DELE TAIWO SPEAKS ON LIFE @ 40, MUSIC CAREER,RELATIONSHIP WITH HANNA AFOLABI
Dele Taiwo was born forty years in Lagos to a Cleric father who founded Cherubim and Seraphim Church (Oke-Iyanu) Agege, Lagos. While growing he attended Bishop Oluwole Memorial Primary School, Iju, Agege. He later got admitted into Anwar Islam College but eventually graduated at Iloro Grammar School. His flair music grew with his age. While he was writing his final examination in secondary, himself and a few friends formed a band known as “The Young Shall Grow Band”. The band later metamorphosed into 'Gentle Man
Dele Taiwo and his Funky Juju Band'. In this exclusive interview he spoke on his life @ 40, 'Magic Moment'(the album that brought him to lime light), why little has been heard about him and his music career, his relationship with Chief Mrs. Hanna Afolabi and other issues.
We heard little about you in recent times. What has been happening to Dele Taiwo?
I have been away for a while and I stayed with my family who are based in Dublin. Now that I am around I am working on the video of my new album entitled 'Dance Thru'. The new album will be launched soon to mark my 40th birthday.
How do you feel being 40 years old?
I feel delighted. It is as if I was born yesterday. I thank God for my successes and shortfalls so far. I am not saying I am comfortable but I am appreciative to God for what I have achieved.
Some people believe that Juju music has lost its grip among music loving Nigerians. Is this why bad times have befallen most juju artistes?
I quite disagree with you. In my view, juju music is still relevant and making waves in the Nigerian music industry. For instance most rich families from the Yoruba land will readily invite juju artistes to perform at such events. I think where little is heard about juju artistes and their works is the fact that nowadays a lot of attention and hype is given to hip hop music. Even with the present situation of things a lot juju artistes are financially okay. Another problem juju artistes is that music marketers who have really not helped situation based on their cold attitude towards works of a lot of juju artistes. What marketers offer us is not encouraging enough.
Dele Taiwo started as a gospel artiste. How did it revolutionalise into your singing in the circular style?
I started singing as a gospel artiste but Love Shobiye, the man who discovered my talent and introduced me into professional music encouraged me to sing juju music. Nowadays you will observe that a lot of juju artistes now infuse gospel music into their works.
Juju music used to be the number one choice of Nigerian music lovers but in the past decade it played a second fiddle to fuji music and hip-hop music…
(Interrupts) I would not take to that. I think marketers are the cause of our problem. I can say a few juju artistes that are well to do and also having a running battles with marketers. Infact I can say most fuji artistes are playing juju music.
Tell us about the album that brought you into limelight.
The album that brought me into limelight is entitled 'Magic Moment' The album won a few awards.
A lot of people believe you were not able to manage the fame that came with the hit record which is responsible for your not so super financial status now?
I totally disagree with that notion. I believe this life is full of ups and downs. As a man, I have a philosophy that man that will live long must be faced with challenges. Mine might be financial but then it is for a while. As regards my debut album which was released under premier music. The genesis of my problem started when my contract with premier music expired. I moved on to a private record label known Transworld Entertainment when we (Premier Music & I) could not reach a common ground but my second album was not given enough promotion. I can say the problem then arose and I had no option than to relocate my family to the Republic of Ireland in year 2000. I must admit things were not
okay for me financially. But it was not only Dele Taiwo that was affected by the crisis. In addition, I was not given a kobo as royalty from premier music band on my hit album “Magic moment”
That means you don't know how many copies of 'Magic Moment' were sold?
No, and I did not get a kobo as royalty for the album. But I thank God for this fame and recognition I get in the public and the fact that my face is a brand.
Is it true that because you were not doing so well that is why you left your music to travel for a while or go into business and other endeavour?
That is not true. I am a focused and principled person. As of the time I relocated abroad, the Nigerian music industry had no direction but developments in the past years have helped to reshape a lot of things. Apparently I diversified a little with but I did not quit showbiz while abroad, I played frequently.
How many kids have you?
I am blessed with four lovely girls.
How do you cope with female admirers?
I have always had women around me. Before I became so popular I have always had female admirers, by the time I was getting into limelight I had people like Dele
Momodu who advised me not to be carried away by women. That has really helped me. Majority of my fans are ladies. Apparently I can't be going out with all of
May be we would say because of your attitude or nature a lot of people believe you are arrogant. Is that true?
I am very happy you raised this issue. I know a lot of people have the impression that I am arrogant or that I am a snob. I am called Gentleman Dele Taiwo because
of my nature. My getting into music is divine. I guess I would have ended up as an accountant because I am a shy person. I can hardly look at anybody in the eye
and I consciously don't discuss with people often except if I have to exchange pleasantries with them. I am not proud or arrogant but I am quite and easy going. I cherish my piracy.
It was rumoured you were dating Chief Mrs. Hannah Afolabi. What is your relationship with her?
She is my very good fan. I can say she is my number one fan. We have a close relationship. She identifies with me in all my endeavours. Basically we met some years back and she feel in love with my music. Since then we have kept close contact.
A lot of people believe it goes beyond an artiste-fan relationship because of how close you are to her….
(Interrupts) You know rumour peddlers for what they are. I am unruffled by whatever anyone has to say. Initially I used to be disturbed but now I have grown
a thick skin against such rumours. I can remember there were rumours that I was dating Salawa Abeni. Naturally, when you like anyone and you can't hide it
does it necessarily mean we are dating?
So far how many albums have you produced?
I have produced seven albums. They include 'Magic Moment', 'Funkadelia', 'Say Something', 'Gbedu Flavour', 'Adasi' and 'Dance Thru'.
Based on what you got from these seven albums financially, do you say you are fulfilled?
I thank God but I am still aiming high. I believe I have a lot of things to be done based on the challenges I have with my music.
Do we then say since you became a professional musician you have not made good money from the sale of your albums?
I can say I didn't make money from the sale of those albums but I got my money from shows, performances and tours.
How is your wife coping with taking care of children alone in Dublin?
This is why I visit Dublin regularly. Though it has not been easy for her taking care of the children alone but then she is coping.
What is your comment about the Nigerian music industry?
The industry is growing very fast and I am quite encouraged that the Nigerian entertainment industry is a viable industry.
Are we expecting anything like repacking the funky juju music soon?
Yes. Let us keep our fingers crossed. The video production of my latest effort 'Dance Thru' will go a long way to do justice to it.
How do you relax?
Most times if I am not on location or in the studio or hanging out with friends. I watch Nigerian movies at home.
Are you involved in movie production now?
Yes. A movie I played lead role entitled 'Jawonsi' produced by Biki Adeoye. It is a story written around my person. I produced the sound track in London. The
movie will be soon be released. I already have some scripts from movie producers. I have not fully left music but I have diversified a bit into movie production.
Are there other aspects of the show biz you are involved in?
I am working on signing on gospel artistes.
Are you saying the movie industry is more profitable than the music industry?
I am not after the money I am paid for starring in movies. I love to act in movies I think I am satisfied with that.
What is your best meal?
I love pounded yam served with Ogbono soup.
What is your best colour?
I love colours white and blue.
Words for your fans
I am still the talented Dele Taiwo you all know. I will not let you down. Watch out for my new video that will hit the stand soon.