President of Association of Juju Musicians of Nigeria (AJUMA), Queen Ayotunde Kofoworola Balogun, simply addressed as Ayo Balogun clocked 58 on Thursday, December 10, 2015, and was excited about it.
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s TADE ASIFAT had a chat with the graceful ageing and successful musician a couple of days back when we visited her in her Sura Mogaji, Obanikoro, Lagos office. She spoke on other issues, including her plans for 2016.
2015 has come and gone, how would you describe the year, especially concerning your career?
2015 was a very tough year talking about the state of the economy of the country. It’s a year of many changes as we all know, and so many things have changed. And concerning myself and other entertainers, the year really treated us somehow. But in all, we thank God because whatever the situation, we’re still able to breathe in fresh air. If I weigh it, it’s like 60-40 unlike when it used to be 80-20, I mean, the good and the bad respectively. That means 2015 was 60 percent good and 40 percent otherwise. But I realized we’re going through a process. And I strongly believe the situation is going to change for the better.
Would you say you met some of the targets you set at the beginning of the year?
Yes, I did. That’s why I actually said it’s was 60 percent okay for me. The year wasn’t a total failure. It’s only that things were not as good as expected. But in all, I will say I am not disappointed.
2016 has come now, what are the plans for the year?
Though we all have our plans for the year, we still have to keep praying for the Nigerian economy to turn out better so that we can achieve more in the year because no matter what your plans are, you still have to be praying for the country. It’s when everything is going well that we all can enjoy. Despite the fact that I have my plans for the year, I will still keep on pushing and see how things unfold.
Do you believe in new year resolutions?
Seriously, when you say new year resolution, that means there are things you’re not doing right that you want to correct. And that shouldn’t be for anybody. You make sure at all time, you do that which is right. So, if you know you’re doing what’s right, you won’t want to change it because you can’t change what’s good, you can only be better. I believe it’s only when something is bad, that’s why you’re taking a resolution that you’re going to change this year. So, I really don’t believe in it.
Which area do you think the government can boost the entertainment industry?
That can be done in so many ways by responding to our call when we have anything to do that will require government support. Another area the government can look is piracy which is the industry’s common enemy because it happened to a lot of people last year. After finishing their video albums, you realized that some people were already selling what had not been officially released.
So, we really need help so that we can reap the fruits of our labour.
Since you launched your album, has it in anyway changed your career?
Yes, it has. Even when I go to shows, people now ask for the songs in the new album. They want to listen and dance to One Life. so, it has really pushed us forward. I thank God for that.
With the hip hop revolution in the industry, do you think juju is still making any wave?
I can say, 100 percent and it has come to stay. So, I keep saying it that when you look at the number of shows and engagements, juju musicians are the ones performing in most of these events. So, I don’t see any genre of music overshadowing juju.
On Thursday, December 10, 2015, you turned 58, how does that feel?
It feels good! I keep thanking God for life and His mercies upon me, my household and my business.
Do you see or feel old age taking its toll on you?
I can’t say either yes or no because you can’t see yourself more than people.
Are you afraid of old age?
Why? I am not of afraid old age in any way. I even believe being alive is by the grace of God. When you realized that people that are even younger than you are dead you’ll be amazed. And you’re still on the surface of the earth doing fine, you have every reason to thank God.
You’re very close to 60 now, are there some targets you set for yourself to meet before that age?
Yes, any reasonably thinking person must plan for old age. The person must know the way he or she wants to live his or her old age. And at the same time, one must be fully prepared ahead. So, I am doing that.
You didn’t roll out the drums to celebrate your 58th birthday, why?
Everything was low key. We’re all aware of the economic situation of the country. We just have to thank God for keeping us alive.