Akanji Abiodun Samuel better known as Hess King was one of the most popular talents during the African Magic/Indomie Noddles ‘Owambe’ Saturday that held during the lockdown and returns for a second time later this month. One of the vocalists from Laolu Gbenjo’s band, he thrilled Africa with his unique singing and artistry. ROTIMI IGE caught up with him recently and presents excerpts of their interaction.
Kindly tell us a bit about yourself and early memories of family life…
I was born on the 12th of December, 1982 at the Mosafejo area of Ajegunle, Lagos. I am easy-going and love to get involved in anything that has to do with creativity. I am a singer, writer, actor, composer and a producer. I am second in the family of eight children.
How did you discover your love for music?
I grew up to know my father was a great Fuji musician in the 80s (Bashir Alamu and his consusility Fuji sound).
My father bought two Sakara drums one day in our leisure, he gave me the small one and taught me to create rhythm for his pleasure because he played the big one. That was how I started.
You are a part of one of the most popular bands in Nigeria. How did you achieve that?
You mean Laolu Gbenjo’s band. I got there simply because of the song writing skills God has endowed me with. And thanks to Laolu Gbenjo because he doesn’t shadow me or any of us in the band. He unleashes us and lets us roam free in the field of play.
I have written songs for many artistes and I am happy how far this has brought me. Ibitayo Jeje, Bolaji Sax, Kenny Kore, Laolu Gbenjo and still counting.
Laolu Gbenjo is a lover of creativity, he doesn’t tolerate dormant characters and he helps fuel our talents tremendously. I can simply say my creativity, tenacity and humility gave me a chance in the band.
Your band was the toast of Nigeria during the Owambe Saturdays on Africa Magic. Each member seems to have a specific function. Is this your band leader’s (Laolu Gbenjo) vision or a collective agreement?
It was his vision, supported by all of us. There is power in vision and i can boldly say Laolu Gbenjo is a man of vision. He is the chief creative officer here. He knows what to suggest to each department to bring out the best of our production at every point in time. His things are done in a unique way and manner, you don’t see him drop guard and he delivers top notch productions at all times. He will never give room for mediocrity.
Do you have your own private band/set-up?
Yes indeed. Mine is Hess king, ‘The major7th band’.
What specific genre of music will you say is your favourite?
My favorite genre is the type of Fuji music created by the late Sikiru Ayinde Barrister out of the Muslim morning cry to wake people for breakfast during fasting.
Are you/do you have any plans to become a recording artiste?
I am already one. My album is ready, tittled R.O.A.R (Ring Out All Realms).
What challenges have you faced growing as a performing artiste?
Basically, finance encompasses all the challenges we face.
Do you have any issues with artistes over copyright?
None that i can remember.
What could you have been if not an entertainer?
Business tycoon. I am actually one alongside my music. I own Autohess exotic cars.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Being sought after around the world.
What do you have to say about recording artistes who cannot perform to live bands?
What is a musician without his band? It’s shocking to know such exists at all.
Your top five Nigerian artistes?
If you have the power, what would you change about the Nigerian music industry.
Every musician must be qualified and verified.
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