Do you know that the king of Fuji music, Olu-Omo Olasunkanmi Ayinde-Marshal who is popularly K1 is 63, but does not look it?
He keeps looking refreshingly young. He is fit as a fiddle and he could pass for a 50-year-old.
Last week, he told City People team of SEYE KEHINDE, BIOLA ORISILE & SOLA BAMIDELE the secrets of his look.
Your mother Alhaja Alimot Shadia is 101 and she is still waxing strong. When we interviewed her 7 years ago she said she could remember vividly your journey. She said when you were so young, you were sick and she was afraid when you joined music. And now, you are a livng legend. What has sustained you? What has brought you this far at 63?
What has brought me this far is God Almighty. I believe in God. No man can beat his chest and say this is exactly what I did to get to this point. Its just Grace. Jesus passed on at the age of 33. He was so young as a man. Prophet Mohammed died at 63. By the Special Grace of God, that age that Prophet Mohammed died, I will reach by March.
Look at Elvis, he died at a little over 40. Micheal Jackson also died at such a little age as well. I give thanks to Almighty God. It is not by my making, not by my might, not by my power, not that I am the only one who knows how to do it best. It’s a blessing. Anu ni mo ri gba. Anu ni. Anu ni eyan rigba.
We all keep asking for Anu Olorun. The same world where someone died at 33 is the same world someone else is celebrating turning 101. Definitely, its God’s Grace. It’s Grace.
You have this phrase that you sing about in your song, Olofo lo nbinu Ologo. What made you sing that song? What actually happened?
Nothing happened. I was making the point that its is only an Olofo that will be angry with someone that is an Ologo. If you are not an Olofo you should rejoice for anybody around you. All of us cannot be successful in one day. Success will not stop at our doorstep the same day, same time, same hour, same minute. But if you see anybody with success, rejoice with that person. Thank God for him or her. And use that person’s success as a point of contact. So that God can also bless you. Always rejoice with others. Always thank God. Always use the blessing of God over someone to rejoice and to ask God to do yours too.
There is nothing bad in doing that. You can’t bring somebody down and think you will do well. There is Law of Karma. There is Karma.
Karma is the judgment God promised. If you want good, you better do good to people. Whatever you do to people, comes back in Karma. It’s a must. That is the judgement. I lost my father in 1970. My father will be 50 years that he died. God has made judgement over him. Any good deed that happens to you, it’s as a result of the deeds your parents had done in their own time or while they were raising you.
So, whenever I look at myself, I just give thanks to God that it must be the reward for what my parents had done before now.
At 63, K1 keeps looking refreshingly young. What is the secret?
The secret of one living healthy life is about the way you structure your life and your time. I work so hard. And I consider the energy that I put into my work as also a form of exercise. I want to keep seeing myself upstanding, and then I rest when it is necessary as well. I do everything in moderation. I don’t usually go out for orders. I know when to sleep. When I am really tired I sleep. When I need to work, I work. I do everything to time and to plan.
I don’t carry a load that is too heavy on me, that will make me feel the burden. I don’t. I won’t open my mouth for food that I believe I cannot stomach. I don’t do that as well. I do things in moderation. So I find it enjoyable.
Your new Chieftaincy title covers the entire Yoruba race. What’s your plan for the Yorubas?
I am a true bace blood. I am an Ijebu man. If you look at a Yoruba man and an Ijebu man, they are interwoven.
I am a proud Ijebu man. I want to carry that banner the way it should be carried. That does not mean if somebody does something bad, we should not talk to the person to make him understand that what he or she has done is bad.
Even if the person is my friend, we should be able to be honest and truthful in our dealings with people. It is the manner you choose to talk to people that matters. What I usually do is that if I need to make you realize that you are wrong, I can sit you down and talk to you and make you see reason, that what you are doing is wrong. And at the end of the day you would agree with me and we would both move forward. We need to manage ourselves well. I want to see myself as an agent of change among our people, agent of change that will turn things around. I will always go round our community to always mediate in people’s squabbles and quarrels. We want to give everybody the chance to be properly heard.
Oyo town is already waiting for the installation of K1 as the new Maiyegun of Yorubaland. What should we expect at the event? What should we look out for?
A lot. Tradition must be respected. People outside Africa are embracing our tradition that many think is outdated. We should appreciate simple things like children being obedient to their parents. The male should learn how to prostrate, to pay obedience to your people. And it goes a long way. That is when you will hear elders say Omodada leyi.
It makes the elders pray for you inside of them. Ladies too should kneel down to greet their parents or those older than them.
Let’s talk about your music. You playback to back, from Monday to Monday. When do you rehearse?
Let me tell you this. No 1. No musician of note, both international and local, jokes with rehearsal. No serious musician can do without rehearsing, because rehearsal is a form of perfection. You do rehearsals every time to fit in what you want to do, so that you don’t go out there to make a mess of what you are doing. So, there must be rehearsal either you like it or not.
So, we do rehearsals. I do rehearse with my band. Music is what we do naturally. It is in-born. Even if I go to school for learning music or how to play music, there would still be something inside of you that must interject. If you are able to get that done well, you become a master of the trade.
Ever since I was young, I have been going out to perform every day. It is something we do every day, every day, every day. Going out to perform every day has been my way of doing it. I play Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I do jump between Monday and Thursday. And on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, I do social functions when I was much younger. I have places I perform, where I do jump. I do Mondays, I do midweek, I do Tuesdays. I do Thursday. At times I take Mondays off to rest and I do jumps on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Then I do social functions on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. That is what I have been doing and it’s part of my life.
My life and body system is used to it. Even when I am not on stage or I travel out on a private trip and I am not performing sometimes I don’t find it very easy.
You will find a lot of uneasiness in me because my body has been fixed to certain things and I will begin to have the feeling that I should be performing.
There are times when you are performing and singing you close your eyes like you are feeling the music. What makes you close your eyes? What causes it?
2 things sometimes make me close my eyes. It is either there is a bright stage light placed directly opposite me that is going into my eyes, or I am going into trance musically, going deep into my music and it takes me on like that. At times I won’t even know I shut my eyes like that until I come back to reality and my eyes open. Its been part of me. That is part of my build-up.
You have been singing for how long now?
I have been singing for 50 years. I started singing since I was 8 years old and I turned professional when I was 15. I have done Ajisari/Ajiwere between age 7, 8, 9, 11, 12.13, 14 and when I was 15 I turned pro. From 15 to date, I have been living and earning an income and living on music. That is like 47 to 48 years.
You’ve been able to keep your old friends and you keep memories a lot. Why is that 80? You narrate events of 30 to 40 years ago without mistakes. How do you do that? What is the secret?
The secret is that I keep records. I am lucky, I keep dates. I know when I made my 1st strip to America, my 1st trip to London I know.
What happened between me and this person I still remember. I can still remember a lot of things. I remember a lot of things. May be became I am into singing so I am able to keep all these records.
Why do you keep your old friends?
You keep your old friends because those are the people you grew up with, those are the people you spent your past with. They know your past.
I have done a lot in the past. I remember when I used to sleep on the mat. I have done a whole lot of things except stealing. There is nothing I have never done except Stealing and Rape. I have never involved myself in the 2. I did all manner of things. I was everywhere. I did a lot of things young boys did then. I played pranks, I played neighbourhood football. I was an active young boy but I never stole.
You are a practicing politician. You are a member of APC. So how do you juggle politics & music?
We are all politicians. Every one of us we are all politicians either directly or indirectly. If you practice politics they will call you a practicing politician.
If you are not a practicing politician, you are still a politician. If you have 2 children you have to play politics. If you have brother and sister, you definitely have to play politics. Between your wife and your sister, there is going to be serious politics. You have an office, you have staff, you run business, you are dealing with people. These are the politics of life. But when it comes to professional politics I am into politics professionally because I want to help my people and my community. If you want to keep your people you must be closer to the people that govern you and your people. Let them see that this person is part of us. So when he makes a demand for his people, why know who he is making a demand for. I am not in politics because I want to fight for my own pocket. No. I chose to go into politics so that I can be a bit useful to my community, to my people. And it has worked.
Many people don’t expect too much from Fuji artistes in terms of education. They feel they can’t speak good English because they didn’t have the benefit of formal education. How did K1 brush himself up? How did K1 do it? How did you step up?
Its because I love Education. Education is fantastic. Its beautiful. Its one value one can add to one’s life. Unfortunately,
I didn’t have that opportunity when I was growing up. I remember when I was in secondary school, my 1st year in a secondary school in 1970 at Ansa-Ur-Deen College, Isolo, Lagos that is when I lost my dad. That was the only man I believe could propel me into going to school, to embrace Education very well.
As for my mum, she is a local woman that does business. She wants to see me every time joining hands with her in running her business which is also good. Through her I was able to learn what today makes it easy for me to be able to turn around money, to be able to turn N20 to N25, to turn N10 to N20. Talking about Education, Education is good. Everybody that has it today you have gotten it all.
You have what it takes to be able to move very well and body too. Having said that let me quickly say that the most important education and valuable education is the one of common sense. Its good to also be streetwise. Its also good to have friends who are educated.
As they say, show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. If your friends are educated and you sit among those who are educated it will rub off on you positively. If you sit among educated people, all you need to do is to do what they do listen to then and you will see great improvements.
You will see that a lot of changes will come.
I remember when I was so young my father used to send me to go and buy newspapers and he will tell me that in the newspaper you will gather all the needed information. I will be the one to go and buy newspaper for my dad. I will be the 1st to read it.
When he finishes reading I will be the one that will pack it and read a lot. It really helped me. What I read then really helped me to build myself up. Today, I have what it takes to be able to say Alhamidullahi I can handle the situation. I can add A, B, C, together with my little education.