Bayode, the lanky son of iconic highlife musician, Dr. Victor Olaiya, is actually a chip of the old block. His dexterity on the trumpet at Papingo Dabalaya Nite Club, Surulere, Lagos every Saturday night reminds one of the heydays of his father as a trumpeter.
Here, the University of Lagos graduate reveals how despite being a banker, his passion for music was unquenchable. He also narrates how he accidentally became a member of his father’s band, alongside other interesting issues. Enjoy it.
Tell us briefly about yourself?
My name is Christopher Bayode Olaiya, one of the sons of the legendary highlife artiste, Dr. Victor Olaiya who hails from Ijesha Isu in Ekiti State. I am a banker with passion for music. This I have been demonstrating every Saturday at Papingo Dabalaya Nite Club, Surulere, Lagos. I am a graduate of University of Lagos and I’m happily married with children.
What was your childhood fantasy?
My childhood fantasy was to become an Air Force pilot because I loved and was fascinated by planes as a child. I would have pursued my ambition to be a military pilot to its logical conclusion if not for my father who had his fears about the military. Because of his discouragement, I had to drop the ambition with time. That was how the dream died a natural death.
How did you become the lead vocalist in your father’s band?
It all started during my university days when the lead vocalists of the band suddenly began to disappoint on Saturdays, by absenting themselves without formal notice. My father had contended with this several times and was fed up. One day, Dudu, his manager took a long look at me where I sat at a corner enjoying myself with friends. He walked up to me and asked me to mount the stage as a vocalist that fateful Saturday night. As somebody familiar with the trumpet, I did not waste time flowing with the band that night. After that outing, I started joining them every Wednesday evening for rehearsals, so as to perfect my act. From that day, I have been performing with the band till I became a substantive lead vocalist. I love the trumpet because it encour ages me to display my showmanship on stage. This has actually won me the admiration of many fans on regu lar basis.
What are your challenges playing highlife being someone who belongs to the hip hop era?
Challenges? None actually because I grew up listening to my father’s hit records and liking them too. So, my being on stage regularly was a golden chance to display my love for his brand of highlife, which is pretty unique from those of his contemporaries. Today, I am happy to announce that the crowd enjoys my shows, which they usually applaud. No wonder, most times, people come around me, wanting to know if I would be on stage the following Saturday. I thank God for this wonder. The fact that I play my father’s songs very well does not make me not to be interested in hip hop. I love hip hop as the music of the times. I belong to to day’s era of music as a young man.
How do your friends and peers relate with you?
They have always been impressed with my shows. They have never hidden their love for me and this may have been confirmed by their deafening applause for my performances on stage. I made them proud anytime I was on stage by putting some colours into my father’s hit-songs, thereby giving them the desired effects. Apart from this, I also display my dexterity on trumpet like my father, reminding those who knew him in his heydays of his exploits as a trumpeter and musician; I mean both on stage and albums too.
Have you had the opportunity to perform outside the nightclub with your dad?
I have had the golden opportunities to perform outside the nightclub. For instance, I performed in Abuja where we entertained former President (Olusegun) Obasanjo. The same thing happened in Lagos during the tenure of (Babatunde Raji) Fashola as governor. The late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade also enjoyed me during one of our outings. It is on good record that I have been opportune to thrill some music loving Nigerians including General Theophilus Danjuma, Atiku (Abubakar) and others. It was quite a memorable fun singing and entertaining those icons who no doubt enjoyed my songs and renditions.
Is there any plan to release an album as a result of your longtime romance with highlife music?
There is no such plan for now. However, things can change suddenly and the need may arise for such. If that happens, I wouldn’t have any reason than to meet the challenges of such demand. This could be so because God wants it to happen. People may think that I will deviate from the traditional highlife music my father has been playing in the name of modernisation. But it might not be so with me because I love that pattern of music, which I strongly believe is still popular with everybody, including the youths who attend my shows most times. Moreover, this brand or form of music is the type one can hum easily. This makes it the real music. If you listen to most hip-hop songs, you can’t hum any of them easily. And now, the youths are beginning to embrace highlife music. Take for instance Tuface’s remaking of my father’s Baby Jowo and the sharp reaction and appreciation by fans. Another case in point is Simi’s Joromi originally done by Sir Victor Uwaifo back in the sixties. I want to state categorically that highlife has a rich repertoire to draw from.
How do you react to your female fans’ appreciation of your vocal dexterity?
It’s natural for such to happen. They even make passes at me, telling me severally how sexy I look. But each time, I just smile and say thank you. If any of them wants to go beyond this, I will let her know politely that I am happily married with children. Yes! I love my marriage and would want it to be successful at all cost.
What’s your definition of beauty and love?
It depends solely on how one looks at both. When some people talk to you, they see their definition of beauty in your speech, while others perceive your physical looks as the beauty that nobody would succeed in re-defining for them, no matter what. To me, attraction covers the definition of beauty. As for love, I see it as something the western world just imposed on us without we really knowing the import. It’s funny, but that’s my belief.
What would make you marry more than one wife like your father?
Nothing! I repeat nothing on earth will make me marry more than one wife, because there is no way to justify such action, judging from my not too palatable experiences.