Nigerian Fuji singer, Dr. Adewale Ayuba, sits with the host of #WithChude, Chude Jideonwo to discuss his career as a musician, the point he wanted to stop doing music, his decision to dissociate himself from political parties, and the powerful moment he shared with his daughter.
Dr. Adewale Ayuba shared how he got most of the major awards as a Fuji musician at the Nigerian Music Awards in 1990. “I was so happy because ‘Bubble’ that I did was not just an album, it was a project. I had like 5 albums before Bubble, Bubble was the album I made with a producer for the first time in my life. After I released 5 albums, I decided not to have anything to do with music anymore, because when I talk to my friends in school, my friends will say I am singing ‘old people’s music’. They didn’t embrace my song. Until Sony Music came to my house, and I told them that I wanted my music to be heard in the universities. They said I needed to work on my lyrics and my rhythm. All these were done, that is why I called Bubble a project. They told me that my lyrics should be 50% of the English language and 50% of the Yoruba language and I should stay away from Arabic. I was also advised to add more jazz. On the recognition he got from the project, he said, “The surprise was how it was accepted because I was forced to do it; it was not what I would usually do.”
Ayuba also shared how he chose not to have political affiliations despite the reach and influence he has on the audience of his genre. “I started my career at the age of 6. At that time, I didn’t even know what money was. What matters to me is the legacy left behind me. To me, people should see musicians as lecturers, teachers, and people they can emulate. I don’t want something that will affect that and give me a negative reputation. If you mention a politician running for governor promising that he will do some things, a lot of your fans will accept that because it is coming from your mouth. At the end of the day, if the politician doesn’t touch that area, one of your fans might come to you one day. It really happened to me on Facebook, I went to greet one politician, and I posted a picture of myself in his office on my Facebook page. A lot of my fans were in the comment section telling me, ‘Wale, please don’t go there.’ People are now taking it personally.”
On receiving backlash for aligning his songs with social issues that hold the government accountable, he shared, “It happened to me during the time of Abacha, that was why I was in America for 3 years. Abacha died, and I returned to Nigeria the next day. I had sung a song for Abiola, that they should release all the political detainees. Someone then called me from Abuja, ‘Ayuba, I don’t know you, but my mother’s name is the same as yours. Please stay back where you are, they are looking for you.’ It happened between 1995 and 1996, and it was a blessing in disguise for me. During that time, I went to school, and I met my wife.”
He also shared about the emotional moment he had with his daughter. “That touches me every time. I was to go to the bathroom, and I realized that my daughter was praying, ‘Daddy, give me a husband like my father.’ I then started praying to God that whatever I was doing that would have made him love me this much, and my daughter could see and want a husband like me, I said, ‘My Father, thank you.’ That moment was like a Grammy award to me. I thank God for that.
Watch the excerpt here