By Florence Amagiya
Orits Wiliki is a self-acclaimed Koleman revolutionaire who needs no introduction. He stormed the industry in the mid-80s with his album titled; Tribulation. He has gone on and on with amazing reggae sound tracks and his unique style of playing the talking drum with his songs.
The veteran reggae artiste embarked on self-imposed sabbatical spanning twenty years. He came back stronger as an artiste, a song writer, producer and performer 11 years ago and featured hip-hop artiste, Idris Abdulkareem on his ‘the Good, The Bad and The Ugly album. In this interview, he explains why his music stands the test of time among other issues raised by our reporter.
It has been very long since we last heard from you, what is happening to you?
It has been all right, but things are not the way they were in those days. These days, live concert has been restricted to those who can afford it. We want to be respected and paid what we ought to be getting before we can perform at ‘live concert.’ While we were doing what we did those days was because the industry was booming.
Then, indigenous music promoters could tour the country with an artiste for six months and more. It was possible for a local promoter to tell you that he wants to take you through fifteen cities in six months and pay you your first four months before the journey begins. But the case is different today because it is very expensive to take artistes on a musical tour.
Have you ever featured young artistes in any of your songs?
I have featured some artistes in my songs. In 2002, I featured Idris Abdulkareem in‘The Good, the bad and the ugly album’. I have also featured other artistes and I will definitely feature more of them in future.
Reggae is all about preaching “Truth and Equal Justice.”Do you think that consciousness is going out of fashion?
Reggae music is not going into extinction. Popular stars and artistes like Snopp Doggy from the United States is changing to the face of reggae music. In Nigeria, 2face is a reggae artiste, Faze is also a reggae artiste. Omawumi’s recent album has reggae flavour. Yes, some of our young artistes are influenced by hip-hop genre, but if you listen to their music, you would notice that they are truly playing reggae music. And we know that hip hop is an off-shoot of reggae.
Listening to your songs in those days, one wonders what was passing through your mind when you wrote the songs?
A lot of things are usually on my mind when I write my songs. I am a product of the environment I live in. So, I am affected by what I see, what I feel and what I hear. If the environment is shity shity then, I’m compelled to write songs condemning it.
It is like a wind that comes to you; and you put it down. And when inspirations come like this; all I do is to write like the vessel that I am, I write down what the spirit tells me to write. And that is the reason my music is highly inspirational. It is not just about creating bits and that’s why my music has stood the test of time. I have written songs about 20 to 25 years ago and I am still collecting royalties from them.
Did I hear you say your songs are inspirational and that you are led by the spirit?
I am talking about the spirit of God; it is a mystic thing you cannot understand. Music is a spirit business. It takes the spirit of God for you to write good songs that would touch lives. Yes we have bad spirits, but I am talking about the good spirit which is the spirit of God. My songs influence people positively.
How would you describe a negative song written by a reggae artiste?
Reggae music is about justice, truth and equality. And when a reggae artiste writes a song without the right message and not containing the qualities of a reggae music then, it would be called Slack lyrics. Bob Marley’s songs are good examples of solid reggae music.
You are ageless. What’s the magic?
It is the grace of God. I try not to eat late and even if I have to eat late it has to be fruits or vegetables. Again, I am filled with positive vibrations that also reflect on my outlook.
Aside music, what else do you do for a living?
I am a content provider. I am a TV producer. What I meant by being a TV producer is that I do a lot of stuff on TV these days. I have become a movie producer. I produced the popular soap titled ‘Alero.’ Alero has 52 episodes in it. I have a reggae malady where reggae artistes come to feature and many more things.
What’s your dress sense like?
I love dressing very casual and wearing comfortable outfits. At other times my wife advice me on what to wear and it works well with me.
You talked about a wife; how long have you been married?
I have been married to my wife for eighteen years and is still counting
How long have you carried your dreadlocks?
My dreadlock is real and I have carried it for fifteen years.