Offline furtune

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Some people take music only as a hobby while others see it as something on which their lives depend. Titi Oguntoyinbo, a highlife/juju musician belongs to the latter category. Music to her is as important as the air she breathes.

In a chat with Spectacles, Titi said she got into music very early. ?I remember that when I was seven, I was part of the group that sang during FESTAC 77, which also included the late Art Alade, King Sunny Ade and many others. Music has always been a part of me.?

She added that even in secondary school, she had always been involved in musical activities, and she had gone as far as joining music groups.

While many parents would discourage their children from getting too involved in music at that age, those of Titi encouraged and gave her their full support.

She said, ?I come from a music family. Probably that was the reason my family gave me their full support. My father was a pianist and my mother was a good singer.?

As such, her love for music continued. She took it to Lagos State Polytechnic where she studied Mass Communication. And when she graduated and many of her contemporaries were searching for jobs in banks, Titi stuck to music.

?I tell you, this is like the air I breathe. I love music. I have been in it for a long time and nothing will stop me,? she boasted.

As she was cutting her teeth in music, she joined Onyeka Onwenu?s band as a vocalist. She later left to join the Gateway Band. Now, she is on her own and about to launch her debut album, Success K, which she said was so titled because she wanted to tell people that only God had the key to success. ?I needed to tell people that they should believe in God in everything they do,? she added.

Because she sounds like a gospel musician, Spectacles asked her why she didn?t choose that genre.

?You don?t need to be a gospel musician to talk about God or to praise Him. No matter the class of music you do, you can still praise God. And that was what I decided to do in this album.?

She reckoned that she derived much of her strength from the support she got from her husband. ?He (husband) was into showbiz, somehow. He was a drummer, though he took it as a hobby and not as a profession. He encourages me all the time. But he is human. He may not be comfortable with it all the time. But for now, he has not told me to stop what I do.?

Since nobody thought it necessary to stop her from music when she was growing up, Titi said she would not discourage any of her children who would want to take music as a profession.

?I have a ten year-old son. He already knows how to play the talking drum, and he is very good at it. I am not going to stop him, because the boy knows what he is doing. It might even open doors for him one day.?

As a young woman, not many would expect her to opt for juju/highlife music instead of hip-hop or R and B. ?It is just in me,? she said. ?I couldn?t see myself doing any other thing but highlife/juju. That is why I have remained in it. It makes meaning. It is romantic and it is very smooth to listen to.?

It didn?t come as a surprise to many when Sir Victor Olaiya crowned her the Queen of Highlife four years ago. But what if there is a tussle for the crown as there is in Fuji music?

?Of course, there are many queens,? she said. ?There is Queen Elizabeth of England. We have Queen Ayo Balogun and so many others. I am not ready to fight with anybody over the crown. If anybody likes, let her come out and say she is the Queen of Highlife. I wouldn?t mind at all.?

Now that the Federal Government has banned the ?spraying? of the naira, would it affect Titi?s music business? Spectacles asked.

To that she said, ?That does not concern me o. Now, I have to collect my money before shows and increase what I charge. It has not affected me in any way.?

Like most juju artistes, Titi said she also engaged in praise singing, but she would never sing the praises of anyone that was known to be dubious.

?Remember that it is not written on anybody?s face that he or she is a thief or an armed robber. Mind you, that is how we make our money. But then, if the person is generally reputed as bad, no matter how much he pays me, I will not praise him.?

Talking about growing up, Titi said she had great fun, the only snag being that she had too many male admirers.

?Men wouldn?t allow me to rest. I had so many admirers, all of them wanting to get intimate with me. It might have had to do with the fact that I was in a male dominated genre of music,? she said.

But amidst the admiration, Titi disclosed that she did not give in to any man until she had met her husband.

?I didn?t get intimate with any man until I met my husband. And that is the truth.?

But what could have endeared her husband to her if she was not interested in men? Spectacles asked.

?My husband is a gentleman. I met him through my cousin. They came to watch my show in Abeokuta. Maybe I got attracted to him because he was a member of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church like me. He invited me to his church and I went. Thereafter, we started dating and that was how we got married. I don?t have any regret marrying him.?

But she said that even now that she was married, men still come after her.

?They still ?chase? me. But I am not the kind of lady that sleeps around. I didn?t do it before I got married. Is it now that I am married that I will do it? When they come, I know how to handle them. I appreciate the fact that they admire me, but I make them understand that it cannot go further than that.?


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