I Originated Galala Music - Galala King
Femi Sylvester Mayomi, the King of Galala Music is one of the upcoming artistes who is waxing stronger everyday in what he knows how to do best. In this interview with GBENGA OLUMIDE, he speaks about his ups and downs since he started singing in the late 80s. Excerpts:
You are a musician, how did it start?
I found myself in music, not just for the love of it, but because the thing has always been in me. My senior ones used to sing. I grew up to know my senior ones to be musicians. So the thing has always been in our family, and since then I've been building on the talent.
For how long now?
Let me say since when I was eight years of age.
What type of music?
My type of music is Galala and I'm the king of galala music. Very soon I will invite you to my coronation.
You are from which state?
I'm from Kabba, Kogi State.
Can we know your background?
I was born into a family of seven in Ilorin, Kwara State, you understand? My real name is Femi Sylvester Mayomi. I attended primary schools in Abuja and Jos, my secondary schools in Ajegunle here in Lagos and Osogbo in Osun State.
Can you share the good and bad times you have passed through as an artiste?
As an artiste, I've passed through so many good and bad times. Personally, in life, the bad times were when I lost my dad and mum. The saddest day was when I lost my younger brother. He was the one my mother gave birth to when she died in 1984. So, he was a 17-year-old, he was staying with me before he died, so that was the saddest day of my life. The best day was not just when I went to record my album in the studio, but the first day I watched my video on the television after recording, then I took it to AIT and I was at home, and somebody called me that my video was being shown on TV, I just went down on my knees and thanked God.
How many albums have you produced?
Actually, I have two albums, but my new album is coming out this August.
What are the tittles?
The first one is 'African Culture', it was in the album that I sang 'Oh girl you think say you fine I get another girl way fine pass you.” Then we have another one, “Padlock your mouth,” the first one was 1997, the second one was 1999, that was the one I sang “Yetunde mi da.” I was supposed to have released since 2002 after Fuji gyration I did with Pasuma and Saheed Balogun, but Bayowa who happened to be the producer delayed the job just because we had misunderstanding, so I decided I was not going to give any record label of my jobs to it again, I want to be releasing myself, no matter how long it is. And at the same time, I went to school, I went to Olabisi Onabanjo University to study Mass Communication. So, my album is coming out on the stable of “Shakara Sounds,” which is my own record label, and it's going to be marketed by Obino Music, Alaba.
So, you and Bayowa are no more together?
No, God forbid.
If you are to compare the music industry of yester years and that of today, what would you say?
We thank God, because it has really changed, the music industry is growing and the whole world is now reckoning with the Nigerian music. Initially, the “juju” and “fuji” musicians were the ones travelling out to play at shows. We thank God that the thing is now going round, they now welcome different music, even the hip-hop artistes are now reckoned with. Most Nigerian musicians didn't even have cars then.
But today, you see them riding in the biggest cars, living good life, huge investment and what have you. Even if you go to parties, now, you can dance to the Nigerian music from now till morning without listening to any foreign music. Most Nigerians don't even know foreign artistes again, it's all Nigerian music.
People are now encouraging us, they pay us big money for shows, and we are appreciated more than before. We just pray to God that people should keep on patronizing us and we will give the our best.
You are a Yoruba man, why “Galala” when you are not an Igbo somebody?
Galala does not mean Ibo or Hausa, or any thing. Galala music means, a fusion of raggae music with our own traditional style, you know we have Bob Marlay and Shabba in Jamaica. They sing in their language but it's still raggae. We here, we have our own way of singing our own raggae music because we cannot beat them to their own culture, so we now have our own style which is Galala. My own kind of Galala is Shakara we also have other kinds of galala like konto, we have Osa. Shakara means, today I can decide to sing galala and add a little bit of hip hop, I can add a little blend of Fuji a little blend of Afro.
Now, you are wearing ear rings and some other things like a woman, what does that mean?
Well, as an artiste, your appearance needs to show that this is an artiste. Any where you go, let people see that this is an artiste. I'm just putting it on because it suits me, I like it and its my logo.
What are your challenges now?
Presently, I have a case with MTN now, they used my music for ringing tone and caller tune without my permission. My lawyer said we should write them like two, three letters and we have done that, there has never been any reply. Now we are going to count. It's on Monday that we are going to take the date, that we are going to have the first heaning.