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Artist Interview: Adedeji, From West Africa To The World

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Q: When would you say triggered your passion for music? How old were you at the time?

A: My passion for music was triggered as far as I could remember; I was probably 5-years-old then. I seriously cannot remember how or when it started but I was teaching my sister and brother how to sing in different parts at that age so when i joined the choir, the only thing I could remember was I did not do audition like the other kids. I was instantly accepted. I started leading the choir, which led to immediately joining the senior choir. I was the smallest then, and it was straight to the streets from there.

Q: Were there any particular artists that helped trigger this interest in becoming a musician yourself?

A: It was the diverse music my father played at home, we could wake up with Handel's “Messiah," Mozart, or Beethoven. At noon it would be Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Haruna Ishola, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, and Louis Armstrong. By night I would be singing all of the parts. All these were my early influences. Choral music was a big part of it and early African Gospel singers. By the time I discovered people like George Benson, Wes Montgomery, and Charlie Parker, I was already a musician and they provided the musical challenges I needed to move on and grow.

Q: You work with a diverse menu of styles. What influenced this eclecticism?

A: Like I said, the sound at home was a big part; also, my parents have different tastes in music. My mother is more into local music while my father was more on the classical side. I was in my mother's church choir but after rehearsals I would go and check my father's choir. I discovered jazz later, late '90s I would say. I loved the energy and wanted a different approach to my music I think I was sick of 1-4-5 then. I discovered Afro-Cuban music the same period, and the rhythm was almost similar to what I grew up with so I connected naturally. I just couldn't stay with one style because all of these influences are running in my head; it would be unfair for my soul to stick to one.

Q: How would you describe the music scene in West Africa?

A: The West African music scene is interesting but dangerous at the same time. The audience sometimes don't know what they are going for but if you manage to convince them I believe you could have lifelong fans; unfortunately, at the moment, I see too much commercialization in it, and the true artistic essence seems to be dying. Also, there are lots of styles and artists that have either not been discovered yet or have been ignored. Things changed now. When I was younger there was more originality and people pushing their limits; everybody sounded different but now they all sound Auto-Tuned apart from a few ones.

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