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For artists, glorifying crime is wrong— African China

Published by on June 22nd, 2020.


.                          African China

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Singer, African China , speaks with OLAJIDE SAMUEL about his music career and other issues
What have you been up to lately ?
I have been releasing songs. It’ s just that Nigerians are not ready . They prefer party songs . It is not every time we ( musicians ) have to sing socially -conscious songs , but those kinds of songs make us ready for days like these . Life will not always be rosy and smooth . I will also blame the media . The media promotes all those immoral songs till they become part of the public ’s consciousness .
Have you ever been under pressure to change your style of music ?
I have never been under pressure . It is someone that is desperate that would be under pressure . I have performed at international shows . I was once one of the biggest artistes in Nigeria , releasing hit songs back to back. With the kind of money we made then , many of us thought that was the best we could do . I see the same thing happening to this generation of musicians . They don’t know what the next generation would contribute . I would just advise them to stay focused and not allow temporary gains to distract them .
Some of the things you condemned in your songs are still very much with us . How does that make you feel?
It doesn ’ t make me feel good . I want people to always go back to my songs. I recently posted some of the videos of my old songs on Instagram and they generated positive comments . I even posted the videos of some songs I did about 10 years ago and some people thought they were new . People were not in the mood to listen to my songs then . Now that the economy has pushed people to the wall , they want to listen to my songs. Many years ago , Fela Anikulapo – Kuti , said that his music was not meant for that time ; that it would make sense years later. I have always been a die – hard ‘ son’ of Fela. I didn ’t only listen to his songs , I also watched and listened to his interviews so that I could learn more from and about him . Some of Fela’s contemporaries in music made much more money than he did . However today , Fela ’s legacy and music is celebrated more than that of others . One has to make the decision to either focus on leaving a legacy or be praised at the moment and forgotten later. My song, Letter to Mr President , was released many years ago and people are still listening to it.
Which artiste would you love to work with and why?
I actually want to work with a lot of artistes . I am working on a song right now and would love to feature Seun Kuti on it. The song came to me in my dream and it was Seun that came to my mind . I also have songs I would like to record with Phyno and Patoranking . Collaboration can be described as a spirit. One doesn ’ t just collaborate with another artiste because one thinks the artiste would make one’ s song more popular. No one knows beforehand whether a song would be successful or not . When I had a collaboration with Faze, I didn ’t know that the song would be a hit . I just felt he would be the best person to feature on the song .
What is your opinion on young artistes who say nobody helped them to succeed ?
I think it is very wrong. No one can do it alone . After recording a song, someone could listen to it and recommend the song to others without the artiste who sang the song even knowing .
On a personal level , how have you been coping with the ban on concerts as a result of COVID -19 pandemic ?
It is affecting every entertainer — from comedians to musicians and actors. Anyone that says they are not affected is a big liar . Now that some of the restrictions are being lifted people are returning to work . But entertainers are not working .
What is your take on young artistes who glorify cybercrime and other vices in their music ?
A crime is a crime . When you know these things are bad and against the law , stay away from them . Also , don’t glorify it. It is not good for artistes , as public figures , to get associated with such .
Do you think people expect too much from celebrities?
Yes , they expect too much from us . Some even blame us for not doing giveaways . The musician ’s job is to entertain and make you happy , not to give you money. As an entertainer , one can only do the best one can do. One shouldn’t do things because others are doing it.
What lessons have you learnt on the job over the years ?
I have learnt to be myself and to be patient . I have learnt to be an artiste that does more of listening than talking . Some of us want to immediately counter what anyone says about us . However , don’t take decisions immediately . Relax , sleep over it and you would react in a better way .
What is your advice to young artistes ?
I advise them not to be desperate. If one is too desperate, one may get into trouble . One may also end up not getting the things one wants.
What are some of the disadvantages you ’ ve had by virtue of singing songs that are critical of the government ?
I have been threatened before , during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration . But I don ’t get threats like that anymore .
How do you deal with not being in the limelight anymore ?
There is absolutely nothing to feel bad about . One should always have it at the back of one’s mind that no champion reigns forever .

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