FAMOUS Juju act, Segun Blessing, otherwise known as Laka, has stated the reason he relocated to Nigeria after sojourning in the United Kingdom for years. He also opened up on his title as King of New Generation Juju Music.
The talented entertainer spoke on these and much more a couple of days back when ENCOMIUM Weekly visited him in his Ogba, Lagos office.
What’s happening to your career at the moment?
Basically, we’re just trying to change the look of the industry. I have not been around for a while because of some reasons. You get to a stage, as a man, that you will have your own family. So, I used that to take a break in my career by dedicating some of my time to building my family. One way or the other, I had to relocate abroad with them for a while. Along the line, I was also practicing my career abroad. Although, it’s not as if I went and stayed permanently abroad, I shuttle Nigeria and the UK. If I come to Nigeria, I may spend about two or three months before going back to the UK. But now, I am fully back in Nigeria and ready to continue to do what I know how to do best in another form entirely. I want to bring Juju back to stardom wearing another look. I now thought of what I could do to bring stability within my band members and my fans. That’s why we came out with the idea of getting a base in Ogba, Lagos, where we operate from. Right now, I am working on the video of my latest album, God’s Signature. I have done some parts of the video that have been on the airwave for quite sometime, but I want to do the full video now as a special Christmas and New Year gift to my fans.
That’s a non-issue to me. I started my career in Nigeria, and definitely, I have to come back to base. Like I said, I left Nigeria to build my family and be with my kids for a while. It’s not my making to travel abroad and base there, it’s just the grace I had from God. Not all musicians or entertainers generally that dream of that get it realized. I thank God for the opportunity He gave me. I just had to be abroad to play the fatherly role to my children. I am happily married, with lovely kids.
My first born is 11 and other kids. I am sure now, they know who their father is. So, for me relocating to Nigeria now, I feel okay and confident that if at all I am not with them in the UK again, they will be able to take care of themselves. So, I am back home to concentrate on my career. There is no place like home.
But a lot of people said you’re broke in the UK and your music is not even doing well there, that informed your relocation to Nigeria?
That’s not true. I have just told you the exact reason I have been there all this while and why I am back here in Nigeria now. And the fact that I am back in Nigeria doesn’t mean I am not going to travel abroad again because one way or the other, I have gotten my fans all over the world. This year alone, I have been on a tour of the UK, Canada, United States of America and from US back to London again, all for shows in different places before I came back to Nigeria. All I am saying is that my operational base is now here in Nigeria. And I am comfortable with that. Being in Nigeria or any other place around the world, I always do my best in my career, and my fans have been appreciating that. My kind of Juju is accepted by all across the globe. So, whether I am based in Nigeria now doesn’t make any difference.
What’s the difference between being a musician in Nigeria and UK?
I will say there is only a little difference between the two. It’s quite difficult to know the difference between being in Nigeria and UK. UK is more like leaving home for home. So, the difference between living in UK and Nigeria is very slim because we have the culture we practice in Nigeria the same we do in UK. But talking in terms of other countries like US and Canada, the difference is very wide.
We learnt there is a kind of recession in the UK just like we’re experiencing in Nigeria at the moment, and it has been really affecting the entertainment industry and that’s why most of you Nigerian artistes are relocating home. How true is it?
I think you’re right about that. But that’s a global issue. It’s not about UK alone. Even in Nigeria, we used to do well in the music industry compared to what’s happening at the moment. So, issue of recession cuts across. Every sector in the UK is affected by economic recession right now, not only the entertainment industry. The same thing goes for Nigeria as well.
Your kind of Juju has a flavor of gospel and hip-hop, and that makes it difficult for some music lovers to address you as a Juju artiste. What explanation do you have for that?
I have always said I am a Juju musician. That’s the flag I have with me and move about with. But I started as a gospel artiste because everything started from the church. Definitely, I am doing both gospel and juju. It now depends on which one you want from me. But I keep saying it, my main music is Juju.
The situation in the music industry right now is that hip-hop has taken over the centre stage, do you see juju making headway any longer?
Yes, that’s true. You’re very right. I must confess, the hip-hop acts are really leading the game now. They’re at the top at the moment. I think they are only being smart because what they do these days is no longer the real hip-hop. What they do is blending juju and fuji into another thing called hip-hop. What I know is that everybody is still coming back to the basics. If you notice what they do these days, when they started their hip-hop thing, they’re always on a fast tempo, but this time around they’re dropping the tempo by trying to bring in more messages into their music. What that means to me is that they’re coming back to the basics. So, we that have the flag of juju music are just watching them and expecting their comeback.
Now, you’re wearing a new look with your hair cut, why did you stop plaiting your hair?
I am just the type that likes changing his looks. I can still plait my hair if I like. If I go on with a look I think people are already used to, I can change it to something else. I sometimes like moving around with a look that people won’t identify me easily. I like that kind of a thing.
You’re still a young and handsome man, how do you cope with female admirers who will not even care about your marital status?
I am used to this question you asked. And I keep replying the same way. I see it as a normal thing. What anybody in my shoes needs to do is to know how to play the game. You don’t say or think women love you, you now see that as an opportunity to sleep with just any woman, you’re ruining your career without knowing. Fine, there is no way in this industry you operate effectively without women. But one needs to apply his senses in dealing with them. Women being our major fans doesn’t mean we have to get down with them. Women are the ones that come to our shows the most. They’re the ones that talk about us the most and all that. But that doesn’t mean we have to be carried away by that. We just have to carry them along and be polite to them.
How much did it cost you to shoot the video of God’s Signature?
It has gulped a lot of money, and we’re still spending. So, I can’t really picture the exact figure now. Already, we have spent more than N3 million. We’re still working on it and we’re looking at spending up to N10 million.
Who’s the marketer?
The audio was marketed by Lobito Disco. So, the video is going to be handled by another marketer entirely. I am even thinking of handling it myself because I am trying to have my own record label. If that would happen before I am through with the shoot, that means I will handle it. But if that’s not possible, I will search for a marketer for it.
Don’t you nurse the fear of piracy which is now widely believed to be the beginning of wisdom for every entertainer right now?
Yes, it’s been a big challenge we have been going through for quite a while. But I believe with the new government we have, something serious will be done about that. If we’re afraid of piracy, we won’t be able to do anything at all. So, we just have to keep the show flowing, piracy or no piracy.
Recently, an organization crowned you the King of New Generation Juju, what do you feel about that?
I am so happy about it, despite the fact that I have been running away for such a thing for quite a while because I don’t really want that number one thing. We still have King Sunny Ade and he’s still very much alive and very vibrant. And I so much respect him. So, awarding me king is quite heavy. But the only thing I understand about the award is that they called it New Generation Juju King. So, it’s clear enough to be understood by every music fan. I happened to be the bridge between old generation and the new one and even those coming after me. So, I belong to the whole generation of Juju. So, giving me that honour was just to appreciate my contribution to the development of juju in Nigeria.
But a lot of people would think it was done to rival King Sunny Ade?
(Cuts in) No, that can never be true. KSA is not even my father, he’s my grandfather who I look up to as a role model in the industry. So, people should not just think in that direction at all.