Nigerian artistes who are following in their fathers’ footsteps in music and show business

In Nigeria, children of legendary musicians are promoting occupational following and also keeping their family music flame, burning. Today, many of them are regular fixtures at recording studios, concerts and other public performances within and outside Nigeria. And they are also busy promoting their brands, reminding us about their forebears and their works, breaking new ground musically and making big money. Even though they live in the shadows of their fathers, they continue to create new forms almost on a daily basis. It is also not in doubt that they are fully in charge of their careers and lives even as they work consciously and continuously towards stepping into the big shoes left behind by their famous ancestors.

 

This phenomenon in the music industry has not only come to stay, it will also continue to promote new experiences, ideas and events in the entertainment industry in Nigeria.

These are the prime movers:

 

 

Femi and Seun Kuti

Femi, scion of the Fela Anikulapo-Kuti musical family is keeping Afrobeat aflame with his commitment to his father’s genre of music. Like many children following in the footsteps of their fathers, Femi received virtually all the needed practical training both on voice and instruments at home. With a prodigiously creative father like Fela who offered learning opportunities to many musicians, his son had no reason to look out for musical training in performing arts. So, he resolved early to be a musician even at the detriment of his formal education.

Today, Femi is distinguished, not just in Nigeria but across the world where he is well-known and highly appreciated by lovers of Afrobeat. Without Fela’s wealth of knowledge and expertise in music, it is obvious Femi would not have come this far. Having lived, worked and performed with his father for many years, provided all the necessary lessons for him.

 

He actually started his career with Egypt 80, his father’s former band where he learnt saxophone. But later, he formed Positive Force, his own group that is still going places.  Naturally, Femi inherited Fela’s activism. And like his father, his songs preach against bad government, corruption and inequality. He is a widely travelled musician and he has also performed on many international platforms. He is a recipient of many awards and honours.

 

Seun on the other hand, leads Egypt 80, his father’s former band. Born on January 11, 1983, the young man is a respected Afrobeat artiste. Like Femi, Seun also took off early due to the family’s musical influence. In fact, at the age of nine, he already showed interest in his father’s trade. So, shortly after, he started performing with his father’s band. Aside music, Seun is also an activist and a social crusader.

 

Umu Obiligbo

The literal translation of Umu Obiligbo is: ‘children of Obiligbo’. Chukwuemeka and Ifeanyi, descendants of Chief Akunwafor Ajana Obiligbo are following the musical path of their famous highlife musician father. The two blood brothers, inheritors of their father’s legacies, are retelling some of their father’s old stories and drawing attention to his great life with their highlife group known as Umu Obiligbo.

In Nteje, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State where Chukwuemeka and Ifeanyi hail from, they are loved and respected for their interest in culture. They are also appreciated for continuing with the traditional music of their people which was popularized by their father. In other parts of Igboland and even beyond, their music and efforts are also cherished by lovers of their art.

 

The brothers, beneficiaries of a rich musical heritage are also collaborating with other artistes like Flavour, Phyno and Humble Smith. And they are also recording big commercial feats both on stage and the studios. Udo Ga Di, (May Peace Reign) is one of their major hits.

 

Paul Play Dairo  

Paul Play Dairo is the son of IK Dairo, MBE, a renowned Nigerian Juju musician from Offa, Kwara State.

A notable Nigerian musician, singer and songwriter, Paul is a great stage performer, vocalist and composer who fully appreciates the power of music. His best-known songs are Forever, You and Me and Angel of My Life. Paul is also easily remembered for his creative remix of Mo So Rire under Kennis Music.

In an interview with one of Nigeria’s leading newspapers, he spoke brilliantly about his late father, his influence on his life and music. “Music is in my DNA (genes) and I probably got it from my late father, Isaiah Dairo popularly known as IK Dairo. I wanted to do other things but I just caught up in its rapture”.

 

Paul actually had a great and promising career before a health challenge that slowed him down. “Life dealt me a big blow at the peak of my career”, he reveals. But he is happy for the lessons that came with his health problems. According to him, “one of the lessons is that nothing is promised and freely given. Trust is a hard road to travel. Do not expect love, support or care from anybody but hold on to God”.

 

Dare Art Alade

Dare Art Alade is a man of many parts. Apart from the usual reference to this important artiste as “a Nigerian multi-platinum Afro R&B singer,” Darey as he is also known, is a record producer, songwriter, entrepreneur and philanthropist. In addition, he is the creative director, Livespot360.

This son of Art Alade, the legendary entertainer and Jazz Musician is making his mark in the music industry where he has made quite a name for himself as a performer. With works like Pray for Me, Not The Girl, Jah Guide Me, The Way You Are, Show Me Love, Asiko Laiye, Sisi Eko, Jojo, Carry Dey Go, Orekelewa, I Go Make Am, Inside of You and many others, Darey is ready to take on the world.

 

Darey and his wife, Deola are unique in many ways but the most telling, is the fact that they run successful businesses together as husband and wife. This is great. And from every indication, the sole driver of this success is the value and respect they both place on their relationship.

 

Tolu Obey

Tolu Obey is an artiste and son of Ebenezer Obey, the famous Nigerian Juju and gospel musician.

Like most children in their father’s trade, Tolu is leveraging the father’s successful musical careers both in the secular world where he distinguished himself, and as a Christian evangelist.

 

The younger Obey is the only child of the ace musician who is in his father’s line of business.

So far, the future remains bright for Tolu who is determined to make his mark outside his father’s big shoes in the music industry. Already, he is playing active role as a treasurer in the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN. He has also successfully created a brand for himself with his unique Afro grey hair to position himself and reduce the risk of impersonation.

 

Tolu Obey And The New Miliki Band is keeping the life and times of Ebenezer Obey alive for this generation and the ones to come. This is another way of immortalizing his father.

 

Burna Boy

His name is Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, the grandson of Benson Idonije, Nigeria’s remarkable music critic and artist manager who managed Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in his early years. Despite hitting the top early in his career, Burna Boy is definitely going to be around for many more years to come.

 

Professionally, his abilities are not in doubt. And he has done pretty well as a songwriter, singer, dancer and rapper. Music lovers and the general public regard him as one of the biggest and most accomplished artistes in Africa.

 

Burna Boy’s fascinating career began in 2012 with Like to Party, a lead single from his debut album, Life. Five years after, he got a deal with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the United States of America. Later, he released Outside and other works that eventually defined him. His awards and recognitions include: Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards; Album of the Year at the 2019 All Africa Music Awards; nominated for Best World Music Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards; nominated again at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards before winning the Best World Music Album at the Grammy.

 

Onyinye Osadebe   

He was a resourceful and talented musician who had received the highlife torch with promise from his father, Stephen Osita Osadebe, the highlife maestro. For those who came in contact with Onyinye, they remember him for his creativity and conviviality.

The death of Osadebe’s first son came as a big blow to many, especially music lovers and fans of his father’s great music across the world. No doubt, his exit has created a huge vacuum in the Osadebe musical family.

 

Even though Onyinye remixed some of his father’s music and created others in his image, he was nevertheless, an astute musician who also shaped his career. His songs include: Ogor Amaka, Ndubuisi, Onye Omelu Nu Ndu, Onye Melu and Ezigbo Mmadu Adiro Fechaa.

 

Clarence Peters

Creativity and entertainment run in the Peters family where Clarence is keeping the tradition alive. His father, Shina Peters is a musician while Clarion Chukwura, his mother, is a veteran actress and they are proud of their son’s exploits in an industry where they are still active players.

 

Clarence actually set out early in search of a career in show business. Today, he is a leading music and video director. He is also a filmmaker, cinematographer and content provider. His organization, Capital Dream Pictures is a production company with a proven track record. And he continues to be a preferred choice for recording artistes, filmmakers, producers and documentarians. In fact, he has been around and everywhere.

 

Some years ago, he came second on Channel O’s table of top 10 Most Visionary Video Directors. But Clarence has gone ahead to win other awards and recognitions. He is credited with many feats like directing 40 episodes of Everyday People, a popular television series. He also worked on many documentaries, commercials and over a hundred music videos across different age groups and genres.

  

Akala Okonta

In Akala, the talented and courageous son of Eddie Okonta, his father’s incomparable trumpet, still sounds.

Affectionately called the ‘Obi’ of trumpet for his mastery of the horn instrument, Eddie Okonta’s unmistakable sound continues to resonate across Nigeria and in his trumpeter son, Akala

In Asaba where Akala currently lives, he is keeping alive, the rich culture of highlife music and the exquisite rhythm associated with his equally gifted father, the ‘Obi’ of trumpet. He had gone through personal improvement and tutelage that should have taken him off the ground but Akala is still struggling to step into the big shoes his extraordinary father left behind.

 

“It has not been easy. For example, in 2003, I joined the band of Osita Osadebe, my father’s good friend and he really gave me every opportunity to grow. A loving father, I travelled with him across the world and gained experience. He said great things about my father and why their friendship which was without bitterness. I played with Osadebe until his last day. After his death, I became the leader of my own band in 2007. I played well until 2010 but because Osadebe was no more, I lost his fatherly advice and support. But I have remained on the scene despite all odds. As I pay tribute to Osadebe, I also remember other musicians like Ebenezer Obey, Victor Olaiya, Fatai Rolling Dollars and Morocco Maduka, among others”, he says.

 

Akala obviously wants to play music on his own terms. So, he hopes to play in the big league given his talent and his father’s big name and goodwill. Like his father, Akala is also a trumpeter, composer, singer and band leader. With his relatively young age and passion, the future looks bright for Akala who is optimistic about re-inventing himself and his career. No doubt, this young artiste is hopeful of continuing with his father’s unique art and turning around, his life and musical career.

 

Uche & Ajusieogu Obinna Warrior   

They are sons of the highly talented led vocalist of Oriental Brothers, a very influential band in the defunct East Central State. Oriental Brothers did not only produce record-breaking songs, they also promoted highlife with their performance within and outside Nigeria.

Now, Uche and Ajusieogu Obinna Warrior are bringing back those interesting and nostalgic tunes to a new generation. This is a commendable effort. It is also an excellent way of invoking long-forgotten memories and celebrating his father and a great band that projected culture and highlife music back in the day.

 

Like their father, Uche and Ajusieogu are also exporting highlife and playing before appreciative audiences across the Atlantic. Recently, Ajusieogu performed at Mbaise USA Gala Night where he drew extensively from his father’s rich collection of vintage works. One of the duo’s popular albums is Uwa Bu Pawpaw which addresses the nothingness of life and the fact that in this world, nothing really matters at the end of the day.