Majek Fashek has come a long way in reggae music. In this interview with TOPE OLUKOLE, he shares some issues concerning his music and why he was off the scene for some time. Excerpts:

Can you look at the music industry in Nigeria and compare it with the music scene in America?
Nigerians are the hope of Africa. I’ve gone to Australia, Asia, Europe and America and Nigerian music is all over the place. I like the Americans. Americans are my brothers. Nigerian music is fashioned after American. When I came back to Nigeria, I watched TV and I saw my younger brothers in music playing American kind of music. I’m very impressed they are doing American kind of songs. It means Nigerians are civilised.

But reggae is no longer on air, clubs, shows it seems dead?
No. Reggae is back. I’ve just finished some recordings. I normally don’t record in Nigeria. Reggae is street music like hip-hop. You cannot kill reggae, it’s the Rasta movement and it’s like Christianity. It’s impossible. But the fact is that the young shall grow and that’s why everyone is playing hip-hop, it’s young boys songs.

At a point, you were very relevant and rated high alongside late Lucky Dube but you did not get close to expectations, what happened?
You see in America, if you don’t play well, you can’t make money. Lucky Dube and I played together in New York for about four times, but you see, music is like competition. It is those who play it well that win. Let me tell you, we were like enemies. He was playing well and I was playing well.

You had great motivators like Aswad, Jimmy Cliff and others, but along the line, you fizzled out?
Let me tell you, you want to hear my story? I’m a gambler. If you don’t lose, you don’t gain. I have a house in Las Vegas. I’ve seen it all.

You look funny compared to the past, do you do drugs?
No, I don’t do drugs. I use spiritualism. I’m spiritually filled. I smoke Igbo and I drink.

Maybe you take too much of everything?

Many people, your fans, are not happy to see you like this?
I’m cutting it down.

Which of your songs would you say it’s your favourite?
It’s Holy spirit. Holy spirit is holy music. God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit is the one that controls the spirit of man. Holy spirit cannot be underestimated. It gives you long life and you can live for over 100 years if you walk with Holy Spirit.

You talk about Holy Spirit, is Majek Fashek a Christian, a Muslim or Buddhist?
Holy Spirit has no boundary. You can be a Christian, a Muslim, an Ogun worshipper or Olokun worshipper and you will still have Holy Spirit. So, you can be in any religion and still possess the Holy Spirit. It is the most powerful and it’s from God.

Some of your contemporaries like Orits Williki, Ras Kimono and Mandators tried to make a comeback but they were not lucky to make hits, their songs did not appeal to the younger generation, are you looking at collaborations with the younger artistes on the scene?
I’m the master. I work with some boys like Blackface, Tuface and Faze. I work with the younger generation.

What do you think is lacking in the career of these new generation of artistes?
These young artistes need good management.

What do you think you would love to change about yourself?
Me? I’m a Rastafarian, a prisoner of conscience. I have no apology to man but to God because when I die, I’m going to see God and God is going to wash me of all my sins. I only respect man. I don’t fear man.

Tell me how old are you?
I’m as old as creation
Tell me about your children and family
I have three children

Are they living in Nigeria?
No, they are in New York

How do you want to be remembered?
I’m going to disappear like Elijah, like Elisha, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Hosea.

If you look at yourself now, compared to what you looked like in the past, can you see you are looking older that your age?
No, I’m not old. I’m a Rastaman. I don’t get old, I can change my body. Pastor and prophets don’t get old, they only change their bodies.

That reminds me, do you still keep your cassocks, your bell?
My cassock is in the house; my bell is in the house too.