Wiz Kid - SuperStar

Born Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, Wizkid is no doubt one of the fastest rising artistes in the Nigerian music industry. A talented singer, songwriter and performer. He kicked off his singing career at the early age of 11 when he recorded his first song with one of Nigeria’s celebrated music icons, OJB Jezreel. He went on to record a 7-track album, which he released in his church in Lagos, under the name of Lil’ Prinz.

Years later in 2006, with a new stage name, and a passion for making music and God-given talent, Wizkid got back into the studio to hone his craft. He continued to develop as a Singer and Songwriter by working under some of Nigeria’s biggest Musical names such as OJB Jezreel, Naeto C, Ikechukwu and many others. Over the next few years his talent as a Singer and Songwriter became evident and it resulted in Wiz being prominently featured alongside some of the biggest Artistes in Nigeria’s Music Industry to much critical and commercial acclaim.

2009 would prove to be Wizkid’s break-out year, as his collaboration with M.I on “Fast Money, Fast Cars” on the Talk About It album drew major attention to his distinct voice and singing style. He went on to feature on Kel’s “Turn by Turn” and also got signed to Banky W’s Empire Mates Entertainment, and featured prominently on Banky’s “The W Experience” album.

At the age of 20, this extremely talented and charming young man had already achieved so much, thanks to his drive and focus for turning his life’s experiences into incredible music. In 2010, he released his first singles, “Holla at your Boy” followed by “Gidi Girl” and then there was the hit song, “Tease Me” which was just a studio freestyle that got leaked online and turned into a big hit in different parts of Nigeria and among Nigerians worldwide.

He reminds me so much of T-pain, with the use of the auto-tune. He does have a way with words and very flexible as it is evident in the different genres he sampled in his album. No doubt his music is addictive and would grow on you with time. With catchy choruses and rhythms little wonders why he has a few club bangers. I would recommend tracks like “Love My Baby” and “Slow Whine”

Take a listen and tell me what you think…………..Enjoy!

The Horse, The Man & His Son

So I just came back from Nigeria where I had to go bury my dad who passed a couple of weeks back. They say you do not become a man until your father dies: I guess it is official now. On my way back, all I could think of were the various special moments we spent together. He was a lover of good music and had quite a collection of vinyl (records for all the new-school folks) that I helped myself to on my previous visit home. He was more into philosophical music laced with a lot of proverbs. The likes of Ebenezer Obey, Olarenwaju Adepoju, Kayode Fashola, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and old school Sunny Ade. He also had quite a few foreign albums too. In all, he was well rounded because he was very open-minded when it came to music. Pretty sure I got my love for music from him. So I sieved through the pile of albums I got from him and came across one of his favorites. A classic by Ebenezer Obey: The Horse, The Man & His Son. Even as a kid, I could relate to the message within this album and it pretty much made me come to the realization that you cannot please everyone no matter what you do. For my fans/followers who do not speak/understand Yoruba, I apologize, but I would plead that you keep an open mind and enjoy the melody.

To my mentor, teacher, friend, confidant and father, you are truly missed.

Seal - Seal

Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel (born 19 February 1963 in London, England), known simply as Seal, was born to a Nigerian mother Adebisi Samuel and Brazilian father Francis Samuel. A recipient of BRIT, MTV and Grammy Awards, Seal is known for his numerous international hits; perhaps best known is "Kiss from a Rose," which appeared in the soundtrack to the 1995 Batman film “Batman Forever” and won him three Grammy Awards.

After a short time singing in local clubs and bars, in the 1980s, he joined Push, a British funk band, and toured with them in Japan. In Asia, he joined a blues band in Thailand for a while before separating from the group and journeying throughout India on his own. Seal returned to England, sleeping on the couch of friend Julian Bunster, then a model. He sometimes asked him "Do I sing well?” to which he often met the response that he sang better than most current artists. His break came when he met the producer Adamski. He was given the lyrics of the song "Killer", which was a huge hit in 1990.

He received a two-year diploma, in architecture and worked in various jobs in the London area. Although there have long been rumors as to the cause of the scars on his face, they are in fact the result of a type of Lupus called Discoid lupus a condition that specifically affects the skin above the neck. He is married to German super model Heidi Klum.

Here is his debut album Seal…….Enjoy!

Christy Essien Igbokwe is Gone (1960-2011)

I got the news last night via a bbm from a friend in naija. It gave me a very airy feeling as I just featured her on this blog a couple of weeks back. Ironically her post has been topping the list with the most hits. I was just about to upload a couple of her albums this weekend before I got the news. What can I say? Life is short!! It's pretty sad we have to loose yet another icon, the one and only Nigerian Lady of Songs. I am yet to get details on the cause of death, but I will keep you guys posted.

In the mean time, turn up your volume and listen to a few of her timeless classics (playing in the background)............Enjoy!

Sade Adu - Diamond Life

Born Helen Folasade Adu on 16 January 1959 in Ibadan, Nigeria, her father, Adebisi Adu, was a Nigerian-born economics professor. Her mother, Anne, was a British nurse. Her parents met while Adebisi Adu was a graduate student at the London School of Economics. After marrying and having a son, the couple moved to Ibadan, where Adu had landed a teaching job. Sade--a diminutive of Folasade--was born shortly after their arrival in Nigeria.

By the time Sade was four, her parents had separated, and, in 1963, she moved with her mother and brother back to England. They lived with Sade's grandparents while her mother finished nursing school, after which they moved out on their own. The family eventually settled in a working-class town called Holland-on-Sea.

At 17, Sade left for London to study fashion and design at St. Martin's College of Art in the city's West End. Sade's entry into the music world was by chance. A popular London funk group called Pride was looking for a backup singer. She auditioned for the spot and was initially rejected, but when nobody better showed up over the next few weeks, Sade was given the job.

As a backup singer, Sade quickly developed a following of her own, and at the suggestion of Pride's manager, she and a few other members of the band worked up a set of songs to perform during Pride's between- set breaks, with Sade taking center stage. Sade and Pride saxophonist Stuart Mathewman teamed up to write several catchy songs for the splinter group, and, before long, the newly-dubbed band Sade was overshadowing Pride.

Her solo performances of the song "Smooth Operator" attracted the attention of record companies and in 1983, she signed a solo deal with Epic Records taking three members of the band, Stuart Matthewman, Andrew Hale and Paul Denman, with her. Sade and her band produced the first of a string of hit albums. Their debut album Diamond Life was in 1984. She is the most successful solo female artist in British history, having sold over 110 million albums worldwide

Although the gaps between Sade's new projects seem to be widening, her voice--both as a singer and songwriter--remains a distinctive one in the pop music industry. Until a new star emerges who can out-cool Sade, her periodic reappearances are likely to be greeted with enthusiasm by her millions of fans, loyalists of the laid-back. Here is Diamond Life.........Enjoy!

Veno Marioghae - Nigeria Go Survive

Back in 1984, when Delta State indigene Veno Marioghae, one of Nigeria’s rising stars dropped her album “Nigeria Go Survive” on Tabansi Records, no one thought that 26 years Nigeria would still be struggling with Economic Woes, Tribal & Religious Conflicts and lack of/deteriorated basic amenities like unresolved Power. Everything has definitely gone down-hill since.

“Nigeria Go Survive”, a disco/pop song detailing Nigeria’s vast human and natural potentials vis a vis the troubled reality, she held strongly that Nigeria would survive the obstacles one way or another. Released in the days when the military was in power and despite the oil wealth, the economy virtually stagnated. The song was quite timely as it was released at a time when the future of Nigeria looked bleak and no one knew what the next day had in stock. With the song, Nigeria go survive, Veno calmed the nerves of many Nigerians who had given up hope on the country. The song also spoke to those who had planned to leave Nigeria, to stay behind and help build the country. It was a very big hit back in the 80s through the 90s and into the 21st Century where a 2010 version by DMSquared featuring J’odie has been released with similar ideologies.

As patriotic as the song might be, many criticized her, for being the mouth piece of the government. Some saw her as a diversion set up by the government, when there were mounting pressures on the government to better the lives of Nigerians.

She had other hit songs like “Thank You Jah” and the Isoko “Iwa Ti Yo”. She would go on to release a 2nd successful album with the hit song “Siobo Nome”. She left the music scene in the early nineties.

She is happily married with 3 children and currently works as an administrative worker in her church – Grace Assembly. She is currently working on album at her own pace and hopes to publish her written work soon.

Here is Nigeria Go Survive...............Enjoy!

Ebenezer Obey – Obey In the 60’s

Obey, whose full names are Ebenezer Remilekun Aremu Olasupo Obey-Fabiyi, was born in Idogo, Ogun State, Nigeria. He began his professional career in the mid-1950s as a member of the Fatai Rolling-Dollar's band. He later formed a band called The International Brothers in 1964, playing highlife/juju fusion. The band later metamorphosed into Inter-Reformers in the early-1970s.
Obey began experimenting with Yoruba percussion style and expanding on the band by adding more drum kits, guitars and talking drums. In an effort to rise above his competition, Obey began to develop new musical "systems," adding as many as 20 new musicians to his band at a time, extending the length of his album tracks, and pumping out hit after hit. Obeys’ musical strengths lie in weaving intricate Yoruba axioms into dance-floor compositions. Typical of Nigerian Yoruba social-circle music, the Inter-Reformers band exceled in praise-singing for rich Nigerian socialites and business tycoons.

Since the 1960s, Ebenezer Obey has been one of the most popular, prolific, and influential musicians in Nigeria, releasing over fifty albums, developing juju style, and conducting an informal and highly creative campaign against his competitors in the musical world. Though his lyrics were traditional, his musical direction was highly innovative. A stylish and bluesy guitarist whose music has been contagious in Nigeria for years, Obey is also renowned for Christian spiritual themes in his music and has since the early-1990s retired into Nigerian gospel music ministry.

No doubt my favorite musician of all time and I also dare to say that this album is on my top 2 of all time. Here is Obey in the 60’s………..Enjoy!

Taio Cruz - Rockstarr

Born Jacob Taio Cruz on 23rd April 1983, Cruz was born in London, England, to a Nigerian father and a Brazilian mother. He attended Christ's Hospital in West Sussex. He is a singer-songwriter, occasional rapper, and music producer.

He is also the founder and C.E.O. of Rokstarr Music London, which in 2006 released his debut single I Just Wanna Know.
In 2008, after years of writing songs for other artists including Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Pussycat Dolls he released his debut album “Departure”. Written, arranged and produced himself, it achieved initial success in the UK and earned him a MOBO Award nomination. In October 2009, he released his follow up album “Rokstarr” in the UK, which failed to chart as well as his debut but eventually sold a lot of copies.

He then released "Break Your Heart" as his debut US single In March 2010. Break Your Heart reached number 1 in the UK where it stayed for 8 weeks. The single spent 6 weeks in the top 10. It also reached the top spot in the U.S. for one week according to the Billboard.
Taio Cruz has writen/produced songs for many artists such as Usher, Leona Lewis, Sugababes, Cheryl Cole, Ke$ha, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Pussycat Dolls, Kylie Minogue, and Alexandra Burke. He also writes and produces all of his own work including his number 1 hit Break Your Heart'.

Here is his second album “Rockstarr” ……Enjoy!

Dr Victor Olaiya - Highlife Re-Incarnation

Victor Abimbola Olaiya was born on 31st December 1930, in Calabar, Cross River State. The 20th child of a family of 24 kids (WOW!!!). His parents, Alfred Omolona Olaiya and Bathsheba Owolabi Motajo hailed from Ijesha-Ishu in Ekiti State. Upon leaving school he moved to Lagos where he passed the school certificate examination in 1951 and was accepted by Howard University, USA to study Civil engineering. However, due to lack of money he was unable to go, instead he started a career as a musician, a move of which his parents disapproved. He played with the Sammy Akpabot band, the Old Lagos City Orchestra (a dance band) and the Bobby Benson Jam Session Orchestra, where he was leader and trumpeter of the second band.

In 1954 he left Bobby Benson to form his own band, the Cool Cats, playing popular highlife music. His band was chosen to play at the state ball when Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom visited Nigeria in 1956, and later to play at the state balls when Nigeria became independent in 1960 and when Nigeria became a republic in 1963. On that occasion, he shared the stage with the famous American jazz player Louis Armstrong.

Popularly called the Evil Genius of Highlife, Olaiya's music blends Ghanaian highlife and what would become Afro beat. His musical style was strongly influenced by James Brown, with horn parts harmonized in Brown's style, as opposed to the mostly unison lines of Afro beat. His music is infectious, typifying highlife music, played with great energy.

He played with highlife artist E. T. Mensah of Ghana, and released a best-selling joint album with Mensah. Both the drummer Tony Allen and vocalist Fela Kuti played with Olaiya and went on to achieve individual success. Kola Ogunkoya played in the All Stars Band from 1986 to 1987 and went on to have a highly successful career with his own Afrobeat band.

During the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1970, Olaiya was given the rank of a lieutenant colonel (honorary) in the Nigerian Army when his band played for the troops at various locations. His band later traveled to the Congo to perform for United Nations troops. He led his band, renamed to the All Stars Band, to the 1963 International Jazz Festival in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

In addition to his successful career as a musician, Olaiya ran a business that imported and distributed musical instruments and accessories throughout West Africa, and also established the Stadium Hotel in Surulere, Lagos.

He has had several hits, one of which is Baby Jo Wo (which has been remixed by several artists) Here is a classic from his bag of tricks, Highlife Re-Incarnation……… Enjoy!

Christy Essien Igbokwe - Ever Liked My Person

Born on the 11th of November 1960, Christy Essien-Igbokwe popularly called “Nigeria’s Lady of songs” lost her mother at age 12 and lived with her late mother's friend who encouraged her singing career and bought her a fairly used cassette player to record her songs.

She began her musical career in Secondary School, singing at various clubs in Aba. She later landed a gig with NTA Aba on a programme called “Now Sound'. It was during the shooting of one of the episodes for this show that she noticed a cast member (for another show “New Masquerade”) rehearsing his lines incorrectly, so she volunteered to assist him there-by landing her a role in the series.

She became quite popular as she played the role of “Apena” the wife of the cantankerous character Chief Jegede Shokoya (played by Claude Eke who passed away in 2002) in the sensational situational comedy “The New Masquerade” .The role shot the young actress to stardom.

The singer and actress released her debut album “Freedom” in 1976 at age 16 and married Edwin Igbokwe three years later. She followed up with other albums; “Patience”, “Time Waits for No One” (both 1978), “One Understanding” (1979), “Give Me A Chance” (1980). However her 1981 hit album, “Ever Liked My Person” which features the hit single “Omo Mi Se Ohun Rere” remains her best LP till date. Released under London-based label, Lagos International Records, which was more inclined towards promoting Nigerian pop music in Europe and America, “Ever Liked My Person” featured production from one of Nigeria's top producers, Lemmy Jackson, who was touted as Nigeria's Quincy Jones.

Although she is not Yoruba, most of her hits were sung in the western Nigerian language, and drew heavily on the culture and tradition. Essien's fluency in Yoruba, English, Igbo and her native Ibibio earned her an appeal which cut across tribal lines.

As one of Nigeria's finest and foremost female pop vocalists, her roll call of honors include Africa Music Mother Award (1984), World Song Festival Award 1996. She is also the first female president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria ‘PMAN” The Akwa-Ibom born performer also had the honor of composing and performing what would later be known as her state's anthem of sorts, "Akwa-Ibom mi” (My Akwa-Ibom) in 1987, its year of creation.

Here is a collection of her hit tracks, Enjoy!

M.I - Talk About It

Jude Abaga, better known by stage name M.I, (Mr. Incredible) is a Nigerian Hip hop Artist. Jude was born in Jos Plateau State .Though not much is known about his upbringing; it is believed that he was an active participant at a local church choir his father pastored in Jos.

Jude's venture in the Hip Hop world started with the sampling of works from DMX and Lauryn Hill as early as 1998. After his stint at Calvin College, Michigan, USA, he delved into Poetry while pursuing a career in Business and Economics. There, he performed regularly at the school's Hip Hop concerts. His impressive rap style won him a third place finish at the Calvin College show tagged 'HipHopera' in 2003. M.I. also made some amateur attempts at comedy, but decided to stick to music because he was embarrassed when nobody laughed but him.

Upon returning to Nigeria in 2003, M.I made his presence felt in the Nigerian Hip Hop industry dominated by the likes of Modenine, Ruggedman and El Dee. He commenced the production of mixtapes with his friend Djinee. This led to the critically acclaimed single "Safe", which got impressive airplay. The hype surrounding the release of Safe led to the buzz given to his debut studio album titled “Talk About It”.

M.I's role in the Nigerian music industry cannot be overstated. MI has done a lot to bring a Northern presence to the Nigerian music industry, mostly dominated by southerners. His lyrics are well laced and quite audible. He currently has a new album out (which I would be featuring soon). He is the founder of Loopy Records, and he is signed to Chocolate City.

Here is his debut “Talk About It” Enjoy!

PS: For those who don't know, MI is the one on verse 2 of this blog's theme song (Waving Flag remix)

RIP Alhaji Agba

Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Ololade Balogun, better known by his stage name "Ayinde Barrister," was undoubtedly a genius Yoruba traditional singer. He was also one of Nigeria's best known musicians. And the news of his untimely death of diabetes related causes at the age of 62 on Thursday at St. Mary's hospital in London was a sad news to many Nigerians

Alhaji Agba, as he was fondly called, also served in the Nigerian military and fought during the Nigerian civil war. He began his music career in 1958 as a member of the "Ajisari Ajiwere" group during the holy month of Ramadan. This "Were" genre evolved to become Fuji music which Barrister named after Mount Fuji, the Japanese Mountain of love. He had said Fuji is also a combination of these Yoruba music namely: Sakara, Juju, Apala, Gudugudu and Yoruba praise poems

Ayinde Barrister excelled as a musician because he was a gifted singer with imagination and great voice. He demonstrated the complexities of lives through his music. His music touched so many lives and a whole range of topics, namely, history, love, marriage, naming ceremony, prayer, truth, happiness, poverty, peace, trials and tribulations, death, chants, myth and magic, corruption and enthronement of democracy, among others. He was one of the rare musicians who sang about societal ills, personal freedom and responsibilities during the military rule in Nigeria. His deeply philosophical music was filled with urgency and timelessness, we also learned more about Yoruba proverbs, customs and traditions, plus poetry through his music.

Among his best known songs are "Fuji Garbage," "Oke Agba," "Okiki," "Barry at 40," and "Esinmi Rascality." And we can never forget lyrics like "Ara Mecca Njo" that chastised Muslims who believe music has no place in Islam -- "Alomoko Abake Oloyaya," "Ijo Olomo," "Bi Iku Se lagbara to" ( to late Soccer Star Muda Lawal), among others.

It is noteworthy that his vintage music creates a lasting impression in the minds of his fans, even when singing praise of himself or a member of his band like Oyadolu, Tunde Balinga, Alade Tajudeen "Deputy Commander" and the late ace drummer Alhaji Kamoru Akanji Ayansola, also known as "Igi Jegede."

Finally, Ayinde Barrister's death no doubt dealt a great blow to Nigerian music industry and indigenous African music as a whole especially nowadays that African music is fast becoming an imitation of the U.S. Hip Hop music. He was certainly one of the greatest Yoruba musicians of all time. Like Fela Anikulapo Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Victor Olaiya and I.K Dairo. He the very last of the embodiment of the great Yoruba traditional music( group consists of  Habib Oluwa, Yusuf Olatunji, Haruna Ishola, S. Aka, and Ayinla Omowura). His death marked the end of an era. May God grant Sikiru Ayinde Barrister ( Omo Agbajelola Salami ni Ibadan) eternal rest.

Here is one of his classics "Fuji Garbage enjoy!