Saturday 13 July 2013

I sang like Kirk Franklin but failed —Asu Ekiye

Asu Ekiye

He is one of the most popular gospel acts who have drawn attention to indigenous culture through music. Asu Ekiye talks more on his genre of music
 You are quite energetic while performing, what’s the secret?
Yes. I am very energetic. That is the Niger Delta tradition-it is very forceful. I represent a cross section of the people of that area. I not only compose songs in my Ijaw language, I sing a lot of Urhobo, Isoko, Itsekiri and Edo songs. That is why they call me the Prince of the Niger Delta.
What’s your style of presentation?
We have added our own blend,   a product of our own musical contraption and notation that are exogenous to the traditional flavour of the people of the Niger Delta. This is because we are trying to work with the contemporary age and create sounds that can meet the class.   My style of presentation is very dramatic because I present with stories.
What challenges did you face when you were starting off in music?
I sang in the English language for many years. Then, I thought English would open doors for me internationally but that did not happen and I ended up in the Port Harcourt where I started.

 I did not know how to sing in my language, I was singing hip hop gospel like Kirk Franklin but nothing came out of it. I discovered that no matter how passionate you are about a gift, if it does not bring food to your table, you have to sit down and review it. So, I had to sit down and ask God to show me what I was doing wrong and God told me that I was not original. So, I did the song, ewewo, and everyone liked it! I did the song and shot the video a year later. It was the video that made the music very popular.
From then, things began to go from good to better. I was performing for dignitaries, and performed at state functions. When I had the dedication of my first son, Dame Patience Jonathan attended the ceremony with 30 women in her convoy. In fact, the church closed down.  This is because of my metamorphosis from a survivalist, to somebody who now has all the good things of life. I have been able to go to places and share some of my testimonies and this has encouraged a lot of people who are still passing through the same experience I had.
Has success ever gotten into you?
I have faced that temptation but my target and vision are what drive me and prevent pride. I know I have not achieved my vision at all, I have not internationalised my brand as much as I would love to. I am just about 35 percent close to fulfilling that and one cannot become complacent at that level.
How do you re-invent yourself?
I challenge myself with things that are around me, and I look for areas I can improve on. I get inspiration from the songs of Psquare, D’banj and the rest, music is universal.
What was your childhood like?
I was raised in Warri and my father was a policeman. As a result of this, we were raised in a very rough environment. We grew up in a polygamous setting where we struggled for food position and everything else. In the midst of various circumstances, we always had the desire to survive. You can see where I got my survival instincts from.
Are you teaching your children some of your values?
My firstborn is seven years old, the second one is five. At this level of growth, you can hardly pass across those values instantly because it is a progressive thing. They need to grow to appreciate certain things first before one can pass certain information and messages across to them. I think as the years go by, at each level of growth, there is a developmental impartation that you can give to the children and that is what we do as strongly as we can.
When did you get married?
My wife and I were married for 10 years without children. The doctor told me I had low sperm count, while my wife was diagnosed with fibroid. We went from doctor to doctor and after trying and failing to get children twice by Invitro Fertilization, we decided to go the faith way. I used music as a weapon to call my children forth. I started singing and praising God for my children. We gave offerings and tithes for them and we bought children’s clothes and filled closets in the house. That was the beginning of our breakthrough. When the children started coming, they came every year. Today, we have three boys and a girl. When we had the third boy, I had to go back to the doctor who told us that we could not have children to ask for advice on how to stop having children (laughs).
How did you meet your wife?
My wife was in the choir, where I was a music director. We actually attended the same university and read the same course, accountancy.   The relationship was not based on any extraneous consideration; it was based on love which kept us going even when we did not have the good things of life or children.
It is a foolish thing for any man to disregard the woman of his youth who struggled with him. In fact, the man operates under a curse if he does that.
Does that mean both of you have never fought?
I can’t understand why a man would fight or beat his wife; that is barbaric.
What about disagreements?
Disagreement is a by-product of human relationships; it comes for agreement to come. There are points where you have divergent views on some issues, but for us, those differences are not capable of breaking the bond of unity which we share.
Do you like having your way all the time?
I make room for observation and input in my organisation, my music group and my ministry. We make room for individual input as well as differing opinions from others. That is the secret of big organisations.   People have different views which are fused together to become useful materials for development and growth.
What does style mean to you?
Style is traceable to one’s culture, exposure and orientation. I am a product of my culture and exposure to contemporary life. That is why I have my own style of dressing; it is traditional but different from the hardcore traditional style.

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