ON Sunday, December 7, 2014, juju queen, Ayotunde Kofoworola Balogun, simply addressed as Queen Ayo Balogun launched her new album, One Life. Not only that, the ageless musician also launched her multi-million naira music equipment. The Ilesa, Osun born entertainer also celebrated 57.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an exclusive interview with the veteran juju maestro on the three-in-one event and much more. She, however, recounted her nine years of marriage without a child until 1989 when God answered her prayers.
How do you feel about today’s event?
I feel so happy and fulfilled. I am very much excited. I am glad that the turnout was wonderful. And the love shown me by my family, friends and fans is so overwhelming. I give God all the glory.
What would you say contributed to the success of the event?
God is the main factor for the success of today’s occasion. Equally, I believe it’s also largely due to my personal relationship with those involved. Ahead of today, I made sure I had a kind of one-on-one touch with almost all my special guests, making sure I saw each of them before today. Although, it was stressful, what is important is the outcome of the efforts. And I thank God, I am not disappointed. Also, the venue contributed because people love beautiful environment.
How much did it cost you to put the event together?
It cost me millions of naira. But I thank God for being with me from the beginning to the end.
Why was this launch delayed till today?
Yes, I agree with you that the album was billed to be launched earlier this year but I have been so busy, and in-between, I was on international tour. So, these put the album launch on hold till today.
This is my sixth album.
What makes this album unique?
It’s unique because it’s like I am telling the story of my life. And that’s why I entitled it One Life. That means you have only one life to live and you have to live it well by being good to others, making others enjoy you.
Who is marketing it?
One Life is going to be marketed by Balm of Gilead.
What are your expectations about the album?
I am expecting a very wide acceptance. Before now, a lot of people have been complaining that my music is only for the rich and famous. Now, I am trying to make sure that it cuts across board. I want everybody, rich or poor to feel and enjoy my music.
How would you describe your career in 2014?
Glory be to God Who has been with me since the beginning of it all, even when I never knew I would make music a profession. I thank God, my career enjoyed good flow in 2014, despite the dwindling economy of the country. I appreciate God, my band members and all those who believe in Queen Ayo Balogun.
You also launched a new set of equipment, what’s the financial worth of it?
I can’t say this is how much the equipment cost. All I know is that they are multi-million naira instruments that I have long desired. I thank God for accomplishing that.
Where did you source the equipment?
They were imported from the US.
With that would you say your music has been taken to another level?
Yes, of course and by the special grace of God.
On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, you will clock 57, how does that make you feel?
It makes me feel real good. I am proud to be in the league of the elderly. And I am not afraid of old age. Since you’re approaching 60, you should know that you’re no longer getting younger. You’re already an elder. So, everything you do should be channeled towards the fact that you’re an old person if at all right inside you, you’re not feeling it.
But you constantly appear ageless, how do you feel about that?
I am happy because it’s God’s grace. Not everybody in my age category can look young the way I am. I appreciate God for that.
But are you not feeling the age?
Not at all, I am still my usual self. The age has not taken its toll on me. I even feel young inside of me. I love being around younger people as long as they see me as their role model.
How do you feel, so youthful at 57?
Sometimes I am surprised that I am still looking this young and agile, despite my age. And most times, I feel grateful to God for His mercies and grace.
What are the secrets of your radiant look?
I worry less even when there are challenges. Most times, I sleep them off. I just go to bed and take some rest. By the time I wake up, my head will be cool and everything will be clear. I also eat more of vegetables and fruits. Then drink enough water at intervals.
Was there any specific challenge that you can hardly forget?
I remember the time I got married. I was in marriage for nine years but I was childless. I felt tortured psychologically, emotionally and all that. But miraculously, God just did it in 1989, I became a mother. It’s an experience I don’t like talking about but I thank God for blessing me at the end.
Would you say you had your happiest moment in 1989 because of that?
Yes, of course. I still give thanks to God till date. The joy of motherhood is enormous. It’s what every woman should experience.
What advice do you have for the younger ones, especially women?
Youths nowadays, don’t care about their dignity, especially ladies. As women, we must respect ourselves for people to respect us.
I have been singing professionally for the past 20 years.
How would you describe the journey so far?
It has been awesome, wonderful and fulfilling. I have reached a level that I can no longer walk freely on the streets, that tells you my career has been really blessed.
What have been the challenges all this while?
A lot but we thank God, we always overcome every challenge. Just like every other profession or business, I have my own fair share of challenges in my profession as well. I can’t go into details. For instance, there are times traffic won’t allow you to get to venue on time. At times, you take ill and you have been paid. Also, Nigeria’s situation itself doesn’t help matters. But in all, I give glory to God.
How do you feel being in a male dominated genre?
I have always believed that whatever one has to do, you have to do it well. That has been the philosophy working for me. I don’t feel intimidated in anyway by any man. Whatever a man can do, a woman can do better.
– TADE ASIFAT