By Opeoluwani Akintayo
A graduate of Theater Arts, University of Lagos, he hails from Ipetu Modu in Osun State. Born into a royal family, his father was one of the former kings in Ipetu. He launched himself intoÂ Fuji music,Â a Hip-hop kind of Fuji thatÂ gave him much popularity among both the Fuji and Hip-hop fans,Â secular and gospel music fans.
This, in 2008, won him the award of The Best Fuji Artiste, an award he isnâ€™t so proud ofÂ because of the aftermath of having to cope with disturbances from â€˜area boysâ€™. Having lost his father at an early age and later, his mother, Adekunle Oloyede had to struggle through life, an experience he described as bad. But in all, heâ€™s more grateful to God that His pattern of growing up in the hands of his foster parents, never affected his person and career. Read on:
How was growing up like for you?
I had a hard time growing up. I lost my dad at age 16 and I had to live with my grand mother, with my uncle and it wasnâ€™t a good experience at all. You can imagine me being in such situation andÂ had to be accused for everything bad that happens in the house because Iâ€™m not their child. If situations like that are not properly handled, some people may develop low self esteem at a particular point in life. But thank God for the kind of parents I have now. I have a lot of family members that encourage me. Since my mother died, I have adopted a mother who is currently a resident in America.
Who is she?
Oh, sheâ€™s Jediâ€™s mother. Whenever one isÂ loved, it reflects in everything one does.
As an artiste, what are you doing to remedy theÂ Nigerian situation?
Iâ€™m working on it. Rome wasnâ€™t built in a day so, I canâ€™t enter into the studio in a day and come out with something. It has to be gradually.
Since youâ€™reÂ on something, whatâ€™s it?
Itâ€™ll be a song of warning to the leaders. They shouldnâ€™t think nothing can be done about all what is happening. A time will come when Nigerians will see them on the streets and beat them up! To me, thatâ€™s what is called jungle justice. If you can remember when Obasanjo was introducing Yarâ€™Adua to the people,Â we were all smiling,Â not knowing that itâ€™d be another disaster. I just want them to know that God isnâ€™t happy with them.
have bombed himself in order to get those virgins! But some people donâ€™t think! So, I need to do research to gain more knowledge.
At what point in your life did you decide to take music as a career?
I discovered years back even though I may not be feeling it so much right now. But I know itâ€™ll take me to the next level. And you know how it is when an artiste has a new song, every attention comes on him. If thereâ€™s a good structure, thereâ€™s nothing wrong if an artiste makes good money from it.
But Alaba makes all the money. And itâ€™ll be a slap on oneâ€™s face when oneâ€™s music is being played everywhere and the marketers are saying they have not sold many copies! But in a way, after I discovered my love for music, it has influenced me both positively and negatively. While some people would like you for what you do, some would hate you for it. When people praise you, you have to keep your head down.
Did you inherit your talent from any of your parents?
Yes, I lost my dad when I was still young. I really donâ€™t know him that much but I remember that when he was alive, musicians used to come to the palace everyday. Music in those days wasnâ€™tÂ like what we have now. Good lyrics are already lost. So, in a way; I could say I was influenced by my environment. When I was doing my research; I found out that Fuji Music is very big, with over 25 musical instruments involved.
This means there will be many people involved in forming a band.Thereâ€™s no Fuji Artiste Iâ€™ve not listened to. I discovered they all have their uniqueness. From then, I started to look for whom I wanted to sound like. I prefer to sound like Kwam 1 or Adewale Ayuba but I donâ€™t sound like anybody at the moment because I â€˜ve almost taken out Fuji completely ; itâ€™s now 30% of fuji, 30% of R&B and 50% ofÂ Hip-Hop.
Does this mean re-branding for you?
Yes, my music can never be pure Fuji anymore. Itâ€™s strictly Hip-Hop Fuji.
As people know you as Dekunle Fuji, are youÂ changing the name?
Well, I really donâ€™t like the name Dekunle Fuji. In 1998, I won The Best Fuji Artiste and thatâ€™s one award I didnâ€™t like. I appreciated it and I thanked God because thatâ€™s the first time a gospel artiste would win a secular award.
But after the event, I donâ€™t like the fact that everywhere I turn to, area boys come my way to ask for money. IfÂ I had known, I would have changed my name to Dekunle Hip-Hop. I do Fuji but Iâ€™m not a fuji artiste. But so far, if you think of the founders of Fuji, youâ€™ll want to be associated with the music. Music these days have gone beyond the level of violence.
I read youâ€™re tired of being called a Fuji Artiste. What informed that?
Iâ€™m a gospel artiste. What you donâ€™t have, you canâ€™t give. Nigerian journalists at times donâ€™t show good conduct and thatâ€™s why I donâ€™t entertain many of them around me. There was this article written about me that I brought a white lady into the country. But this so- called lady and I met at an event on the Island. We got talking and she wanted me to come on her Label in South-Africa.
The next thing I heard was that we were dating! I donâ€™t know where they get their gist from! But on a more serious note, Iâ€™m a gospel artiste. I can say and scream it anywhere. Because I canâ€™t be doing gospel when Iâ€™m not a gospel artiste! When people do gospel for commercial purpose ,Â they donâ€™t grow big in it! If youâ€™re into gospel, you canâ€™t sing praises of people in your album. But before you draw up conclusion about someoneâ€™s music, you have to buy the albums of such a person.
Whatâ€™s new about you now?
Well, Iâ€™m working on an album but Iâ€™ve been asking myself if itâ€™s worth it! After going through all the stress of releasing songs, somebody from nowhere will be the one to reap all the profit. But one has no choice than to produce.
Whatâ€™s the title?
Itâ€™s entitled My Friend.
When is it coming out?
For now, I donâ€™t know but thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m doing right now.
What are your plans for the year?
Anything can happen. With God, all things are possible. This year will be a year Iâ€™ll be releasing track after track, maybe every three months. At the moment, Iâ€™ve not circulated the one I have on air the way I want it to be circulated. The song was produced by Brass.
Do you write your songs?
Describe your ideal woman
She has to be God-fearing. I like a pretty lady because thatâ€™s the only thing that can prevent me from being promiscuous.