From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt Hundreds of youths in Rivers State yesterday, staged a peaceful protest in Port Harcourt, condemning the activities of some operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the state police command. Protesting on the platform of Niger Delta Non-Violence Youth Leaders Assembly (NDNYLA), they marched through some major streets in…
By Gilbert Ekezie and Olamide Babatunde
Not many know him by his real name. In fact, everyone calls him Ado, without bothering to find out its meaning or genesis. However, Sunday Babatunde Ajisafe has decided to come clean, finally revealing his true identity. He talks more on sundry other issues in this interview. Enjoy it.
You are popularly known as Ado, could you tell us your real name and a little about your background?
It is true that many of my fans do not know my real names. To them, I am Ado and nothing more. Therefore, I want to use this opportunity to tell them that my real name is Sunday Babatunde Ajisafe. I hail from Ekiti State where I lived with my parents before relocating to Lagos to further pursue my music career, Today, I sing for a living.
What kind of music do you do?
I do more of Afro hip hop version of Jazz. I got my inspiration from artistes like Styl Plus, Olu Maintain, Plantation Boyz and foreign artistes like Lil’ Wayne, Bedman and Nash.
How did you start as an artiste?
I have been singing from the age of 10 when I was living with my parents in Ekiti State. I started with dancing, going out with friends, listening to the likes of PSquare and Michael Jackson, trying to copy them because I love what they do. Then people used to call us to perform at their events like birthday, naming ceremony and other shows that we organised by ourselves.
When I came to Lagos in 2008, I stayed with my friends. Then, I did not know any studio in Lagos. So, what I used to do was to record songs on tapes and go out to sing at parties and people admired me a lot.
Later, I got access to a studio to record two songs titled ‘Emi Ni’ and ‘I Know You Know’, and many people commended them. That really gave me a breakthrough. From there, I released another song entitled ‘Oti Yemi. I started by rapping and later got into singing. Subsequently, I released ‘Ekaette’ and ‘Repete’.
How was it moving in with friends at the early age of 10 in the name of music?
In fact, it was not easy because my parents were not happy seeing me singing and dancing wherever there were parties. They were disappointed and afraid that I was going to be influenced by bad boys. So, they did not want to allow me to sing. But due to the passion I had, I did not listen to them and had to move in with friends. I continued coping with their opposition till I relocated to Lagos when I gained admission in 2008.
How many albums have you dropped so far?
I have not dropped any album yet. But I keep dropping singles. This is because if you are not known as an artiste, you do not just drop an album to avoid waste and frustration. So, I concluded that since I have not made the name that can market my album yet, there is no need for that. For instance, if Wizkid, Davido, 2Face or any other popular artiste should release an album today, they do not need to struggle to make sales. However, I am still pushing to get there and very soon I will arrive. Meanwhile, I thank God for Felabration where I performed with my full band. This was my third time of performng at Felabration and I had lots of exposures and experiences.
Aside Felabration, what other shows or competitions have you participated?
In 2015, I participated in Prove Your Huzzle, a competition for up and coming artistes, which was organised by POZZA, and supported by Nokia in South Africa. And, out of the five countries that participated, I was among the top 10, and later came first. Having won, I was given a Lumia Nokia phone and distribution deal to South Africa. That means they would be the ones to distribute my albums. I was also the one who launched the Lumia phone for Nokia. I was equally in Loud and Proud several times and I came second. Furthermore, I participated in Rap Battle for rappers at City FM.
How long would the South African distribution deal last?
The deal is still on till I decide to terminate it.
How are you monitoring the deal?
Though, I am not in South Africa to monitor it closely, they give me regular feedback on how they make sales. Meanwhile, I have not received any royalty because I have not asked.
As a rapper, why didn’t you participate in Rap or Drop on TVC?
I do not want to participate in Rap or Drop competition because I am no more in that age category. What I am trying to do now is to get a brand for myself, for a recording label to come. I have a manager who caters to my career, but my desire is to get a record label.
Did your music career affect your education in any way?
No, I did not allow that to happen. My music started fully when I left Olabisi Onabanjo University where I studied Mass Communication, though I did not complete my education due to some challenges. Now, as a part-time student, I’ve finished my project but something came up and my project supervisor refused to sign my project. Meanwhile, the project is still with me since no one could fight for me.
Do you have the intention to collaborate with anyone in music?
The only artiste I have in mind is Brymo because I love his music. If you are a good listener, you will see that Brymo is good, and I see him as the next Fela because of the message he has.
How would you rate the Nigerian music industry?
I would say that the industry was not doing so well in the past, but now, it is growing faster and making great impact across the world. Notwithstanding, we need to build more on the industry through the message we give out to people as artistes.