Tumininu (Vavavoom) and Atewologun (Peeshaun) Laolu-Ogunniyi, otherwise known as Skuki have every reason to rejoice for their successful career in 2013. They continued with the same pace in 2014, with the release of Silifa, the video which has generated controversies among pundits. Some of the issues raised were responded to in this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly held on Saturday, January 25, 2014, at Ikeja Shopping Mall, Ikeja, Lagos. They also spoke passionately about relationship with their father, Mr Laolu-Ogunniyi, the writer and director of the blockbuster Yoruba television series, Abija.
How would you describe your career in 2013?
2013 was a great year and all glory to God. The acceptability of our music was really huge. We switched our style and ensured that we were as consistent as ever.
You switched your style. From what to what?
We switched our style as regards staying close to our fans, and keeping them up to date on everything going on with Skuki, unlike before. I want to tell you that it really worked for us, and we hope to improve on that this year.
What will you say were the greatest achievements and impediments last year?
No impediments, everything happened for a reason. God is in absolute control of all our affairs. As regards achievements, first, is becoming an ambassador for nairabet.com. Also our single, Voomva video being in the top 5 Most Played Songs in Southern Africa, and also being selected to make the theme song for the biggest event in Lagos, The Lagos countdown, which came with many benefits.
Benefits like what?
Benefits na ni…(Smiles). Benefits, in terms of money and other big things. Just to mention a few. Really, God has been faithful to us.
What are your plans for 2014?
Our plans for 2014 are huge. Our album drops later in the year. It’s not only music this year, you’ll be seeing more of the music business side of us, but we’re not letting the cat out of the bag yet.
Let’s talk about Silifa video. What inspired the song, and the choice of video?
Silifa, Omo iya risi (Silifa, Iya Risi’s daughter)…(laughs). Silifa is based on a street setting. And Silifa is that pretty girl which every guy on the block would love to date. Apparently, she is not interested in the guys, despite all the material things they woo her with (She no wan do…like we said in the song).
The video is inspired by unique quality, which set apart the richly endowed African woman from skinny European women.
There are criticism of the choice of ladies you featured in the video, and how they showed their booty?
It’s people with inferiority complex that say we are imitating the western world. They’ve argued why couldn’t we imitate the likes of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, or Shina Peters? As far back as the 80’s, Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s girls used to twerk on stage better than the Miley Cyrus’s do these days. Honestly, twerking started from Africa, it has always been part of our dancing culture. Yorubas call it ‘Redi’. So, why are they rubbishing it?
It’s all part of entertainment, sometimes the dancing/twerking in the video is for the beat, not for the lyrics. If you study Fela’s music very carefully, you would find out that sometimes, he’d be singing about the government and girls, half naked, would be shaking their booty behind. It’s part of entertainment. A music video can follow the lyrics of the song, or can just be a dance routine to the beat. It depends on the angle the director wants to take it from.
Tell us more about your parents. How are they supporting your career?
We have the most understanding parents in the world. At times, our mom questions some of our actions, but she still remains our number 1 fan. Our dad is Mr. Laolu-Ogunniyi, he is a playwright, and he did the first ever soap-opera in Nigeria, entitled, Winds against my soul. He also wrote and directed the blockbuster television series, Abija.
He is currently working on the Return of Abija, which we are looking forward to ourselves, as his number 1 fans.
And how has his reputation influenced your music?
His reputation has opened many doors for us, in so many ways. Like I said, he’s a great man. He did the first soap opera in Nigeria in 1979, long before Vavavoom and Peeshaun were born. He was the first movie producer to shoot outdoor scenes in Nigeria, and today you can’t talk about the success of Abija, without our dad. These really help our career, especially when people get to know he’s our father.
He is very kind hearted man, although a disciplinarian and could be a little too strict at times. It’s all for our good, and it pays us, today.
I call him the unsung hero of Nollywood. When there was no Nollywood, no movie industry in Nigeria, our dad was doing movies.