As part of activities planned to mark Sir Shina Peters 60th birthday anniversary, there will be a big party on Wednesday 30th May, 2018 at the Balmoral Convention Centre, inside Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. Friends and well wishers of Sir Shina have set up a committee headed by Prince Bisi Olatilo to organise a befitting 60th birthday for him.
On Tuesday 15th May, 2018, a press conference was organised to brief the media about the various activities to expect. During the press conference the media were allowed to ask Sir Shina Peters questions on his life at 60. Also present was his promoter, Olusegun Okeowo who disclosed a lot about Sir Shina. According to him “Shina is not just a friend. We grew up together. I used to play drums for church and that was where we started our friendship. When his record, ACE came out, I was then at the American embassy here; I used to be in the US Marine. So he (Sir Shina) had to go on international trip but I discovered that there was a situation where a bad report was made about him; that he was promoting drug pushers. I knew the report wasn’t true. I was the one who vouched for him, that in Nigeria Sir Shina is a musician and you need to encourage him to travel to US. That was my 1991. The trip was very successful to the extent that the Mayor of Washington DC welcomed him.
When I left the military, I took musical promotion as my job and he became one of my artistes. The reception given him in the US was huge. I spent more time with him and I have never regretted any moment with him and we have remained very good friends.
So, it’s a pleasure to promote him”.
Below are the question session and answers with Sir Shina Peters.
You have been singing for decades. What has changed over the years about Nigerian music? Although a lot of artists still play music but it lacks content and depth. What is wrong?
Yes, you are right to an extent, I salute some of our artists now. I salute their courage. The only thing I will say is about their lyrics because they are supposed to be role models. There is no way you can play their music at home because of the children and that is the only thing I can is wrong but we are working on it. We need something like Censor Board that approves your music; You have to convince the board that what you are singing or preaching will not hurt society.
60 years is a landmark age. What are your plans to further sustain your legacy?
I have paid my dues. I have contributed my own quota. But if you watch around now, the number of people playing Afro-Juju are more than those who play the regular. Those who are playing Afro-Juju, we are going to touch their lives, we are going to encourage them.
When I started Afro-Juju, I welcomed everybody because if anything happens to me tomorrow I will be fulfilled I have contributed my quota. The foundation I will be launching is for everyone. I want to share my talent. I don’t want to go with this talent of mine. You know as a good Saxophonist, Keyboardist, Guitarist; I want to share all these.
Why have you dropped your Guitar? We grew up knowing you as a good guitarist, why have you stopped playing the Guitar?
There was a time that our fore-fathers in the industry, the likes of Chief Ebenezer Obey, Sunny Ade, my late former boss, General Prince Adekunle were playing, for over 30 year, nobody was about to match their standards or even get near them. Nobody was able to showcase themselves. I said to myself that look, I know the the reason many can’t match them. And there was no way you can be singing then without guitar playing along and all these small artistes don’t know how to play guitar. So I said if I drop my guitar they will be welcomed on board and that was exactly what I did. That is why you have been able to see the likes of Dele Taiwo, Mega 99, Seyi Micheal. Because of the Guitar I dropped, that gave them the courage to come onboard. But I am still a master in guitar.
How did you create a mark for yourself among your peers while growing up?
There are something I have kept to myself but I will open up on it now. I always ask myself that am I a Shina? I can’t just explain how God did it. There was a time you people believed Fuji music had killed Juju music but I said to myself if I am playing Juju and Juju is dying what am I going to do? So, I said to myself, what are (people) they listening to in Fuji. I went to my brother late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and I realised it is not the lyric parse, it is not the music, it is African percussion and I also want to use a stone to kill many birds; I want to unify my country with my music. I don’t want Ibo or Hausa to be saying remove that song; because when you play our fathers song, an Ibo man will say remove that song from playing. So I want to use my music to appeal to my followers in Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba.
I also want to carry students along. I said to myself, I want to see myself as a man of the youths; the leader of the youth. Finally, I went to Fela’s Street, he said stupid boy, where have you been? I told him why I came to see him. I told him I wanted to start my own music; I want to stop being under someone.
I want to create an identity for myself and he said, Shina let me tell you this. Everybody is a musician, the only thing you can do is to look for a music that will suit your voice, if you can find one, you are already a musician. He said Shina go back to your drawing board and find music and that was what brought the song “O’hun tan so’pe ko’dun lojo si” because people thought I couldn’t sing that I could only play Guitar or Keyboard or Saxophone but because of the advice Fela gave to me it made me more stronger.
Fela said Shina, I want to share my magic with you. Anytime you want to sing, make it 50 percent English or pidgin English so that you can carry all people along, both the Ibos and Hausas and that is why you heard me sing “right now, we are ready to play music, we are ready ooo”.
I thank God, at a time students didn’t want to hear anything else again. I said to a lot of people that this hip-hop thing, we started it. I remember 1992 when I rapped in my music. We started it.
If you are to talk to a group of upcoming artistes, what will be your advice be to them
Be simple, be humble and be hardworking.
Looking back at your career, what has been the greatest moment and your lowest moment?
60 is nothing to compare what is going to happen after 60! There was a time we had label owners, the situation of things in the industry then was good. I started music at age 10 but the situation of the country then was better. The label owners would call us and asked us how much we were going to take in advance. They would buy you new car, buy bus to convey your band and equipment and some would even give you land to build your house.
If not for the corporate bodies, they are the ones taking care of us now. You call the new boys in the music industry now upcoming artistes but I call them heroes because out of nothing they do something. That is why we should not write them off. We laid the foundation on a platter of gold.
My lowest moment! At 60, I am still going from one court to another all because I refused to sign 10 years contract. The idea of sharing our past experiences with our new ones is very important.