Oluseyi Solagbade is a Nigeria artiste with an extraordinary versatility. He speaks with ADUNOLA OLADAPO on many issues.
How can you describe yourself?
Oluseyi Solagbade is an easygoing person that has so much belief in originality and creativity. I am a musician that has acquired skills from different institutions, both home and abroad, apart from the natural talent inherent in me. I am a very outspoken person only when it comes to music and football but, apart from that, I am a very quiet and shy person.
How would you describe your growing up; were you naughty?
I see myself as a unique person. I was brought up as a church boy and have always had tasks which never afforded me the time for much fun. Barely in my teens, I had the duty of leading the whole church choir. So, by the time I was 25 years old, my responsibility was enormous. I grew up as a good, gentle boy without much fun. I was either busy with studies or at home or in church.
So, you didn’t play any funny, silly pranks, as a child?
Like I said before, I never had much time for fun, but I love fishing back then. I could remember one day that I went fishing with my sister in a river in our area and I just dived into the river not knowing that it was deeper than I thought. Immediately, I started sinking and realised I was drowning but, thank God, someone came to my rescue, and since that day my mind kept telling me that my life was spared because God wanted to use me for a purpose that is best known to Him. Because I was a cool boy growing up, I had a very cordial relationship with my parents and they have been very supportive, right from day one of my career. In fact, it was my father who bought me my first instrument, a talking drum, in support of my chosen career.
What is the most memorable experience of your life?
It was my first performance in Europe. I felt like I was on top of the world that night. Performing for over 10,000 people, not in Nigeria, but in Europe. In fact, words can’t express how I felt back then. It was like a dream come true for me. It was indeed a memorable day for me but now, I aim higher in my career.
Are you a fashion freak?
I really love fashion, because I love looking good. I would not say I am a fashion freak, as I am more particular about my style. But I believe in looking real good, not necessarily expensive but good, respectable and trendy. I am a Yoruba man and I believe in the saying that the way you are dressed and present yourself determines how you will be addressed and respected.
What is the most expensive item in your wardrobe and how much is it?
Shoes. I can’t tell you how much, but I love good, quality shoes and I spend ‘badly’ on shoes. The fashion quality of a man is known from the shoes, belts and wristwatches.
How would you describe your type of music, considering its uniqueness?
My music is like a music cake; a fusion of different genre of music in Africa. I can conveniently say it is what we call ‘pandiatonism,’ a combination of chords. So, I’m just using that idea to create a new kind of music style. Now that I’m going inspirational, I’m trying to expand my boundary in music and culture.
How did you get into this profession and how did it start?
I started as a choir boy in the church and almost all my teachers were music scholars. At the outset of my career, my plan was to go for classical music; to be an opera singer. But later on, I started getting exposed to African and pure jazz which changed my interest thereby making me to switch to popular music.
Did your childhood experience, in any way, influence your career choice?
I will say my childhood influenced my choice of music, not choice of career.
I’m sure growing on the job is not easy, tell us some of the rigours you encounter on a daily basis?
I have seen a lot of challenges, growing up in music. You compose a song, find a way to record it and also be the same person to market and promote the music. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, pirates will be waiting to reap where they did not sow. There are challenges in this business, but God will surely see me through.
What issues would you like to be corrected in the industry?
For now, entertainment in Nigeria is not how good your music is but how you package yourself; it is all about making sense out of nonsense to the delight of your audience; and I don’t think I want to be a part of that. Then, there is the issue of piracy. I think government should come up with a decree to protect artistes and their works, because, as it is now, piracy is poised to kill the industry.
What are your personal inputs into the entertainment industry?
I am trying my best to implement futuristic music. To me, originality is a basic phenomenon; when your music is original, your art will definitely be a futuristic one.
Do you think you have attained your goals in life?
I have not reached my goal yet because my dream is to be an international musician to be reckoned with all over the world, and trust me, I am seriously working towards achieving that with hard work, determination and God.
Who or what inspires your lyrics and who are your role models in life and the entertainment industry?
Everything creative is a source of inspiration to me, it could be human beings, events, environment, just name it, as long as it is creative and inspiring. Then I work around it to deliver a message to the society. Most of my role models are legends like Yusuf Olatunji, Manu Dibango, Seif Kaita, Remi Olabanji, Akeem Kareem, Orlando Julius and Ebenezer Obey.
Do you see yourself retiring from this profession?
I don’t think so. I will be an entertainer till my old age and probably hand over to one of my kids, that is if any of them is interested. God chose me for this profession and it is something I have passion for, so I don’t see myself retiring from it at all.