Juju singer, Adeola Ogunyemi, better known as Sunny Melody, says the juju genre of music is still the most respected, even though some young music lovers think it’s going into ‘extinction’.
The singer, who is based in the United Kingdom, told Sunday Scoop,
“I have addressed this question many times in the past. Juju music hasn’t lost its commercial appeal. It only needs a total reform, especially in Nigeria. We (juju musicians) in the Diaspora are doing well. There are things I can’t discuss here but I am in contact with elders to revolutionize the industry. If you ‘monitor’ juju music online, you would agree with me that juju music hasn’t lost its commercial appeal. It’s a fallacy to say it is not as popular as other genres of music. Which musicians perform at weddings in Nigeria? People such as King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Shina Peters and even the young ones are on the bandstands at the weddings and owambe (parties) in Nigeria. Though many young people patronise other genres of music, they know that when it comes to special functions such as burials, naming ceremonies and weddings, juju musicians must be involved. Don’t forget that some of them collaborate with juju musicians as well.
“Juju is one of the oldest styles of music in Nigeria and it will always remain relevant. King Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey are well over 70 years and they are still relevant. They attend gigs regularly all over the world. Those are the fathers of Juju music. However, I think that juju musicians, especially in Nigeria, just need to do more in terms of promotion and online presence.’’
The singer insisted that relocating overseas didn’t negatively affect his career. He said,
“Juju music is very lucrative here (in the UK). There are many Nigerians, especially Yoruba, in the UK and they form the bulk of our listeners. I have been in this business for 20 years and there are hardly any weekends without shows. I’ve been able to take juju (and even) highlife music to the elite. I’m also like a link between the old and the young because both can relate to my music. Over the years, I have carved a niche for myself.
“Being in Nigeria might make an artiste more popular; but there’s more to life than that. I don’t think I’m doing badly being based in the UK.”