Why He Does Not Joke With His Mum
Last week Tuesday, popular Fuji Musician, Alhaji Wasiu Alabi Pasuma was our guest on City People tv live chat with the Publisher of City People Magazine where we usually have a moment with icons. Though Pasuma’s success story is not new to many, from how attended Muslim Mission Primary School from 1973 to 1979 after which he moved to Nigerian Model High School, from 1979 to 1984 for his secondary school education.
He started his musical career in 1984, but only had the opportunity to record his first album in 1993 which was titled RECOGNITION. His second album, CHOICES followed thereafter in 1994. A subsequent album came in 1995 titled, OROBOKIBO which earned him an award as The Best Fuji Artiste at the FMA awards. And how he played in several Benson and Hedges concerts from 1996 to 1998 and continues to perform in several other concerts, both in Nigeria and abroad. But what is new is the fact that King Wasiu Ayinde Talazo 84 song actually inspired him to go into music fully in 1984.
Many of these and more he revealed in that interesting chat. Below are the excerpts.
How have you been keeping busy in this pandemic?
There is nowhere to go, we are all locked down, we just have to stay at home resting, chilling for now.
How have you been keeping your relevance and your fans over the year?
To tell you truth, the love is real. Anywhere, any day my people, Pasuma fans hear I am coming somewhere, they are already there for me. The love is too real. They love me and I love them. Without my fans, there is no Pasuma.
What is your message to your fans at a time like this?
My message to Oganla and Pasuma’s fans all over the world is to please stay safe at the moment. Though there is ease on the lockdown, yet you don’t need to go anywhere. Just stay at home and stay safe. Nobody knows who already has the disease, and the only way not to be affected is to stay at home.
What is your plan after lockdown?
We are going to see what happens after lockdown, I am so sure entertainment will be the last and the schools, because the government said there must be no gathering. And I am sure, that is going to be like September, that is if its not more than that. Everybody should hold on and keep calm. Once we get over it we will start our shows back.
I am sure you must be preparing. Is there any project you are working on, in terms of songs?
I am trying to entertain my fans through this Instagram live show. It is not going to be a full band, I will just gather like 5 of my guys to entertain our fans.
You recently spoke about Fuji music going digital, can you shed more light on that?
I was just trying to support what Chief Adewale Ayuba said on your live chat. We really need to go digital, because of the duration of our genre song, 30min side A and side B and I think that is too much for all the digitalised platforms like Boomplay & Co. They are always telling us to get like 4min of our songs to make it downloadable. Going digital will be okay for the Fuji genre at the moment. If we can come together and agree on it.
When are you planning 2nd hip-hop album?
I am working on my EP at the moment. It’s coming out very soon like 6 or 7 tracks. If not for this pandemic, we would have released it, but it’s coming out very soon. I am going to have Zlatan, Naira Marley and Mayorkun on it. I have done something similar with Oritsefemi, Patoranking, Phyno and others. I also did something with Davido, DJs are playing it already.
But this new EP is coming out very soon after this pandemic.
What is the secret of your young look, as you are always looking young?
There is no secret, just that I don’t stress myself. Apart from going for shows, I am an indoor person, unless it very important, then you will see me outside. I am a very introvert person to the core. I love to watch my TV, listen to the radio. I love watching football on SuperSport, then news on Channel and CNN to know what is going on all over the world. I eat once a day.
Wow! Once in a day? What is your favourite food?
My favourite food is rice because it digests very quickly.
For the benefit of those that didn’t know much about how you started your career, can you quickly give us a rundown of how music started for you?
I was born in Mushin in 1967. At 6 years, I went to primary school at Muslim Mission from 1973-1979, immediately after my primary school, I gained admission into Nigeria Model High School, for my secondary school education, then it was 5 years straight not like JSS to SSS now, and that was in 1979-1984. I started entertaining while I was in secondary school, mostly during our Inter-House Sport.
I went into music fully in 1984 when I finished my secondary school. Alhaji K1 did music then called “Talazo 84”, which was solid and it sold well and accepted worldwide. So then I decided if someone could drop such an album that went viral and famous I will do more of that, that was how K1 Talazo 84 inspired me to go into music fully.
I did (Orobokibo) in 1995 and it turned out to be the album that brought me the fame I have today, I receive my first award from FMA because of the hard work on the (Orobokibo) album and also Best Fuji Singer in 1996.
There was a time in the early 1990s I used to play keyboard alone at Temi Ogbe Hotel in Olorunsogo, where I grew up. In 1990 to 1991, I used to play jump, every Sunday, every week at that Temiogbe Hotel at Olorunsogo. In 1993, Eru Owa Records called me and said I want you to go to the studio. You have been gathering some of your fans for a while.
Now that you have been gathering some fans, if you do a record you will gather more. For some people who don’t know you, they will know you more. He took me to the studio and we did my first album called Recognition in 1993. We called it Recognition because we wanted people to recognise me as the new fuji artiste in the industry. After that, we did the follow-up album called Choices, this was because I recognised that there were a lot of fuji musicians on the street, all over Nigeria, but you’ve got to take me as your choice. This is the new musician in town now.
After the release of Orobokibo, my whole life changed, though it did not come to me as a surprise. I knew from the beginning that God’s plan for me had been finalised and l was destined to become big, but when? I did not know. In my early days, there were pointers to what God had in store for me, as I was loved everywhere I performed. But it will be most unfair if I should take credit for the slang Orobokibo because that word was created by one of my back-up vocalists. When he first used the word during a rehearsal session, I asked him the meaning, he simply told me it was a slang he picked up somewhere. Somehow that slang caught on and went on to make a star out of me, and I became a household name. That also explained the genesis of the slang Orobo for the 50cl Fanta and Orobo for fat women.
How did you feel the year you did your Orobokibo album and it became a big hit?
I felt happy. I felt good. The album Orobokibo in 1995 gave me my 1st FMA awards (Fame Music Awards) which used to hold then and AMEN Awards. I got Best Fuji Musician Award in 1996, I got Best Fuji Artiste at Amen Awards for 1996. That was how my career started. I was very very happy at the event when they called my name alongside that of industry giants like K1 De Ultimate, Adewale Ayuba, Pasuma Wonder and they said and the winner is…I nearly passed out.
How can I think I will beat such men? Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde was reigning. He just released his Yuppy song then. Alhaji was really hot on the music scene then. He was still young and hot. When they nominate you with him and they announce you as the winner you won’t imagine that you can win in that category. I couldn’t even stand up. It’s the guy who was seated beside me that picked me, they’ve called your name go and pick the award. I felt very very happy.
After I took that, the same year in 1998 I took AMEN and FMA award again. Then Benson and Hedge’s people called me to be part of their show in Lagos, Kano and other parts of their show in Lagos, Kano and other parts of the country. It’s a journey that when you remember you will give thanks to God. It is not an easy thing.
We used to play at Lekki Sunsplash then in 1997. Then, you will be the 1st artiste to play before the big stars will perform. They will say Orits Williki, Femi Kuti, Raskimono and all these big artistes will perform, but before they begin to perform, you will quickly do your things and run away. They will just give you a few minutes to perform. They were the ones reigning during that period 1996/97. People don’t really have time for you. They are waiting for the big artistes. Later on, things changed by 1998/99 when Pasuma had become big and I had become a recognised brand in the industry, the same promoter now told me that I will have to perform last, that I can’t start the show like before, that if I perform early everybody will start to leave. So you have to wait we are going to use you to keep this crowd here. So, its a journey of praising God. The rest is history.
Tell us about your mum, you seem to be very close?
After God, it’s my mother. Because she suffered a lot at the time I was a runaway kid then, she would look everywhere in the community at night just to find me. There was this night she came looking for in Mushin. It was about 2 am in the middle of the night and she found me in front of a Chemist store shop where I slept. People refused to let her take me thinking she’s an imposter and wanted to kidnap me at that middle of the night so I was questioned by people in front of her if truly she was my mother before they could let me go with her where she found me.
Not that I was fully supported by my parents especially as I came from a well-educated home because dad was once a General Manager for NCR in Apapa. So my parents did not support me I only push up by my stubbornness but my mum will always pray for me. She single-handedly brought me up, she keeps teaching me the right path and preaches to me not to let her regret her decision to allow me to play music.
What makes your style of Fuji stand out from other artistes in the industry?
If you follow me long before now, you will notice I always try t0o bring in new ideas, innovations, and concepts to Fuji music. I was the first Fuji musician who was featured in hip-hop music. Back then I had the opportunity to work with Kennis Music artists. In 1998 I did Jealousy with the Remedies back then. This was way before other artistes came on board.
I also sang with Father U-Turn, lots of them. Sometime later, we had other Fuji artistes joining the league. But we thank God. It has been a wonderful journey.