His name readily rings a bell in the Nigerian entertainment industry. Born Lanre Fasasi but widely known as Sound Sultan, this exciting musician has been in the industry for over a decade. He talks to Gbenga Bada about his career, religion, and challenges among others. Enjoy the excerpts below and please share your thoughts:
I started music in 1991 in secondary school by miming and writing my own lyrics. After leaving school, I continued writing songs and poems. I was lucky to have a brother like Baba Dee who was very supportive. My parents were also very supportive. I started following Baba Dee to shows and recording with him. The experience gave me a push, and in 2000, I released my first single after winning different talent hunt shows, which was the in-thing then.
There were so many constraints on my way to the top, particularly that of finance. Some people did not believe in me because they did not know what I was made of. You just try to convince them; it’s your word against theirs. For us, as that time, the music industry had not gotten the kind of acceptance it has now. So, we had extra work to do to push it to the level of acceptability it now enjoys. We thank God that people have started believing in us and started spending money on artistes and their music.
THE NIGERIAN MUSIC INDUSTRY
Generally, real music is going extinct and it’s what the world is turning to. I understand Nigerian music and the consumers. We need to understand the fact that Nigeria is a developing country under hardship and everybody wants to escape through music. They don’t want music that will remind them of the hardship they’re going through. They just want to get down on weekends, party and feel stupid, which is why they keep yearning for the kind of songs they now have. That’s what I think is the reason for that kind of music in Nigeria. And in the world over, I think the youths are growing faster. Youths are growing faster and adults are dying faster. So, nowadays, you have more youth listening to and demanding for tip tap music
GENRE OF MUSIC
I base my music on so many things I have been through, both bad and good. That’s what life is about. I just try to depict it in my music. Some people actually thought I was trying to be like Fela, but I wasn’t. I am my own man. I don’t believe in all that, I just believe one should make positive music. Music can be a wonderful thing and at the same time, can be the most devilish thing in the world. So, it’s left for you to know how to use the medium right.
Music is universal. It is a language, and if I can make you dance, it doesn’t mean I still can’t send messages across. Instrumentals are what make people move, and the words are what make people think. I did Bush meat and they played it in the club. When you listen to the lyrics, you know you will take home something.so, regardless of the fact that you want people to dance to your song, you want to make sense.
Naija Ninja is my record label, my franchise, my fashion outfit. It’s the name me and my brother came up with to represent what we believe in, and what we believe in definitely has to represent what we do for a living. It’s not just a name I call when I am singing, it is my work. Naija is my country and the Ninja has to do with the military mindset that you should have. The Ninjas are the soldiers of the society and they fight for good. So, we urge the youth with their youthful exuberance to use their energy for positive things to help themselves. Take Baba Dee and myself for example, we tried as youths to make something for ourselves and now we are making our money and representing the country positively. Right now, there is Karma, rapper of the clique, Shawn, Lady Grace and a reggae artiste called Blacka, and we have Baba Dee, the Don Dada, the Ninja-in-charge and Sound Sultan.
RELIGION AND MUSIC
People don’t seem to understand what religion is. Now in the world over, religion is just a distraction for alot of people. There is a divide. A lot of people are getting it all wrong. They say, ‘I dey go church, I dey go mosque,’ but religion should be in you not where you go to. So, I have been able to cultivate the religion living in me. Islam is a way of life, not just how some people have highjacked it to be. It’s very easy for me to pray five times a day and avoid drinking alcohol and every other thing I should avoid.