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The notion that showbiz and marriage don't appear to mix is balderdash to Ayo Balogun, the president of the Juju Musicians Association of Nigeria.
Balogun is a leading figure in the entertainment circle and it is no mean feat to become the head of an association where we have the Sunny Ades, the Shina Peters, and the Dele Abioduns of this world as members.

Despite this, the fairskinned musician would not fail to tell whoever cares to listen that her home is number one.

“For me, I have my marriage and home intact. That I am into music has not, and it will never, becloud my sense of reasoning that no matter how a woman appears to be successful in whatever career she is involved, she is considered a failure if she is unable to have a settled home, that is how it is where I come from. “My home is number one, and when I say my home, I mean that my husband ranks number one among men. I don't joke with him. He is my boss and I mean it.”

The way the juju musician was talking about her husband, one would think she is just barely out of her honeymoon but hear her

“In fact I have been married for over twenty years now and I am doing well as a musician. I don't subscribe to the idea that home and showbiz don't work together, you know I am a Yoruba with a sound home training.”

Apart from being a beautiful woman, her looks could be taken to belong to a woman in her mid-thirties. Her trademark low cut makes her girlish in appearance but when she claimed to have been in marriage for over two decades, Spectacles was tempted to ask her to disclose her real age, which she did not hesitate to give.

“By the special grace of God, I am well over 49. In fact later in the year, I will, by the special grace of God, celebrate my 50th birthday. Concerning my low cut, I find it very convenient. You know I am a very busy person; I don't have the time to sit under the drier for a long time. And as a performer too, it suits my trade. Look at this gele now, someone I want to play for this weekend brought it for me and that is what I will tie on stage. And the type of hair style is convenient for such.”

So why should a woman of such an age choose to always appear like a girl whereas she operates in an environment that harbours desperate human beings looking for who to prey on?

“You know that looking good is part and parcel of our trade. Even then, I do what I do to make me beautiful or girlish as you say to make sure my husband does not have to look at those girls about town. When I am looking good, what else would my husband want in another woman that I don't have? Why would he want to look at anybody? I wear and dress good to satisfy him and I must tell you that our love story has not waned a bit. No girl can snatch my husband.”

But as a very busy performer who is always not around for her husband, how is she making up for her continuous absence at home? Or does she take it for granted that a man can be left to himself just like that when there are other willing alternatives on the prowl?

“Don't forget that after everything, I come home to sleep. And whenever I have any afternoon show, I must have slept in my house before leaving for the show. It is true that I am very busy but the truth is that I have over the years been able to manage my time between my home and my business. It may surprise you but I cook my husband's food even though I have a cook.
I shop for the family. And when I am at home, I am a complete housewife.”

As an attractive woman, would she say she has not been encountering men who would want to do everything to sway her outside or is she trying to portray an holier than thou attitude?

“It is natural that men will find you attractive and talk to you. But when you know what you are doing, you definitely know how to handle the situation. I am nice to those that come; I smilingly turn their request down. Once I am out of my husband's house for engagement, what I sell is my voice, full stop, no more no less and my female fans respect me for that.
“Come to think of it, do you think I can get the kind of engagement I get if I am the type that plays game with every man that comes my way? If you are a woman, would you encourage your husband to engage a man snatcher to entertain in your shows? It is not possible.

But what of those who would not come out directly with their intention but would like to use the power of naira to sway her by “spraying” her on stage?

Balogun retorted, “Who tells you I am not a billionaire in my own right? By the special grace of God, I don't lack anything. I don't lack money, I am comfortable, I can afford to eat what I like. I don't lack love and romance; that is why my husband is there for me. With my husband, excuse me, I need no other man and that is the truth. Once I am out of his roof, what I sell is my voice.” But as a typical Yoruba man

Is her husband not jealous that his wife is more prominent or popular than him?

Balogun said, “I can give you the phone to talk to him now. You need to know him.
Who tells you that I am more popular than him? He is not here now and yet we are talking about him. Don't forget, I bear his name, Balogun. He is very proud of me and very supportive. He can go to sleep peacefully whenever I am not around because he knows what and where I am and doing at any given time.”

But would the Juju artiste tell us how she met this Romeo who seems to have captured her and her heart?

“We met so many years ago and I found out that he was and still very caring. He used to be a Muslim but he followed me to church when I was a member of the choir. And since we got married, we have waxed strong in love and blessed with good children. “Although before I plunged into music fully, I used to work at various places and when it was time to take music fully as a profession, he has been a pillar of support. He is my shining armour.”

But why would a woman, in fact an attractive woman for that matter, choose to go into a male dominated genre of music?

“And I say why not? I have been faring well, I don't see myself deficient because I am a woman. I am equal to the task, woman or no woman. I believe if you know your onions, you don't have to get worried that you are in the same thing with the opposite sex. I don't see it that way. Come to think of it, they would not make me their president if they don't find me worthy. I am just like a mother in the association.”
Balogun would never agree that Fuji is fast gaining more attention over her type of music.

She said her type of music may not be seen to be too “loud” but “we have class. We don't engage in rancorous environment like the music you mentioned just now. Maybe that is where people make the mistake, that we are not seen playing at every corner does not mean that juju is going under. No, you need to know the type of people that engage us.”

As a woman musician, how does she handle occasional fracas that breaks out at engagement venues?

“That is what I am saying, the type of engagement I get is not in any way linked with such hooliganism. The atmosphere and those attending are special and once you have responsible people as your patrons, all those things don't happen.” Balogun admitted that it is possible for men who out of frustration as how to get a woman to try to assault her sexually, she said she had not really encountered such. “Like I told you, I am nice to people and I turn down such requests even smiling. I will tell you that I don't play game.”

But as a very popular person who men might want to use phone to pursue with all intentions, so how does she handle odd hour calls without her husband raising an eyebrow?

“When it is 10 pm, I switch off my phone, so there is no time for any odd hour calls.
My husband is free to take my calls and I take his own. There is no hide and seek game between us.”