On Wednesday, April 13, 2016, Encomium Weekly visited Sule Alao, famously known as Malaika in his Ebute Metta, Lagos residence where he spoke with us exclusively on issues affecting his life and career, including his recent world tour, birthday and new automobile (Bentley), among others.
It’s been a while we had a chat with you, let’s know what’s going on now at your end?
We’re up and doing every day, there’s nothing like relenting in our effort. Everything is moving fine at my end, Alhamdulillahi. At the moment, we’re working on our new album. At the same time, we’re also working on the video shoot of our collaboration with Dammy Krane. So, we’re about to travel out of the country for the shoot. And we’re also on the rehearsal for the next album. And on Sunday, April 10, 2016, we had Alayeluwa Fans Day which held at National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. My fans had a special day with me. They were all in their Ankara aso ebi which was purposely circulated and sold for the event. It’s customised fabric. It’s really amazing.
What informed Alayeluwa Day and how did you come about the concert?
I would say that’s not from me directly. I believe everybody knows what fans club means. So, these are the people who put heads together to organize the show. Though, yearly, during Ramadan fasting, they usually organize Ramadan Lecture. That’s what they do annually and people are used to that. This year was the first time they held a very elaborate Fans Day celebration. They also organize annual prayer apart from the lecture. But this year’s celebration was very wonderful. And of course, it’s the best of its kind.
How would you describe the event generally?
It’s was very interesting and fantastic. I was really surprised when I got to the venue. Although, I expected a lot of people, not withstanding, the crowd I saw there that day was huge. It’s far bigger than my expectation. The turnout was massive. I had my fans coming from everywhere including the UK, US, Malaysia, Turkey, Cote d’Ivoire and other countries, not to talk of Nigeria based fans. So, the turnout was very encouraging. I thank God for the success of the show. I thank all those that came to identify with us that day. God bless them all.
How would you describe your status in the music industry right now?
I thank God for where I am today.
Who are the people you’re still looking up to in the industry?
I am looking up to all my elders in the industry.
You just came back from a world tour, what was the experience like? How many places did you visit?
I have been travelling for years, but this time around, it was a tour of the globe, and it was the whole of Malaika’s band. We visited United Kingdom, Canada, US, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Holland and others. That will be the second time I would be visiting Canada. But I had travelled to the UK and US many times. It wasn’t something new to me, but this time I thank God because it’s an amazing tour. It was like a change to me. I had to start asking myself “Is this the same Malaika?” It’s like a surprise to me because the turnout was superb. I was amazed. I thank God everything concerning my career is growing every day.
How acceptable was your kind of music up there?
That’s what I was trying to say to those countries that I knew I am fully loved. And that my brand of music is appreciated and fully accepted. Although, I knew they all love me and my music but the trip further confirmed that to me.
How would you describe the economic situation in Nigeria at the moment? Is it not affecting your trade as an entertainer?
Even, the unborn baby knows everything is not right now. It’s affecting everything in the country. We know this is not the Nigeria we all knew. We lament every time but now everything is getting worse by the day. This is not the country I knew but we all need to pray hard to God for His mercy and forgiveness. He should forgive us if it were to be our sins hindering the progress of the country. We should all pray to Him so that everything can come back to normal. Left to me, I can’t put everything before those governing us, it’s God who does and perfects everything because if He wants everything to change today, nobody can stop Him. And no matter how man tries, if God has not said be, it can never be. So, we should all put hope directly in God.
What advice do you have for the government, especially at the Federal level?
They should just think about us as people they’re governing. Now, we have more armed robbers because there’s no job. A lot of other crimes are on the increase. The economy is going worse by the day. And today no fuel, tomorrow no light, crisis everywhere. If the government wants to do anything for Nigerians, it should be quick. Things are dragging too long. They should just stop posting us, especially all these budget delays. It’s getting too much.
A lot of people are saying Malaika is among the richest fuji musicians right now, how true is it?
Alhamdulillahi, but I don’t know. It’s the people that know me. But from the comment I am getting out there, I say a big thank you to God.
Recently, you celebrated your birthday, precisely on February 15, 2016. How does it feel that you added another year?
It feels great. I will keep saying Alhamdulillahi. I am growing in everything not only in age. I am growing in wealth, health and every other thing. So, I thank God for His mercies.
At your age, God has blessed you marvelously. What more do you still want from Him?
I want to be better than this. I prayed to God to take me here but I didn’t tell Him I want to remain here. So, I want more blessing from Him.
Not too long ago, you added another beautiful automobile to you garage, this time around it’s a Bentley. What’s your comment on that?
It’s the work of God. I thank God for that. If I want something, God will surely provide it for me, if at all I don’t have the money at the moment. It’s not that I am rich but I am blessed. Anytime I think of getting something, I know I will get it. Although, I may not know how it will come, since I am working, I believe God will surely do it. Even I go to shows on Mondays. So, I get shows and engagements every time and I make money. And I am making use of the little money I realize to achieve what I want.
What’s the financial worth of the car?
I don’t know. I only know it’s not a joke.
Now, you have about five cars in your garage, what’s the financial worth of your garage now?
I am not good in mathematics but I am sure it’s millions.
Your last album, Iya Mi, some people said it was pirated, how did that happen?
That happens all the time in the industry. It’s not only my album that has been pirated. If an album sells very well, it will definitely be pirated. But we’re trying our best about the menace because it’s affecting us a lot. So, it was pirated but it was also just that we had a little delay in the factory because we couldn’t get additional quantity produced as planned.
But what are you doing to wax more of the album?
It’s everywhere now. We thank God for now.
When are your fans going to see Nana Dance video?
Yes, that’s what I said we’re working on. And I promise them, they will soon see it. But right now, the audio is trending on the internet. I thank God for the success of everything since the beginning to where we’re not.
- TADE ASIFAT