The name Yinka Ayefele needs little introduction in the music industry. The multi-talent musician and broadcaster is already a household name endeared in the heart of lovers of good music at home and abroad. He is among the very few musicians who are rocking the social scene. Ayefele now plays back to back at events. What baffles many people about the music icon is how he manages to achieve this despite being in a wheelchair.
During a recent interview with BBC Yoruba, Yinka Ayefele recounted how he rose from grass to grace, most especially how has coped with life on a wheelchair for the past 25 years and how he turned the darkest moment of his life around for good. Below are the excerpts from the highly inspiring interview session. Read and Enjoy!
“My name is Dr. Yinka Ayefele (MON). From the outset, I was a radio presenter at Radio Nigeria, Ibadan national station. This was where I began using my God-given music talent. I had worked with many top musicians in Nigeria. I played the guitar for the likes of Pa Toye Ajagun, Wale Thompson, Micho Ade. I did this for a while. Later on, I went ahead to play the keyboard music instrument for churches after which I joined Radio Nigeria where I did their Father Christmas on a yearly basis. Then I earn a sum of N50 per day. I could remember that was in 1997.
“So that was how I began pushing until I was discovered as someone who has a broadcasting voice. Then I was given a radio programme to anchor which was called “Eku Isinmi”. I also anchored another programme titled “Piri Lolongo Nji”. It was a very popular news programme in Ibadan in those days. People started bringing jingles for me to voice for them. That was where late Kola Olawuyi spotted me as a very talented person.
“December 12, 1997, was that fateful day when I had a car accident which confined me to the wheelchair. It was then that I began my journey into music. The idea of doing music came when I was dying in pain. I spent 11 months at the University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan. I had been recording some songs but I listened to them alone. Those songs I often played to myself on the sick bed and my friends who came to visit me suggested I put them into an album, launch it to make money in order to advance my treatments abroad. That was how I started. I never knew it would be accepted by people and that’s why I named it “Bitter Experience” and that’s my first album.
“The album got me to the limelight. People began inviting me to play at their events. They invite me to weddings, burial ceremonies and house warming. When I saw how lucrative this has become, I withdrew a bit from broadcasting to face the music.
“After a while, I saw the need to go back to broadcasting. Then I began Ayefele on FM in Ekiti. It wasn’t really convenient for me to move up and down. Then I thought of setting up an internet radio. I started the internet radio on my bed. That was about 11 years ago. I was using my internet radio to relate with my fans abroad, telling them about things happening at home. I also revived some of my programmes and brought them back on the air. I invited people to join, I compiled many programmes and people accepted it. Then I thought that if I could run programmes that appeal to audiences why didn’t I set up a terrestrial radio station? I proceeded by making research on how to go about organizing a private radio station. That was 9 years ago. With God’s assistance, I was able to register the radio station successfully. So Fresh FM is now in the entire South-West states of Nigeria.
“The invaluable experience I acquired from Radio Nigeria equipped me to know how to run Fresh FM. It is very important to know about a business before you go into it. Following what people around you do won’t be helpful. I can boastfully say I know the rudiments and rules that guide broadcasting, thanks to Radio Nigeria. This made the job easy for me and it was a success. Even in my music career, I was able to do well simply because I had worked under great musicians playing the guitar and working as a backup artist.
“There is no secret behind my successful career other than God. If there is one Babalawo or Pastor somewhere that I am consulting, I won’t stop going to them every time with gifts to thank them for what they have done. No Babalawo, no Prophet, no Alfa, no Pastor; I stand firmly with God and God only.