BONSUE Fuji crooner Adewale Ayuba is a perfect gentleman and not even his genre of music has been able to change the quintessential Fuji musician. In this interview with MERCY MICHAEL, Ayuba speaks on his project, music, marriage and other things
YOU don't come across like a Fuji musician. Your mode of dressing - the swagger and street slang associated with your genre of music are not noticeable in you. What kind of orientation did you have?
Without any shadow of doubt, I'm a Fuji musician. But, to me image is everything and so early in my music career, I made a conscious decision to be different from everyone else. If you notice, my music cuts across. It stems from the fact that I wanted to woo the elites, students, and the non speaking Yoruba people, so that is why my music is usually 50 percent Yoruba and 50 percent English. Also the kind of upbringing I have; my parents, especially my mother of blessed memory, she was very particular about the way I dressed. So that is it for me.
Your last album was two years ago. When should your fans expect the next one?
You see, if you have followed my career, you will notice I'm not the type of musician that churns out albums. I normally take my time. My style is that I always like my fans to enjoy the one I have released before releasing another one. But apart from that, the truth is that there is no money in making an album. Piracy is a very big issue in this industry. How can you spend money to produce an album and then you can't even recoup your money back, talk less of making profit? I won't lie to you, for now I don't have any plans coming out with an album yet. But, there are other things that I'm doing and one of them is the project that I talked about.
You are a good dancer. Do you employ the services of a choreographer?
Before I did Bubble, I had been into music but I wasn't known, so in 1999 I went back to the drawing board and tried to see what I could bring into it and make it better, so I decided to bring dancing into it. I remember I would stand before my mirror and practised several dance steps and before you knew it, it became a part of me. Then, I didn't even know who a choreographer was, so I couldn't have hired one.
You said sometime ago that your frequent trips abroad are to promote a personal project of yours. So what is this project?
Yes, I've been doing a lot of travelling outside the country. It has to do with the job, entertainment. I'm a preacher. I preach Fuji music. I've been travelling round the world trying to sell Fuji music to them and make it more popular. I have visited several Radio stations outside the country where I talked about Fuji music. So this is what the project is about.
Fuji music is usually associated with polygamy. Are you a polygamist?
In my family we don't marry more than one wife. I can never be a polygamist. The fact that I'm a Fuji musician doesn't mean I have to be loose with women. I don't have that kind of orientation.
You started doing music at a very young age. Why did you opt for Fuji?
At that time, Fuji was the only kind of music I could do. It was cheap to start. With two hundred naira then you could buy yourself a drum and basically it required no formal training as such. All it takes for you to do Fuji is a good voice and your talent. So it was easier. You know then for you to be a keyboardist, you had to go and learn it and also buy a keyboard which was more expensive then and since I didn't have the support of my parents at first, so I had to settle for what I could afford easily then which was a drum and that was how it all started.
Who were your mentors?
To say the truth, I was influenced by the likes of Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and Alhaji Kollington Ayinla, those two actually set the stage for me. I started my career listening to them.
As a young boy, did you just develop interest in their kind of music or your parents influenced you?
Funny enough, my parent didn't even encourage me listening to music of any kind. I'm the last of my family and my parents wanted me to be schooled. So they didn't influence me in my choice of music.
If any of your children decides to go into Fuji music, would he or she get your support?
Oh definitely! If any of my children decides to do my kind of music or any kind of music for that matter I will encourage him or her. If it's Fuji, I will be happy because Fuji is our own. It's very original. Hiphop is an American culture and there is no way you can do it as much as the American's will do it. It's just like a Nigerian singing Makosa Music. I chose Fuji right from time because I like the originality in it. If I didn't sing Fuji, I wouldn't have won the KORA awards.
Did you expect to win the award?
Honestly, I wasn't expecting it. That was the first I was sending in my work for an award and I didn't even do it on time. But when I was called up for an award, I was surprised. And when the second one came, I felt honoured. Imagine, who could think that Fuji music would win such as award?
What is your take on the issue of kingship in Fuji Music?
You see, I don't think it's a problem. And the truth is that no one is fighting over any kingship in Fuji music, King Sunny Ade, KI the Ultimate, Obesere, Pasuma, and the rest of them are all good at what they are doing and they deserve the titles any body has conferred on them. Some people call be Bonsue king, it's Okay. I mean, the late Michael Jackson was called the kind of Pop Music, it's an honour. But when people now fight over it, it is bad and it is not good for our music. But do they really fight over it? I don't think so really. Sometimes, when you listen to Fuji music and you hear one Fuji musician abusing the other person; it is a marketing strategy because they know that it is when they come out controversially that they sell more. That is the truth.
How is your rapport with other Fuji musicians?
From the way I talk, you can tell that I'm friendly with every one of them. We relate well. I definitely have a good relationship with every one of them.
How do you unwind with your family?
Honestly, I come to my office 9am and live at 6pm, and straight to my house I go. I like being with my family. I'm not the outdoor kind of person. Whenever I don't have shows, I just relax at home with my family; play with my wife and children.
Mr. Johnson almost took over your name at one time, but now you are simply addressed as Ayuba. Did you along the line drop the name?
Mr. Johnson was the title of one of my albums and before you know it fans started calling me Mr. Johnson. Some fans call me Mr. Bubble, Mr. Bonsue and all that, it depends on the individual, so which ever one they choose to call me is okay by me. I'm still Mr. Johnson.
What perfume are you wearing at the moment?
Lion by Paco Rabana, but I usually wear two perfumes at the same time.
You certainly are a fashion conscious person…
Yes, I am. I believe that you are addressed by the way you dress. The way you dress can affect your music career. I dress to compliment my kind of music. Even the way you behave at home can affect your career. If you are the type that beats your wife and people get to know about it, believe before you know you will start to lose your fans. Yes, I lay a lot of emphases on what I wear and how I appear in public, I believe it has helped me to attract the right kind of crowd.