Read what Afro-juju crooner, Sir Shina Peters, told DUPE AYINLA-OLASUKANMI, a journalist with the Nation newspaper.
HOW often do you get contract to perform?
It is when you are looking for fame that you tell people that you play every day. Mine is beyond that, because I do that every day. Can you imagine the children that I performed at their christening ceremony, telling their parents that it is me they want for their wedding? And what do they want to dance to? Afro-juju. Lots of them don’t know the names of the albums.
So if I don’t correct them now, it will destroy a lot of things. I could remember that, there was a time during festive periods that people would produce a record. It was when I came on board that I stopped it. And said I will be doing just an album in a year. It is not going to the studio that is my problem. But my research has made me to discover that my lyrics and where I want to place music is at a very high level. I have done it before through God, because I have done it before.
And that is why I do not joke with Him and my fasting. I can fast for 90days and nights. I will just stay indoors. That is my prayer room, my chapel; I can open it for you to see. I am from a Cherubim and Seraphim background, and that is what we believe. And with my contact with Him, He is saying I should take it easy. And when He says I should move, nothing can stop it.
How spiritual can you be?
I sing inspirational songs in my albums. Who are we to condemn other human beings, just because they are not as spiritual as we are? What I can tell you is that thank God for my life and where I come from. In terms of being spiritual, it is up there. I fear no one.
Are you saying you have not been attacked spiritually before, considering your fame and type of job?
How can? Nipa awe, ati adura, ki yio si nkankan (With prayer and fasting, there shall be no evil). You think I will just go on stage like that? There are several times that I will be fasting and playing on stage, laughing, dancing and nobody will know. That is the reason I always advise the upcoming ones, that what they are seeing is more to it. if you want to play music, you have to be battled spiritually. I don’t know any other thing than God.
I can’t serve two gods; I don’t believe in mammon. That is the only way you can succeed in music, because it is not an ordinary profession. Music works with spirit. An example is when you are performing and sweating, and somebody from the crowd just comes up to use his handkerchief on your face. Where do you place that without the backing of God? God is what they call voice in music; so how can you excel without having a relationship with Him? Your relationship with Him must be intact.
What we all know you for is Afro-juju; can you clarify us on this?
Afro-juju is a brand of music. It is like another genre of music. What people refer to the Afro-juju is the album titled Ace, which is just like Shinamania, and they are both under Afro-Juju.
Let’s talk about your age?
It is His grace. I started at the age of 10. And I will say I am one of the musicians that didn’t go to the university but came into the industry and became a star. If God could wake me up one night and said this is my line, that I should go into the music world and not bother doing any other thing. And I left my parents, 2.00am that day till date. I have played with Ebenezar Obey, Prince Adekunle, and partnered with Segun Adewale, before finally standing on my own.
And that was to do something on Juju, because it was dying. So you don’t toy with His feeling. The love God has for music is more than what we can see. There is no religion that doesn’t have its own kind of music – even those that worship the likes of Ogun. That is to tell you that you have to play music with the fear of God, and that is why you need a clear conscience. Because each day, no matter how late I ask myself what I have been able to do and the number of people I have been able to put smiles on their faces and tell myself I can do better tomorrow.
With your age, you still show a lot of energy on stage, how do you do it?
When you are in love with something, it is that love that gives you the energy or courage to cross any bridge. Because I love music, even if I want to die, I want to die on stage. At what age? I don’t know. But I always beg God, that if it is time, it should be on stage, because that is the only time I am pure.
How do you mean?
It is the only time I am pure, because that is the time I’m in contact with God; the lyrics that will come out for people to like, what I will say for people to shout, what I will do to carry my audience along.
Do you have any of your kids toeing your foot step?
Yes. Though they are not performers like me, they are into the music industry. I am yet to see one that will say I want to be like daddy. The only thing I hear them say is daddy, you are over working yourself. So instead of me to be like an inspiration to them, they are scared. I am not the type that tells his children what to do. Do what you like, I will bless you and God will bless you too.
Being a man with a lot of kids, how do you care for and communicate with them?
You see I don’t want to go to that area; the reason is because it will take a lot of wisdom before one can understand that area. I am a man that does not believe in being the biological father of a child. If you were here with your child, instantly, that child has become mine, because it is what I will do for Clinton that I will do for him/her too. By doing that, I have a lot of blessing and I’m happy. I have trained more than 25 children that are not mine, but bear my name home and abroad. But they are my children, because he who trains a child, owns the child.
And the only way it can work is to tell me before hand if you have something to do and I will check my schedule. If it is at a good time, I will do what you want. But if it is the wrong time, you have to wait. But some may not have that patience to wait, and will go out to say Shina can’t take care of his child. How can I not take care of my own child; when I have taken care of several that are not mine that have become doctors, lawyers, home and abroad? They will not say, they were not patient, or that it was his mum that taught him to leave.
They will now say Shina did not take care of his kids. And I cannot be finding you, when I still have those that need me more. If you are my biological child, then you have to be patient. Because those that are not mine might be afraid that I might not cater for them again. That is why I said it takes a lot of wisdom. I am a man with a very large heart and that is what I am enjoying today.
How do you relate with the people in this community?
You see, if there is anything that makes me happy every day, it is because of this community. If I was not staying here, how would I know or understand what is happening to people in the rural area? I have houses too in other reserved areas, but here, if anything happens even in the middle of the night, it is my house that they will first come to. Which include women in labour. If I was not here, who will do it? That goes for transformer too; when it blows off, it is my house they will come to. I will have to pick my phone to call my friend in PHCN. If I was not here, who will be doing all this?
But what are you doing concerning the bad road?
We are working on that. But the challenge we have is the big water pipe that was passed underground. If we say we should start reconstructing the road now, some digging would have to be done, which might get to the pipe and get busted. But Fashola is doing something now, that they will just gravel the surface and make it presentable. We can’t do a proper road because of the pipe.
How do you find time to relax?
The only time I relax is when I am praying and reading my bible. At that moment I am off the world; I prefer there than here. That is when I enjoy myself. And I swim a lot too, but we have to drain the water out because we are in the rainy season, and you can see the home is too peaceful. I have peace.
Having not attended a university, how did you brush yourself up?
You mean, how did I ‘tosh’ myself? How can you be moving with people like Aliko Dangote, Femi Odetola, Lanre Tejuosho, Segun Awolowo, without being ‘tosh’? That is why I say I am a self-made man. Native wisdom, you don’t read it in the school, it comes from God.
People have said to me several times, that I was just looking for sympathy and that is the reason I lied that I didn’t attend school. Why would I do that? Yes, I try my best to belong. And that is why there is a saying that says, show me you friend, and I will tell who you are. It is the kind of friends that I have, that their influence has ‘toshed’ me up and God gave me the rest.
What is Sir Shina Peters doing at the moment?
(Sighs) You know what? I don’t like to remember my schedule because it is scary. But, there are a lot of things.
Currently, do you have any work in progress?
Let me be honest with people for a change, I discover a lot about my music. People are still requesting and asking for the Ace, Shinamania, Experience, albums. People still call me for the four evergreen albums. After the four evergreen albums, I have done so many others, up to 16 or 20. But I discovered that what killed the ones I have done after my first four is that people do not have enough time to enjoy one before another one is released.
That is why if you ask me to play Afro-juju, you are referring to Ace. But if I sing Make una dance o, and you say that is it, it is not the same, because you are referring to the album Experience. But people can’t differentiate between the albums. There is no studio I want to go to now, because it is those other first four that people are still enjoying. People have refused to connect with the other ones I have done, because they always refer me back to the first four, which are the evergreen.
And if I don’t want to kill the rest… well that is why all my master tapes are intact, so that I can be remixing them. Maybe now I can be remixing them with my brothers and sons in the hip-hop world, so that people can enjoy the collaboration. But now, it is not the right time for me to do anything.
Are you working on any collaboration now?
We are working on You are the one for me. We are doing a video, but I am still not okay with it. I am a kind of person that doesn’t like rushing things. There are times that you just lose it and won’t be able to think right. I don’t force nature, so I just tell God, whenever you want me to continue, just let me know.
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