Fati Niger, who is better known as Binta Labaran, came to Nigeria over 10 years ago, to pursue her music career in Kano, hub of the famous Kannywood. Since she released her famous record, “Girma Girma” , Fati has virtually became a house hold name in Nigeria and most African countries.
When she released the chart buster in her home country, Niger republic, it sold more than 10 million copies but unfortunately, pirates stole the master copy and flooded it in the Nigerian market, as she was putting finishing touches to the musical video. For this reason, Fati claimed that she did not make up to N10,000 Naira from the album even though she spent thousands of naira to produce it.
However, in spite of this loss, Fati has gained in other respect as according to her, since the last time she featured in Blueprint Weekend’s Kannywood, ‘’I have also recorded more successes.’’ In this interview with ALIYU ABUBAKAR ASKIRA, the musician speaks about her headline performance during the wedding of Zahra Buhari and Mohammed Indimi at the Presidential Villa and the several awards that she has garnered. In addition, Fati opens up on her relationship with Ali Jita, a fellow Hausa musician, her marriage plans and her ideal man.
You are already a house hold name in the Hausa music industry but can you list some of the success that you have recorded in the course of your career?
When I received a personal invitation from the Presidential Villa, to come to Abuja and entertain the First Family during the wedding of Zahra Buhari to the son of Maiduguri based businessman and oil magnet, Alhaji Muhammed Indimi, I called several female and male singers across Africa to find out if they were equally invited. But I discovered later that I was the only person who was invited and because of this honour, I almost shed tears because of joy.
Don’t ask me how much I was paid because for the First Lady of Federal Republic of Nigeria to recognize me and invite me to entertain her and her guests, is more than any amount one can pay me. As such, let me use this medium to thank Mrs. Aisha Buhari and President Muhammadu Buhari himself because if he did not approve of it, his wife will not invite me. I wish to also thank Zahra Buhari and her husband and other children of the first family, I remain extremely grateful to them.
Is this the only high point of your career?
I composed an album in honour of Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, because of the way he dealt with the dreaded Boko Haram in the Northeast, and how through, his professionalism he has reformed the Nigerian Army and brought discipline back to the service more than before.
I was allowed by the Military Authority to shoot the musical in military uniform. This is also more than a honour to me and I will remain grateful to the Chief of Army Staff. Other things followed after I released my album in Tukur Buratai’s honour but like I keep on telling you, money is not everything but thank God I was also handsomely rewarded.
The new Emir of Borgu, Alhaji Muhammadu Halliru Dantoro also recently bestowed on you the title of Gimbiyar Mawakan.
tell us how you were chosen out of several other female singers in the north, seeing that you are not even from Nigeria?
Let me answer it this way, the issue of origin or nationality, as far as I am concerned, do not arise. I now consider myself as a Nigerian because I came to Nigeria with virtually nothing, but today, I am not only successful and rich by all standards.
I have chains of other artist working under me and they are all Nigerians, I have a superb musical studio, which is well equipped to any standard. I have very expensive cars for my personal use, I have a well furnished office amd I don’t have problem of accommodation.
Coming to the other part of your question, honestly I have of recent been winning awards all over Africa. I received invitations to perform in African countries like Ghana, Cameroon, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Niger Republic and other countries in Africa.
I cannot tell the criteria used by the Borgu Emirate Council in Niger State to bestowed on me the title of Queen of Music for Borgu Emirate but I remain grateful to the Emir and other traditional title holders from the Emirate. A Kaduna-based company called Queens World also honoured me recently.
Producers Association, Zamfara State Chapter also recently nominated me as Gimbiyar Arewa (The Princess of the north). Some universities and colleges of Education also awarded me Laurels here and there over my music, they always describe my voice as the sweetest among my peers.
In spite of your success and material comfort, you have not ‘settled down’. Your relationship with Ali Jita, another Hausa musician was well known. Why haven’t you invited us for the wedding Fatiha?
I know that this interview will not end without you asking me about when I will settle down. My romance with Ali Jita was something that happened long time ago that I thought you members of the press will not continue bringing it up.
He is happily married now and we still respect each other after all, we are colleagues in the entertainment industry.
About when I will settle down, honestly, I can’t tell; let’s leave that to destiny.When the time comes, your paper will be the first to be invited, as for whether I am into relationship or not, I have passed the stage of telling the media whether I am into relationship or not. I am fully matured, I am also a Muslim, I am successful in life, I am beautiful by all standards. So, if marriage will come, it will come because you don’t expect a woman, no matter how she loves a man, to propose to him before he will do so.
Your record-setting album “Girma Girma” sold more than 10 million copies but you were cheated by pirates. In fact, we were told you did not make up to 10,000 Naira from the album. Is that correct?
Yes, you are partially correct, when I was ready to release the album, I travelled to my home country Niger republic to do so, not knowing that pirates stole the master tape. And when I was busy in Niger, they released the song into the market in Nigeria even before me. That was how I lost out, pirates are worse than armed robbers; they will wait for you to put finishing touches to a song or film and when you are about to release it, they will do it before you or when it is in the market, they will produce million sub standard copies and sell them at a cheaper price. This is a problem that we are today facing in the industry.
In most of Aminu Ala’s songs, your voice, Maryam Baba or Murja Baba voices are always heard at the background. Do you operate a joint company?
No, but Aminu Ala is one person we always look up to in the industry. Whenever I am working on a song, I used to consult him a lot. He also involves me, Maryam Baba, Murja Baba and other musicians in his project. The truth is we are very close and we respect each other a lot. Having said that, I want to tell my fans they should continue to expect the best from Fati Niger.
I have come a long way, I won many awards including the invitation to perform in the Villa. The award from Borgu Emirate, the Award from Producers in Zamfara State, the Award from Queens World company Kaduna, the invitation extended to me to perform in Jaji Military Cantonment, these are awards I will never forget in my life.
I also produced many films including Kudiri and Sakatare where I was the lead actress, so I am generally happy. I performed Hajj and Umrah many times, my prayer now to get God fearing person and settle down with. But even after my marriage, I will still continue with my musical career and other business that I am now doing because singing is different from featuring in films.