That the popular Faith Music Band is one of the hottest and a wave-making celebrity live band in our society today is not an exaggeration.
The band’s mothers’ humility, focus and discipline stand them out, so does the bandscustomised signature attire and style with trend-setting sparkling white clothes matched with abetiaja caps.Their innovation re-defined fashion for celebrity live band musicians on stage.
For those who usually frequent Lagos parties, they must have one way or the others met on occassions members who are usually dressed in white, prim and proper, well-organized, time-conscious, and clearly focused band.
At wedding receptions, birthdays, burial ceremonies and other social functions, the band has become the favourite of Lagos celebrities, who want an adaptive band that plays a potpourri of music from Gospel, Juju, and Highlife to Hip-Hop.
The founder and the leader of Faith Music Band is no one, but a humility personified, Ayo Ajekigbe, who had a dream to become a Medical Doctor, which was truncated by one government policyduring the Lateef Jakande’s era. Being a brilliant student, who topped his class, he was his teacher’s delight as he carted away prizes and awards in school for outstanding performances.
He fell in love with King Sunny Ade, the late Biggie Wright and Swing Paw-Paw. Ayo Ajekigbe is the band leader and Chief Executive Officer of Faith Music Band.
He began his music career in 1996 as the choir master of First Baptist Church Choir on Lagos Island. His sojourn into music started with his close friend, whom he met at the ObafemiAwolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State.
In his late forties, Ayo Ajekigbe is married to Olapeju. They have three children.
According to Ayo, following the high demand for Faith Band to perform at events, and its resolve not to turn down requests for its great services, it set up several units of the band. The innovation has enabled the Faith Band to perform simultaneously at different functions across Nigeria. Despite its replication, the band’s performances are always outstanding. To this end, partygoers are not surprised when they see Faith Band performing simultaneously at 4 to 5 big events in Lagos on the same day. The Head-honcho, Ayo Ajekigbe, has put structures in place to make it possible.
Recently, at the City People Award for Excellence, Ayo Ajekigbe and his band, Faith Music Band were honoured for their remarkable performance in the industry. That is where City People’s Assistant Editor, SUNDAY ADIGUN, met and interviewed him, he speaks exclusively on how Faith Music Band started 20 years ago and how it can perform at 4-5 event in a day without any hitch.
Your brand, Faith Music Band, is everywhere, how has it been, what is your success secret?
We give glory to God. The journey started about 20 years ago. It started as a one-man band, though we are 4 who started it. We have one man on the keyboard, one man on the drum, one man singing and the remaining one was backing up. Gradually, we started enlarging. Within the last few years, we have had a large house that we can even split into 3 to 4 bands. And there is no secret anywhere, it’s just the hard work, being focused, and with the help of Almighty God.
How did you did you come about the name ‘Faith Music’ band?
My friend, Sunday Omotosho is the originator of that name. We brainstormed on the name we could give the band and being a man of God, he just came up with the name “Faith” and we added music to it.
Can you still recollect the name of those 3 friends you started with?
Of course. Myself, Sunday Omotosho, Wole Abati and Ade Olaniyan. Those were the four founding members of Faith Music Band.
What is your relationship with Shuga Band?
About 2 years ago, we formed an association of music owners in Lagos, which Shuga is the President, while I am the Secretary.
That made us very close to each other. We had a very cordial relationship.
Let’s talk about your career, how did music start for you?
I started from the church, at a very tender age of 8. My father is a disciplinarian to the core, a man who always wants his children to be in the church with him 24/7. I joined the choir at the age of 8 and that was where I can boldly say that it all started from.
I was in the choir until I gained admission into higher institution. Even in school, I was still singing. I met Sunday Omotosho in Ife, Obafemi Awolowo University. When we came back, fortunately for Sunday, he was employed as our church Organist. I didn’t know how employment came. I just found out that he became our church Organist and from there, we started another relationship. It was that relationship that grew to form the band. He just called me one day and said Ayo you can sing, I want to form a group from the choir, a group that can sing for people during their birthday celebration. I told him that he knew I am a very shy person, moreover, my Daddy would not allow me to do such things. He said I shouldn’t worry, we would start, and we started. I remember the first outing we had, I couldn’t go with them because I was so afraid of my dad, (laugh), I don’t want him to beat the hell out of me.
So, they went, they returned and gave me feedback on how the event was successful. By the time we had the second one, I made sure I went with them. It was so rough when we started. We suffered a lot. Some people will not even give us money. We will just sing for them, carrying the instruments, keyboard, did all the dirty jobs. But to God be the glory, we were very focused. Maybe because we were elite, the education assisted us a lot, and we felt that there is a future in what we were doing, all we needed to do was to be focused.
Sincerely, every one of us was doing well today. Omotosho is no more in Nigeria, he left for the United State of America through visa lottery and I can tell you, he is still doing Faith Music in America. Whenever there is any function abroad, he organises it. There is another person in the UK, Leye Aina. He was formerly a member of the band. He too always organises functions for us in the UK. So, Faith Music Band is a very big family. I can tell you that despite all the challenges we had, today, every one of us has his family, we are relating to one another cordially.
Our life is just like a film acting every year and we discovered that we are getting better every year. We give God the glory.
What more should we expect from Faith Music Band?
Well, the music scene is changing and we have to blend with the changes. A lot of innovations are cropping up, sentimental music is being added to our styles of music. It is no more Juju as usual. We have to blend with the tempo of the society. We felt that moving with the society and making sure that people can easily relate us to good things. And we believe that the next level is going to be better than what we have in the past. I believe in the training we are giving ourselves, and with that training and being focused and hardworking, the sky is our starting point.
We don’t joke with our rehearsals. If I don’t come for rehearsal, you cannot sing on my stage, and that is why it is easy for me to give the stage to others to sing and they would perform well. We have had a series of time that Faith Band Music is performing in 3 to 4 events in a day and there won’t be any hitch because I believe in our capacity. I pray that the next level will be better than what we have today.
How much do you charge per event?
(Laugh). Anything outside Lagos is a bit high, but within Lagos, we are very considerate with our charges. We are very affordable because we prefer a relationship. We have a relationship that has been assisting us over the years. We are still relating well with our good patrons. The money is secondary.