Sola Allyson Obaniyi popularly known as Sola Allyson is one of the wave-making female musicians in Nigeria. She came into the limelight with the hit album Eji Owuro in 2003 which was the soundtrack album for a film of the same title. After which she released other albums. And many love the fact that her songs inspire them a lot.
She is extremely intelligent. She is a voice coach counsellor and a consultant. This very principled and no-nonsense lady has been able to create a niche for herself in the music industry releasing soul winning and inspirational songs people can relate with any time.
In this interview with City People’s SEUN JOSEPH and BIODUN ALAO, she talked about what inspires her songs, why she is different from lots of gospel artistes and how she has been able to merge the role of a mother, wife and musician. Below are the excerpts.
Are you working presently on any album now and what have you been up to lately?
Am always up to something but it’s not everything I do, I put on social media my page is not for sensationalism, but for transformation. I don’t put up my daily activities on my page and it’s a matter of principle. Many say social media is for cruise but I don’t believe that, it’s part of our lives now. I can’t use my destiny to be catching cruise, so everything I do is intentional and deliberate.
I have always said, I am not an entertainer, am not someone you will see and you will be happy like that, though am not saying, when you see me, you will be sad, I believe you understand what I mean. The kind of music I do is mind transforming, soul awakening, I work almost every day but don’t put it up on social media. Am always performing, in short, I still worked yesterday and suppose to be resting today but I had to be here because of Uncle Seye.
Your songs are always different, if it’s doesn’t have a specific message, then it will be glorifying God. It is always different from the usual gospel music we hear every day why?
Well, it depends on how you see it. If you meet things in a particular way then it is necessary to ask questions about why certain things are called what they are called. For me, am less concerned about whether I’m called a gospel musician. For me, I’m Shola Allyson, a singer. I’m a Christian and there are people who are not practising God the way I do, and that doesn’t mean I’m better than them. God is the creator of everything but we understand him in different ways. So, am a Christian and Jesus who is my perfect example did not do gospel, he came for mankind and he just lived his life and that is exactly what am doing. But before we came, it has been humanly systemise that it is called gospel music, so if you sound a particular way, people will say you are a gospel musician, and if you sound another way, some will say oh, she is not a gospel musician, but truly it doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me, is when people listen to my music, what happens to their mind and soul. Every musician expresses themselves from the abundance in their heart, so it depends on the listeners what they make out of it, that is why you see some people will listen to a particular type of song and they want to have sex. Some music will want to make you kill or become aggressive, so am not bothered with what they call it, the most important thing is the result and it’s out there. I have come across people who told me what my music has done to them and taught them about life. I’m living my life as simple as possible and don’t even know people are watching. So it is what happens after listening to the music that really matters to me.
I discovered that there’s no substitute for Shola Allyson kind of song, was it deliberate and did you know you will get this far?
Yes, I had always known that. I went through a lot while growing up and the reason why I didn’t come out like what happened to me is that something had always told me you are not like that. People say am deep, it’s because I pay attention to what I sense all the time, right from when I was a little girl. When things were happening to me, I had always known there was something about me. I didn’t know how it will materialise but I had always known. When I was in Primary School, I was the Head girl. My own way of coping with my trauma is by forgetting, I can’t remember people I was in Primary School with, and it is really painful for me because many of them are highly placed now. I knew I was going to be something in life and it will revolve around my voice. My dad wanted me to be a Lawyer, even my teachers in Primary and Secondary School always refer to me as small lawyer, because I can analyse case a lot. And if not a lawyer maybe a Newscaster, but all the while, I was singing in church, but I just keep living my life based on certain principles. I won’t be something else in my house and be something else outside. Am just me, not a rude or arrogant way, but in a simple way. Am always trying to be in tune with the holy spirit, the holy spirit reveals my weakness to me. Am very bold and not afraid of anything. So am just living my life as simple as possible based on principles of life that I know and it’s opening to me more and more. So in honesty, am deliberate about my life and I will get rid of anything that will not let me be that thing I desire to be in life, and once I say no to such things, that is when people conclude oh she is proud.
What inspires most of your songs especially the track “Obinrin ni mi”?
While I was growing up, I have been exposed a bit to most of the religion, by virtue of living with one person or the other. Like I have been seated since watching things around here. So when the time comes and I need to write about something similar to what happened here, the picture will come to my mind. There’s nothing we hear or see that is a waste. It all require paying attention. So there are lots of things stored in our heads and when the need arises, we use it. With all sense of modesty, I know I am very brilliant, I could have been a doctor, or lawyer or whatever but this is what life has shown me to do. So I am now applying that my knowledge to the kind of music I do. I am always waiting for the spirit to guide me. I didn’t just wake up and decided to write a song about women. That particular song Obirin ni mi, Mopelola took me 2 to 3 years to write, I got the inspiration to write about the Girl child, I did a little write up in my book and dropped it then I got pregnant when the scan showed it was going to be a baby girl. I had the inspiration to write a song about the girl child already but didn’t know how to go about it. Little things started coming to me about the girl child, so I started paying attention to lots of NGO’s. We always pray to receive the names of our children, so after my husband prayed he came about the name “Mopelola”, it was indeed a wonderful moment for me, the girl child issue just came to my mind again. “Who can complete a substance if not the girl child”. That’s exactly what my soul was waiting for, words started coming to me and that was how I wrote that song.
“Eji Owuro” was a song I wrote from the abundance of my experience, not just because of the script I read or the movie that I watched. Those things have been on my mind on what love should be for me. So that is how my songs come to me. If am asked to sing a love song now, I will sing it in a very different way. Because I have experience, and all those things I said I wanted, I need to work towards getting them. It won’t just come. I receive my song.
How have you been able to merge being a musician, a wife and a mother and make it work?
We were raised with a certain mindset. When I wanted to study music in school, my dad didn’t support the ideal, he said it’s a career for prostitutes because an average person believes and thinks that way. I’m always very careful. When I’m on the bandstand, I don’t allow people to spray money on me, I don’t like it. There’s a way I will go about it, that people won’t even notice it.
Even when I was still hustling, I don’t allow it. Because all parts of my body is sacred to me and I attach lots of importance to it. It is when we understand who we are, and our essence that is when you can live by principles I could be a doctor and be lost, I could be an Engineer and still be corrupt. So, am one of those people changing that impression that being a musician doesn’t mean am a Prostitute. And that is why I like Uncle Seye a lot, he is not an average Journalist, that feel, okay, I promote you all the time so if I invite you for an event, you must come, he will ask respectfully and that is why I respect him a lot. I don’t respect him because he is a Journalist, but because of being a bit close to him, and the way he relates and that was why I said I must come for this event.
There was a time City People gave me an award, I just got back from America, a day before the event. I was really exhausted but the way he spoke to me, you won’t believe I came down with my entire family. It was not because of the award. Someone like me awards don’t freak me, but because of the way he spoke with me respectfully you can’t turn someone like that down. So for me, being a mother, wife and musician is not a difficult task for me, I get my priorities right. If I realise events are okay for me or it will affect my family or duties I turn it down.
In recent times, I have not embarked on International trips, not just because of Covid but because of my children. They are three and growing up, I can’t embark on trips the way I use to when they were younger so am always praying to God to make me productive and still have quality time for my children. In many places I go, I go with my children especially when they are on holiday, so my eyes will be on them.
If you have the opportunity to change something in your career, what would that be?
I will make us have a lot of money laughs!!! I enjoy my journey a lot, but I want more money. Am grateful to God that I caught the inspiration when it came. I love the way am living my life and am super grateful to God almighty.
There are challenges. My husband can annoy me at times, but each time I think about my job it gives me joy. The fact that what am doing affect people positively gives me lots of joy. And I hear testimony every now and then that really humbles me a lot.