Archive for March 14th, 2015

(Interview) I don’t want to be polygamist as my dad–Oritsefemi @tj_shetade

Oritsefemi 2

Self-styled “Musical Taliban”, Oritsefemi Majemite, is the latest Ajegunle revelation to rule the music industry. In this chat with TONY OGAGA ERHARIEFE of The Sun, the Delta State indigene opens up on his career, challenges and his late dad.
Excerpts:

You released four albums before Double Wahala, which did not make much of an impact except in your hood, Ajegunle. And for a long while it seemed like Oritsefemi would never break out of the ghetto, but suddenly, you took the industry by storm. How did it happen?
I must confess, ever since I dropped that single, the response from my fans on social media has been so cool.  Before now, that was not the case because the response wasn’t so encouraging. So, I realised that I had to go back to my drawing board and come up with something really good, something my fans would accept.  And with the upsurge in Afrobeat, I said to myself, ‘why not try something new with Afrobeat? After all, people know me as a strong Fela fan.’ Consequently, I decided to do something for my people and that something turned out to be Double Wahala and here we are today.

What does Fela mean to you?
Fela is a teacher and role model to all Nigerian artistes because whether we like it or not, we are all singing Afrobeat. Fela was a diehard artiste. He was very principled in life. He taught me to be principled and outspoken.

You released four albums before you found your voice in the music industry. Was there any time you felt like quitting because of frustration?
Yes, honestly it wasn’t easy. I am from Ajegunle and people from Ajegunle believe they have to make it against the odds, no matter what the challenges are. In fact, our slogan in ‘AJ City’ is ‘I must make it’. Because of my upbrining I realised long ago that I couldn’t do fraudulent business, so I made up my mind that music must put food on my table; the music must work. I was determined to make it work though it was not bringing money. You should remember that back then I had a group called Junglist. My partner gave up and we had to part ways! He gave up because we released two albums as a group and we had nothing to show for our efforts. And my partner was Igbo so you already know the rest of the story. He quit but I kept on hustling and released my debut solo single, Ele Wan, which was all over the streets. It was an underground hit. Then I released an album entitled, Floor Politicians. I became more confident and I bought two cars at once (laughter). Me wey no get car before buy two cars at once. Ever since, I have been stepping from one level to the other until I hit my present form, and right now, I am fighting for international fame because I have become an international artiste. Take it or leave it, Oritsefemi has arrived!

Tell us about growing up in Ajegunle?
Ajegunle is Africa’s largest ghetto, and for me, growing up in Africa’s largest ghetto was very eventful because I learnt a lot of lessons like all street kids do. The streets give you a lot of confidence because there is a lot of poverty, lots of flooding when it rains and lots of suffering; so if you make it from there you would always thank God. We have had stars like Daddy Showkey, who made it from there, and today he is an icon in Ajegunle. There are also Baba Fryo and African China among a host of others. So, before I came, a lot of people from Ajegunle were like, ‘when is the next big star coming out of Ajegunle?’

Today, you are the rave of the moment, are you giving back to your hood?
Yes, I have a foundation, MSN Charity Foundation and MSN Music Academy. I will be bringing out so many things soon.

How are you handling your female fans?
I try as much as possible not to have problems with them because they are an integral part of the industry. You never can tell what they can do for you. I always do all I can to make them happy so that they can tell their fathers, husbands and boyfriends to buy my CDs and come to my shows. I respect my female fans and they always want to hang out with me.

What is the craziest thing a female fan has done to you?
I have not experienced any crazy thing really. I have a lot of female fans on social media. They call and encourage me. They send me kind messages on social media. They tell me what people are saying about me and how I can improve my sound. Thank God everything is working fine today.

Tell us about the woman in your life. Are you in a relationship?
I have been with my fiancée for three years now and we are planning to get married. She is my number one critic. She has been with me all this while and she is very down to earth. The wedding bells should ring any moment from now.

What was it like growing up in a polygamous home?
It was not easy. Even if your father has all the money in the world, polygamy is not the best. I can’t marry more than one woman like my dad.

Recently, you lost your dad; what kind of person was he?
My dad was a man with a large heart. He would not just agree with you because you are his son. He digested everything you told him before speaking, and when he spoke, he spoke a lot of wisdom. He taught me how to be introspective and to digest anything that comes to me and not to react spontaneously.

 

Did he support your music career?
Not really, he never wanted me to be a musician. My dad watched me for so many years doing music and money wasn’t coming, so he did not want me to stray because he was an engineer. He taught me a lot. I know how to couple engines and I still do but because of the talent in me, I had to face music. I am a good footballer and good swimmer but music took precedence. My dad was so bent on making me quit music that he got me arrested for going to shows. And whenever they released me he had policemen re-arrest me. At a point, my dad felt the police were not cooperating so he had his own guardroom at home. My dad was so harsh that while I got locked up policemen would take pity on me and feed me. But in retrospect I don’t blame him because music then was not paying. If it were now, I guess, he would have opted to be my manager (laughter).

What are your dreams?
My dream is to become a huge star. I want to make a mark before leaving this world. I want to be remembered like Michael Jackson, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and Bob Marley.

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