• Says, “ I’m a gospel artiste that plays secular music”
BY ROTIMI AGBANA
After spending over a decade making Jazz music for the fun of it, Adeh Gbolahan, a Jazz guitarist/musician is ready to take his chances on the Nigerian music scene with his rare breed of Jazz music which he describes as ‘Eccentric Jazz’.
In this interview with Star Tracker, he talks about his brand of Jazz music, how Jazz music can improve tourism in Nigeria and more.
How did you find yourself doing Jazz music?
It started in the church and on the streets. I was born into a Celestial home where I started playing drums, the ‘Agogo’, a little of base guitars, then majorly the guitar. I have been doing music professionally as an artiste for ten years.
I have played as back-up for many big Nigerian music acts. I’ve played for Tiwa Savage, Ice Prince, Nigga Raw, Lara George, Segun Obe, Sunny Nneji, and a whole lot of them. I’ve also done series of shows for diplomats at the Abuja High Commission.
Having come this far, why has nothing been heard of you?
Maybe because all this while I have not taken it seriously. Jazz is different, maybe because I didn’t have a management in the past but now there is a management on ground for me. I’m not God anyway, so let it not look like I’m trying to defend myself.
Has music been just a sidekick for you?
Initially it was just for pleasure but along the line, I got to know that I’ve to be strategic so I began being strategic about it last year (2017).
Ten years down the line, how will you describe your music journey?
Maybe I have been doing more of the church thing all this while but now it’s about going into the world to showcase my talent.
What exactly do you mean?
The Bible says “Go into the world and preach the word”, it didn’t say “Go into the church”, and so my career is for the world.
How would you describe your kind of artiste?
I’m a gospel artiste but I play secular music. I don’t play dirty music. When I say dirty music, I mean the ‘one corner’ kind of music. But then, you can’t style me and say I’m only in the church.
At what point does secular music become dirty?
For me, music is dirty when the message becomes dirty. When it comes to secular music you don’t need to make a nude video. I put myself in the category of musicians who do inspirational songs because I want to inspire people. So, you don’t create music and say dirty words.
But isn’t dirty music and nude videos what is in vogue now?
Yes, but any music the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation bans, I’m sure it’s dirty music.
How would you break into limelight or make money when you don’t make the kind of music in vogue?
I know a lot of artistes who tour the world without doing the kind of music in vogue. You don’t style people using the Nigerian environment.
Would you say active involvement in the church was a major drawback for your music career?
Life is in stages; as I’m moving forward as an artiste I’m also growing and getting better. I’m not going to play music for life. One day I might decide to be a professor or something else.
How would you describe your success in the music industry so far?
It’s going as planned. It might be going slow but it’s good. Things I never imagined could happen are happening, so I’m happy. But like I said I have started reviewing my career since last year because it’s not the way it used to be. Before, you can decide not to release an album in like two years but if you do that now another person is warming up to take your place.
Since Jazz music isn’t so popular in Nigeria, how do you intend to break into limelight and maintain relevance?
I’ve made it simple, that’s why outside the music that I play I have made a mix where I sampled different hit songs that people can relate to. Yes, it is true that when the elites are having their events and they want to interact, you see us play quiet shows. That doesn’t mean we don’t play big shows, it depends on the audience. I can play folk jazz, traditional jazz and many more. It all depends on the audience. It’s paying my bills so I’m okay.
What’s your relationship with other musicians who play other genres of music?
It’s just on the basis of exchanging pleasantries. You need to understand that when people get bigger than you things change. Imagine, I was friends with Tiwa Savage from the past but I need to understand that now she has a lot of bodyguards around her and I can’t just barge in on her. Sometimes, some artistes are on drugs so, you have to be cautious how you relate with them.
As a greenhorn, you wouldn’t bow to Davido or Wizkid?
Courtesy demands I say “hello” or “hi” at least. If we want to take it up from there, fine, if we can’t, good. We are matured people. If you start up a conversation and the second person is not reciprocating, there is nothing you can do.
Does this mean that artistes always put out songs to sustain relevance?
In this part of Nigeria, yes, that’s what they do. But you know artistes like us are performing artistes; most times we find ourselves doing life shows while others perform on stage using CDs or DJs. But we do pure life music so there are many things involved with us. That’s why I said I see myself doing tours around the world.
Do you agree that artistes who perform live on stage are the real musicians?
I don’t think so anymore. Sometimes, simplicity does it. If you look at it from the strategic point, that’s what the market needs.
Of all genres of music why jazz?
Like I said, epileptic jazz, that means you can’t style my music. Like my latest mix now is an afro pop mix. The jazz is in categories, different blend of music.
Where do you see jazz music in the next five years?
It’s bright because musicians are beginning to understand that the listeners have a say. So you don’t do music for yourself but for the listeners.
Do you think jazz can become as big as hip hop and other genres of music?
Yes. In fact it is one of those things that will help tourism.
How can jazz music help tourism?
Jazz originated from Africa. You see all folklore music, there is a way you play it in that genre and it will be well appreciated. People come around for my show because they appreciate it.