SEYI Sodimu rocked the music industry in the late 90s and early 2000s with his hit song, Love me jeje, a song dedicated to celebrate love, before he went on break in the United States. Seyi is back. He told ENCOMIUM Weekly what he has been doing in the United States and what he is willing to offer now.
Who is Seyi Sodimu?
I will like to consider myself a businessman that does music. When I do music, then I consider myself a musician that does business. My first album was released in 1998 entitled Born in Africa. On that album, we have Love me jeje, which was a huge hit. In 2002, I did my second album entitled State of mind which has Money man, Fela the king and Mode which also created huge buzz, but since then, it has been singles all the way. In 2004, I did a song called Die Young, in 2008, I had Sophisticated Woman. After that, it has been business for me.
It’s been a long time, do you think you can return to the highly competitive position of the Nigerian music again?
I think because of the fact that I am a Nigerian, I have always been part of the Nigerian music industry even though I might not have recorded a new song. My style of music is something that I think a lot of my fans have been longing for. Though I am aware of the fact that the Nigerian music industry has evolved over the years, but by the grace of God, there is still a place for me. Nigerians are not just one set of people, there is a place for every kind of music because we need diversity in our lives. So, I think I can bring light into the scene with the stuff I have always been known for.
What were you doing during your absence from the music scene?
I have been doing a lot of other stuffs aside music. I am into fashion, I am a joint owner of a clothing line called Blue Heart in California, USA. Blue Heart is into making designer jeans, shirts and clothing accessories. I also delved into oil and gas at a time. I used to be an Exxon-Mobil dealer. I am into real estate management and car dealership too. So, it has been business and business all the way for me. Another thing that really held me away was the fact that I shuttle between two continents. I have a house in Washington and Lekki, Lagos, which is like living in two different continents.
With all this, why are you making a return to music?
No, I only took time off to do businesses which were very profitable for me. Music is not my source of living, because I am already okay. It’s just the fact that I have a passion for it and the creativity which the Lord has blessed me with. So, it’s something that I need to keep on doing until I can’t do it anymore. It’s just that my lifestyle has not allowed me to do it 24/7, but it’s something that I am happy doing. So, when I want to do it, I will like to give it the very best.
So, tell us about your new album and the people behind it?
My new album should be dropping later this year. I really don’t have a specific date though. But hopefully, it should be out in the last quarter of 2012. The lead single, Gbedu was released on June 1, 2012 and is enjoying massive rotation on radio stations and also available for free download on the internet. Also on the promo copy was the remix of a song I did in 2009, Always on my mind, featuring Jamaican super star, Wayne Wonder. It is a movement for me again because to come out with music at this time and age, you have to do it very well. I recorded the songs in Washington, USA, but coming down here, I have been fortunate to meet and work with the Sax Records boss, Yemi Sax, who I met through D’Banj’s manager, Bankuli. Yemi Sax has really helped to incorporate my style of music into the Nigerian music.
Apart from this two singles, which other surprise do you have on the album?
My fans can expect the uniqueness of my style and voice from the forthcoming album. They should watch out for the video very soon and I also have a very special gift for everybody who loves Love me jeje, on this album. My music is not something that you can easily forget, it doesn’t sound like anybody else’s. When I do music, I like to be different, relevant as much as I can so that my fans and new one can be welcomed. Nigeria is such a huge market for me and I also have a large fan base outside the shores of the country like the US and the UK. So, let them expect good music in the name of the brand, Seyi Sodimu and something for the mature audience as well.
Now that you’ve considered a return, are you back fully or is it still the hit and run thing?
My going in and out of the country does not stop the music. What I am saying about 24/7 is to be able to record, do shows and promote the music. Most musicians in the world, excluding the Nigerian artist don’t really live in a particular place. I am a very good friend of Genvine Wine, Wayne Wonder, Donell Jones, LL Cool J and other top rated artists. Even though they have houses in New York, Miami or Atlanta, they are hardly in one country. So, I’m going to be back and forth because I do have business to attend here and there, but the feasibility of the song and the artist is the most important thing, so I am ready for that.
With your international exposure, how would you rate the Nigerian music industry at this level?
A lot has changed, I must be sincere. I think the producers deserve a big credit. The artists are doing their things and they get the needed credit but without the producers, they will not be able to do good music. So, obviously, what really propelled the Nigerian music to its level are the producers and then the artists, being able to interpret what the producers may have laid down. We have great producers like Cobhams Asuquo, who I think is the best. We also have Don Jazzy, ID Cabasa, Samklef, Yemi Sax and OJB, who have been doing their things. Producers have actually stepped up their game and apart from that, Nigeria is one country with a bunch of talents. Meanwhile, the industry could achieve more greats if we work on the album distribution barrier and manage record sales. From what I am looking at, the Nigerian music is based on shows. I mean, live performance and still not like the United States and other developed countries where you can get record sales, count them and also get royalties from your music airplay. We just get music out to become popular so that we could get endorsement and performance out of it. It is a good thing but not good enough because there are some artists out there that need to get rewards even though they are not popular as D’Banj or 2Face. The structure needs to be put in place and there is still a lot of work to be done. Thanks to the internet which serves as a catalyst to get the music across the world and to a larger audience too.
Tell us about your family.
My children are based in the United States in a private school. I have a daughter and a son.
How do you cope with your female admirers?
Female fans is very important in this business, I take it as a compliment and try to be friendly and professional. But I love and need my female fans.
- TITILOPE BABATOLA
This story was first published in Encomium Weekly edition of Tuesday, July 10, 2012