Daddy Showkey epitomises the grass to grace story of talented youths from Ajegunle where he grew up. Famed for popularising the galala dance, Showkey who was the toast of music fans in the mid 90s, has seen it all- moments of triumph and near assassinations included. It’s been seven years since he recorded his last album Take Five, but Daddy Showkey is back. In this chance meeting at the Nigerian Entertainment Health Insurance Lecture in Lagos,Showkey, born John Aseimo, speaks to SAMUEL ABULUDE about his travails, relevance in the music industry and other sundry issues.
What has Daddy Showkey been up to?
I’ve been recording for my new album. I’m still recording. I was away from the music industry for three years because I had a spinal cord injury. However, now I have recorded Showkey Show and another single Asa ‘lama bi both songs are playing on air currently.
What does Asa ‘lama bi mean?
In AJ wey you know, it is a united nation, made up of different tribes. We have Ijaws, Urhobo, Yoruba, Igbo, even Hausas there and growing up, we learnt different languages. So Asa means everything good, Ama means woman… add them together (all smiles) it means “beautiful woman”. The song is for our women- for being there for us. They are beautiful inside and outside.
Did you have your wife in mind when you recorded it?
Not really. But what we musicians do is to connect with the song. There is a parallel reference to my beautiful wife in the song. She has stood by me through good and bad times.
Are you recording with any contemporary singers?
That means you have not listened to my new songs. Asa ‘lamabi is a song I recorded with Harrysong. He’s of the new generation and a good singer.
Since you left the music scene, what has changed?
Nothing has changed. Music is music it is universal. I’m still recording my kind of music. I rely on my producer to direct me on what to change in my music. So, I’m not going to do Hip Hop because that is what boys are doing. I will still do my own style of music because my fans are still there, but I can change the pattern a bit, based on my producer’s aice.
So, you’re not planning on changing anything- your looks or your music?
What is there to change? Daddy Showkey is still Showkey. I sing for the youth, I sing for my people and call on our government to change their ways. I can’t change my look because that is me. When I recorded Diana, people said it has a gospel feel because of the “hosanna” chorus- that is music.
You were at Kefee’s burial, what are your thoughts?
Nothing much other than I was disappointed that artistes did not come to show love to their own. It is not a good thing. The lady died and it is sad for her family. Musicians ought to have showed up and rallied round her people, to show that they care. It was only the gospel musicians that showed up, meaning there is no love in this industry. Nobody cares about you if you drop dead tomorrow. I told you I was away for 3 years because of my spinal cord injury. Nobody came to visit me during that time. No one from my generation of singers came to identify with me and that is bad for a man who has given much to the industry. This makes me think that we don’t care about ourselves in this industry. As the Yoruba people say, Oju aaye ni a nse o meaning, na eye service we dey do to oursefu!
Are you saying you don’t have friends in the music industry?
I don’t have a friend oh. This life wetin my eyes don see, no be small thing oh! That experience is enough to make you cut-off, because when they see me with money they associate with Showkey but when Showkey had a challenge, an accident- no one could call or say we feel your pain. So me, I no get friend. My friends are those in Ajegunle that we can say the truth to ourselves. It is only Pasuma that I can call my friend- he comes to my house anytime and we chat about things.
So why did you attend the entertainment health insurance lecture?
I didn’t know about it oh. I was in the studio and I got to know that something dey shele for Eko Hotel, say entertainers are having a conference. So I said to my people “let us go.” Insurance is a great thing. We suppose to don get this thing since. It will help us plan our lives and our money. We need all the help we need all the money we need to enjoy life and bless people too.
How have you managed to have a scandal-free career so far?
It is God, my brother. Nobody is perfect. I have a good family life. My wife is my success secret. She has kept the home when I’m not around. Musicians dey travel wel wel you know abi? My woman has kept the home great for me and I don’t worry because everything is yum yum (laughs).
People say you no longer live in Ajegunle, is this true?
People always make that mistake of thinking that I don’t live in Ajegunle. AJ city is my hood it is where my root is and you can’t take the hood from a man because that na where him life dey formed. I grew up in Ajegunle and it toughened me and got me ready for life’s turbulences and challenges. Since I released my first album a long time ago, I’ve not lived in Ajegunle- that is the fact. But that does not mean that I’m disconnected from wetin dey happen for there. I still have my childhood friends and other people there. So, I have not lived in Ajegunle for a long time but I’m part of development in the city. We have talented singers, people from there waiting for a rich man to invest in them so many people are still discovering themselves there.
It seems musicians making waves from there again?
That is because times have changed. Our time was great and we had our peculiar challenges. Now young boys are struggling to do music there and that does not mean they aren’t good but there are different strokes for different people. We still have musicians like Oritsefemi, who are from Ajegunle and are doing well.
Reports say you took a swipe at Wizkid, calling him arrogant, is this true?
I did not say that. What is my own with Wizkid? He’s a young boy doing music and making his money. I saw the story in the blogs just like you. Na yeye reporter write that one. I don’t do that. We all have our lives to live.
Whose music do you fancy among the younger artistes?
There are a lot of musicians doing well. I like them all. Harrysong is a good singer. I like him, Kcee too is doing his thing. Terry G is a musician I have respect for because of the way he turned around ghetto music. He has made street music popular with his madness (laughs).
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