London based musician, Adesoji Adebayo, popularly known as
has been in music for over 15 years, and is well known for infusing all genres like hip hop, rap and RnB into juju music. His style of music is called Tungba music.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with the well travelled musician and he told us all about his music, how 2015 was career-wise and his expectation for 2016. He also shared with us his excitement on being appointed by the Ooni of Ife as one of his official musicians, this has earned him the name, Olorin Oba…
How did 2015 go for Mr. Solek?
It wasn’t bad at all. It was a great year.
What are the challenges you faced as a juju artiste in the diaspora?
Every artiste faces challenges. In every business, there is competition. The major challenge we artistes that are not based in Nigeria face is marketing our works. It is also a big challenge for me, and it is one of the reasons I have not really come out with anything fresh. You spend your money and there is no marketer to market and distribute it for you. Even if you do everything yourself, he will still tell you he did not sell. So, it’s like wasting your money and time.
What’s the acceptance rate of people in the diaspora where you are based?
I have been singing abroad for 15 years and it is what I have been living on for 15 years and I have not lived on any other source of income. So, I think it is well accepted.
What do you think stands you out as a musician?
I have already created a niche for myself from day one. I was the one who started infusing hip hop and rap into juju music. A lot of people have started to do that now. The hip hop element is for the younger crowd. I blend it in a way that is aggressive for the young and others.
How have you been able to remain in your career after so many years?
I was updating myself. One cannot stay in one place and expect to grow. You have to keep updating yourself and be in the know as per what’s new in the industry.
Has the thought of coming back to Nigeria to settle down crossed your mind?
Not for now.
I can’t leave my family.
Do you think you met your target for 2015?
No, I mentioned the challenge I had. I am trying to go into the studio now to do something. It’s like I am forcing myself. I have new ideas and songs but it is sad when you work hard but won’t see the result. I would love to release an album once a year or once in two years but the market is not there for people like us because we are not based in Nigeria.
What are your expectations for 2016?
In 2016, I want to up my game, and be well known. I know there are still a lot of people who don’t know me. A lot of people don’t know me because of the lack of media presence for people like us on TV and radio. The only way we can be relevant is if we do hip hop videos and maybe when some Yoruba programmes play our kind of music. On the bright side, as long as one keeps working and performing, more people get to know you at every performance.
Can you take us down memory lane to when you started music?
I started singing at a very tender age. I grew up with the music of Ebenezer Obey, Sunny Ade and some other juju musicians. Music is something I grew up wanting to explore and know more about. My kind of music gives you the opportunity to express yourself and showcase your talent because when you are singing live, you can do all sorts of things. It is different from miming. Singing live is a lot of work but I love it.
Why did you eventually decide to go into juju music?
My taste in music is very wide, which is why I mix hip hop, rap into my music because my background is RnB. So, I have been able to mix and create modern day juju music. I know people in the past tried to blend a bit of American music. Shina Peters tried it, Ebenezer Obey also. I just took it to another level.
Can you count shows you did in 2015?
I really can’t keep track of how many shows I did in 2015, but on an average, I played three times per week, and some other times, I play almost all the days of the week.
If you want to go into the studio with any Nigerian music artiste, who would it be?
I can work with anybody. I am indifferent. I can work with anybody that isn’t too full of himself and is ready to work with me, I would work with him. Some Nigerian artistes can be funny at times and that’s why I am in my little corner. I believe if you are in a profession and the profession can feed you for 15 years without other source of income, and you don’t have to depend on other people, then you are a master in that profession. Nobody can bully you. I would rather just stay in my lane and do my thing and if anybody will mingle or do something with me, I am fine with it, and anybody that doesn’t want to or even set eyes on me, I don’t give a damn. That’s how I am living my life. I am okay the way I am. It’s not till I get an award. As long as the income keeps coming in with what I know how to do best I couldn’t be bothered.
The Ooni recently made you one of his official musicians, how does that make you feel?
It makes me feel very good that my hand work is appreciated and it means I must be doing something right.
- TINUOLA JOSEPH