He has been in the entertainment industry as a voice over artiste but he became a household name after he was involved in an auto crash in 1999, which damaged his spinal cord, and which facilitated his entry into full time music.
Since the release of his debut album, Sweet Experience, Yinka Ayefele’s profile in the music industry has been on the rise. In this interview with The Entertainer, Ayefele speaks on his grass to grace story and how he has been maintaining stardom. Excerpts:
How I started
I have been in music since when I was in secondary school. I used to be a member of the Boys Brigades in my hometown where I played trumpet. I started playing guitar when I was in the choir. I actually developed the talent in music when I joined FRCN in Ibadan by producing jingles for programmes and so on. This was the time I discovered I had the potential in me especially when I had the accident and I had cause to raise funds, I discovered that I could work in the music industry full time.
I came from a poor background. I was a child of a headmaster and I grew up in a disciplined environment. Imagine my dad as a teacher, he nurtured me with good moral qualities.
My music career
I usually say nobody knows tomorrow. I never knew I would become what I am today. As a matter of fact, I wished I became a banker. I strived to get a job in a bank but to no avail. I eventually found myself playing music.
How I maintain stardom
It is not easy because to satisfy everybody is the major problem. I found out that it is very difficult to satisfy everybody. As you know, my job can’t be done on my behalf like any other job. Like going for shows, attending programmes, people want to see Yinka Ayefele and not any other person. To maintain stardom, it takes a lot of financial resources, time and devotion.
My major challenge is piracy. It is piracy and the menace of people extorting money from us while performing at shows. You can’t give these people any amount you can afford, rather they prefer to bill you heavily and there is nothing you can do about it. With these challenges, we are deprived of the fruits of our labour and this has been a major setback.
On entertainment industry
Like I usually say that the Nigerian entertainment industry is doing far better than others in the world. Why? The entertainment industry in other parts of the world might not be able to handle our kind of musical equipment but here we can handle any musical instrument.
Also, there is creativity in our music. Look at hip-hop, gospel, juju and fuji, there has been changes through fusion and creation of niche. Unlike the olden days when there was wide disparity among these genres of music, we now have Afro-juju, tungba gospel, apala gospel and so on. And this has brought a lot of improvement. Right now, the Nigerian entertainment industry is leading the world.
How I developed tungba music
I called my own type of music tungba because of the sound that comes out of the beat. It is like tungba-tungba – that is the rhythm that comes out of it. That’s how I came up with my own tungba gospel.
On the proposed demolition of my house
Naturally, I felt bad about the proposed demolition of my house. It’s a multi-million-naira property and imagine someone coming one day to demolish it. I thank God they are working around it. It is a way of beautifying the state and expanding the road for the benefit of all.
No political motive
It is just an insinuation that there is political motive behind the demolition. I am not a politician and I am not biased. It is not only me that the Oyo State government’s policy is going to affect so I see no reason why people should insinuate a political motive to it. Because Yinka Ayefele has a name, is that the reason they will witch hunt me? Never! I belong to everybody and I play for all political parties and everybody that likes my kind of music.
On my new hotel
It is a great achievement. I just sat down and thought of something else to do if tomorrow I don’t play music again. That is why I decided to build the hotel though I wanted it bigger.
Life as a broadcaster
I love broadcasting; I love journalism. As a matter of fact, journalism brought me where I am today. The support I had from my colleagues catapulted me to this level. I love journalism and will keep on supporting journalism and also continue to be in it because once a broadcaster, you forever want to be a broadcaster. We have an Internet radio here and we are waiting for our license from the federal government to take off our terrestrial broadcast. We transmit 24 hours here now via the Internet.
Secrets behind my success
I oversee everything by myself. I’m troublesome in the sense that I want to be everywhere. I want to oversee everything by myself. I love perfection. I want to be in the music studio, in the radio studio and monitor the engineers and make sure everything is perfectly done. I work round the clock to make sure everything is perfect.
God forbid! I am not a politician and I have no plan to go into politics but I play for politicians and entertain them. A politician’s time is limited but mine is unlimited therefore, I play for every politician that comes to power.
Philosophy of life
My philosophy about life is ‘what will be, will be’. I believe that whatever happens between you and I has been predestined. God allows it to happen for a purpose.
I always say that only God knows tomorrow. Everything is in God’s hands.