Peter Okoye Opens Up | “My Brothers Ganged Up on Me” Peter Okoye’s interview with thenetng.
On how the breakup could have happened in 2014: The truth is, the fans should be happy that we were able to drop the ‘Double Trouble’ album in 2014. What’s happening now should have happened then. The issue was the fact that I was in Psquare and it felt like I was in fear. If I don’t do this, Psquare will break-up, if I don’t do that, Psquare will scatter.
On not wanting Jude as a manager for the past four years: Four years ago, I told Jude that he needs to step down as our manager, because I didn’t want to disrespect him as a brother, but this is business, we have to structure it. And Jude said to me that there’s a way I’ll talk to him, and he’ll slap me. So I kept quiet. So, a few hours after, Paul came to me and said if I want Jude to step down it’s not a problem, but it’ll mean that he (Paul) will go solo. The the first time word got out about Psquare breaking up, a lot of people called us, senators, governors, and people like that. In fact three of us were once in a private jet to go and see someone who wanted to resolve our issues and we didn’t speak to each other all through the flight. At the end of the day, I swallowed my pride for peace to reign and allowed Jude to remain as our manager.
On not being on talking terms with his brother: I and Paul stay together in this estate and the last time I saw him was about a week ago. Truth is, I’ve not been in talking terms with Paul since December 2015 and that was why I travelled in January because I had a lot on my mind.
On how it started: Now listen to this, Psquare featured on songs with J-Martins, Bracket,LKT, 9ice and these 4 songs were done by Paul alone, but guess what, did I appear in the videos, YES. Now hear this, we have other collabos with Kaha, Darey, Ruggedman. I did these songs alone. How come they don’t have videos? Paul refused to appear in the videos. So I told Paul that when next he does collabo alone, he should be in the video alone, because it got a point where artistes began to feel if they do a collabo with Paul it gets a video but if it’s me it doesn’t get a video. The last collabo we did was with Flavour and I refused to do another one. Even Flavour had to speak all the Igbo he knows to convince me before I agreed to do it. Only for my brother to come and tell me that ‘shey I thought you said you won’t appear in any video that I did the collabo alone? Why did you appear on this one?’. I was sad but I knew another one will come.
On the breaking point for him: So Tiwa Savage called me, apparently Paul had gone to do a song with her, not the campaign song they are promoting now, another Psquare collabo entirely. So she called me that she’s been trying to reach Paul to get the CD of the song from him that he’s already done his part, so I went to Paul’s house to help ask for it and tell him that I want to go to their studio to do my verse and he said he doesn’t know where the CD is. I went to the Mavin studio to meet Tiwa, when I got there, she asked for the CD and I told her Paul didn’t give me any CD, so I called him again and gave the phone to Tiwa and told her on phone that the CD is at Omole, so I got into the studio recorded my verse and when I finished, everybody was clapping. I was surprised only to realize that Paul had gone to tell them that I don’t sing or write songs. I felt really bad and betrayed, but I covered up for him. I jokingly asked Teebillz if they gave him Red Label and he said yes, so I was like you guys caused it, and we laughed over it. So when my assistant went to pick up the CD, Paul and Jude started shouting at him to tell Peter that what is he doing at the Mavin studio? He knows how we work. The next day, I went to Paul and told him how I felt when I heard what he said. Only for Jude to say that he made Paul the lead singer of Psquare 8 years ago! A leader leads, he doesn’t destroy.
On PSquare having zero structure: When it comes to decision-making, it has always been a Triangle formation, and the highest vote wins. I never used to complain because we were all okay, but what has changed now is the fact that we’ve grown. You can make a certain decision based on how we used to do it and it may affect everyone as an individual, but it gets to a point when the decisions taken never gets to be my own and I began to wonder if anything is wrong. I always get Ideas, most of Psquare ideas come from me, and when I say Idea, I mean materials we need to put out for people to see, video, stage performances and all. But when I come up with them, nobody wants to accept it. I didn’t complain because people still love what we do, but then again, there wasn’t much competition in the industry back then. As time goes, we should get better, it shouldn’t be same triangle deciding, because if we continue that same way, we’ll lose it. All I want is a proper structure in the sense that, we need to have proper management, business managers and all. As I speak to you right now, we don’t have any office, no structure. When this issue started about five years ago, our lawyer told us the way we run our business is wrong without a structure. I don’t have a problem with doing things as a family, but then the structure and proper organization is important too. The name Psquare is very big outside but inside we have no structure, I see people like Audu of Chocolate City, Mavin Records, even Ubi Franklin and I wanted us to have a structure like that. Psquare is just up there because of the grace of God.
On not getting enough recognition for his art: It’s really sad that people have labeled me ‘Dancer’, and people don’t really know what I do for Psquare. Kudos to Paul, I’m not a good songwriter, in-fact I’ll rate myself 30%, so when it comes to song writing, I give it to Paul 100%. However, not writing songs does not disqualify you from being a musician. I can tell you for free that a Nigerian wrote two of the songs on Rihanna’s new album. I’ve travelled a lot and most times people ask, ‘which one are you, the singer or the dancer’? And it’s really sad. In Psquare, I am the creative person, I can sit-down and tell you what people want to hear, what they want to see and what they want to learn from Psquare. But it’s not something to brag about.
On their deal with Universal causing problems: This whole thing began when Paul went online and started post lyrics of most of our songs on Instagram that he wrote them all, just because Peter brought in something to the table. I’ve been trying to bring more business for Psquare I didn’t know it was going to cause problems. I sent my manager to a meeting in Senegal to meet with Universal music about getting us deals, and when he came back, the way they responded to him wasn’t encouraging. So I had to send Diouf, the footballer to help get the documents and convince my brothers before we could pull through with the deal. And after some months, we started making money. Meanwhile, while filling the forms, Jude filled everything as Psquare. So the first money came, we shared it. The second money was bigger, it came and we shared it too. That was when Paul said we had to re-fill the form and give proper credit to the songwriter (Himself) and if the form is not brought back, he’s going to expose me and tell the world that he writes all the songs. And the next day he went online to post those lyrics. So my question is, when he was doing that what did Jude do about it? Absolutely nothing!
On Paul being “weak”: I remember I once told Paul something, when Jude was using the term ‘Our Money’ when he just became our manager, that was when we made our first 1 million. I called Paul and told him that our former manager used to make about 15%, now that Jude is our manager, let’s think of a percentage that we’ll be giving him and put it on paper. Paul was like, it’s not necessary. Probably, he went to tell Jude about it. I’m sorry to say this, but I think Paul is weak. You know they say change is constant, you can’t stay at one spot, as the industry moves, you move. So I won’t say the problem we have is money. I think everybody is just dragging power unnecessarily. Imagine Jude telling me that he’s in charge of Psquare and there’s nothing Peter and Paul can do about it, and I look at Paul he’s quiet about it. I’ve never seen where a manager talks to his artistes anyhow. If there’s any issue you should call us aside quietly to talk about it.
On Paul starting another group behind his back: On December 14, 2015 we sat down to have a meeting hoping to be able to set a proper structure in place, but Paul noticed that it wasn’t working the way he wanted, so he said he wants to tell us that he’s starting a new group. I thought he meant he wanted to start a record label, and he was like no, he’s starting a new group that he belongs to. And Jude simply said, ‘anybody stop you’? He picked up his phones and walked out of the meeting. I felt it had already been discussed behind me. I later found out that Paul is already recruiting the group and Jude is their manager. At the moment I heard they are called ‘The MVPs’ I don’t know what it means yet. So how do you expect me to be managed by the same person we’ve been having issues with, who is now the manager of the other group. There’ll surely be conflict of interest. And it actually happened two weeks ago
On the future of PSquare: The truth is I feel happy it has come, because I’ve been staying in Psquare in fear for the last four years. The situation now is, if you want Psquare to perform, you’ll have to get in touch with two management, I don’t care if you pay Paul’s management more than they pay me, once we are able to agree Psquare is still there. I just don’t want to have a management that feels he’s in control because he’s my elder brother. And because of the legacy that I want Psquare to be remembered for, that was why I went to talk to Paul the last time. I don’t want us to start doing beef songs, or we see at the clubs and we don’t greet each other, or ignore our kids and stuff like that. And even if Psquare breaks up, I still want us to have our relationship as brothers. If I’ve regretted anything in my life so far, I swear to God this is not one of them, I’m happy because I’ve been in pain for a long time. It’s good if we go and do stuff separately so that even IF we come back we’ll have respect for each other. I wish Paul the best and I wish Jude the best as well.