POPULAR UK-based juju singer, Jide Akinwunmi, popularly known as Jide Chord has finally relocated to Nigeria after almost two decades of musical sojourn in the Queen’s country.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Wednesday, November 30, 2011, Jide Chord spoke on his new project and how life in the UK treated him, career and family, among others.
It’s been a long time we heard from you, can you tell us what has been happening to you, career wise?
I don’t see myself as a recording artiste, I am more of a touring artist. I tour the world a lot because of the nature of where I used to live, the United Kingdom. But I have relocated now. In the UK, you just go on tours, I have been doing that for about 20 years, all the agents know me so they fix tours for me. I don’t even bother about recording, but I admit I would have to pay a price for that because Nigerians are used to artist that record regularly. Never mind, I would catch up.
You have been going and coming from Nigeria to the United Kingdom, is there something drawing your attention?
My family, my kids are very important to me and when the business is not going too well here one gets tired and you just go back but this time I am determined.
So, what have you done about your family that you left over there, since you will be here permanently?
Some of my children are old enough now, I can leave them and they would take care of themselves. Their mum is there also so they won’t miss me that much and I am financially stable so I can travel for few days and come back again if it’s that important because I am very determined to do so many things in Nigeria not only music but some other things.
Can we meet your beautiful family?
I keep my private life private but as my children are getting older, some are going into showbiz so there is very little I can hide now. My second son is in the university here, he has released a single which is making waves. He is a music producer and singer, I also have a daughter, who is an actress but most of her work is in the UK. She hasn’t done anything outside the UK. I have five children and one wife for now.
Which means you have children following your footsteps?
We are very artistic in my family. My first son was my sound engineer, but he is into accounting now maybe it’s because they saw me do it or maybe it’s just in their blood.
What are we expecting from you now?
I am a true musician, I am committed, it comes naturally. I don’t have to be hyped. I am proud of the music industry, I feel really comfortable working in the industry.
Any new project?
I have an album on the way, no title yet. I have recorded three singles and I have released one of them called Jeka jo soro, audio was produced by K-Solo and the video by Gbenga Saliu. We are pushing that for now, hopefully, early next year the album should be out.
From the singles, what would you say about the acceptability, now that hip-hop has taken over?
It’s a shock to some people, some newspapers have even said Jide Chord has stopped playing juju music, he now plays hip-hop. The track was produced by K-Solo and he is an Afro-hip hop producer so his influence is there on my music, if you don’t see my face in the video you might think the song was done by a young musician. I am sure I would be able to balance myself into the system. My juju has never been local so, maybe this is even the best time for me to come into the industry.
Juju music was one of the best and most popular but we don’t hear much about it now, are you planning to rejuvenate juju music?
Juju music has its culture I want to leave the culture so I can’t claim to rejuvenate juju music. For instance, I don’t want to play at parties anymore, that’s the centre point of juju. Why juju music looks like it went down is because a lot of people went into juju just to copy what KSA has done or what Pastor Ebenezer Obey did or what Sir Shina Peters did. There was no innovation. I was doing new things in England. Another thing is that the followership of juju music are majorly Christians and their pastors teach them not to be reckless with money. That also affected the genre because people don’t spend money freely again.
So, what are you going to do about it?
KSA is there, he is doing something.
He has not been in the scene for a while…
Maybe he has not been in the recording scene, but he always performs, he is a very busy person. It’s difficult for new people to come, there are other things that interest young people, your laptops, your iPads and Blackberry. I think it’s a good thing that is happening in the industry now.
Do you have any intention of collaborating with any artist?
Yes, but I don’t know who. I have one now with Master T, he is a rap artiste, my singing is just normal Jide Chord singing love song.
Apart from that, what other project are you working on?
I am working on going into television presenting, I have TV programmes ideas which I am going to develop. One mistake I made is to bring ideas from the UK and do it exactly in Nigeria. I have made mistakes so now what I do is bring an idea, form a team around the idea and do something more Nigerian. You would see me presenting soon.
What are the things you do that you cannot do anymore?
There is nothing I used to do that I can’t do again. I have never been someone over the top, I have always been calm and collected.
Can you compare the music industry then and now?
The industry then had very few educated people but now most people are educated, that’s why when I meet people they become surprised that I have a degree because I am a juju musician. We have educated managers too now.
There were rumours while you were away that you don’t have good lyrics, and that you were broke, was there anytime you decided to dump music because of lack of lyrical content?
If I am broke, I would go out, sing and make money.
But people are no longer interested in the kind of music you do?
I heard a rumour that I came to Nigeria and spent a long time because I was running away from the law. Maybe I did something wrong, that I was deported, it’s very funny. They are entitled to their opinion, I am not bothered. Remember I trained as a journalist so I understand what people do to sell their papers. It’s interesting but not true.
Your message to your fans?
I am sorry for taking this long, I am here to stay now. I would do so many things. Luckily for me, I don’t have enemies in the industry, I have friends and God also.
What record label are you with now?
Its mine, it’s called Skills and Talent Records.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, December o6, 2011