To many of the younger artistes today, the name Zakky Adzee might not immediately ring a bell. But back in the day, there was no hip-hop artiste that could claim to be bigger than Zakky Azzay. He was big. He was the torch bearing singer that could do no wrong. He was every where. He was the number one artiste every lover of hip-hop music wanted to see. Zakky had hits after hits and there was no award or showbiz event that was complete without a Zakky Adzee performance. In fact, in some quarters, it is believed that Zakky Azzay single handedly, pioneered the hip-hop music industry in Naija but has not been properly recognized for his remarkable contribution to the music industry.
Two weeks ago, at the 2019 City People Music Awards held at Sidewalk Lounge, Victoria Island, the ever young looking Zakky was given a recognition award for his contributions to the music sector and he spoke to City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL about how he feels with the present generation of artistes rocking the scene.
What do you feel about the recognition and the love you’ve been shown here tonight?
Well, its long overdue. I appreciate it. I’m happy, it’s encouraging. With what is going on now, Nigeria is a different country. It’s not like America where if you have one hit, just one hit, you’ll be respected for life and you get the benefits of all those works that you have done. But Nigeria is different. So, I’m very happy that they’re recognising me, it encourages me not to quit music, not give up and continue. It also means that no matter how bad it looks, somebody is watching what you’re doing. So, I’m happy.
I know personally that you have been busy doing a lot of talk shows on television but musically, what is Zakky Azzay doing at the moment?
I have a new song, it just came out on social media and it’s titled ‘Notice.’ I’m shooting the video very soon, so in the next few weeks you will hear from me.
What’s your assessment of today’s artistes, what sort of value and talent do you think they’re bringing to the table?
Well, I think they’re very good, I think they’re very hardworking, even though we have a lot of the youths who are into crimes like cybercrime and Yahoo that are using music to cover up. We have two major problems, one is the fact that the federal government is not giving us the right infrastructure and we have been able to conquer the world without the government’s assistance. But the major problem we are facing now is that the youngsters who are into cyber crimes and Yahoo are trying to damage the image of the entertainment industry. They are trying to spoil all the hard work that we’ve been doing. They’re really giving us a bad image and we’re not happy about it. But so far so good, at least the music industry particularly has done awesomely well. I’m so proud that we started it.
Decades ago when you hit the music scene you gave us hits back and back. Decades after, people still remember those songs because they had the message. What are veteran artistes like you doing to impart that sort of song writing skills into the younger artistes?
There’s so much disrespect with these young artistes and that’s why they always crash eventually. The ones that have so much respect for senior colleagues people like Davido, Wizkid, those ones are the artistes at their peak right now yet they have so much respect, but these other ones who are just coming up are so disrespectful, they will not even listen if you try to advice them to do this or do that to improve their craft. So, its an attitude thing, They say what the elders see sitting down, the young ones can’t see standing up. So, if you’re a disrespectful artiste, well, your days are numbered, that’s how it is.
One thing I always find amazing about you is that you’re always looking ever young, how do you do it?
I think that when you pray to God always to grant you long life and prosperity, I think what God will do when you pray such prayers is to rewind your age to make you ageless. He can, for instance, make you look like a thirty-year-old when you’re in fact forty years old. You can be fifty and be looking like thirty-five. I think its just God’s grace, that’s what I think.
Those who know Zakky say that he’s quite a disciplined person, one who insists on moderation and decency which your music always reflects. What part of your background would you say shaped you into the sort of person that you are today?
It’s my mum, she actually introduced me to God at a very early stage in my life. As a young child from day one, I’ve never been in the world and then repented, no. I’ve always been on the side of God since I started because my mum told me from the beginning that all I need is to seek first the kingdom of God and every other thing I’m looking for will be added onto me, and that’s what I’ve been doing all my life.
Is Zakky really a Christian?
Yes, I’m a Christian. In fact, the torchlight is a covenant I made with God before I started, that’s why I carry it all about.
Please refresh our memory on the concept behind the torchlight. I recall that back then when you started out, you were always telling people what the torch stood for, can you refresh our memory again?
Well, like I said, when I was starting there was no hip hop in Nigeria, I pioneered hip hop. So, I was afraid, I was scared that this was the only thing I know how to do. So, I prayed so hard to God that I carried a torchlight and now made a covenant with God and said, God, make me successful, make me rich, make me famous and I promise you I will never go against your wish. I will never derail. My music will be decent. My life will be decent, but just lead me on with the torchlight. Darkness and light can never meet, that’s why I carry the torchlight.
When you look back at the fantastic career you’ve had, what gives you joy the most?
What gives me joy the most is, I think my fans react to me differently, in a different way, more than they react to other artistes. Apart from the love they have for me, they also have a lot of respect for me. They see me as a role model, they see me as an idol and that sort of guides me and cautions me, so I won’t do anything terrible that will embarras them because they’re all looking up to me. For me, I think that’s the best achievement anyone could desire for.
Do you still have your television programmes running?
Yeah, in fact, the tv programme now has an award event to it. We have been doing it for the past five years. The next one is coming upon the 23rd of February next year at the Oriental Hotels. We are honouring Asiwaju Tinubu, Fowler, Dangote, Innoson Motors, Mo Abudu and many others. This is the first time I will be revealing this in any interview, so it’s going to be a bang.
Give us the name of the programme and the concept behind it.
The name of the programme is True Nigerian and the award is called True Nigerians Award. The concept of the programme is that we believe if you don’t celebrate Nigerians who have done so well, you are not encouraging the young ones to do well as well. If you want people to do great things, then acknowledge and celebrate the ones that have done well so that the young ones will see that it pays to do well. This will enable them to stop cutting corners and stop doing fraud or doing Yahoo-Yahoo. They will strive to work hard, do the right thing so that they too can be celebrated.
How many kids does Zakky have
I have about 6 now.
How has it been having to start raising a family at the peak of your career?
That’s the best achievement. Your achievements in life shouldn’t be about how many G-Wagons you have or how many houses you have, material things are nothing, but taking time to bring up your children properly so that they can carry on from where you stopped I think is the greatest achievement in life. So, I’m very happy that God has blessed me with so many children, so happy.
What do you think has sustained your marriage considering that you’re a public figure?
It’s sincere love, especially when you find someone who loves you and fears God. When you’re God fearing, you’re guided by rules and regulations. Once you know God and you fear Him, you must do what will please God. There are some things you must never do. So, I think the most important thing is knowing God and holding onto Him. That sort of guides you to do the right thing even in your marriage.
You’ve been married for how many years now?
I’ve been married for about 14 years.
Do you have any of your kids taking after you?
Yes, my first daughter, she’s very good. She sings better than me.
Is daddy giving her all the support she needs?
Oh, yes, of course. Full support. Anyone of them that wants to join the entertainment industry I’m willing and ready to support.