BY IYABO AINA
Oluwarotimi Martins, known in the music industry as Alariwo of Africa, has been around for a long time and seemed to disappear after his hit song, Yawa Go Gas, an afrobeat single. Even Cable News Network, CNN, was confused the single could have been done by the late Afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
But Alariwo has resurfaced and ready to take the front-seat again and he is singing his way back to reckoning through his video, Dancia, which featured popular Yoruba actress, Biodun Okeowo, Pasuma and Ajasa. In this interview, Alariwo of Africa speaks on the entertainment industry:
Can you compare the then music industry to now?
The industry is getting better now but we still have some meaningless songs. Because back then, we were singing for fun and not for money. But at the same time, it’s better, as artistes now get paid good money, they get endorsement deals and all other things.
But do you feel threatened by the new artistes?
Why would I, when most of them see me as a source of inspiration to them. They respect and appreciate me a lot. Everything in life has got its time and seasons. Also am still relevant and still making money in the industry so I don’t agree to your saying that, they are the ones making it in the industry or if I feel threatened by any of them. They are good but am yet to decide on who to work with.
What was your relationship with Fela?
Fela inspired me to go into the music industry. I was encouraged to play afrobeat back then by my sponsor, Femi Lasode, because according to him, I sounded like him. I never met Fela in my life, I only listened to a lot of Fela’s songs but never met him.
What kind of instrument do you play?
Keyboard. It was my producer, Nelson Brown, who taught me how to play the keyboard
So how do you see the young artistes not being able to play music instruments, and how can it affect their career and the industry?
Most of them play the instruments. It’s not a must to play instruments, but it’s a plus, because of ideas.
There was a video you did where you featured Biodun Okeowo, Why did you feature her or is there any relationship between you both?
She’s my friend, she featured free and nothing is going on between us. I used her in my new video titled, Dancia, featuring Pasuma and Ajasa. And Dancia is my new video after being away for awhile. Also, Dancia, is a local slang for dancing
Was there anything between you and Jennifer Eliogu?
Jenny (Jennifer Eliogu) and I are just friends. It’s only in Nigeria that people misunderstand it when a lady is a friend to a man. I’m man enough to tell you if something is going on between me and anyone
What kind of child were you while growing up?
I was a very playful and stubborn child. But I’ve always been a singer from childhood. Then, my mother was always singing while my father was always playing songs of veterans like Jim Reeves, Don Williams, Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey and Victor Olaiya. I was very stubborn which is or was natural. Natural, because I was also very playful.
And were you really sent to the street by your father?
That is not true. My father trained me in a very different and decent way. Though he was very strict, but he made sure we all got the best of education
Was there anytime you sued CNN?
No! What really happened was, my agent in UK wrote to CNN for compensation because they played my song Yawa Go Gas and claimed that it was the music of Fela so they paid for false information.
Do you have any unforgettable moment as an artiste?
Yes, I do, and it was when I was raped in Calabar. It happened long time ago and it is something I haven’t talked about until now. I think the girls were with the rival club of the club where I was performing and they were set out to do it. They were actually two in number. I don’t want to go into the details because it happened long time ago. The second was when I was singing on stage in Benue State and bullets were flying all around in the air . It was in 2001, it’s past and I don’t want to remember it ever again.
And there was a story that you were beaten up by Area boys over a girl?
I haven’t talked about this because it is absolutely false and I don’t want to give it any credence. My management is not happy about it. My wife is not happy about it. I think somebody paid somebody to peddle that story. It never happened and I never knew such a girl.