ALHAJI Saheed Akorede Okunola, a.k.a Osupa, is one of the most sought after fuji musicians. In this exclusive interview with the king of fuji, he stated point blank that he’s not a controversial artiste, his relationship with Pasuma, how he manages his two wives, career and many more.
How is life with you?
I am fine, hale and hearty.
How would you assess the fuji scene since the demise of Alhaji Agba (Sikiru Ayinde Barrister)?
Everything is still very fine, there is no problem at all. We are all relating well.
How does it feel to be one of the most sought after fuji musicians?
It feels great and it shows that I am hard working.
What separates you from other fuji musicians?
I am a very creative person. I love creativity which makes me unique.
We learnt that you have settled your long time quarrel with Pasuma, how does that make you feel?
There is no big deal about the quarrel, it is just a fight of supremacy. It is people that are just taking it personal. There is no big deal about it.
The story in town is that you and K1 de Ultimate are daggers drawn over the jingle you did for the Lagos State Governor Raji Fashola?
It is a normal thing, such things are bound to happen. I am a contractor, he is a contractor jostling for the same deal, I have my own in-house style and little effizy which is more attractive than yours. Will they say because you are the one they have been awarding the contract and now they are in love with my own proposal for the same job, they won’t concede it to anybody? It’s a normal thing and moreso in a situation like that, there is room for a quarrel.
People say you are a controversial musician, why is it so?
What do they mean by controversial? Do you expect me to introduce my kind of business without saying something that will attract attention? The point is that if I want to market my product, I will do all things that can attract people’s attention so that they will like me more than the other competitors. So, does that mean I am controversial? We are not actually fighting, it’s just a case of professional supremacy and that is all.
Do you think there would be an end to the crisis rocking the fuji genre?
It is a phenomenon, you can’t scrap it. Crisis is in every other business and it’s called business rivalry.
What are the things you do that keep you on top?
That is because I am very innovative. When you listen to my song, you are delighted. Moreover, my lyrics are down to earth, very meaningful and thought provoking.
So, what inspires your kind of lyrics?
I will call it natural inspiration. If there is an event I am to entertainer, just tell me what it’s all about, the inspiration will flow naturally.
If you look back, when was the saddest moment of your life?
The only time I felt sad was when my mother died. Anytime that memory reverberates, I just switch to my music so as to forget the whole trauma.
On the issue of visa lottery some people say it is not true, how true is it?
It is true. I won the visa but I dumped it because of the people involved.
But some people say you want to use it to wipe up sympathy from the public?
Is it because I have not been to America or what? I have been to America on several occasions so that tale is not true.
Musically, what is the experience in Nigeria compared to America?
I have a very good and solid ground here compared to America, though I have fans all over the world. Nigeria is more spacious, I can play freely here. But in America, we are given a small space.
Why is it so?
Because African artists are not that celebrated there, they will just put you in one small place and if you see 20 people you have seen a crowd. The people don’t turn up for musical show like what we have in Nigeria.
What do you think is the cause, is it that we have not sold ourselves enough over there?
It is because of the documentation. They don’t do it with due process. They do it like an invitation which will not enable you to go with your complete band. How is it possible to play without your full band? It is the promoters’ fault, they don’t want to spend money. It is only Femi Kuti and his father, Fela that are well celebrated over there because the white people took them there. I have watched Femi play in Chicago and late Ayinde Barrister.
Outside your profession, what kind of man are you?
I am just the normal Saheed Osupa that doesn’t take nonsense. I hate cheating and I don’t want to be cheated.
You do more than 10 shows in a week, how do you cope?
I am used to it, it has become a part of me.
When are you less busy in a month?
That would be during the Id-el-Fitri, though I get jobs, but not as much as other times of the year.
Tell us the secret of your success.
I am a restless person, I don’t settle for less and I am very consistent.
Fuji musicians are known to have many wives, you have two, how do you cope?
They understand the nature of my job.
It was alleged that you built a house for one of your wives and left the other with nothing, what is your take on this?
Does she sleep under the bridge? My first wife lives in my biggest house in Ibadan, a 5-bedroom duplex while my second wife resides in my 3-bedroom duplex in Ajao Estate, Lagos. They are comfortable and well cared for.
How do you juggle your two wives, how do you satisfy them sexually?
I am a very agile and active person (laughs).
How many albums do you have to your credit?
I have produced 28 albums, but I started releasing since 1992.
Which is the highest selling of all the albums?
That would be Mr. Music which is a 4-in-1 album.
Of all your albums which do you cherish most?
Each new album I produce is an improvement on the last one. So, I wouldn’t say this is my favourite or this is the most cherished.
Currently, what are you working on?
I am working on my next album entitled Tested and Trusted.
Many things have been written about you in the past which was the nastiest?
The one they wrote that my windscreen was smashed while I was fighting.
Any regrets so far?
I don’t have any regret at all when it comes to this profession.
– JOKE ONITOLO
This story was first published in Encomium Weekly on Tuesday, June 28, 2011