Remember the under pressure man Well yes he storms Realto Hotels Benin This month in a fun filled Jam packed Reggae Comeback ! More Details soon !
In a bid to revamp his musical career and once again capture the hearts of Nigerians with classic tunes, Reggae sensation Ras Kimono released two singles late last year.
In a chat with Daily Sun, Kimono revealed that young artistes are no longer interested in making good music but are rather keen on making money at the expense of creating an enduring legacy through music. The dreadlock-wearing singer also stated that nothing will make him go into politics. Excerpts:
What are your plans for the year?
My plan for the year is to drop my new album. Late last year, I came out with two singles Veteran and Wicked politicians. They are enjoying massive airplay. For now, I have only promo copies and radio stations in Nigeria are doing justice to it.
You are trying to revamp your career no doubt but how do you intend to take over the scene since young Nigerians are not given totally to reggae music?
Before I came into the limelight in the late 80s and early 90s, it was like that, still, I achieved success in the industry then through hard work and intense promotion and that is what I intend to do now to make sure reggae music reigns once again. it is like I am starting afresh, I am going on tour around the country and not waiting for my company to do it for me. They tend to go to the cities alone and not penetrate the rural areas.
I am focusing on rural dwellers to revamp reggae music so that they will hear me. You know Nigerians, when reggae picks up again, a lot of youths will now go into it. They just want somebody to lead them and I am back to lead again because I have always been a flag bearer.
Nigerians still have a soft spot for Reggae music. They react positively anytime I sing since I came back to the country. They love the truth that Reggae music reveals. It is just a matter of time before it finally gains ground fully because a lot of youths will also go into Reggae music. Some of them have not come out openly to do so because they may have not have the platform, but I am ready to be the platform for them.
How would you describe your career at this moment?
It’s been good. Since I came back to the country in 2009, I have enjoyed a lot of commendations. I didn’t know it would be like this. The ovation has been louder more than it was over 15 years ago. I give thanks to Jah every morning for that. I see that as an advantage I have to utilize to bring back Reggae music. I am looking for a proper channel and a good marketer that will work closely with me to achieve this. I need good promotion because no matter how good or bad an album is, if you don’t push it well, it will flop in the market. If I don’t do a good job on my album, I am ready for doom.
What qualities do you look out for in a marketer that you think will help push your album the way you want it?
Marketers are not the same as recording companies so you can’t handle them the same way. It could be anybody but the bottom line is that we will spend money to make money. We have to channel money into promotions and make sure Nigerians crave for reggae music once more. Given the expansion of FM stations, there is enough room for promotions on air. I just need someone that will help me expose these songs so that it can reach everyone.
What inspired this come-back album?
Music. All the while I left this country, I have been doing music. I wasn’t working, but playing where my services were needed. With that, I was bidding my time pending when I would return to Nigeria. I decided to go into the studio and make songs of international standards, songs that are better than what I have done before and focusing on leadership failures. My songs are to call them back to order. I think we should be tired of all the lies, deceit and deprivings. I talk about the truth of the time with my lyrics.
I am inspired with what is going on in our society. Nigerians copy the ugly side of western civilisation and it stands to be corrected. We have to emulate good things too and not vices alone. America has the good, the bad and the ugly, but over there, they celebrate the good so that it overshadows the ugly side of their existence. Nigeria was colonized by Britain but our leaders are not following British rules. Our leaders travel abroad and see developments in these nations but when they are elected to perform, they loot instead of working with the funds allocated to them. I want to keep saying it and also wish to have followers that will stand with me in fighting corrupt government through music. We have to deal with the issue of bad governance so that we can see change. I will do my best and leave the rest for Jah.
How do you intend to drive home your point through music because you are not the first musician to do this?
I am not the first person to tackle bad leadership through music. Many people have been doing it even through other means and some of them have died while the ones that are alive are still shouting. I will do my best because I know that someday, I will be no more and some other people will keep talking until Nigeria gets to the promised land. We have to make sure we retain our status as the giant of Africa. Without Nigeria, some of these western countries will collapse. Nigeria is very crucial to world development. I will only relax when our country becomes a better place for us and our children.
Do you think Nigerian artistes are right in supporting the present crop of politicians we have now by doing songs and jingles for them?
I don’t campaign for politicians. My style is different from other musicians’ styles. I don’t have faith in our politicians. They have disappointed us for a long time and I don’t think they have anything good to offer us as a nation. Even the younger politicians whom I had a little respect for are now getting worse than the older ones. I refuse to be part of the campaign for today’s politicians.
So if you are called to campaign for them, what will you do?
They have called me, but I won’t be a party to it. I don’t want to regret anything. If I have to support any of them, I must have a legitimate reason to do so and not because other musicians are doing so to get money. I have not seen any one among them who really cares about the masses and has the interest of Nigerians at heart. Even the minimum wage is appalling. What is N18,000 in Nigeria? They are just there for themselves and are not genuine.
How do you think Nigerian artistes should relate with politicians?
Artistes are individual people. I can’t speak for anybody. I am a lone ranger in my fight against corrupt governments. I do not join forces with anyone. It is left for the artistes to do whatever they want to do. Some of these artistes are richer than me but every member of their families is still facing the repercussion of electing bad leaders. Those ones supporting these politicians are selfish and are only looking for how to enrich their pockets. If we come together to say we won’t support them, before you turn your back, someone has betrayed you all. They should act as watchdogs and not support evil.
How would rate music generally in Nigeria?
Music has come of age in Nigeria. Most youths that have gone into music are making it big. They drive choice cars and build good houses. They are living large and it is good for the industry.
But would you say these lyrics make an impact? What is responsible for our lyrics filled with vulgar languages?
The corporate bodies are responsible for it. I have been back for two years and deal with reality of the time. I speak about societal ills. They promote these guys with empty lyrics, support them and pay them millions to perform.
The Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation also is to blame for the influx of vulgar lyrics in Nigeria. They have refused to check what is going out on air. When I released my song We no want the system in 1988, because of a word in the lyrics, it was banned. It was not played on radio.
If they refused to play that song then, it means there is a regulatory body that makes sure whatever song is aired is checked and scrutinized. I don’t think that organisation still exists because if it does, all these trashy and vulgar songs should have been banned. The languages that corrupt children are not supposed to be aired at all. If they are not encouraged, they will go back and churn out good tunes. Some of them get drunk and smoke on stage and yet, no one cares to call them to order.
In your view, what should young artistes do to release good tunes to Nigerians?
Young artistes are making money and are not concerned about releasing soul-lifting music. It is just a matter of time, and the result of releasing trashy songs will show. Good name is better than money, but they don’t want to listen. When they look back and nobody recognizes them, then, they will know they have not have done well. They have to go back to the drawing board and put in more effort to release quality lyrics.
How would you describe these young musicians?
Most of them are just flashes in a pan. They just release a song and you never hear of them again. They are after the money and not to leave a legacy through their lyrics.
You have been away for a long time, what have you learnt over the years that has helped you become a better person?
I have learnt to be business-minded. Even though I sing, I have learnt to manage the business aspect of it as well and not only minding the lyrics alone. I have learnt to be punctual in my career. I have learnt to relate with different kinds of people well no matter their weaknesses. I can accept people for who they are and not for what I want them to be. I have learnt not to be judgmental. I can now see life from a different perspective.
Did you have any unpleasant experience while you were abroad?
I was playing in clubs. That was not what I wanted for myself at that time. When I was in Nigeria, I never played in clubs. Over there, you play in a club of about 20 people and you will be lucky if they are up to 20.
People are insinuating that you ran to America to make money and when the money didn’t come, you came home. How true is this?
It is not true. I went there to take a break and to gain knowledge as a musician. I took a break with my stay overseas so that I can come back with something fresh and better. How can I go to America to make money? There is more money to make here in Nigeria than in America.
Are you back for good or you still have plans to go back to the States?
I am back for good but that doesn’t mean I won’t travel if the opportunity arises. I am a musician and can be called to perform anywhere in the world.
How about your family?
My family is still abroad. You know when women get to such places, they are comfortable and do not want to move. My wife and children are still in America.
As a husband and a father, what advice would you give to husbands and fathers?
Marriage is like two dogs playing. Sometimes, one brings the other down and he gets beaten. It works with understanding. If a couple decides to fight like kings of the jungle, then the marriage won’t stand the test of time. If you react based on how angry you are, you will make mistakes. Couples should be each other’s fool to make it work. No one is better than the other, it takes two of you to build a lasting marital relationship.
As a father, you must always listen to your kids. You must be around to watch your children grow. There are questions they want you to answer as their father and you must be willing to play that role well. You also have to be involved in their education and extra-curricular activities. This is the way you can express your love and support for them.
If you make all the money in world and don’t have time to nurture your kids, they will turn out bad and all your struggles will be in vain. They must feel secured with your presence. It doesn’t have to be their mother all the time. Create time to play with your children, it makes them feel wanted and loved. You must make your children your closest friends. They must trust you enough to tell you all their fears. If you don’t listen to them, they will go astray.
What else do you hope to achieve in life?
Greatness. As far as I am concerned, heaven is my starting point. I am hoping that before death takes me away, I will achieve my aims and objectives. One of such objectives is to see Nigeria safe and great and black people united again. I will be glad if West Africa have a common passport, it will be good. We should stop segregation in Africa, we need the peace and unity.
Do you have any plans to go into politics?
Never. The rules of the game are dirty and if you don’t take time, you will join them in the name of bringing change to the masses. It is not peculiar to Nigeria alone. All over the world, politics is a dirty game. Politicians are politicians everywhere.
What advice would you give to upcoming musicians as a veteran in the industry?
They should leave drugs alone because most of them do drugs. Drugs will not make them. I don’t do drugs and I don’t smoke weed and I have achieved a great height as a musician. Learn to play an instrument so that it will give you an edge over your colleagues.
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