-talks about his showmanship and good fortune
A couple of days back, Sammie Peters, wife of Afro juju creator, Sir Shina Peters returned to Nigeria, hale and hearty after her long medical sojourn in the United States of America due to a cancerous ailment. It has since been a joyous moment in the home of the veteran juju musician.
ENCOMIUM Weekly visited the Iju, Lagos home of the energetic music super star on Thursday, January 14, 2016, where he granted us an exclusive interview on this and other issues, including the state of the industry.
This is New Year, what’s new from the stable of Sir Shina Peters?
The new thing I am working on right now is how we’re going to inject sanity into the industry. We don’t want all those things that are spoiling the business for us. So, we need to sanitize the system. That’s my main focus for now. There must be a body that will be in charge of the sanitization process.
And when the body is out, it will affect Copyright Organization of Nigeria (COSON), Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Association of Juju Musicians of Nigeria (AJUMN), Fuji Musicians Association of Nigeria of Nigeria (FUMAN) and all that. Even the censors board.
If those at the censors board listen to our music and they identify things that can have bad influence on our children, who are our future, they should remove such things.
For instance, not all of us musicians are innocent but we must not be abusing womanhood with our lyrics. We should avoid the use of lewd lyrics, especially for the sake of the future of this country. Just like I said, not all of us are saints. Even when King Sunny Ade sang Alata sue sue, the Yoruba understand what he means. When KSA sang Shiki shiki, he said everything politely.
And when I too sang Figure eight, it’s only the wise that read meanings to what I said and all that. I didn’t hit the nail on the head. But nowadays, a lot of these young musicians just pronounce everything without caution or respect for womanhood.
They call everything in a woman by its original name. But in all, I am happy for them and I always thank God on their behalf because of their tremendous success. My advice for them is that they should make use of their money and wealth judiciously because things cannot be rosy forever. So, I will continue to encourage them, pray for them and correct them.
2015 has come and gone, how would you describe the year on your life and career?
To be honest, 2015 was a year of test for me. I don’t mean temptation but test because there is difference between the two. So, 2015 was just a year of test, but I thank God for everything. And I pray that at the end of it all, I would still have every reason to thank God again and again.
What are your plans for this year?
We’re working on that. I am personally working on few collaborations with some of these young guys. The problem with most of us veterans is arrogance that always prevents us from mingling with them. Some will say ‘how can I be identified with that small boy?’ but in my own case, I don’t feel that way. Instead, I move with them. I make sure I compete with them favourbly.
We will continue to work together. That’s the beauty of entertainment.
Okay, who are the ones you have in mind to have a duet with?
Let’s leave that for now. I am a father to them all. And a father will not say this is the one I have in mind so that you don’t cause crisis among your children.
A lot of people are saying that entertainment industry is not being well funded by the government. In what way do you think the present administration can help?
I have said it many times. It costs our governments nothing to carve a body for us as they carved bodies for football. So, if the government can do that, the better. For instance, see Nollywood, it’s a beautiful idea but how many movies do they produce in a day? It’s not being controlled. If they can control the whole thing, they will be giving themselves space.
I can remember when I was with Prince Adekunle, we would release our album, Chief Ebenezer Obey and King Sunny Ade will also release theirs, Jacob Oluwole and few others would release their albums, all during the Eid-Il-Fitr (small Salah). Then, we would still come out during Eid-il-Kabir (big Salah). And the same thing goes for the Christmas and New Year festivals.
But since I started releasing my personal albums, it has always been once in a year. I was the first artiste to commercialize the video aspect of our job. Formerly, we’re only doing it as a promotional clip. But when ACE was released, commercialization of musical video began in the industry.
What’s your personal contribution to make the industry better?
We’re trying our best. There is a difference between you advising the people and they taking the advice. Music is a universal thing and a medium of fast communication. Our government is really losing a lot. If we’re carried along, we would have helped the government in projecting some of its agenda, instead of waiting to read everything in the newspapers.
For instance, if we as musicians are carried along, it’s not the government that will tell the people directly not to jump the queue at the bus stop. That’s should have been part of our responsibilities as musicians. I could remember when we changed to naira and kobo, it’s Chief Ebenezer Obey that used his music to pass the message across.
And that’s a kind of awareness that the people need. We’re the ones who should be saddled with the responsibility of passing across information apart from the media. But I believe one day, we will get there.
How would you describe President Buhari’s administration generally in the last seven months?
I would disappoint you about that because I don’t discuss politics. If power supply is nothing to write home about, roads are bad, education is in shambles and all that, you will never hear me hold the President or any leader responsible. I would not mention any name for any inadequacy in governance. That’s why I said I don’t discuss politics and people know me for that.
Now, back to the industry again, a lot of people believe that with the evolutionary trend by hip hop artistes, juju is already fading out. What’s your view about this?
You’re aware we have different forms of juju. We have syncro, miliki, soko and all that. Maybe it’s one or two of these that they’re referring to. But my own Afro juju still remains intact.
You are always very energetic on stage, where does the energy and inspirations come from, even at your age?
Don’t let me deceive you, it’s just the grace of God. Everything I do is from God, not by my power.
What’s the difference between Sir Shina Peters on stage and ordinary moments?
So many. Shina Peters on stage is fire. The way you see me now, it’s another Shina Peters. Let me tell you, what most of these young musicians learn from school of music is just the basics, not the real theory. An artiste going on stage to perform must know the audience he’s performing for. Then, appearance comes.
It’s how you appear that determines how the crowd will believe you. Some artistes don’t understand that image is everything. Some don’t even know that their photograph can be taken while eating in public.
Any artiste that cannot build a myth around himself, I don’t think he understands the job. Most of them live fake lifestyle. For instance, what do you think made Michael Jackson wear socks and hand gloves on stage. What’s in his hands that’s not in other person’s hands?
He only wanted people to believe there’s something special about it. All these things are what our artistes do. In our own case, we didn’t fight journalists. Instead, we would invite them and resolve things amicably. But our artistes nowadays don’t care. They can even beat a journalist or engage in social media war with any media practitioner who they think has offended them.
In the industry, you create a logo for yourself and people will identify you with that logo. For instance, not that Charly Boy actually wishes to parade himself with pins all over his body and face, but when he moves around town as a gentle man, people may not recognize him. But he had created an identify for himself.
When I released all the soft albums, including Child in the darkness, Ko teni fun mi, senwele and few others, people didn’t buy them. But when I released ACE with hot beat, it became a must listen and dance to everywhere not only among the Yoruba but Igbo and Hausa inclusive. So, that’s creativity for you. An artiste must be creative. That’s what the art is all about.
But most artistes nowadays lack creativity. Immediately people see me coming to an event you wiuld hear them, they quickly saying, ‘Oh, this Sir Shina Peters coming’. You see an artiste performing with bathroom slippers on the stage, how do you think people will rate him? But I still believe that we will get there one day.
It’s long you released an album last, is it because of piracy or what?
Most of albums were released far ahead of their times. Something is still amazing me. I keep wondering how a six-year-old child can be singing and dancing Afro juju which his or parents might have not even met when the album was released. That Ace should have been released 10 years after so that the previous one would have been given a chance to sell further.
Although, it’s good. Whatever I want to do now must be at the same standard even better than all my evergreen albums. Now, music has developed beyond what it used to be. So, I also need to work with time. I don’t know why people always request for my oldies. That shows they can’t even differentiate between Ace and Shinomania and the rest.
If I sing make u na dance o! If I sing make u na dance o!, they would still believe it’s Ace because I didn’t give those albums enough gap for people to know the difference between them. But this year, I am going to throw a bombshell. It’s going to be a bang, and will definitely raise the bar in the industry.
Let’s talk about your endorsement deal with MTN, how has it changed your life and career?
I would say MTN is God sent to me. I thank the company a lot, especially my agent, Femi Ojo.
On a final note, the news is all over that your lovely wife, Sammie Peters is back home, hale and hearty after a long battle with cancer, how do you feel about that?
When we’re about to start this interview, I told you I won’t talk about this.
But there is nothing wrong in knowing how happy you’re seeing her back home hale and hearty after all…
(Cuts in) No one won’t know I will be happy. It’s a normal thing. There’s so much to talk about that later but I don’t want a situation where I will distort our plan on that. But in all, to God be the glory.