POPULAR ISLAMIC ACT AKOBI ESAN OPENS UP. ‘I WORKED AS A PHONE OPERATOR AFTER MY DEGREE’.
Alhaja Monsurat Ajelero Adegbemiro popularly known as Akobi Esan is a force to reckon with in the Islamic music industry. The very beautiful and Lagos State University is already carved a niche for herself among her peers
In this interview, The Egun born music act spoke about her forthcoming album launch, her journey so far in the world of Islamic music and how far she has coped with stardom. she also explained the reason she named her new album, Tan t’Olorun and how some of her colleagues are killing the Islamic music industry. Excerpt:
Can we meet you?
I am Alhaja Monsurat Ajelero Adegbemiro popularly known as Akobi Esan. I am from Badagry, Lagos State. I had my secondary and primary education in Badagry and my degree at Lagos state University. Before I started my music career, I worked at a phone booth and also worked at a filling station.
Going into music, how did it start?
I didn’t learn from anyone. I would say my music career started back in those days when I used to attend Arabic school. Whenever our teacher told us to sing, I was always the lead singer. Even when I was in school, whenever we were told to do cultural dance, I was always the lead singer. Besides these, I was told that one of my Uncle’s wives was a singer as well at Islamic society known as Asalatu.
When did you go professional with your music?
Well, I was an Amirah (women leader) for Ansarudeen Youth Association of NIGERIA, Badagry branch in those days. I used to sing alongside my cleric in any occasion we had shows and I used to understudy him because he was a very good singer. That was how people discovered how good I was being his backup singer.
Fortunately, there was a day our lead singer disappointed us at a wedding event; that was on the 20th of November 1999. A man who has been observing me gave me the challenge to lead, I did and it was a huge success.
After my performance that day; which happened to be my first time on stage in front of a huge crowd, I noticed people were happy and that was how the support started. This made my parents and people around me gave me the encouragement to ride on; that was how the journey began.
Your first album came up when?
My first album titled ‘Ire Ni Mo Fe’ was released in 2009; followed by ‘Bizimillahi’ (Allah’s permission), it was a like a hip-hop song. I also dropped another one titled Iho Meji” (Two Hole), Odale (Traitor) and Ramadan followed consecutively. My new album is the one I intend to launch on the 6th of October 2018.
The name Akobi Esan, how did you come about it?
When I was attending Arabic class then, I was very outspoken; though very timid and did not like going physical with people (laughs). So anytime I felt cheated, I wouldn’t fight; rather I would tell whoever offended me that whatever anybody does, surely nemesis will come someday. I used to say that God begot not and the only child He has is vengeance which means Akobi Esan in Yoruba language. That’s how people started calling me Akobi Esan and it became a name I am well known with.
Which of your album shot you to prominence?
IHO MEJI was a big hit in the year 2013. RAMADAN dedicated for the Islamic holy month was also a hit, likewise “ODALE.
What are the challenges you have faced as a musician?
The main constraint I am having today is keeping up with my marital responsibilities due to my tight schedule and also harassment from touts at events.
Which of Islamic associations do you belong to?
I belong to the Islamic Musicians Association of Nigeria (ISMAN) under the leadership of Alhaji Mumin Damilola a.k.a Esin O Gbamilaye.
How do you cope with your male admirers?
I am a responsible woman and it is never an issue for me because my husband understands the industry.
What is your view on indecent dressing among female Islamic musicians?
Even if you aren’t an Islamic musician, indecent dressing is not good at all. It is something I detest so much. Islamic singers today are on the verge of sending the profession to the bin with the drama they are now infusing into their music. Whenever you watch video or listen to Islamic audio songs, it is all about drama and they are making the whole thing look as if we are just being dramatic, with little or no seriousness for the profession
Tell us about your forthcoming album launch
Well, the name of the album is Tan t’Olorun; this means who can equate God? My inspiration comes anywhere even when I am praying, in the kitchen or during my bathe. My new album dwells on people who love to play God and act unjustly without remembering they will die someday.
The launching of the album will come up on the 6th of October at Ado-Odo Ota local Government, Ogun State. After the launching, the album would be out officially by Monday, 8th of October 2018. Sheikh Muhideen Ajani Bello a.k.a Oniwaasi Agbaye is the spiritual father and minister of the day. All Islamic singers and associations would be present too; while Alhaja Mistura Aderohunmu will be on the band stand.
Who are your role models and your friends in the industry?
Before I got married, I used to listen to Alhaja Afusat Asideeq songs. As for my friends, all of my colleagues are my friends especially the likes of Alhaja Mariam Akiki, Alhaja Kafayat Singer, Alhaji Bukola Alayande (Ere Asalatu), Alhaji Saoti Arewa and others