After winning the Best Juju Singer Awards twice this year, Oladele Oluwafemi Emmanuel popularly known as Femi Solar is definitely in a happy mood. He is a native of Ipoti, Ekiti State, Nigeria. Femi Solar attended Olumide Day Primary School, Loyola College Ibadan and The Polytechnic of Ibadan where he studied Accounting. He started his career with training in Music adverts, Jingles and Scripts reading and later ventured fully into music. His musical band name is Femi Oorun Solar & the Sunshine Jasa Band. Femi is fast becoming a renowned Juju Gospel musician and he is the artist many people prefer to play at their parties and occasions in Nigeria. In 2013, he had a successful musical tour of United States of America and South Africa. He also organized an All-white party to launch his music video in 2016 in conjunction with City People Magazine. He recently visited the City People Gbagada office where he spoke to the Editor-In-Chief SEYE KEHINDE and his Showbiz Desk GBOLAHAN ADETAYO and DANIJI EMMANUEL on his journey into music and how he has fared in the year 2017. Enjoy
What has been happening with Femi Solar since the mid-year?
So far so good, I really thank God. I am so grateful. Presently I can now call myself an award winning musician because I won so many awards this year. I won the OMAMA Award amidst a lot of people in my category ad I recently won the PERA Award which the Oyo State government was a part of. I also won an award in Lagos state too.
How does it make you feel?
I feel good I really must say. So far so good I would say this is the best year for me.
How many years have you been in the music field?
I would say I have been in this field for more than 15 years
When did it start for you?
I started music by doing music adverts and jingles. I was trained by Laolu Ayefele who happens to be Yinka Ayefele’s brother. So that was how I started my music career. I started producing jingles for companies, radio stations and from there I got a promoter who happens to be the chairman of a Travel Bureau Company then, Dana Air. He started a label then and needed me for some advert so I made it for him and he told me he would like me to produce an album and I did it too and that was when I released Afurugbin, this was in 2007. That same year I started my band.
At the initial stage, how was it?
I stated with gospel highlife but later introduced my own new style to it so as to stand out and that was how I came about “Jasa”. Then it was rough but we thank God for today.
How have people been able to accept your style of music?
It was not easy because initially it was not accepted. I was just going through it then, let me say I had some luck with some marketers then, they would come to market my music but they didn’t meet my expectations. Not until I started my own label did I start getting to people’s heart.
How did the like of Yinka Ayefele influence you?
If today, people ask who Femi Solar is, the reply would be “Omo Ayefele” because I passed through him, not like I worked with him but I was in his office for 3 years, then I was with Laolu Ayefele his brother before he travelled to London. So we were always together then, I love his style, right from the beginning he has been my mentor and he really influenced me a lot. He is a nice person and he is still very nice to me.
How come people say You and Ayefele are enemies?
I have no issue with Ayefele. Though we had some issues then and you know this is music, this is entertainment, so many things are bound to happen, we had issues then and we sorted it out and now we are cool.
What’s your relationship with Femi Lacaster?
It’s a very OK one; he is a brother to me. He has also contributed so well to my music career because we were always together then, as afr back as when I was in jingle production. We are still very close.
Rumour has it that you and Lacaster ganged up to work against Ayefele?
Cuts in… No! Nothing like that ever happened. Uncle Femi and I are very close to Yinka Ayefele so something of such can never happen.
How has been operating in Ibadan?
Personally I find it very easy, though people talk to me about making it in Lagos and so on but all I can get in Lagos; I have them here in Ibadan and I have my channels everywhere. Immediately I registered my label here in Ibadan I have had so many distributors in Lagos, I have some in Arena and some in Alaba and some in other places around Nigeria. So it is very interesting operating from Ibadan, its where I have stayed for so long. It’s very easy, once my channels are intact and strong, I’m ok.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Ede, I grew up in Ibadan but I am a native of Ipoti, Ekiti State. I had all my education in Ibadan.
Is Ipoti not where Ayefele is from?
Yes, we are from the same are in ipoti.
How come that did not make you two closer early enough?
Well, we are very close, infact it is one of the reason why we are very close.
What’s the next level for Femi Solar?
Well, I have so many projects on ground. One is my bi-Annual event which City People is always of support. My upcoming event is next April. I also want to push my record label more as we have some artistes we are producing.
How many albums do you have to your credit?
I’ve got 8 albums
What did you study in school?
I studied Accountancy
So why music?
Because music is a gift, it’s my gift. I decided not to study music because it was a gift to me, so I decided to study accountancy. Music has been a part of me from my childhood.
What were you into before music?
Right from my Secondary School to my days in Polytechnic Ibadan, I was into Jingle production, I was busy producing adverts, not till I ventured fully into music.
At what point did you notice that you had music with you?
I have been so used to music right from a tender age. My mom sings a lot and she introduced us to the children choir then. It’s been part of me. Even those adverts I used to produce then, I produce them with music.
How do you cope with female fans and admirers?
That is why I got married early. I am okay with ladies because I am disciplined. My Christian background also helped a lot. I come from a strong Christian home and a disciplined one as at that.
What are the things people don’t know about you? Who is your real person?
I love to get along with people but when I discover some bad habits, I draw back. People who don’t know this would think I am proud and start having issues with me. I study people a lot also. I love to surf the web. I am always online and I run my social pages myself. I also have a passion for marketing my label myself.
What are some of the regrets that when you look back at them, you thank God for?
So many things have happened in the past, so many bad things but I am over them now and I thank God. I have had a rough time in the past.
When you say rough, what do you mean?
Then, when I get to some shows, I don’t get to perform. Even some shows where I am invited, I get placed on the bottom of the list and such time of performance only has the hall or event almost empty. But now I thank God that I am even having an overflow of recognition in any event I attend. I thank God
When did your big break come?
My big break came when I travelled to the United States of America for my Tour in 2013. It was my 1st time in the US and I was there for 4 Months. That was how it all started; it was a wonder experience that beat my expectation. People started to know who femi Solar is when I came back to Nigeria.
How do you handle the competition in the Juju Genre?
You just have to keep pushing and working. Like I said before, I am always on the internet, I update myself on what’s next to do. I keep pushing so hard. I get close to my friends, fans, clients even the media.