The Masked crooner, Lagbaja, is set to release two albums simultaneously. He spoke with about the albums, the mask and the music industry

Q: Lagbaja, anything from you?

A: Yes, something from me and for the people. It is a new album, two at the same time; that is something serious for the people.

Q: Why have you been off the scene for some time. Why?

A: Well, it is not that I have been off the scene, but I shuttle a lot. I mean that I travel a lot. If you recall, Lagbaja’s style is not that of every other person. If you keep on splashing yourself in the news all the time, it becomes boring and people get tired of you. It is better you wait until you get something new to talk about.

Q:There was a rumour that you have sold Motherlan’ and relocated abroad. How true is this?

A: Are we not in Motherlan’ now? You people will just wake up and compose stories and make them sound real. For the records, I have not relocated but I travel a lot to Europe, U.S. and Nigeria, my main axis.

Q: Doing what?

A: Playing music, recording and keeping my music moving.

Q: Why did it take you so long to release an album after Afrikano?

A: It is not so long because Afrikano came five years after We, Me and Abami and this one is just four years. In fact, it will be four years in July. The reason is that I take my time to work on an album before it is released into the market. Secondly, it is not exciting releasing an album. As I am releasing now, it is with pains, thinking that these boys feast on my music again, I mean the pirates and nobody will do anything. I will love to release often if the market is not hijacked by pirates.

Q: When you released Afrikano, it was in two versions, the expensive CD and the less expensive one. Are you repeating the same thing?

A: It is because the difference is in the packaging, the more expensive one was recorded in US but in limited quantity. This will allow you to have an album note. The boys have destroyed the market so much that it is better some less expensive CD is released for the populace, but it is a matter of choice.

Q: Sharp! Sharp and Paradise is a double album?

A: No, it is not a double album but two different albums that will be released at the same time. The two are normal Lagbaja songs—political messages, fun and others.

Q: Like Skentele in Afrikano?

A: Yes, Skentele is fun but there is still a lesson there. At the same time, you have something like Bling! Bling Panda, which is to those who do not have enough to eat but are still posing.

Q: Sharp! Sharp posters have the vintage Lagbaja, while Paradise has Adam and Eve pictures. Does the music have any religious undertone?

A: No religious undertone. Even though I love my spiritual life and know that each person should endavour to develop his or herself spiritually, the album has nothing to do with religion. But the idea is that this place is created to be a paradise, but we turn it into what it is today. I am saying, let us go back to paradise. That is where we can make things work in the country.

Q: Why two albums at the same time?

A: Well, like we did for We, Me, Abami, where we have Konko below, Nothing for you and others, so you can pick anyone you like, because each album contains one exciting thing or the other.

Q: Who is distributing the album?

A: I am still speaking with a couple of marketers in Alaba, those among them that are trying to be honest.

Q: Lately, there have been some changes in your band. Ego, your female vocalist, left, so also did Yinka, your manager. Do these changes have any effect on your organisation?

A: There will always be an effect because those you have been working with and you have built a good working relationship, it will slow you down for a while and definitely, you will pick up again. In the case of Ego, she gave a long notice, we even had a send forth for her at Motherlan’ here and Tamara took over. In the case of Yinka, it was a time we were trying to get our work into the international market. That was a setback. We’ll keep on working and move on.

Q: Lagbaja, who owns Motherlan’ because there are some insinuations from certain circles that it is not yours?

A: We own Motherlan’.

Q: Who are we?

A: Me talking to you, although if you look at the land documents, you will not find Lagbaja’s name, the man behind the mask, is the major shareholder.

Q: It will be monotonous asking you about the man behind the mask?

A: You know that it’s a question I will always answer. You know we have known each other for a very long time.

Q: Well, how has it been on and off the mask?

A: The biggest problem is once I take off the mask, I have freedom, I can go and do anything before Tejuoso Market was shut and demolished, that was where I buy the materials I use for my costumes. I will park, like any other person, go up and buy my things, that is the kind of freedom I have. As a celebrity, you can’t be free, that is the biggest problem and if I want to grant an interview, until I wear the mask, I can’t do so. Sometimes, it takes a long time to get the simplest thing done. If it has been an ordinary person, I can say let’s meet at so, so place, but for me, I have to book a date, carrying the mask. Secondly, it can sometimes get very uncomfortable and thirdly, it can affect your singing because of the acoustic. It will definitely change the tune of your voice.

Q: Is there any health implication?

A: No, there is no health implication as far as you are not wearing a dirty mask.

Q: How many masks do you have in your kitty?

A: I can’t say how many, but I have loads of masks. Just wait until I do an exhibition.