What Nigeria’s young musicians are getting wrong— Seyi Sodimu

By Benjamin Njoku

Seyi Sodimu is a Nigerian Afro soul music star and songwriter. The former U.S- based singer who relocated to Nigeria recently released the remix of his evergreen song, ‘Love Me Jeje’ which featured American R&B singer K. Michelle. He spoke about his career, family and business. Excerpts:

Love Me Jeje remix with K Michelle has got over 90, 000 YouTube views since its release few days ago, how do you feel about this historic record?
I am as amazed as some of my fans. I initially did not want to do the remix. I was kind of ‘ambushed’ into doing it. So now I agree with my team that the song came before its time. Well, the song is back, perhaps now that it will be appreciated by a wider audience.

 •Seyi Sodimu
•Seyi Sodimu

What are the new things infused into the Love Me Jeje remix?
If you have heard the original version that was like an anthem back in the days, and you listen to this new version, the things infused into it hits you straight away, that is why I want people go online and listen to it and let us hear the feedback which will make us know if we got it right or not.

What do you plan to do with this song?
It is part of other songs that will make up a full album scheduled for release this year.

You have been off the radar for more than 15 years, where have you been?
I have been around. I moved to Nigeria about eight years ago. I went to the US in 1985. I was a kid then. It is really hard to disappear from the scene and come back home to continue from where one stopped.

So you just left music after Love me Jeje
I have been doing music behind the scene. I sponsored some artistes in Nigeria here that you would not know about. I have been recording, I have raised two kids and I also invested in real estate. I built a school called Hopesville International School in Nigeria about two years ago. But then, I still record music, I have not left music in the real sense.

Are you fully back home now?
Yes, I am but I travel a lot like any other person. I spend most of time in the country. But in summer, I am not usually around. I take off that time to spend the holidays with my kids.

You left the Nigerian music scene when the ovation was loud, what happened?
As you grow older, your priorities change. When I sang “Love Me Jeje”, the structure was not there, it wasn’t even profitable at that point. I was in the US when I released that song. I came home and released it here and I went back again. Till today, I still get royalties from that song in the US. I can’t say that for Nigeria. You have to do music when you can give it your full attention. I cannot release a song every month like some artistes do. For me, music has to be evergreen. It wasn’t as if I planned to leave the stage but it was just the nature of what I was doing at that time.

But if you had released another hit even if it was three or four years after, you may have still maintained the tempo?
You are right. But look at artiste like Adele, she releases a song and goes away for like five years. When you reach a level of success, you have to be able to enjoy life. Asa does same thing too. My gap has been a little bit more because of the fact that sometimes I release a single in the US or London and I don’t bring it back home.

When did you become a professional musician?
I finished college and I decided to take up voice lessons. There was a fire inside of me. I have never regretted it.

Can you in any way leave music for something else?
That’s a very big question because most times, you can’t leave music until music leaves you. I try to do what I know how to do best. In this life, it is very good to diversify in so many ways. Look at most international celebrities, they delved into so many businesses, but they never left what they are known for. Puff Daddy is there, 50 Cent is there, Jenifer Lopez and the likes have some other things they do that keep them busy, at the same time still doing their music, because that is what they are known for. So, it will be hard for me to leave music. Look at King Sunny Ade, Onyeka Onwenu, Ebenezer Obey and the likes of them, they are still active in what they do which is music. So, it’s very difficult to see someone that knows music to leave it for no reason.

What do you think Nigerian musicians are not doing right?
Nigerian musicians need to understand that churning out almost 10 albums in one year is not the best. The thing is, these guys feel they are competing with each other in the sense that when this one drops an album, the other party wants to drop his own too. By doing that, they end up singing songs that is not worth the stress and that can’t stand the test of time. Look at most of the evergreen songs you know, of Paul Play, Sunny Nneji, and the likes of them, if they had rushed like that, they wouldn’t have done a good song. So, for me, its better I take my time to do what I know will make people remember me for long.

What Nigeria’s young musicians are getting wrong— Seyi Sodimu on Vanguard News.

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