By Ajayi Bamidele
Self-styled godfather of Ajegunle musicians, Innocent Onyebuchi Onyemuwa, popularly called Daddy Fresh, who made waves in the early 90s with his “Eleru gbe eru” and disappeared into thin air while the ovation was loudest, is back on the scene. The versatile singer recently announced his return to the music circle with the unveiling of his new record label, UE Recordz, which he wants to use to groom his successors. Already, he has signed two talented acts, Juxris and Browzino to the
label, and he’s looking forward to making a great impact once again on the nation’s music scene. He spoke to Showtime Celebrity on what he’s bringing to the table as he stages a comeback to the highly competitive Nigerian music scene. What’s happening to your career? My career right now is back on track. It actually went off track for years due to some challenges, but right now, I’m back on track, and getting ready to prove my worth once again in the nation’s music scene. Could you tell us some of these challenges? I want to keep them private but they were very strong challenges. Thank God who never allowed what the enemy planned against me to prosper. Looking back and at what is happening today in the Nigerian music scene, where do you place yourself? I still place myself as a pioneer and godfather of Ajegunle musicians. When I was out there, the likes of Daddy Showkey, Baba Fryo, Nico Gravity, Father U-Turn among others joined me and when I went off stage they followed suit. Now I’m back, and my prayer for them is that they should start staging a comeback to the industry too. What have you missed since your disappearance from the scene? I have missed constant stage performances. I also missed my ardent fans who were no more privileged to listen to my songs over the years, and who kept disturbing me on the social media to return to the scene. I’m glad I’m back to take my rightful place in the Nigerian music scene. I disappeared from the scene for good. My detractors thought it was the end of the road for me. But unfortunately for them, I’m back, better, fresher and stronger. Daddy-Fresh What are the inspiring factors behind the Ajegunle musicians? God empowered me to inspire a whole lot of them. That’s why I am their godfather. Is this inspiring factor not responsible for the disintegration among Ajegunle musicians! Since I went underground for years, there is bound to be loopholes. But how are you going to champion the return of old Ajegunle musicians? I have actually done it in the past and that’s why I was honoured with the title of Asiwaju of Ajegunle musicians. If it’s the will of God, why not? But right now, I am all for myself. I’m trying my best to stage a comeback because I went through hell because of Ajegunle. My family and my fans are very important to me at this moment. If other top artistes are ready to follow suit, I pray that God should give them the strength to do so. What’s your connection with Olusegun Obasanjo? I was the first Ajegunle musician to host a president. I hosted Obasanjo at a place called Boundary in Ajegunle and it was fun. It was during the 2006/’07 presidential election. What are you bringing to the table now that you are back? I am bringing reality to the table as I have always done in the past. You know I have always used my music to create a demand in the minds of the people; the need for us to love one another. I have also used my music to create a demand in the people concerning the need to be self-reliant. When you look at what is happening in the Nigerian music scene, what do you take away from it? Low platform. The platform is weak and need a very solid platform where we can express ourselves and our creativity. We also need the support of the government that will recognize the importance of show business in the country. American government do not play with their entertainers. They hold them in a very high esteem. Our government should emulate them. Many believed you went underground because you have nothing to offer again? That’s not true. Daddy Fresh is a musician till infinity. I have over 162 songs, mixed and mastered. And that’s why I said I’m ready to go. I’m back to reclaim my rightful place in the Nigerian music scene. What’s the idea behind the new record label you floated recently? The setting up of the record label, UE Recordz, was financed by my friend and kid sister who believed in what I’m doing. She asked me to manage the label as a way of supporting my career. I want to use the label to groom young and aspiring artistes. Already, we have signed two talented acts, Juxris and Browzino to the label, and I’m looking forward to making a great impact once again on the nation’s music scene.