One of the most decorated and successful Fuji musician in Nigeria, Abass Akande Obere (The paramount king of Music), treated the crew of face of Africa International Magazine to an exclusive interview at his Okota Home in Lagos, Nigeria where he provided enlightening revelations into his life and musical career. Enjoy
WHO IS ABASS AKANDE ONSTAGE AND OFF STAGE?
I am an artiste, performer, an entertainer and someone that knows what he is doing, a musician that you can be proud of. Offstage, I am a complete gentleman, responsible, reliable, someone you can reckon with and communicate with freely.
WHAT WAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ALHAJI SIKIRU AYINDE BARRISTER DURING HIS LIFE TIME?
I and ALHAJI SIKIRU AYINDE, come from the same area in Ibadan, he is an uncle and a father to me, although he has passed on, his legacy in Fuji lives on. Once in a while I visit his family just to say Hello. Some of his fans even want me to carry his title ‘ALHAJI AGBA’ this year.
YOU HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED ONE OF THE RICHEST MUSICIAN IN NIGERIA. WHAT IS THE SECRET OF YOUR SUCCESS?
I am rich and I am not poor but I have learnt to be contented with what I have. Once you are contended with what you have, people will see it beyond what you think.
TELL US ABOUT THE LIMOUSINE STRETCH YOU BOUGHT SOME YEARS BACK. WAS IT WORK OR PLEASURE?
I bought it for work, there are some functions I may want to go in a big way but one thing I realized is that the car is not made for the Nigerian roads so I gave it out to a king.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF SIDOPHOBIA?
People call me ‘Abassido’ while phobia is what you fear. The thing about that name was that when I started travelling, there was a day I and a couple of people were having a discussion, sharing what we all had phobia for. When it got to my turn, I said I had a phobia for airplanes. Whenever a plane takes off, what always runs through my head is “Lord we are up, come and save us o” (laughs). Interestingly, most of the time I am always on air traveling from one place to another.
YOU HAVE BEEN SEEN AS AN ADVOCATE OF WOMANHOOD, WHAT TRIGGERED THAT INTEREST?
The musicians of old never really regarded women as an entity to be praised but instead cursed them. Appreciating women is very critical to the success of anything a man is doing which is why I ensure I appreciate and celebrate women in all my songs. I praise them because they are God’s gift.
ABASS AKANDE HAS BEEN SEEN AS AN ACTOR, ENTERTAINER AND PERFORMER, WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FROM?
I came from a family of music and believe that whatever you are doing, do it well. I do not get my inspiration from any other source but God because it is a gift from Him. Once I get to the stage, I become something else, I do not need to drug myself to entertain my fans, what I do is very natural.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE GROWTH OF FUJI MUSIC IN NIGERIA?
Fuji music has evolved since I started, before, the kind of beat used were not those that really moved fans to dance. But through the help of God I have been able to change this which was why Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde sang a song to that effect. I was the one that changed the face of Fuji music. So today if you are a Fuji artiste, and you don’t develop danceable songs, you will be replaced quickly. Even in today’s world, if you are invited to an event and you fail to give people what they want, you will be embarrassed and replaced with a disc jockey.
IT TOOK YOU LONG TO GO ON HOLY PILGRIMAGE. DID YOU EVENTUALLY GO BECAUSE OF THE PRESSURE?
Well…. Everything has its own time, I don’t like to copy people, I like to do things myself. One thing about we Fuji musicians is that we always target to go to Haji not necessarily to serve God but to show off. But I went at a time God called me to go for Haji. Besides, the delay was not because of my musical career but God’s timing. If God was not involved in my profession, by today the brand Obesere would have fizzled out. That am still alive means God loves me. In my house I have a mosque, every Friday people come over to observe Jumaat service.
There were even rumors that when I come back from Haji I will stop singing Asakasa songs which were all lies by the enemies.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE IMPACT OF FUJI MUSIC ON YOUR LIFE?
That’s a very heavy question (laughs), the reason is because Fuji music is my profession, it has opened numerous doors for me and taken me to many countries in this world that I never knew I would ever be to. Fuji music has been instrumental in taking me there.
Although I have been crowned the paramount king of Music, I might be able to sing any other genre of music, but Fuji remains my number one and am proud of it. Fuji music is what feeds my family and I.
CAN YOU COMPARE THE LISTENERSHIP OF FUJI MUSIC TO OTHER GENRES?
Well… one thing I know is that majority of my fans are Igbos and people from outside the country. People have their own language that they enjoy for example, Bob Marley, even after his death, his genre of music (Reggae) is still enjoyed by so many people all over the world. So every song has its style and audience.
YOU ARE VERY ENERGETIC STAGE, HOW DO YOU DO IT?
There is nothing attached to my energy than God’s gift. See when God loves you, people will recognize the things that you do, even more than you expect. For me as an entertainer, when I am on stage I need to be able to get their attention. It is just like a newscaster without energy or enthusiasm, people will just tune off. I don’t take anything alcohol but God blessed me with the talent to entertain. It is innate.
YEARS BACK YOU WERE REFERRED TO AS AFRICAN FUJI MICHAEL JACKSON TELL US ABOUT IT INCLUDING YOUR THEN JERRY CURL STYLE
I have been doing Jerry Curl even before venturing into Fuji Music, in fact music stopped it because it consumes much time to recoil. People gave me African Michael Jackson, but I dropped it because I like to be myself, people saw me like someone with a lot of energy and can be compared to an international act.
As you grow daily, you learn wisdom, I appreciate Michael Jackson but it seemed I was promoting him instead of myself. Be yourself and let people recognize you.
YOU HAVE A COLLABO RECENTLY WITH OLAMIDE BADDO WHY HIM?
He is not the only one I have collaborations with, I have had with Reminisce, Timaya, 9ice, Lord of Ajasa and some upcoming artiste. I am a fried to all artiste and I support anyone that needs it. I love Olamide so much and he himself appreciates me more than people think. He regards me as his role model.