By OPEOLUWANI OGUNJIMI
What have you been up to, in recent times?
I’ve been up to a lot of things; from music to acting. I’m also working on my seventh album and maybe, it’ll be the last.
I don’t know. It’s just that I’m getting less passionate with music but for some funny reason, my music is sounding a lot different and people are still appreciating it. But in all, it’s very interesting to be working on album number seven when some people stopped at album number one. The album will be out before June.
So, what’s the album all about ?
A lot of goodies and somehow, they are coming because of the high demand for them. Like the video, I shot with Vector, then there’s Go Down too which is the most recent. I’ve been working with a lot of new artistes and that’s the challenge with most old artistes.
They don’t have time to experiment with the younger ones. I’m also working with many new producers. I have a song coming up with Oritsefemi, Vector, it’s more like coming up with different vibes and reach out to a lot of local fans. But everything is still dance hall.
You said that your passion for music is waning, why?
Somehow, when I started singing, I also had this drama thing going on because I studied Theater Arts in the university. People who knew me back then at the University of Ibadan could tell you that I wasn’t playing as a dramatist because I was on top of my game. I have passion for drama and it led me to performing on stage in a TV drama series.
I don’t feature in home videos but I do a lot of TV dramas. So right now, I’m at the stage of producing my own TV drama and based on the wealth of experience that I have, I’ve been working with international collaborators to come up with something great, and I think now is the time for me to break out.
You have bias for drama, how come you went into music?
I didn’t come into music by accident because if you look at the way I started, you would be convinced that I have the talent. I won the Splash Talent hunt in 1995. I submitted demos like every other person did and they cut it down to ten. Out of those ten, we all travelled to perform on the beach and out of us all, I came out top. So, I won a record contract. That was how I got into music. I guess because of my talent, I’m still in the game till date, and people still appreciate me.
But you are more known in the music circle than you are known in the acting world?
It’s not unfortunate. But some people have watched some of my TV dramas . I’m at my best when I’m behind the screen. I think I have the skills to be a puppet master because I studied Directing, Fiction Film in the university, and that’s why it’s time to implement my dream.
There was a time you stayed off the stage. What happened to you then?
I wasn’t in the country. I went out of the shores of the country to do my music. I got a recording contract in a Swedish company called Astro Entertainment. It’s a Reggae company and we are still working together. We did a lot of tours in Europe and worked with a lot of artistes. Right now, even though I’m back in Nigeria, I’m still going back to do the same tour.
You talk as if you are tired of Nigeria?
You understand the pressure. When I said I’m always outside the country, I mean that I’m not someone who likes to be confined to a particular place. I’m always doing one thing or the other all the time and that’s why I can’t stay on a spot because I have to reach out to people.
Why I’m here? Nigeria is my country and if I don’t love Nigeria, I have every reason not to be here. I also have the right to live in thirty six other countries as a legal citizen. But I chose to live here because I want to be able to transform this country. I love Nigeria so much and that’s why I will be contesting for the House of Assebly in 2015, for Oriade, Amuwo Odofin Constituency 2.
How then will you combine all these things?
Because the level I’ve got to, is that when I should be clamouring for change that will affect a lot of people and not just me. So, if I’m in the Lagos State House of Assembly, I’ll be involved in making decisions that will impact on the life of the people.
I’m not everybody, I’m Baba Dee. I have a stake, a personal equity and my name commands weight, and I’m not ready to sacrifice it on the altar of corruption. If you keep portraying politicians in a bad light, you are killing the future of those coming up.
Why did you return to the country?
What happened was that I had a song I was doing there and they asked me to give it to someone else to sing. I told them I wouldn’t give the song out to someone else. I insisted singing myself but they wouldn’t let me be. I even suggested writing another song for the person but they refused. It dawned on me that it was subtle racism and I pulled out.
But you said, you will be going back there soon?
Right now, I’m not going to them again. I’ve got to a level as a brand where I can tour Europe on my own. I have a couple of shows in Switzerland, Holland, and we’ve already started in the last two summers. I’m working with another company and that’s the company I’ll be working with this summer. But I hope to release my seventh album before embarking on the European tour.
You came back and met a new trend. How were you able to blend with the trend?
After I dropped my last album when I came back, I was off the scene because I wanted to do other things. I had other interests aside music and I wanted to draw a balance. Fortunately, for me, for every album I dropped, there was always a hit song. But the truth of the matter is that I had a problem with the last album I dropped before travelling.
I had a problem with the marketer. I promised some people something and they couldn’t meet up and there was a legal tussle. And for someone who was just coming into the country, that was enough to battle with firstly. So, I noticed the production channel has changed and right now, we don’t give too much importance to CDs like phones. And understanding the new media and distribution channel was my priority.
I had to step back and we started a record label called Naija Ninja between my brother, Sound Sultan and myself. We now have five artistes under us. It has always been me working more behind the scene and when it’s time to come to the fore then, I step out.