Welcome to the second episode of the #CeleWeekly series where we future young people doing great things every Friday. Today we have the renowned singer, rapper and…today also a motivational speaker, Martino Elcasino.
Martino has been in the game for some time and you can bet, his music delivery is always dope to the core. The download links to the best of his songs will be provided on our next post, which will be live over the weekend.
Apparently, you don’t need much introduction. But can you tell us a little about your music background?
First of all I think it’s inappropriate to start doing this without telling you who I am even though you know me. I am martin Sanda Simon aka Martino Elcasino aka Tino. Talking about my music background, music has been something that I grew up to see in my house. Like, my Pops, my Mom, everybody loves music, I started by loving Michael Jackson actually. Started as a dancer in secondary school, along the line I felt the need to express myself. Obviously because of what I’ve seen in the ghetto I felt the need to be a rapper. I started listening to a lot of Tupac, Biggy Smalls, Bone Thugs, Big Pong and the rest of them. That’s how the whole game started.
Among these people you mentioned, who is your influence? Your best influence?
Well, if you listen to my kind of music you will get to understand that I’m somebody that taps from a lot of sources. I don’t have one specific person because I listen to all sort of music, like our Northern music here such as, Dan Maraya, Mamman Shatta, Ali Makaho, mixed with all the Western music. I don’t have one certain person but if I have an idol so to say, like number 1, he ain’t gonna be a rapper firsts of all; let me just give it up for Michael Jackson for triggering the whole music thing from day one.
What was your best music moment? Like, when you felt so alive and glad that you are in the industry?
My best music moment was during my second to the last show, during the recent campaign against violence and extremism, when I flew in the hands of my people and they held me up high, you know. Am happy, very happy. It was electric.
You’ve spent some time in Lagos, Is there any difference in the way artists are being perceived compared to Yola or the North as a whole?
Yea, it took 2 and a half years, I could’ve been back from Lagos way sooner but I took my time to stay and learn, and I studied the difference. To God be the glory, Yola people are beginning to respect the game. But I think indigenous artists in Adamawa state are not well respected, there skills and talents. Yola people are just getting used to the thing. There in Lagos they take artist very seriously. An artist is like an egg. They take good care of artists and spend a lot of money on them. I think since the Idris Abdulkareem vs. 50 cent incident, Lagos and some major cities in Nigeria have started taking proper care of artists and I think in Yola too it’s growing.
Can you talk about the energetic track, “Mu Buge?” What’s the inspiration?
The inspiration behind Mu Buge is first of all the problems being faced by youths in general. I sat down and saw all the adversities that stop youths from being what they want to be. I was like, let’s hit it down. All the drugs and the fake things that take youths out of the line, especially those in the music industry. For instance, when people meet a musician, they give him drugs, alcohol or women. I’m not saying we shouldn’t go for pleasure, but I’m trying to tell people, let’s not go for just the pleasure. Let’s do it in such a way that we can actually accomplish our aims. Let’s hit down the adversities. Mu Buge, you know what it means, like let’s hit it down.
In your music, you like using proverbs. I can confidently say you create your own proverbs. In “Mu Buge”, you said “holy water no be sobo”, what’s the interpretation of that?
You know, am a kind of person that read a lot. I read whatsoever I see. So, I speak sometimes in parables and proverbs. I’m trying to tell the adversaries that am as tough as that. I’m not that weakling that the adversaries thought I am. Am really really strong, “holy water no be sobo.” I can stand as strong as whatever against the adversaries.
What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your musicality?
Am naturally a teacher. I’ve been a private teacher for so long, taking people classes; teaching them how to read and write and I’ve been earning a little bit of something. When I have a little money, I do a little bit of business. Anything I see, I buy and I sell.
That’s really good.
Let’s say hypothetically, how would you convince someone to do something they didn’t want to do?
There are many ways actually. I can go as deep as anything you know, I can even do hypnosis. I can hypnotize you to do what I want. But basically music is my strongest weapon, so I try to most times arrange what I say in rhymes so that people will get to listen to it and do what I want them to do.
You as a person, are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
I’m done being a hunter right now. I’ve been hunting since, now am trying to gather.
Do you believe in plan B’s or do you prefer burning all bridges? Just sticking to one thing?
There are situations where you have to just stick to what you have to do. But it’s always good to have a backup plan, and even a backup plan for a backup plan, in case it goes bad.
I like that. So, what would you do for the entertainment industry if you were the governor of this state?
If I’m the governor of Adamawa state, first of all the entertainment industry needs to come together; they need to team-up, you understand me? So when they team up and face me, then I’ll know what to do. I’ll definitely take part of the state’s budget for the entertainment industry. I’ll make sure to watch how things are being run but I will definitely cut part of the budget to empower youths in the entertainment industry because any town without entertainment is not yet a town.
That’s a good thought.
How thankful are you for your fans and supporters?
Words cannot express how happy I am with my fans, most of all my Jimeta boys, they made Martino. Honestly, all around the north whenever people see me they be like, “Tino, hearing about you is more than just seeing you.” And that means my fans have been communicating, trying to send my message out to the world. So, I am really happy and I feel blessed, without them there is no me.
Having said all that, if you had to do it all over again, would you still choose this career? Would you do anything differently?
Not even in the afterlife. You see, am a man of a lot of talents and I know it but I choose music and I love music. Basically if you take a look at me physically, I’m a man with more brains than muscles. So, I feel it’s better for me to use the brain. Basically the brain is sharper. So, I will choose music again and again and again and again.
So, what advice would you give to upcoming artists?
First of all I will like to advice the upcoming artists to differentiate between real life and music video; celebrity life, etc. because talking from this perspective, take for example my area, Adamawa state. I’ve seen a lot of young boys seeing what Wizkid and Davido do online and they try to copy it. Beef doesn’t pay, most especially when the industry is still a baby. Right now I think we need to put our heads together. What we really need is unity and I advise each and every artist to read because music is very vast. Like for me, I read everything I see; the Bible, Koran, the Thora, just everything I see. They need to read and study. And they should shun violence. Like beef, you don’t know the beginning or the end. For instance, what happened between Tupac and Biggie; record labels made a lot of money on them and they are dead. I’d advise the artists on first of all, unity and studies, they need to read.
Lastly, what is your best success quote?
My best quote about success… “Progress is a slow process” that’s my best quote. Because you need patience and Dan Maman Patience, you know. I’ve got to tell you even though you start today and tomorrow you see millions; you need to keep going on and on. And I’ll like to tell my younger ones, my mates and everyone out there, progress is a slow process. So, they should just keep their heads in the game and keep pursuing what matters until they get it.
Wow…Is there anything you want to add?
The only thing I want to add; I want to tell young artists especially those in Adamawa State that they are really good. If I have the chance to choose a certain number out of them, it would be very hard because I would like to take all of them along. But then I’d like to advise them on one thing; unity that I talked about, and studies. They should really go deep down, they should forget about watching music videos. Go and read! Flip through the pages of your books. Read about celebrities, about how they end. Sometimes I do sit down to read about dead celebrities and I see how some people we see as stars dying miserably. So I want them to study beyond just the singing part of music.
Alright. Thank you Martino Elcasino for your time and for being part of the #CeleWeekly series.
Thanks JDY, you my man.
Anticipate the next #CeleWeekly Episode where anything can happen. [Previous Episode]
PS: This series is all about showcasing the great doings of young people which include entrepreneurs, artists, models etc. If you feel someone deserves to be featured due to their courage and hard work in business and art, you can contact us to let us know more about this person.
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