I don’t want many wives like my mentors—Alashe

Sammy Oluwakayode Jerry, known as Alashe, is a gospel artiste who started his career in the Celestial Church of Christ in Lagos with a certificate in Sociology from Olabisi Onabanjo University. The artiste talks to DUPE AYINLA-OLASUKANMI about his reason for introducing Juju into his music, among other issues. 

HOW did your past albums fare on the shelves?

Trust me, they did quite well. But I would say my album is well known in the church. I mean my dad’s church, he is a clergy in a Celestial Church here in Lagos. I did Oro Ajuso, Alashe which brought about my stage name and some others. I play gospel music, but for now I would say I do more of gospel juju. I combine them now. The new one I have now is titled Unstoppable God, which is currently in the market. But I did one titled Asepe, which is a combination of so many things that happened in my life.

Out of the albums that you have done, which would you say brought you into limelight?

Alashe was the one that brought me fame. Actually the song Alashe is from an album titled Alashe, and of all the songs in the album, that was the one that people liked most. So anytime I go for events or functions people call me Alashe. That was how the name stuck.

Why the change of genre?

The point is that you have to go with what is in vogue. You either want to be on this side or that other side. As a musician you have to belong somewhere. Presently, people in different fields have decided to have an association in order to belong to a particular place. I am in gospel music purely, but at times as a way of appreciating my fans and those who appreciate me in return, I decide to take them along by praising them in my songs. It is like a game of sport where you have a person that is good in playing penalty kicks; you would want to do everything you can to keep that person. So, as a musician I sing their praises either by mentioning their names or companies in my albums. That is the reason for the change. In gospel music, though some do not see anything wrong in singing people’s praises, others say it is not accepted. That is the reason I had to add the juju because they believe it is their style. To avoid a clash, I decided to join the Association of Juju Musicians of Nigeria. So if I want to praise anybody or company, I add the juju flavour to it. But if it is just telling the story of Christ, I do purely gospel.

Are you saying you do these genres separately?

No, I do them together. In my new album Unstoppable God, I combined both genres. What I do is to have them mixed in the album. So there is juju in track three, and then gospel in the other tracks.

Don’t you regard adding juju to your music as a set back to your career?

I don’t think it is. I say that because juju of present is also linked to gospel. When we say gospel, it is about goodness and nowadays it is hard to listen to juju music without hearing good words. Back in the days, the juju played then had lewd lyrics but we hardly hear such things anymore. An example is Aiyefele. He sings gospel, but because he now says my God will bless you, which means he is referring to those blessing in him in different ways, he has started praising them in some ways. I see adding juju to my song as a way of gaining more fans to myself.

Presently I have fans that don’t go to church or know what the bible says; all they want throughout their life is just to be in the bar by saying they don’t know when they are going to die, so they want to enjoy their life. For people of that calibre, you have to use what they enjoy doing to win their souls. So when they come to the bar, you give them what you have, which is gospel, Christianity, Jesus. Therefore, I see it as a way of bringing those far away from God closer to him. Because they want to enjoy life, you have to take it to them, so that they can listen to you. Jesus said He came because of sinners, not you that already know him.

How is Unstoppable doing presently?

Well the new album, which is from Total Concepts theatre Group, is doing quite well. We started the production like a joke with just five thousand copies and right now we are back trying to produce more because we have more demands from our distributors and fans. And being an artiste, I like feedback a lot, so I was very happy with the response I got from people who have listened to the album. Hearing what they have to say will ginger me to do more and put in all my best in another work or production. I got to know about this feed back not from what people are saying, but from the page I opened for Unstoppable album on Facebook. What I was doing in the past on my albums was just to introduce them to the churches and stop there, but now with the electronic media, I believe that I could do better and that is why I am using the new method of getting to know my fans and their response by opening pages for them when they are released into the market.

Asides from music, what are you into?

Music is the only thing I do. At times, with the condition of the country, you just want to do some other things asides it.

Was music a talent or the church that made you become a musician?

I would say the music my father was unable to do is what I am doing today. My father is the origin of everything I have become today.

How do you mean?

My father is someone who loves life and had moved to different places with the likes of Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, and some others but ended up being a clergy. When I got to the university, that was Osun State University, I had the intention of studying music, but there are stages you get to, that you do not agree with your parents. My father wanted me to be a banker or a lawyer but when I got to school, I managed to do my sociology course. Why I picked the course was because I love Public Relations so much; I love meeting people, seeing things that I have not seen before and travelling. In my first two years, I was busy searching for music department and I was told that they had it but it was not functioning. I tried all I could to make it work. The Vice Chancellor knew me for all my efforts but we could not meet up with the criteria and amenities. Immediately I was through with my four-year programme, I picked up a diploma form in music at the Polytechnic of Ibadan.

What countries have you been to?

I would say most of the African countries.

How do you create time for the family?

I thank God for the kind of wife I have. She understands my job and most times prepares me for my trips. Sometimes I can be away for up to five days and she will be the one to pack for me for those days. She is sincere; I married her when the time was right. I mean we were dating and the fear of what a musician can do was there, which kept us waiting for some years. Fortunately and through the help of God, we got married and we have three kids. And they all love music too. In fact I have one that does not leave the drum set, he is so attached to it and he plays for them in school. The other two, one loves singing while the other loves the keyboard.

As a celestial, you have privilege of marrying more than one wife; do we see that happening to you too?

I don’t see that coming. I say that because God knows our future. If I say tomorrow I have to be in Abuja by 2pm He knows that I would not be there at that time. If God says that is how it is going to be, fine. But left for me I don’t want to follow the lineage of the elders in this profession. People know Juju musicians to have more than one wife. I have an uncle who does the same work and always make sure that he marries a wife in any state he travels to. So whenever he is going to that same state again, he will just call and inform the lady that he is coming. Presently he has lost count. I want to be able to stand on my feet in the next decade, and say, I, Alashe, am married to just one wife. I know it is hard with the type of temptations I face when I go to shows. I believe in having girlfriends, other than marrying them, because being on a platonic level will make the person realise that one day, she has to get married too.