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Monday, 25 February 2019

Dad said if I want a 2nd wife, my 1st wife should get a 2nd husband too

- Adewale Ayuba (Bonsue fuji King)


After a busy December where he had hectic shows, Adewale Ayuba aka Bonsue fuji King is out with a new album he titles: 'Bubble Reloaded!' But the fuji musician is not happy with the state of things as regards the music industry, especially as his recent album has been affected by piracy. "It is in the market but as I am talking to you now, I have not received more than 10% of the money I spent on the album. But the music is everywhere. Piracy has stalled it. I even bought three pirated copies!"

Adewale Ayuba is however thankful to God about his success in his chosen career. In this interview with Paul Ukpabio, the Bonsue fuji King tells us how God ordained his marriage to an Ibo lady in America, why he will not be able to have a second wife and why it is not clear now whether his children will take after him in music.

It's a new year, what does the industry hold presently and in near future for you?

I will keep promoting fuji music by the grace of God. I pray to do a lot of concert this year particular concerts abroad. So that it will open more doors for me and I will continue to take my African music to the world. I also pray to drop a lot of songs this year with videos. I realise that videos are the in thing now. It is what people see with their eyes that goes to their brain. So it will be better for me to push out more videos because when people see your videos, it will make them to understand your song more.

How is your life in Christianity?

As you know, religion is a personal matter. I have also realise over time that the fans do not really bother about an artiste's religion. The fans are more interested in the talent. Once people hear about me, what readily comes to their mind, is the music aspect of me. And that is okay to me. To most Nigerians, religion is a personal matter.

And what is your relationship with Pastor E.A. Adeboye of Redeemed Church?

I cannot say I have not seen him, I have but I have never spoken to him in person, but he is somebody that I cherish a lot. I love the way he has been handling his ministry.


At the time you started singing fuji music, the Yoruba people were the majority of your fan, so one would have expected that you marry a Yoruba girl?

Well, I married an Ibo lady (laughs). It was from God. It is only God that can chose a wife or husband for somebody. On my part, I prayed to God for someone that I would love and will love me in return. But she happen to come from another state in Nigeria. It doesn't matter where she came from, I believe she is the one God decided for me.

Did you plan it that way?

That is what I'm saying, marriage is just like a calling, no one plans such. A calling for instance, is from God. I met my wife in America. I was in school. As a matter of fact, I was just doing my initial registration at a College in New York and I was sitting with my friend. Suddenly, I saw this particular lady coming and I told my friend that this will be my wife, without even knowing whether she is a Nigerian. That I believe was from God. It was later when we got to know each other, that she told me she is from the eastern part of Nigerian. An ibo girl.

Definitely that was love at first sight at least from you?

(Laughs) I don't know if that was love at first sight. I wouldn't know. I don't even know what put those words in my mouth that she would be my wife. Those words were even very surprising to me. You know, you see someone that you have not even spoken to, and you tell someone else that the person will be your wife, and it came to pass like that, that can only come from God. And I know it might have happened to a lot of other people like that too.


There is another thing about you, You actually have just one wife, a total departure from what is obtainable with most popular yoruba genre musician. How come your's is different?

Maybe its the word of God that guided me with that, or maybe it is from my parents. For instance, my father got married to just one woman. Polygamy has not really been common in my family. I recall that many of my father's friends had either two or three wives. But my father used to say to us then that if we want to marry two wives, we should also be ready to allow our wives to marry two husbands. So in the area of marriage, my father became my role model. What is good for the goose is also good for the gander.

You are one of the few Nigerian musicians with evergreen songs, what has been the secret for writing your songs?

First I give the glory to our father God and secondly I know that as a Nigerian, originality should be the basis for lyrics. I seek out lyrics that people will gain from. I do not just sing for the purpose of making people to dance. No, my lyrics go beyond that. I make sure that I compose lyrics that educates people. Thirdly I do not deviate from being an African artiste in my songs. I believe that these are the unique selling points of my music. When you listen to my music, you will surely pick out newer things and learn from them. Also they are family friendly songs not the kind of music that you are playing and your children come in and you are forced to press the stop or pause button.

What kind of music do you play these days and did you study music, how did music come to you?

I didn't study music. I built fuji music and my style is called Bonsue fuji. I did that because we have a lot of fuji musicians in Nigeria, and I wanted to differentiate mine from others. I started playing at the age of seven. I didn't learn from anybody. I just started. I can say music is my calling.

Why did you choose fuji music?

It was because I realised that playing fuji music was cheaper. To sing fuji then all you needed was your voice. Also, it was not expensive to put together instruments to play fuji then. It was about local drums. If it was juju music for instance, I would probably have needed someone to teach me how to play guitar and so on. That was why I dabbled into fuji music.

How was your first time experience on stage and where was that?

What happened was that, I was always at every social gathering at Ikenne in Ogun state where I grew up. It was like an inner voice used to push me then to seek out such places and when i got to social gatherings, I would start to singing even without band boys.

What was the turning point that shot you to stardom?

That for me was when some people came to my house to plead  with my parents to allow me to go into music. One of them, a gentleman told my parents that he will like to organise a band of which he wanted me to be the singer for the band. My parents eventually agreed but insisted that the music aspect, should not stop me from going to school. The man bought equipments and we started.


Do you remember your first car?

Ha my first car was a Peugeot 505 Evolution. I remember that I was looking forward to buying a volkswagen car because that was what people were driving then and I loved the car. I went to meet one of my late brothers, Dapo, may his soul rest in peace. I told him to help me buy it. He was a motor dealer and used to import cars from abroad for sale here. So I told him to help me get the Volkswagen car. He collected the money and told me to come on a particular day. I got there that day and I was looking for a volkswagen car in the compound. He however gave me a key to a 505 Peugeot Evolution. I was dazed. He told me that my image was bigger than a volkswagen car and told me to send him the balance anytime I was ready.

Has being a celebrity all these years changed your lifestyle?

Not in anyway. But that is the advice that I got from my parents. They told me that I should not let stardom get into my head. They told me that I am like anybody on the street. And I thank God for that.

How about your family?

My family guides me. They are also my critics. They tell me to say this, or to say that. They tell me to say it like this this, or say it like that. My wife also reminds me that family is important, that family matters.

If you were not a successful musician today, what else would you have loved to do?

I would have loved to be a teacher, a lecturer. Jesus Christ was a lecturer. I love to impact people's lives. I love the work of a teacher.

What is your style these days. You used to love white as a colour for your clothes, have you changed?

I like white colour. That has not changed. White for me stands for cleanliness. I like to look clean.

One notices that you are not restricted to wearing Yoruba attires when performing, what prompted your wearing English clothes when performing Fuji music?

I can trace that change to my album 'Bubble' which brought me to limelight. I realised that I didn't have a good fan base among students. They actually did not like fuji because they saw it as being too sluggish for them. Then you hardly heard fuji music being played in the university campuses. By then I had already had five albums. So I decided to go back to the drawing board. I changed the way I wrote my songs, changed my outlook and came up with 'Bubble' which had 50% of Yoruba and 50% blend of English. And that did it for me. It was a hit. I changed the lyrics and changed my clothing style too. I introduced fast tempo into my music and the students and the elites embraced my music. That 'Bubble' album actually opened the doors to fuji music in the campuses. Before then, fuji artistes were not going to the campuses to perform but after 'Bubble', the campus doors were open to fuji artistes. We were playing more in the university than outside campuses.

You still keep a band?

Yes. you cant do fuji without having your own band. That is why we hope that the government will stop the leakages in our income as musicians especially piracy because keeping a band is very expensive. Right now I have a 25 man band. I rehearse twice a week. Thats money. Where we get most of the money we make is from our musical albums, which is done once a year. But now nobody can do it because of piracy. Government seem not to know that entertainment can sustain the country even more than oil. There are streams of income that can come from the entertainment industry.

Are the shows coming regularly?

We do shows regularly. But making albums is where the money is. Imagine if all the juju and fuji musicians are making close to a billion each from albums, can you imagine the money the government will be making from taxes? I don't know why government have refused to do anything to stop piracy in the country.   

Are you encouraged by the number of younger people coming into the industry?

That is the problem, a lot of younger people that wanted to do it, find out that they are not capable. You know I just told you that you can never do fuji music without a band. And new entrants mostly don't have the money to put together such a band. Even we that have bands, are we making the kind of money that we ought to be making? The answer is no. I have been able to survive because I have been there for long and I can afford to pay my band. If I was like them maybe I would have just been a hip-hop artiste! Then Nigeria was still woking when I started.

When you are going for shows abroad, do you take the 25 man band with you?

No, we travel with18 man band. 

Are there any of your children taking after you in music?

No. all my children seem to like acting more. But they are still in school now. I know that perhaps one of them ought to take after me but I think they are now more interested in movies.

Are you working on any album right now and how soon is it going to come out?

I have just released 'Bonsue Reloaded.' It is in the market but as I am talking to you now, I have not received more than 10% of the money I spent on the album. But the music is everywhere. Piracy has stalled it. I even bought three pirated copies!

Each time one looks at your photograph one gets confused. Are you growing younger or older?

That is the grace of God and I am thank God for that.

You have lots of fans, some could even want to be your second wife. How do you handle such fans?

It's true that lots of women ask me why I am married to just one wife, but also a lot of women know that I am not the type that will marry a second wife. Women tell me they admire me but they don't tell me they want to marry me because they know that I am not the type to marry a second wife.


Has any of your female fans embarrassed you with sexual advances before?

No, but I am sure that before any of them think of doing such, her female friends would have advised her not to try it, because they know that I will not agree to such. 
   
Your advice to young people who may want to find a career in the music industry in Nigeria

My advice to them is that, if they are born in Nigeria, they should know that God doesn't make a mistake. So once they are born in Nigeria, they should not start faking or acting like an American. when you lose your culture, you lose you head and life. Its like you are telling God that He didn't know what He was doing by making you a Nigerian. It is God that will give you the talent or show you the direction. God wants you to use your talent to promote humanity, to impact yourself and your neighbour. Let your songs, your clothes, your hair, your general outlook to reflect your culture like Fela Anikulapo Kuti did, like what Bob Marley did, like what King Sunny Ade did and they became successful.


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