Africa: I stopped smoking Indian Hemp because it wasn’t good for me –Baba Fryo

I stopped smoking Indian Hemp because it wasn’t good for me –Baba Fryo

Years after Friday Igweh, better known as Baba Fryo, ruled the airwaves in Nigeria with songs like ‘Notice Me’, ‘Denge Pose’ and others, the Ajegunle-bred musician is now a land speculator (OmoOnile). And although he insists he is still a musician, he speaks on the glorious years, marriage and more in this interview with ADEDAYO ODULAJA.

It has been many years since music lovers heard anything new from you. Are you still involved in music?
I am still into entertainment. I still performed at Ika Carnival in Agbor, Delta State, on December 23 and I still have other shows coming up soon too. I go for performances, I am always in the studio as well and pretty soon I will shoot the visual of my latest track, ‘Country No Send.’ I’d like to do something crazy and unique with the video.

Some will say you are only living on past glory?
I think I have made my name and nobody can change it. If I am living on past glory, it is my glory. Is it anybody’s glory? Whether it was in the past or present, it is mine. We all have our past and present; our past is a reflection of the present.

With the passage of time, what would you say has changed about your music and style?
I have to be different, but it is still the same Baba Fryo. I am more mature; I have to change my style because things are not the way they used to be. I have to change my rhythm, lyrics, performance on stage and so on. My performance on stage is better than before. I am talking about my dance steps, movement and the way I handle my crowd.

On account of the fact you enjoyed fame at the highest level back then, what do you miss most about those days?
Then, every week I must go to shows. But now, I could stay three weeks or months before I get to perform in a show. It does not come in as it used to be in the past. That is the difference.

How about how women run after music stars? How much of that do you still enjoy?
Up till now, women still run after me. Like I said, the only difference is that then I attended a lot of shows, which gave me an opportunity to meet more people.

How will you assess your level of preparedness for a time like this in terms of investment?
Then, I was supposed to invest seriously than I am doing now. If I had actualised my plans, things would have been better for me now. But I will not say I was spending money lavishly; the only thing I can say is that I was the most pirated artiste at a time. I did not make money from my albums at all; I only made money from live shows and events.

Are you legally married?
I am married!

How many children do you have?
I have many children and that is because I had a number of them even before I got married.

How long have you been married and how have you been able to stay married given how celebrity marriages crash every now and then?
I have been married since 1997 and for me, it depends on the understanding between the couple. You just have to tolerate each another.

Does this mean there was no time you wanted to end it all with your wife?
No! Marriage is not an easy institution, especially for entertainers. Before a woman could understand you, it would take time. It took 10 years before my wife began to understand me. I just had to endure.

Would you say getting married affected your music career in any way?
I would have loved to marry later in life. Marriage and starting a family will surely affect your plans, because you have to face your family. You have to think of the family, plan for them and they would distract you as well. But at the end of the day, if you have a strong mind, you can overcome those challenges.

How do you feel having children outside marriage and with different women?
I will not say I regret my deeds, because I believe that what will be will be and nobody can change it. But given another chance, I would not want to have children with different women. The implication is that you have more responsibilities.

How did you feel the first time you had a baby?
I felt so happy. And whenever I was awake in the morning, I just wanted to see him first. Since it was my first experience, it was exciting.

You are now a land speculator (OmoOnile); don’t you feel it is demeaning for someone of your calibre?
I do not go to site to collect money. If at all, we have boys. Again, the ‘owoile’ is not the major thing; the main thing is selling and buying of land.

Which brings more to the table these days, ‘omoonile’ or music?
I make money from both, but I am using this to support myself.

Do you think you can come back to reckoning like those days?
I think I will keep trying. In music, you do not just give up. We have many people who have been doing music for many years and they are still struggling to make a name in the industry. So, I can only continue to do my best and let’s see what happens.

How often do you take Indian Hemp (weed) these days?
I do not believe in that, I do not even smoke anymore.

At what point did you stop taking weed?
I have stopped about three or four years now. I stopped, because I felt it was not good for my system anymore.

Did it enhance your performance when you were taking it?
No, it never did, but alcohol did. I only smoked anytime I wanted to relax; if I did not want to go out. But I do not even drink all the time too; I drink occasionally.

Will you like to collaborate with any of the young artistes?
I have not really thought of it. I have not sighted anyone I can work with.

Does this mean you don’t believe in their music?
Music is music; I am even proud of them.

Do you consider yourself one of the greatest musicians to come out of Ajegunle?
Well, I am one of them. I am also one of the pioneers.
When did you move out of Ajegunle?
I left Ajegunle over 11 years ago, but I still visit very often. I now stay at Ojo, Lagos. Naturally, I do not like noisy places.

What is the big deal behind your trademark mask?
Nothing supernatural; it is just being different. When I wanted to record, my company thought my brand should be different from others. The chairman of Optimal Records, Lucky Tunde, came up with the idea and I added mine too.


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