Two weeks back, King of Fuji music, K1 de Ultimate rolled out drums to celebrate his 57th. News of the People cornered the fuji czar for a chat. Enjoy it.
What would you say is your greatest achievement at 57?
My greatest achievement? First, I want to thank the Almighty God for seeing me through to this time for it’s not my doing to be in this good state of health at 57. I am not hypertensive neither am l diabetic. l don’t have any ailment that a lot of people of my age are battling with today. In the last 10 years, except for the corrective surgery l had l have not been sick in any way. Musically, l thank God also because my relevance status is higher. Sometimes l wonder when l go out and l see the younger ones referring to me as “Baba, Baba”, l feel elated and highly fulfilled.
What would you have loved to achieve at 57 that you have not been able to?
Honestly there is none. I never dreamt to be governor or any of such things, so l don’t blame myself for anything at 57. During the past 43 years of music l have been able to find myself relevant in the society, well recognized, well loved and adored by both young and old. When l see the tremendous support that l enjoy today and the good number of followership, it gives me great joy and one cannot ask for anything more.
To rephrase, didn’t you have any set goal in life that you have not been able to achieve so far?
The set goal of any serious human being in life is to make an impact and achieve something good. Music is my chosen field and l has been able reach the pinnacle of my profession. I am at the top echelon of the entertainment industry and l enjoy good health as well. There is nothing to add. I might not be a billionaire, but l am not a beggar. I am quite satisfied with my life and l feel fulfilled.
What is the best way to obtain success and sustain it. Because some people must have started when you started but they have fallen by the side, what is your own secret?
Definitely you need to understand every step that you take, to know and judge it by yourself, that will lead you to the next you are going to take. If you take a wrong step, you know have to correct it by your next step. Every nice and good step you take, you know need to sustain it. Those are the things. Its called check and balance. If you this, you will just be like a super hero. No super hero, no super man. But if you able to look at every step taken, everything you lay your hands on, your utterances, your doings, even your job critically, you will know you where you made a mistake before, then the onus become your too quickly correct it and become a super hero.
Can you recollect any step you have taken in life that you felt was a wrong step?
If l must be honest with myself, there has never been a step ever that is not right. l stand responsible for any action ever done in my life. If there are things that many people probably don’t like about musician or an entertainer, they say we womanize and this is not a new thing. But this one fact I know and by the examples of other artists, the world over, that women is one serious integral part of entertainment that you can never write out. Until very recently a woman will prefer to go with an entertainer than to go with a rich man.
Why is it so?
Because everybody wants to be famous.
You had a surgical correction, what happened?
What l had then was called collapse of the lung, l had some correction done and l count myself to be lucky to tell the story by the Grace of Almighty God. l said that because many things that happen to people that they are unable to tell the story by themselves; so I am one of the lucky few.
A lot of artists do a lot of things when they go on stage, what do you do before you go on stage then and now?
If it has to do with the lung situation then l will tell you l don’t smoke. To those who have seen me in the last 15-20 years, l doubt if there has been any occasion they saw me smoking. I don’t smoke either in close or in open. But l was told by Dr. Fleshier Gelato who did operation, that the ailment could have been discovered early enough, if I was born in the Western World. But still l thank God. He said one cause could be as a result of pollution. Our environment is too polluted. You have a lot of that around even in the home; like the rug could be dirty and if you don’t take the caution of taking the rug out every time to clean it up, it could lead someone to coughing and this could affect the lung.
It seems that age has not slowed you down because it seems you still enjoy driving yourself?
I have been doing this in the last 40 years, l like driving myself. Honestly there are a lot of things that am do which l believe is right for a man to do until a certain age. Maybe after l turn 60, l might consider not to drive myself but l enjoy it. l started driving at 15 years and you can imagine the youthfulness in me when driving at 15 until l was 30. 15 years after at 50 years, l still enjoy the spirit of driving.
Is that why you love Automobiles?
Driving gives me opportunity to do things myself and not being able to complain about the kind of attitude of the person driving me. l can’t leave my life in the hands of somebody who truly is not ready to protect his own life. When someone cannot protect his own and you rest your life on that person, then you are a goner.
A lot of people believe you are very rich, so tell us how rich you are?
I don’t know what people mean by that. But if living comfortably, having set certain standard for yourself is called riches, then I am glad l am one. In terms of liquid cash l has works that could fetch me every amount l am in need of within the shortest possible time. l also have a repertoire of works that could fetch me a lot of returns and l am still very much in contention that dealers of record and promoters easily come to me to invest huge sums. It is not how much l keep in my account that matters. Many banks don’t even want you to keep your money in your account; they want you to be working with your money. They want the money that goes on and off, which keep on working, l have all that about my life and l am okay. l have set a standard of living for myself and l am enjoying that, so I’m okay.
Your three daughters just got married?
Yes, Bolaji, Aminat and Sekinat.
How many kids do you have, how many of them are graduates?
Whatever the numbers of kid’s l have, l has a lot of graduates in my family. I am proud because l have been able to do to my children what people don’t probably expect me to have done, and many of these children have done well. l know Ebenezer Obey’s children that are well read. They attended good schools, l know of King Sunny Ade’s children that are well read and attended good schools. I know many musicians that send their children to good schools, so I’m glad that I’m one of those musicians that will be remembered for training their children well. No matter the number of children that l have, l have been able to send them to good schools, they attended one of the best schools that you can talk of, home and abroad and am paying their school fees. Unfortunately my parents did not send me to school. l lost my dad when exactly that opportunity should have there for me, and l can’t blame God for taking him. It wasn’t that the man was tired of life and killed himself because he wanted to run away from responsibilities when he died at that time, l am grateful to God l have been able to do good for myself. So far, l have been conversing with you in probably a language many people believe it is only when you go to school that you can learn. Even if l have a University certificate, the truth of it is that I am okay and grateful to God for the little l have been able to put together.
Show me your friend and l will show who you are.
I learnt you enjoy reading books, which book is your favorite and why?
If l tell you a particular book is my favorite then I am not a collector of many books. l have library almost everywhere. I make sure every time l have opportunity to travel, l come back with one or two books l probably don’t have in my library. I visit a bookshop to get a book about someone that is doing very well or about a writer that wrote something about one important person elsewhere. I will take you round, l have books in my office, in my house in Lagos, everywhere. l have in Canada. l have a collection of books and I am still buying.
Many musicians are listening to your music, what kind of song do you listen to at leisure or is it only K1 song you listen to?
I listen to every music that has meaning. That is what music is all about. Music is all about the talent in you that you want to grow at all cost. My late boss says, “bi eniyan ba nkorin ti orin naa odun se bi on fi eti ara e gbo”. It’s something you sing inside before you bring out. So if you know it is horrible inside you it will be horrible outside. I listen to all brands of music.
Do you have favorites?
Favorite among musicians? Oh my God! l love KSA’s music because when l was young, l see KSA as my kind of person that l would love to meet. He has command of performance; he has control of it, and that l got myself trained and blessed with when l was growing, l want to have command of what I am doing. I also take my time to listen to Ebenezer Obey any day anytime early in the morning. l listen to Yusuf Olatunji; l listen to Osadebe. l love a lot of Osadebe’s work and who else, my boss, late Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister.
What do you like most being a musician?
Because I’m able to express myself.
What about what you don’t like about being a musician?
What l don’t like is when people want you to please them and displease yourself. That often happens to every entertainer. You can imagine, you are late for a show and you are rushing and immediately you get to the party, someone want to take photograph with you, that person wouldn’t care about the number of people waiting or the celebrant is getting angry or stuff like that, or when you are tired, you just drop the microphone, somebody want you to take photograph with him or her and you are saying please, please they don’t want to listen, all they care about is getting that photograph, you know, but you can’t run away from it.
Alhaji, music has done a lot for you, what has music not done for you?
Music has done everything, l have met a lot of people, high and low. Sometimes governor of a state that I’ve never met before, the moment he hears my name, he will quickly recognize me and say OK, that’s our famous man. It has opened doors for me. It has done a lot for me. There is nothing music has not done for me. Even when I am in the plane, you can imagine somebody coming across to say hello and whispering ‘he is one of our revered artistes’. Music has opened doors for me. It has never denied me anything except that it opens you up as well. Where probably you think you can hide to do something, you find there is nowhere to hide.
On stage people tend to say that artistes are flirts, have you ever been on stage one day that a female fan keeps on winking at you?
That happens every minute.
Finally what would you have loved to be remembered for?
I would love to be remembered as an active leader, a man that is very hard and tough to please.