Have you watched Commander Samson Akilapa perform live at Concerts before? Have you seen him deliver his lines and thrill at events? He played back to back, from January-December, 2017, performing at concerts, crusades, and ministrations. That didn’t surprise too many people. Segun Genesis, as he’s fondly called is good at what he does. He has even gotten better.
He has perfected his art.
With a sonorous voice and dance steps like that of King Sunny Ade, Genesis performs a powerful delivery that leaves you shaken to your roots. When Genesis mounts any stage the whole venue trembles under his feet.
He usually starts slowly by ministering the word and by the time he is fully charged, he goes all out delivering the word of God, lacing it with soul lifting songs that lift you off your seat unto your feet to praise God.
That was why City People invited him to our corporate office to have roundtable interview where he talked about his music and background
Let’s meet you
My name is Commander Samson Akilapa, I’m a graduate of Chemical Science from Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU and I’m a gospel juju musician. I’ve been singing since I was 14, I started from church though, but now I’m a full-blown gospel juju musician.
What inspires the name ‘commander’?
In 2014 I bagged a merit award as a grand commander of gospel propagator so that’s where I tapped the name commander from.
What informed the switch from chemical science to music?
Like I said earlier, I’ve been singing since I was 14 when I didn’t even know I was going to study chemical science, so music has been my choice right from my childhood. I could remember my mum used to tell me when I was very small that I used to play drums with anything I see.
Music for me is a talent and God has been my inspiration generally. Talking about Chemical Science, I never knew I was going to be a musician but I have always loved music right from my childhood. I’ve been performing right from when I was a student, I used to go to church concerts and stage performances and all. So, when I graduated I just decided to go fully into music.
How was it easy for you as a student of an institution like Olabisi Onabanjo University to joggle between attending classes and going for shows and concerts?
It wasn’t that easy but when you have the passion for something, you wouldn’t look at the negative side of it. Music is something I love so much and I really want to do, so I didn’t allow my school activities to distract my music career or make me lose focus.
When precisely did you start making money from music?
I will say 2009 because that was when I graduated from the university. I’ve been meeting people since I’ve been into music before then, I started meeting different people immediately I graduated from school, I started requesting for shows whether big or small. There was this wedding held at an event center opposite Fela shrine where I performed, that was one of the biggest events I could remember, for now, it was a very big one indeed.
Away from music, tell us about your background
I was born into a family of four, I have a younger brother and I came from a Christian family, I was taught in the way of the Lord because my dad happened to be a prophet so I go to church every now and then. There was no way I could have escaped going to church and my mum has been very supportive because it has not been very easy, I never came from a rich family but I thank God for where I am today.
What has your relationship with other gospel artistes been like?
I’m not really close to other artists in the industry because I’m the shy type, so when it comes to meeting people, I usually feel reluctant, I mean very reluctant but people like St. Janet, I was able to move closer to her, Mega 99 too, we chat on WhatsApp and Instagram; and also Seyi Lewis, Alapanla.
Who can you say is your role model/mentor in the juju gospel music genre?
Oh! I will choose MON in the person of Yinka Ayefele because of his kind of music. I love the way he grows musically not wealth. Whenever he releases an album this year, it is always different from the next one he’s going to release.
How do you get inspiration for composition?
I will say it’s all God, that’s the work of God because sometimes I’ll be asleep and I will start talking. People will wake me up and be like you’re sleep-talking why? It’s not as if I will stand up and start walking I will just be tapped and told you are just talking while sleeping what’s happening and whenever I wake up, I’ll just pick up a book and pen and start writing and I won’t get tired. I compose a lot, I even compose for other artists that I won’t want to mention.
In that regard, how many albums do you have to your credit?
Two as we speak and we are on the verge of releasing the third. The first is ‘Covenant of God’, it is about God’s plan for everyone. From my study of the Bible, I realized that this life is just like a script given to everybody and the bible is just like a manual. I was able to tap the theme of the album from the relationship between God and Abraham.
‘The Covenant’ was not very popular because it was my first album and it was very difficult to circulate at first so when I produced the second titled ‘Genesis’, I thought of what to do to make it more popular than the first. The one I’m working on presently is ‘Exodus’; I actually had the inspiration from God and the people I’m surrounded with because after getting inspiration,
I sing it to my guys and see how acceptable it is to them and also work on whatever corrections they make. I just picked up the story of Moses and the Israelites, I found out that the meaning of Exodus is from ‘slavery to freedom’ and I just realized that God really gives freedom to everybody that believes in him.
You Said your first album didn’t really do well, how about the second?
Yeah… on the second album, God has really been faithful because I’ve been really working very hard, I worked very hard on it and it’s still selling even up till now. I had the album launch last year and ever since I’ve been looking for a marketer because there is this notion about Nigerian musicians that without a marketer your job won’t sell and I started looking for a marketer to actually give it to; I just can’t give it to anyone, I believe so much in my work.
I’ve seen so many marketers but I just don’t want to. Some even asked me to sell it to them; If you ask me to sell it, definitely something is behind the album, let me just handle it myself. I want to give it to a marketer that is trustworthy that we can work hand in hand, let me see the outcome myself. Presently I gave it to Maiyegun Music and Films international for distribution.
Are you signed on to any record label?
No I’m not because the ones I’ve met, I think I should mention names here; Afeesco films and record international, I was able to meet him, he actually wanted me to sell my album to him and I said no; he said after the series, we will do the video and I will get signed. I was not interested in the whole deal so I felt I should just look for the right person that I won’t have to sell my job to. For now, I’m not signed on to any record label.
Do you have any legal backing on this job?
Yeah sure. There’s this godfather of mine, Honorable Sodiran, he’s a very good man to me, he’s been the one helping me out, whenever I have any kind of issue, I’ll just walk up to him, he also gave me a lawyer and with the two of them I have myself legally backed up.
What has the relationship between yourself and your manager been like?
Everybody knows that as a company if the rapport between the CEO and the staff is not cordial, there is fire on the mountain. So I’ve been trying to do everything possible to ensure that we work together. You know sometimes there might be a conflict between us definitely, we are humans, so we actually put aside our differences whenever we come to work and as the head, I need to be very accommodating. I’ve been accumulating so many people and that has been good for business development but for this, we’ve been working so perfectly.
Looking at this handsome man, who is the woman behind your smile?
Laughs… I will say I’m SSS and that means ‘single still searching’. I’m still single but I’ve got a woman in my life.
Now I’m Confused. You’re SSS and still got a woman?
Laughs the more…. recently I met a woman, I can’t really say much about her yet but so far she’s been very good to me.
[Cuts in] Has she said yes?
No, she hasn’t, that’s why I said I’m still single.
How has it been coping with women making passes at you at different shows?
Oh! It’s a very difficult one anyway, that’s a very difficult question [speaks yoruba] (question yen deep) meaning that question is very deep… well I will answer it [laughs]. Well have been having so many challenges with women in the industry, I’ve been having a lot but I thank God because he has never deserted me. I used to tell God if you are the one that called me into this ministry, just uphold me and I thank him because he has been faithful. It’s not easy at all, I will tell you but I tell you with the help of God and serious determination I’ve been standing strong. I actually have issues with women everyday but God has kept me.
Do you subscribe to musicians drinking, having fun and ‘socializing’?
Like I said earlier, my own case is very different, I don’t, right from my childhood, I’ve never tasted alcohol, till now and I’ve been living a very boring life. Whenever I tell people that I’ve never been to a club they will always ask if I’m from this planet or another one. What you choose to do really matters and as a musician, I really want to portray the gospel. When people see me, I want them to see a gospel musician and not a hip-hop singer. As a hip-hop/secular artiste, you will definitely go to a club, a hotel and all where do you want to sing? But as for me, that’s not my way.
That pops up this question in my heart.. Can you play in a secular show/event?
Definitely… I’ve done that before, I was with Pasuma and 3 other Fuji stars at one particular event at Iyana-Ilogbo… I was the only juju gospel artiste there and when I came on stage, Pasuma was with me and people were like who is this? I didn’t even go with my band members, I had to use Pasuma’s band. However, after my performance, people were like ‘this is so different’. I didn’t perform more than 20 minutes, people started requesting for my card after my performance so I feel I can actually do that with other artists too.
Do you get inspiration to prophesy when you sing?
I will say a big yes to that. Because my big mum [not my mother anyway] used to say that you musicians are prophets, because sometimes you get inspiration to sing and say something you have no idea about while singing. 3 or 4 years ago, I went somewhere to perform at a graduation and I didn’t know where it came from, I just sang to the graduand telling her she will be in America the next year and as we speak now she’s still in America. She usually tells me everytime that I prophesied that into her life, and I was only singing.
Are you on social media?
Of course, I have a facebook fans page, Segun Genesis Inc, my Instagram handle is SegunGenesisOfficial.
I want to say a very big thank you to all my fans out there, they have been my source of motivation and support. Without them, I wouldn’t have been where I am at the moment. How would I have thought of a facebook fan-page if not for their love? God bless them all for me.
And my advice to young lads like me, let’s just be patient, I just want to believe that patience is a virtue. [Speaks Yoruba] Surulere gan… We should hope for the best but still be very patient.