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By Tony Ogaga
It was rough and tough for urban life singer, Adekunle Gold, but he tenaciously clung to his dreams. Today, he is a big name in the music industry.
Gold, who just wrapped up the Lagos leg of his global tour tagged: ‘One Night Stand with Adekunle Gold and the Elementals’ held at Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos on Boxing Day, narrates how he dumped a well paying job for an uncertain career in music
“The greatest decision I have ever taken was quitting my job in 2014. I was working with a social media brand activation company and I was the Brand Manager. I was earning very good money. Earning that kind of money today one would be very big. I wasn’t getting shows then but I knew that my music was suffering and I wanted to do something about it. So, one day, I just woke up and resigned,” he explained.
How did his family react when he quit his job? His response: “They thought I was crazy. Everybody thought I was crazy because I didn’t have any back-up plan.”
Was he not scared of failure? “Then, I was very fearless,” he recalls. “Who wakes up in the morning, from earning good pay and just decides to quit? There was no backup plan and it was not like I had saved money somewhere. I just felt I was helping someone else build their dreams, and mine was lacking. I wanted to do my thing and so I quit to the shock of everyone around me.”
Adekunle Gold recalls how music started for him. “Growing up was fun, it was interesting and challenging at the same time. My aunt, who used to live with us, would take us outside to sing and also teach us how to sing certain harmonies, alto and all that. That was when I discovered that I had a knack for singing. And then I joined the church choir. I was always trying to be the lead singer but it never happened all through my years in that church.
“My parents are Muslims so I grew up in an Islamic home. But my dad allowed us to go to church because he thinks religion is education as well, so it was okay to learn from any religion. But when we grew a little older, he stopped us so we started learning the Quran.
“I grew up in a not-so-well-to-do family. We were not poor, but we were comfortable. I was the eldest son. There was the dad and mum drama and I just had to be there for my sisters. I lost my youngest sister at a point in my life. That was in 2011. She was very close to me, my female double you could say. My world crumbled that day because she is my feminine version.”
Fame and stardom
With success come women. How has it been handling fame and stardom? Hear him: “At the risk of sounding cocky, I knew I was going to be great, I just didn’t know when. It is interesting because I have my eyes on the prize. I didn’t suffer that many years to come and let frivolity take my glory. So yes, I get advances from women and that feels good to be honest because I remember when I was chasing them as well. I am friends with them. There is no pressure. When I want to say yes, I say yes.”
As far as Nigerian music is concerned, Gold is a big fish. Was there any point he felt like quitting music? He says: “I thought about quitting when I was still in a band called ‘The Bridge’. It was me and my friend, Seyi Key, who is my producer is now. We weren’t getting any attention back then.
“We sang everything. At one point, I felt I was Bruno Mars. I was always trying to sound like him. But people didn’t pay us any attention. I will write songs and put all the English in the world. Imagine writing a song that is titled Last Dose of Sadness. But people just didn’t notice us. I guess people like what they like.
“So, I told my friend that he should focus on music production and let me sing. I was like ‘let us try with just one song. If it doesn’t work, then we can focus on other things’. It was not easy to have that conversation, but I am glad we had it. That was when I released a song called Let It Stop, and that song changed everything for me. When I released the song, it was Dotun of Cool FM who supported me all the way. That is why I will forever be loyal to him. He played the song everyday for one month. And people started listening to it, people started loving the sound.”
If there is one person Gold owes gratitude, he is YBNL boss, Olamide for signing him on. “YBNL moved me. I had Sade before YBNL and it was already getting popular. When I got signed to the label, we shot the video and it became like a sensation everywhere. Getting signed to YBNL took me to London for the first time. That was in 2015. So, YBNL changed everything for me. I am grateful to Olamide for all the support and inspiration,” he states.
Following the success of his debut, Gold is working on a sophomore album. He has this to say on the project: “Yes, I am working on my sophomore album. It’s titled About 30. It will drop in the first quarter of next year.
Singer and award winning instrumentalist, Simi, mixed and mastered his debut album. What was it like working with her? “It was amazing. She has an excellent spirit and that is my vibe,” Gold says. “We had issues on some songs that I thought were fine already but she made me do them again. We recorded Nurse Alabere three times. And that was Simi trying to be perfect.”
Brimming with confidence, Adekunle Gold shares the secret to his success. “The secret to my success is God and then hard work. And it is not just enough to be hard working. You need to want it. Aim fearlessly. I just said I quit my job because I wanted to do music. How bad do you want it? That is the question you should ask yourself. And whatever I want I go for.”
Young and upwardly mobile, does he have any plan to tie the knot soon? “I love girls, I just love girls but talking about marriage, I don’t even know. I am just focusing on music for now,” Gold says on a final note.