ANYBODY visiting Igba, Ondo State, this Sunday, will surely not miss out the cars coming in and out of the town. From the garage to the streets, there was a heavy vehicular movement. And all was for one man: SundayAdeniyi Adegeye, popularly known as King Sunny Ade (KSA), the Golden Mercury of Africa, who turned 67, last week.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The thanksgiving service, which marked the end of activities to celebrate the birthday, attracted high networth guests, including government dignitaries, friends, family members, fans and well wishers of KSA.
The event, which also coincided with the one year anniversary of his donation of a building to the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Throne of Grace Sanctuary, was one that the King of Juju music openly confessed that he had become a born again Christian.
For four days that the celebrations went on, KSA lent his generous hands to noble causes. He even reached out to the Christ Orphanage, Old People’s Home as well as prison inmates. There was equally a quiz competition, sponsored by him, for primary school pupils. A lot of prizes and scholarships were given out to deserving winners.
That KSA is a Christian is not in doubt. However, what has surprised many is his sudden involvement in religious activities, especially his recent donation of building for the propagation of the gospel.
Could this be another phase in his life? Is he going into full time gospel?
The ever smiling music icon, who looked younger than his age, wore a striped shirt and trouser, revealed, “recently, I looked back and began to count my blessing and realised I couldn’t even count one per cent of it, and imagine that there are still 99 per cent left, and I just decided to walk up to ‘Daddy’ Adeboye, the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, and I said to him I have come to rededicate my life to God.”
Evangelist Bola Are, a gospel artiste, was one of those that sang God’s praises for the revelation. The lady could not hold back her voice when she began to praise God for the celebrant’s life. She testified to how she once met him on a plane to Amsterdam and preached to him to give his life to Christ and how he just laughed. “Thank God that the prophesy has come to pass,” she said.
To this, the guitar maestro said, “I’m glad that people like her can testify openly, but there are lots more people who keep sending me such messages. You can see that I have a lot of pastors around me, so, if anybody comes up to say God sent me to you, if it is true I will acknowledge. But nobody can just come to say ‘God said you should become so or so, they can only guide you and that’s what everybody is doing. If I ask how many people are praying for me or seeing visions for me, you will not accommodate the responses that will come.”
He continued, “Evangelists Are is happy that she has come to see me in my own church and in my own compound, too.”
Does this suggest he is going to be a pastor, soon?
He laughed, and then winked his eyes to suggest that he was comfortable being just a member of the church, as well as being a child of God. “Till now, there are people saying you are going to be this, and that, and I say I’m already in the church, but I’m not a pastor. If God calls me now to become a pastor, I will follow, but already, a lot of people see me as a man of God and if that is going to be, I give glory to God. One thing I know for sure is, before you can call yourself a man of God, there must be a very strong covenant between the two of you. But if you go to church and serve God, you are a child of God.”
According to him, “I have been a Christian since I was born, and if you listen to nearly 90 per cent of my songs, I sing God’s praises. My first record ever is a praise song. I have been born again a long time. It is just that people don’t know because I don’t like making noise. It is a covenant between God and I.”
For the music maestro, it is only the grace of God that could have brought him this far considering that he didn’t study music or attended music school for one day. “Nobody taught me how to sing, play instrument or dance, but I found myself doing all these, and I acknowledge that God is the one doing it, and I decided to follow Him completely. God has a way of doing His things. I only like music; I never knew I was going to become a musician. When I became one, I didn’t know how long I was going to remain there. My family sent me to school — the University of Lagos — instead of doing just that, I was singing around in Lagos. None of my family members knew that I was a musician in Lagos for close to 13 years until an uncle of mine saw me one day, and I was forced to tell them the truth, and this year happens to be my 51st year on stage.”
He recalled the early days, which he considered as very challenging. Then, they would play from 12pm to 6pm, and at the end of the day, they would not have much money to take home because people would ‘spray’ small denominations and by the time they count, it would amount to nothing, let alone, making ends meet. At one of those functions that a man came and began to ‘spray’ dollars, “that was the first time someone would ‘spray’ me 100 dollar bill and when I asked what his name was, he said I should just call him ‘the tall man’ because he was very tall, from that day, I began to call our band, The Band of God, because it is only God that could bless you that way.”
He explained why some people took him for an unbeliever. In his words, “in those days, when I used to sing Ogun’s praise, I was looking for fame. Those days, people used to worship Ogun a lot in Ondo, and there is this yearly festival of Ogun worship, so, I told myself that if I sing Ogun’s praise, people would buy. When I did FESTAC, I wore a dress that had all these cowries on it, it does not mean that was what I believed in, I have always believed in God Almighty.”
When asked if the flair for excellence is what kept him above competition, he said, “first of all, I have never looked at it that I have competition because no one plays my type of music, unless you are copying it, and I can’t be competing with people who are copying from me. That brings me back to the grace of God that I have been talking about. If I want to record now, I just tell my people we are going to the studio and we just do it without knowing how it will turn out, but if at the end of the day we like it, we just pray that everybody else will like it.”
He also spoke a bit on the Coca Cola project that he did. “When I was invited by Amanda Television Production, Kenya, for the Coca Cola project, I got there and discovered that what they were doing was close to something I had in mind. These days, musicians can’t play alone, when you are talking about Nigerian economy, you are talking about the jobs, now musicians have no jobs, all they do is to go to studio and use computers and they are done. Then when you ask them to play live, they can’t, and that is when they begin to call musicians, why don’t you call them at the initial stage,” he asked?
“So, when I got there, they told me that they were looking for the present generation to plan ahead for the future generation by fusing traditional music or music of yester years with their work. Meaning that if you are playing juju music, you may be asked to invite a rapper, so, it’s an open thing and they asked me to select who should work with me, but I didn’t give them any name because I wanted them to pick the artists that are interested in my kind of work, it is easier for them, its not that when I select, the person will tell me, I’m sorry I’m still rehearsing, so on that project, I worked with so many artists and I appreciate them because they saw me as their big brother.”
Is becoming the face of African music after Fela a burden?
“It is not at all. I like moving from one class to another, though I don’t know the type of lectures I’m going to meet there but all I want is to get to that class,” he said.
Referring to the media, he said, “it is you guys that made me popular here and abroad. I only do what I know how to do best with passion and the people accorded me the honour by saying, ‘yes he is the best’, not because I’m a perfectionist.”