NexDim caught up with outstanding singer, journalist and film producer , Alenne Menget for an up and close interview about his career exploits, projects and his impression about the Cameroon Entertainment Industry. He divulges some untold realities about the game. Follow !
Hello. How are you doing?
I am fine.Thank you.
Can you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Alenne Ndifor – Mbum Menget.I am the owner of the ATS Production of Ancien Immeuble ELF in Akwa Douala. I am a journalist by training , an audio visual producer by learning ,a singer by talent with plenty gift of the gab.
You have enormously achieved success in the entertainment industry after creating a niche. How did it all start?
Well ,it all started when I discovered pretty young that I was not like the other kids’ who could score a goal in the football field but no one will sing or rap like me.I think I was better than Tupac Shakur. .My late Papa John, came from England once with a piano gift for me. That was the beginning. I almost stopped school to become Michael Jackson. Then I created the ATS band. (Alenne Too Strong Band).I did my first concert at 15 with a live band at the cultural center now British Council library in Bamenda.It was sponsored by John , my late papi. I remember the songs I sang with Chegang (Daddy Cool) who is now a famous actor in Nigeria now called Bari Luke.We sang my songs like (Give your mami and get some moni), I no bi know say, I no got no place to go, and many others. That was the only concert by our age in that hall at the time. Early 90s. When the Sienis moved to Bamenda from Limbe, they were good and so we formed the Alensien band with a certain Miss Bright who left for the USA soon after. AlenSein simply meant, Alenne and the Sienis.The Seinis were brothers; Taboh and Tiencho Sieni.We did songs like ‘Please let me what to do, boom,boom,boom, hussy woman and many others which were big hits.We didn’t do an album though but we had records and sang across B town (Bamenda town).The Sienis too left for the USA. I did another band, an acapella band this time in my boarding school, PHS Batibo.”The Sound Drops” was a pure gospel band. As I grew, I had developed animation skills while I practiced to talk preparing for future interviews when I would become the musical star.I finally became the best animator of the time. I think am still the best. I had wanted to drop from school to be that singer and animator I had become. Before 18, I was talking on CRTV Bamenda. Not to long I ran the most important animation programme of that station when Divine Nchamokong moved to the USA. ”The North West Family Show” was in my hands. My mother insisted I wouldn’t drop school and that’s how I found myself in the University of Buea. I didn’t read journalisism, I read history.I am the person who started most of the private Radio stations in the English speaking Cameroon ,even before I left the university.I did Afrique Nouvelle and the Abakwa Fm in Bamenda. I wrote the project and gave birth to the Ocean City Radio of Limbe that hit the charts in the country at the time. When I was in the university ,I was the manager of the one and only band in the South West; the Black and White Night club band. I moved to Bamenda and pushed Charley Dallars in doing the biggest band there till date; The Dallars band.It was the first in town too. I actually drove with him to Dschang to bring the first musician we played together. So, I went to Kumba and did the Lake Site Radio for Dr Dewah, put on the Mbonge Community Radio as a project and the DBS TV. I am one of the brains and the first Editor in chief there. Today, I run all these in the ATS productions.
A Stella Damasus make-up
My inspiration has practically been God’s gift. It’s talent but society has influenced me alot . I have picked up inspiration from wrong things that happen in our society ; Discrimination, poverty, suffering, excitement, jealousy and many more. My main human inspiration was John, my father who had graduated and thought drama before I was even born. He died as the oldest Cameroonian actor November 2011. Missing him and trying to think of the thinks I would have done if he didn’t die is the biggest inspiration of my life now. One of the reasons am doing the things I can do now . So, I don’t regret when dying.
Can you divulge your secrets of being a refined journalist and impresario?
It’s not a secret.I am creative and I see and learn the positive things in other people.My strongest secret is that I have never been jealous of anybody. I let the young grow. May be because am gifted in a lot of things. I am also hard-working, prompt, I read and watch alot and most importantly I like doing what I create than imitating some one else.So my secret is just being unique too and no one knows what Alenne will do next.
What’s your technique in sustaining pure and strong vocals?
Vocals ! hahaha. I have worked that since I was young. From the rap of those day, through the R&B of the hind days and the era of jazz, I have worked my vocals. In the toilet , down at the farm I have sang and talked alone. God gave me the talent.
We have watched you play several roles in movies. Which projects have you been involved in so far?
I have been involved in quite a few movie projects but I was the protagonist of the first ever Nigeria-Cameroon joined venture, (The sacrament). Am not too proud about the other I have done but for the recent one , I took a Cameroonian role with Stella Damascus and another with Jim Iyke. I don’t know the names of the movies. The one I wrote, produced and directed myself is the only Cameroonian English comedy film, ‘The Return to Batibo”. I am almost losing rights over it because someone in the United States wants it all. Everybody who has watched it wants another person to watch it. Thank God the people I want to watch are watching it.
Jim and Alenne Menget
What has destroyed the entertainment industry in Cameroon is the first people who were trying to run and manage it. They were very courageous to start it but extremely limited, untalented, foolish and even wicked if we take some cases. There is no vision or plan but excitement, back stabbing, witch hunting , greed and even corruption and theft. Cameroon has no name abroad because money for entertainers from abroad never got to entertainers through them. The embassies are going mad with the entertainment industry ,especially Anglophones, because Visas taken for entertainers by them was used to send non-entertainers abroad and most of them never came back. The Ministry of Culture doesn’t want to hear anything about entertainment because ,they have been there and lied many times ,taken money for issues and never went back to give a report. Producers get arrogant to actors, treat their stars like beggers, gossips , desperate actions ,immaturity , disorganisation , it’s just sham bus. There are so many talents in Cameroon . I went to Buea after along time two months ago,I saw alot of talents .I was in Bamenda, the same, but those of Buea don’t know those of Bamenda , Kumba ,Limbe and Yaounde. Everybody just wants to be noticed, even the man behind the camera.The driver too for a film project wants to act a role. Almost everybody in Buea is a star, talented or not talented.We need wise people at the head.People that can respond intellectually and responsibly.People with personality and talent.
With the infiltration of Nigerian music and movies in our Cameroonian markets, how can we convince Cameroonians to prefer consuming their products?
This is the most important question sir. How do you want Cameroonians to consume Cameroon movies or music when Cameroonian entertainers only do Nigerian sort of entertainment? Our songs are Nigerian beats and we sing in their ascent. We talk in movies like Ibos and Yorubas and call our chiefs Igwe. Nigerian film actors do the main roles in our movies and when they come we start disrespecting each other to entertain them. When even the editing of our films and music are done by them. You would be shocked with what happens when foreign starts come to get roles in our movies. Even Nigerian stars who can’t spell their name well are being rushed on like Micheal Jackon is back by Cameroonians that I consider more talented. Come and see the arrogance that these foreign stars use in treating our own very talented stars because of the chocolate treatment. Cameroonian stars work for foreign actors and producers for free and tire down local producers. And by night time, everyone is on Facebook with a brand new picture posing. Stars or entertainers don’t act cheap people. If on set you don’t go close to them and do your job well, they will look for means to come to you. But if you go desperately to them, they will minimise you and the stupid ones will even insult you.
What’s your impression about piracy?
Piracy, piracy, piracy…hahaha, it’s a whole lecture and it depends on the stage of the artist in our local context. Piracy does make entertainers popular but when they get popular, they should look for a solution against. Again it’s a long talk.
What are the personal projects you hope to initiate in the future?
I am at a very high Spirit at the moment. I am still working on documentaries. I have more than 100 documentaries in the market and customers home and abroad. You may visit the following YouTube channel to watch some. http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Sldviy7gefXabyP4FKjZw?feature=guide.Am .Working on my first album. It’s gospel jazz. I have engaged with the talented M1 studio in Buea for recording .We are working with four awesome ,intelligent and beautiful girls for a major talk show that we will have a first season on TV soon, A new movie is on its way ,The University lecturers , a movie on the unification of Cameroon and a soap opera. I am also thinking of a TV and Radio station.
What do you plan to contribute in the growth of the entertainment industry in Cameroon?
My plans for the Cameroon entertainment industry are plans I have for the ATS Productions. Am not going out for any until proven matured, will go for other plans with people who share my dreams and are focused.
Your involvement in the ‘’Fix It Show’’ contributed to give it colour and grandeur. What’s the plan for the future?
Well, the ‘Fix It Show” was a good eye opener. I was actually called this morning by my childhood friend Sama Ndango for a meeting tomorrow. Remember ”Fix It” is his idea. He is someone that I respect alot. He does what he says he will do. So I am sure we will be meeting soon again to try to fix things.
How do you cope with hysteria from fans?
I am an extremely simple , so my fans have become my friends. That’s why it’s easy for me to do investigative journalism in my documentaries. I am also a very complicated person to those who are not simple. But I love fans who try to understand what I intend to bring out than those who just get excited with the man they saw on TV. You know all stars are popular but I want to be the famous star and not the notorious star for my fans.
What do you do in your spare time?
There is no spare time at this level, man. All I do matter. I don’t go swimming, I don’t go clubbing. I had my time and I enjoyed my best. Today, I work. I can’t say singing or watching movies,because,all that to me is part of my work.
Are you married?
No, I am not married but i got a beautiful kid
What’s your favorite Cameroonian dish?
My favourite Cameroon dish varies with my appetite at that particular moment and I go for it. I am not just simple in style . I don’t complicate my diet.
What’s your advice to upcoming entertainers?
Entertainers, you have got to work hard .Then, most importantly, learn to manage your talent. Try to distinguish between getting notorious and famous because a majority of you are notorious. Quit if you discover it’s not going and try something else. It is very difficult to put bread on your table in this business in our country.
Do you visit nexdimempire.com? What’s your appraisal?
I do visit you some of the times and like many say, you are good. Keep up but work harder.
It is a pleasure having on nexdimempire.com.