Classics, Interviews

KSA, Obey deny being rivals – Speak on their forthcoming One Night Stand Concert

Music icons, King Sunny Ade and Evangelist Ebenezer Obey, one more time, have denied being rivals.  The great artists who are currently warming up for a concert, One Night Stand, billed for the Expo Hall of Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island on Sunday, November 7, 2010, granted ENCOMIUM Weekly audience on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.

Describing themselves as friends and brothers, the duo also educated us on the secrets of their success as well as x-rayed the Nigerian music scene…

Sunny Ade



Your alleged long drawn quarrel with Ebenezer Obey has eventually come to an end with the One Night Stand Concert.  What was your reaction when you were told that you would be on the same stage with Obey at the same time?

It is something that I have always wished for but it didn’t happen.  When I heard about it, I was praying in my mind that God should let it be.  But on the other hand, I doubted if it would work.  The moment we spoke to each other as usual and we both agreed to do it, I knew God had a hand in it.

What should we expect that night?

Please, expect the good part of us, if not the best.

Sincerely speaking, were you people ever rivals?

We are not rivals.  You are the people that called us rivals.  We used to do things together, we are friends and brothers.

Now that both of you are coming together to perform on the same stage, how does it make you feel?

It feels good.  As you can see, we are happy, we are friends.

Can you compare and contrast music in your days with what we have now?

I think it’s left for you to do the comparison because the kind of music done in our own time is very much different from what you people do now.  There is no basis for comparison.

How will you assess the Nigerian music industry?

We thank God that we now play music for Nigerians and they appreciate it, but the truth is that we are now better than before when we used to play and listen to foreign music alone.  Even in the high places.  But now, Nigerian music is being played everywhere, even in the high places.  We now appreciate our music and Nigerian artists are highly recognized all over the world.

What do you consider as the secret of success?

The secret of success is about the Lord and the love of people. Whatever you do, if God wants it done and people love it, you will be successful.  It is the people that will make you what you want to be after the power of the Lord.

What are some of the things you used to do when you were young that age has deprived you of?

I am yet to see what age would not allow me do. I still do most of the things I used to do.

But you used to be a very good dancer, you no longer dance like before.  Where have those lovely dance steps gone?

(Laughs) I still dance. If you watch all my videos, you’ll see me and I am going to dance for you again on November 7 at Eko Hotel.

What is your philosophy of life?

Have the fear of God in your heart and love the people. Make sure you protect what God has done, His creations.  Don’t damage what God has already created because the Bible says all what God created are perfectly made.  So, don’t destroy the work of God.

What are some of the goals you set for yourself that you are yet to achieve?

This is one of them, the forthcoming concert.  Meeting and playing with Ebenezer Obey on the same stage, at the same time and I will say it has been achieved. We’ve been playing for the whole world for over 40 years without break.  Is that not a great achievement?  We are loved by the people, God has spared our lives and we are grateful.

If there is one thing you would want to thank God for, what would it be?

For keeping me alive and still be able to perform.

What’s your advice to youths?

Youths should be self-disciplined, have the fear of God in their hearts, respect themselves, respect elders, respect any profession they find themselves.  Let them find out who they are, the moment you find out who you are, then you will be able to move ahead.

What do you consider as your strength and weakness?

My strength is that I love serving people.  I am still serving people and I am still praying to God to give me more time to serve the masses.  My weakness is that I don’t know how to get there, but I am still pushing myself to get there.

What do you consider as your greatest achievement?

Being recognized by the whole world.  If you see my picture anywhere, you will definitely say, Oh! This is Sunny Ade.  Money cannot buy that, even hard work cannot get to that level but the love of people.  When you do something and the whole world loves it, you will surely get there.  A lot of people see us as their role models, I didn’t see myself, I cannot see myself but you saw me and the moment you see me as a role model, I have to do my best not to derail from what you call me.

What would you love to be remembered for?

I would love to be remembered for being King Sunny Ade.  The moment you remember the name, what he has done or what he did will come to your mind.

Your mother’s burial in Ondo State was fantastic, is any other ceremony coming up in Lagos?

Even up till now, celebration is still going on because traditionally, we celebrate 40 days.  What you people did for me is the umbrella.  So, under the umbrella, we are having traditional celebrations.  We are doing another one next week and another one in November.  People say I should sit down, that they want to celebrate my mother for me and who am I to say no?  We will continue to do it.  The artists who were not able to come to Ondo are gathering to do a show for me in celebration of my mother.

What will you miss about her?

I’ll miss everything about her.

How do you relax?

I am a very busy person. I am a musician.  I am a businessman, I relax when I go to play golf.  Even in my compound, I have lawn tennis, table tennis, ludo, golf and all that.

Ebenezer Obey

Ebenezer-ObeyWhat is the importance of the concert?

The importance of the concert is that, it was the concept of the visioner to have both of us sing, especially this year that Nigeria is celebrating 50 years.  Within the years, myself and KSA, God has given us opportunity, privilege to have been on top for so many years and we have been seen as good examples.  People read different meaning to the relationship between myself and KSA.  So, our coming together, been on one stage with one band, the things we are going to do that day, are going to show unity and the strength of each us.  It is a way to celebrate myself and KSA on what the Lord has used us to do, our impact and contribution.  That is the importance of the concert.

Is there really any rivalry between yourself and KSA?

People have different opinions.  We are not rivals.  I am myself and KSA was himself and our strength differs.

What do you think is your strength and KSA’s strength?

When God creates two people, He gives each of them a special gift.  Everyone on earth has his or her own special gift.  This is what we are putting together to demonstrate one, unity, togetherness and progress.  My strength is the ability to compose songs.  KSA’s strength is that he majored on guitar.  When we put the two together, it builds out a unique response.

What was your response when the project was introduced to you?

My response was that we should go ahead.  Those who brought the idea had the idea of one stage, one stand, one band, one night, yet it will be two bands making one band.  It’s just to celebrate us as icons within the 50 years at Nigeria’s golden jubilee.  Myself and KSA have been around for a long time.  We want people to learn about love, unity and progress.  We are coming together to demonstrate that. I made the concert known to the elders in my church and finally, we are planning for it.

How do you rate the Nigerian entertainment industry?

We have reached the point that we can say we have tried.  But there is still room for improvement.  I want us to focus and believe that we can do better.  I don’t really deduce any meaning from what they are singing, but I believe they can do better.

What were you doing before that you can no longer do due to age?

God has given everybody the ability and opportunity that when you grow from one stage to another stage, you will be able to do certain things.  So, that is why you see old people being different from youths.

What should people expect from the show?

People should expect the two icons becoming one band, one stand and two of us are going to give our best on that day. Young people should try and come so that they would be able to learn and get something from us.  They should try and listen to the songs so that they would be able to compare it to the jumping, jumping that they sing.

What would you say is your philosophy of life?

My philosophy is that you move closer to God, do the will of God. If you do that, you can achieve anything you wish for.

This story was first published in Encomium Weekly on Tuesday, October 26, 2010



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