to bleach. I’m black to the bones. As you can see, I have really black knuckles, so when I put them on Instagram, it looks like I bleached. For the record, I am not body-conscious. I don’t powder my face; I don’t even use the mirror...
So you did not look at the mirror this morning...?
(Laughs) Yes I did, that’s in respect of the field I have found myself in. I am in the business of perception, where what people see matters; but if I was not an artiste, I would not even cream my body.
There was a performance you also did and pointed at rapper Eva Arlodiah, saying she was your first girlfriend. What was that about?
Yes, she was performing with Emma Nyra and I said she was the First Lady I dated when I came to Lagos. It’s true.
So, what happened? Why did you break up?
I say when I first come Lagos nah! We were young and exploring ourselves. We argued a lot.
Talking about your son, Jamal; why did it take you so long to let your fans know about him?
It did not take me so long. From when he was born, my fans knew I had a son; and he is just two years old. I always put him up on my Twitter and Instagram. I always talk about him, and have never kept him away from people.
Do you see him toeing your music line?
Why not? I am never going to stop him from pursuing his dreams. If he says he wants to be a musician, a doctor or a lawyer, why not? The only thing I can do is guide him as a father.
When are you taking the potential Mrs Zamani to the altar?
(Laughs) I am just 27 years old. I don’t have any brother or mentor that got married at 27. So, I have about five years to go. I have to make more money and build a house in Banana Island before I take a woman home.
What qualities do you look out for in a woman before you get personal with her?
I just want her to be honest. I don’t care if she is beautiful and has figure 8. I just want her to be honest, or we connect and have telepathy.
Talking about the Brymo saga; has it affected your friendship with him?
It has not affected our friendship. If I see Brymo right now, we will still sit down and talk. We are both busy now. I still talk about Brymo anywhere I go.
Lately, almost every artiste has been having issues with their record label. What’s your reaction to this?
Almost every record label has gone through this and I think it’s a growth process for us as an industry. This happens in almost every part of the world and not just here. I don’t think it’s something that will destroy our industry but something that will make our industry bigger.
Who introduced you into the music scene, professionally?
MI introduced me into the music industry back in Jos. I joined our church choir and that was where I met MI. He was the choir leader, while his brother, Jesse Jagz, was a drummer. That was how we became a family and started living in the same house. MI taught me practically everything I know about music; and when he left Jos, Jesse and I were left. But when he became big as an artiste, we decided to join him in Lagos. And here we are.