Ace gospel singer, Yinka Ayefele, will on Sunday, 13 December, clock 10 years on stage. In this interview with Olatunji Saliu , he talks about his new album entitled Transformation, career and other issues
Q: Heard that you are in the studio cooking something very different from what we all know about you, what is it all about?
A: You are right. Actually, I have been in the studio for a while and now, I think we are through with the recording of my new album that will be released soon. It is something very different. It is something my fans will appreciate and like to know about. It is all about my career and the wonders God has done in my life. I cannot tell it all but as usual, it is what everyone has been waiting for. It is still very hot.
Q: Is that why you spent so much time in the studio?
A: Not really, but even if I did, it is worth spending time for. But the truth is that I spent the normal time I should spend in the studio and after working on the album, I travelled abroad and returned to put finishing touches to the work. I think I am a workaholic when it comes to giving my best.
Q: So, what is special about your new album?
A: Everything. God has really transformed me. It is a special album I have dedicated to my tenth anniversary as a musician. When I look back at the good things and wonders God has done in my life, I easily conclude that no one is as dear to God as I am. The new album is special because it tells my story from Bitter Experience, my first album, to Sweet Experience and till date. It is the album that will keep you abreast, full of thanks to God for what He has done in my life.
Q: On Sunday, 13 December, 2009, you would have spent 10 years on stage. What events you have outlined to celebrate the anniversary?
A: It cannot be better celebrated than locking myself in my room and begin to give thanks to God for He is good and His mercies endure (in my life) forever. I have no big plans than to give thanks to God and roll on the floor in my room as a sign of appreciation to my father in heaven. Thereafter, I will go to the church for another thanksgiving service and back home to rest and continue with the thanksgiving. The special and marvellous thing about that day is that the first time we launched the album, Bitter Experience, was Sunday, 13 December 1999, that was when my career as a musician really started. And 10 years on, which coincidentally falls on same day and date, I have a better story to tell. God is good and that is why I have deliberately dubbed my new album Transformation. It is God who has transformed my life and gave it a better meaning.
Q: Apart from the accident that rendered you bedridden for nine months in 1999, what other things can you say God has specially used to steer the wheel of your career?
A: I have even lost count of them. They are too many. First, it was the accident as you rightly said and nine months later, I was able to bounce back and record an album which turned out to be Bitter Experience. No doubt, the album was a success and the second transformation turned out to be the successful recording and release of Sweet Experience. There have been several transformations. For instance, can you count the number of musicians that have remained unshaken in their career for a decade? But mine is a different story. For 10 years, God has continued to bless me and at the same time, given my career a boost. There has never been a week that I have not performed at a show in the last 10 years. Is it not awesome that more people ask for my music daily? So far, God has continued to bring good and right people on my way, to give my career the needed assistance. For instance, when I needed assistance at the time I had an accident, it was Alhaji Azeez Arisekola-Alao that God used as my benefactor to foot all my travelling expenses, including my medical bills in the United Kingdom. When I returned, God continued to show me the way by giving me the right people to give my career a boost. It is all a success story.
Q: What is the strength of your band and how have you been able to control such a number of able-bodied men?
A: Let me state categorically that God has been the secret of my band. He is our strength and as human beings, I think we have been able to keep the relationship going with love, understanding and commitment to duty. There are times that we disagree, but we resolve our differences amicably and then continue with our brotherly affair. The band has a good working relationship, team spirit and affection.
Q: Do you have any favourite member among your band members?
A: I love them equally and I am sure they also reciprocate my love for them. I think that is the main reason they have been working with me and are still there for me in years to come. They all share my dream and we all work assiduously to achieve our set goals. It is wrong for me to have special interest in any of them as that can cause disunity among us. As my staff, I love them all.
Q: Okay, if you claim not to have a special interest in any of them, who among them do you think you may miss if he decides to quit your band?
A: Are you trying to put words in my mouth? Everyone has a role to play in the band. The percussionists, backup singers, set drummers, talking drummers, guitarists and even the keyboard players, all have important roles to play. There is nothing wrong if any one decides to pursue a different goal in life, there won't be hard feelings and we will definitely miss the person. But what I really want you to understand is that there can be a perfect replacement for every man, only God is perfect in all things.
Q: Why is it that there no lady in your band. A lot of people believe you actually don't encourage them to join your team?
A: It is actually because I don't want any distraction in my band. Of course, there are lots of talented female singers out there, but I am more comfortable with the men. I feel the presence of a lady in the band will spring a lot of disagreements and rumours. Even when nothing is happening, people will still speculate that there is something going on. When the male members feel cautioned about the lady's presence and therefore decide not to have a fling with her, their friends outside the band may begin a rat race to win her heart. I try not to poke-nose into their private lives. So, you see the presence of a woman in the band is likely to cause one million and one squabbles and distractions. I prefer my band members to be men, so we can easily deal with ourselves, but where there is a lady, that will be difficult to do.
Q: What really inspire your songs?
A: God is my inspiration. He owns all the credit. Sometimes, I even wonder what I have done to deserve all these favours I receive from God. I think I am a special beneficiary of God's blessings.
Q: Do you have regrets in your 10-year career as a musician?
A: I don't have any regrets. As a matter of fact, I have never regretted a day in my career. The truth remains that I am just an opportunist. An opportunist in the sense that God has brought me to fame land from my terrible and bitter experience.
Q: Talk about your NGO, Yinka Ayefele Foundation (YAF) launched on your 40th birthday on 1 February, 2009?
A: I am not totally happy with the way it is now. We have the right resources that can make the NGO work successfully, but we lack the right people. Most of the people that are showing interest in the foundation seem to be doing so because of what they want to gain and not what they can give. We have a few dedicated people now, but others are not showing commitments.
Q: Do you have any unfulfilled dream?
A: No, God has fulfilled all my dreams and it is obvious. His wonders are marvellous in our eyes.
Q: So, what makes you feel sad, especially as the leader of Merry Makers' Band?
A: I feel sad when there's nobody to assist me in doing what I cannot do for myself. I get moved to tears as I watch people trying to take advantage of me. It's so sad.
Q: And how would you feel if some of your children decide to take after you musically?
A: I will be very glad about it. Music is a good business. As a matter of fact, I will encourage my child because my father, a former headmaster, never encouraged me to play music. I forced myself to be a member of the school's Boys' Brigade and played the trumpet. If any of my children takes after me, I will be glad.
Q: Finally, who is going to market your new album, Transformation?
A: This time, it is going to be Aloy Music International. He has always being there, but I decided to contract Glaxy Music on my last VCD because Aloy had some jobs that were yet to be released at the time. Our relationship is still intact and all is well.
Story by nigeriafilms.com