Offline furtune

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He appears to have gone out of circulation after his hit album, You is the One. Olalekan Fadeyi aka Azadus explains why he has been off the stage and why he quit cigarette smoking in this interview with ADEOLA BALOGUN and ?NONYE IWUAGWU

Why did it take you so long to release another album?

I?ve been very busy trying to study what Nigerians would like to hear. Unfortunately, Nigerians have been dancing and listening to the same kind of music. So, I need to do something different, something they would enjoy.

Don?t you think that others have overtaken you in terms of prominence?

Yes, that is the problem I?m having now. I have not found any artiste that does my kind of music. That is the problem. Other artistes may shine in other kinds of music, but I will always stand out because I don?t do the same kind of music with any of them.

So, what do you call your kind of music?

Basically, it?s reggae music. But my own kind of reggae music.

Doesn?t your kind of reggae music have a name?

It does not have a name, but it is peculiar.

How were you able to make ends meet while you were off the scene?

I had little savings and one or two businesses. Music is not something to just dabble into, because if you do, you will ?dabble out.? You need to start from the scratch. It is not the kind of thing in which you say, ?I need to release an album next year or in two years.? It?s when the inspiration comes that you write. You don?t force it. For instance, no one knows how the sky will look tomorrow. It?s like that. If you say you want to release an album next year, what if the inspiration does not come?

How do you get your inspiration?

The truth is I don?t even know. It just comes like when God wants to show you a vision. I wait on God and whatever He gives to me, I write it down.

Are you becoming a pastor?

I?m just telling you how it is.

Do you obtain inspiration in your sleep?

Yes. At times, it is when I?m asleep. At other times, it could be in the bathroom.

Or when you take Indian hemp?

I?ve never had it in my entire life. I smoked cigarettes for 13 years and it was only Benson & Hedges. But glory be to God, for three years now, I have stopped smoking cigarettes, and I cannot even believe it myself.

How did it happen?

One day, I bought a stick of cigarette and put it between my lips but it refused to be lighted. I got irritated and dropped it on the floor.

Just like that?

Yes, just like that. Before then, I had several experiences like waking up from sleep and seeing a liquid coming out of my nose. When I checked the liquid, it would be reddish, and it was because of cigarettes. But to the glory of God, none of these things stopped me.

Did your girlfriend play a part?

No, nobody could have. There was no way I could like anyone more than my cigarettes. There was no way you could influence the habit. You could only influence me to smoke more of it, not to reduce it or stop it.

How did you get addicted to cigarettes?

I liked the smell of cigarettes as a kid. I liked it so much that I would associate with anyone who smoked. So, it started from that period.

Did your dad smoke?

No, my dad is a full-blown pastor. We used to have a neighbour, Mr Adubiaro, who used to smoke like a chimney. So, each time the man smoked, I was always around trying to enjoy the smell of the cigarettes. Then, he used to smoke 555. I guess I knew then that I was eventually going to smoke. I kept looking forward to the day I would buy cigarettes with my own money. But the truth is that when I started smoking, somebody told me that someday I would stop it. I could not see it coming.

How did you become a musician?

I had always liked music. I had always had a flair for anything that created rhythm. But I didn?t know I would become a musician. There was a day I was at home watching Yellowman, the Jamaican reggae musician, and my mother too was watching on our black and white TV. My mother was so excited about Yellowman and she was saying good things about him. I became jealous. It was like what the hell is this guy doing that I cannot do? Then, the jealousy brought out my flair for music. I started writing my own songs and perfecting them.

As the son of a full time pastor, one would expect you to have started your music in a church?

I started from the streets, at the Jimmy Jat road block at Obalende. Then, there was a lot of talent hunting on the street. It?s unlike now when people think they can do music and rush to the studio. It wasn?t like that. It started with zeal; the realisation that you had better lyrics than the other guy or you were able to perform better than him. You would not mind trekking to the venue; the important thing was to get there. Then, you would have to pay a gate fee and convince them that you could compete.

After that, I joined a group. When I joined the group, there was an album the youth choir in my church wanted to release and they wanted to go to the studio for it. They advertised that anyone who could sing or compose songs should come. So, one of the people who lived in Festac and knew me introduced me to the choir. They asked me to write a song and I obliged. They later featured me in one of their tracks. The name of the album was Sure Way and the title of the track I featured in was The Sure Way. We had a day set apart in the church for the people to come together and watch the choir sing the songs I composed. My song was chosen and I did a live performance. After the performance, I was accepted into the church choir. That was how I became a chorister.

Do you still attend the church?

Of course, that?s the church I attend. Even the leader of the church, Mr Fakeye is my father. Through him, my father, named my son Michael.

So, you are a white-garment person?


You are not ashamed of the white garment?

How can I be ashamed of my church? Can a Muslim be ashamed of his mosque?

It?s just that pentecostal churches appear to be preferred by most Christians now.

Yes, most people want to get into the pentecostal churches. But these churches started from somewhere. The truth is, it was first the Catholic; the C & S Movement came out from the Catholic. From these churches, the pentecostal ones came up. It is those things we do in C & S that these churches are trying to do.

But most people believe that white garment churches are fetish?

Well, there is nothing without the positive and negative sides.

You spoke about your son, Michael, but you didn?t talk about a marriage.

Actually, we?ve done the things that ought to be done between both parents. By the special grace of God, it is not only the parents that should be involved in our coming together.

In short, you are not properly married?

No, we are properly married, but we have not done the public aspect of it, like the white wedding. We are waiting on God to provide money. As soon as the money comes, we will do it.

Why did you sell your car?

The truth is, I want us to forget about the car thing. There was a day I was walking on the street and someone said, ?So, na true say you don sell your car.? Selling your car doesn?t mean you are suffering. It may just mean that you want to change your car. It might just mean changing it for something better. Right now, I don?t need it because I have several other things to spend money on. I don?t want to keep spending money on the car when I can, by the grace of God, leave it and buy a far better one.

How successful is your song, ?You is the One,? in terms of money?

The truth is I don?t think in terms of physical cash. I think in terms of getting to wherever I want and people knowing my name if they?ve not seen my face before. It has given me a lot of recognition and opened a lot of doors for me. I feel that is far more important than money.

Are you still with Kenny?s Music?

No, I am no longer with Kenny?s Music. But all my tracks from A-Z, Mr Kenny Ogungbe heard them. I would go to Mr Ogungbe and say ?Oga, listen to this thing. What do you think about it.? And then he would tell me add or remove this or that.

Why then did you quit the label?

Kenny?s Music was going through a lot. Aside from his own immediate family, each artiste on his label had families as well. Which means that apart from his own families, he also took others as his own. I felt that as a man, one would stand on one?s own. I think the truth is that I understand now and truly have nothing to say to him more than thank you.

Are you on your own label then?

Yes, I have my own label. It is called Locked Down Records. It is being sponsored by Bankers Facilities International Limited.

You are a big man then.

Na, God, oh?

What has been the response to your latest album?

Actually, my album is not out. By the grace of God, it will be out very soon.

Is it on air on radio?

Yes, I have one or two tracks on the airwaves. They have already pirated one and the second one is gaining a lot of airplay and the clubs are really slamming it.

The way you speak, nobody would believe that you lived in Ajegunle. Which school did you attend?

Well, I grew up in Festac but I was born in Ajegunle. Everything that I have today in terms of education, I got from the streets, all by myself. I didn?t get any formal education. I never liked it.

Didn?t your parents force formal education on you?

Well, to an extent. Like Fela said, look that book and go your way. I gave an interview, I said I would have been a fool if I had gone to school, and they quoted me. It?s the same thing Bob Marley said. So, I?m quoting Bob Marley. I would have been a fool if I had gone to school. The same Bob Marley that said that can never be forgotten. I am working towards being a Bill Gates.

What do you mean?

There is nothing as beautiful as passion. There is nothing as encouraging as passion. So, it is passion that has driven me into it and eventually, it will be worth the while. I want to do my music the way individuals do their movies. An American man will shoot a movie and at the end of the day, you see a lot of computer work and they do not make sense at the end of the day. The Indian man, however, would shoot a movie and the cinematographer and artistes will come together and add value that teaches their citizens and their fans a lot of sense. That is the kind of life I want to live.

Going back to your father, he put you in school but you refused to stay, right?

Uhn? I refused because it didn?t occur to me at that time that it was necessary. I just felt I could get into the street and learn by myself. I knew there was no lecturer who could teach me music, so I didn?t want to waste my time. I am however, going to study some stuff concerning entertainment outside the country very soon. You can teach me computer science or medicine, but you cannot teach me music. I sing because it is natural and God-given.

At what point did you stop formal education?

I cannot say I stopped in Class One or Two. But I would tell you that till now, I?m still learning because I?m still in school. The name of that school is Street University.

Where they smoke Indian hemp and all that?

Yes o. It is there you see all those things. It?s you, who after your training from your father and mother, in church or mosque, will differentiate between right and wrong.

Your girlfriend?

My wife, not my girlfriend.

You are not married, at least not properly?

No, our parents know that we are properly married. That we haven?t invited people to come and dine with us doesn?t mean that other people haven?t eaten.

Where did you meet her?

I went to Yabatech with a friend. My friend resides in Germany. He is an artiste, so they invited him to Yabatech to give a lecture and I went with him. After the lecture, we were sitting somewhere and then I saw her. I approached her after a while and told her I would like to have her as my girlfriend and she said she liked me too and agreed.

Did she know you were Azadus?

She did. She knew me as Azadus but she wasn?t conversant with my songs. But she knew I was popular and she wanted to know more about me.

Kind of love at first sight...

Not really. I recognised her as my wife even from her shadow. She came very close to where I was and I kept looking for my shadow. I didn?t know my shadow had run into hers. So, our meeting was like having the right key to the right door.

I hope we will not be hearing ugly stories soon?

No, different things happen everyday and we all have our reasons for those things. I am from a polygamous family but that doesn?t make me a polygamist. My own kind of polygamous family is not a polygamous home. I can?t stand you calling any of my brothers or sisters step-sister or step-brother. I?ll see it as it is not me you are talking to. I can go to any of my mothers to sleep.

So, there was no quarrel between the wives?

How could there have been? I said my father is a pastor.

A pastor and a polygamist?

When my father became a pastor, he already had other wives. So, it was when he married my mother that he started his pastoral journey.

Why didn?t you take after your father?

I am waiting to hear from God. But right now, I see myself as a pastor and a prophet. It doesn?t mean I am not a bad guy. It?s just that I know where I am going to and where I am.

How was your childhood?

I was very stubborn. I only believed in what I believed in. I only wanted to do it the way I thought was right. Glory be to God, it is working out for me. My parents shouted and quarelled with me about my actions but people would come and say ?don?t worry, just leave him?. There was a day I was going downstairs to fetch water in Festac. Unknown to me, my father was on his way home from work. As soon as our eyes connected, he started slapping me, saying, ?Haven?t I told you to stop singing?? At the end of the day, before I left my parents, the slaps he used to give me went to my siblings if they tried to disturb me when I was composing my songs. So, the only thing I can say is be sure it is your calling.


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Offline beibee

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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2008, 11:02:54 AM »

glad to know he stopped
smoking...grapevine has always
had it that he was smoking "weed" too.

but i am not sure if azadus' recent album
release is a hit.
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« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2008, 11:02:54 AM »



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