Popular musician, Yinka Ayefele, shared his experience in the music industry with KORE OGIDAN and spoke on life without the use of his legs
What did it feel like the day you made your first million naira from the sales of your records?
Honestly, I don’t even know the day I hit the first million from record sales.
At that time, I was only concerned about how to raise money for my treatment abroad. As the money came in, it was diverted to the hospital in London for my surgery.
I had some people in charge of my finances then; so, it was not a matter of when the first million came in.
What fears did you nurse when you decided to embrace gospel music in an era when secular music was in vogue?
I did not have any fear. Before then, I had been a choir master in my church. I had led the choir to release some gospel albums before the accident; so, it was a familiar terrain.
At certain points, I also played the guitar for notable juju artistes such as Toye Ajagun, Micho Ade, Wale Thompson and others. My style of music is called gospel tungba – a fusion of gospel with high percussion beat.
I created a style that is totally different from others; you can’t categorise it as juju.
I actually wanted a style that will appeal to all religions and that’s why you see people of different religious backgrounds embracing my music. I have succeeded in creating a genre that appeals to all religions.
What challenges came at the beginning of your career as a gospel artiste and how you were you able to overcome them?
I faced a lot of challenges because of my condition but I got used to them with the passage of time.
While some of the challenges have been overcome, I have adapted to others. I believe challenges are part of the steps on the ladder of success and every successful person must climb it.
When did you realise you had a talent for music and how were you able to develop the gift?
I taught myself the art of playing musical instruments. There’s no musical instrument I cannot play. From the guitar, keyboard, talking drums, saxophone and even drum set, I taught myself how to play all these because I’m very inquisitive.
I like to know about everything. Apart from the fact that music is a God-given talent, I would say I further honed my musical skills in the choir.
Did you have plans to become an artiste before your accident?
Not really. Before the accident, I had released an album, apart from the one I featured in as the leader of my church’s choir. The issue of releasing an album came about when I needed to raise money for my treatment.
Instead of going to radio stations to beg for money for further treatment, having been hospitalised for close to a year at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, some of my colleagues suggested that I should release an album since I have the talent.
The idea was for the album to be launched and the money that would be raised was to be used for my treatment abroad.
Although music had always been a part of me, I never considered taking it up as a fulltime job. I just loved been a broadcaster.
Looking at the rapid emergence of young gospel artistes, do you ever feel threatened or do you have confidence in your lasting reign in the industry?
If I feel threatened, what do you want legends such as King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, K1 d Ultimate, and others to do? These are artistes who have created or recreated genres through which numerous other artistes earn a living. I believe the field is wide enough for everyone to have their own share of fans. We have people who can’t do without Ayefele and we have people who make Ayefele an option. That’s the beauty of life.
As a gospel artiste, who is God to you?
God is everything to me. Who am I without God; a serial-sinner who has only received favour!
As a Christian inv