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DJ Irawo

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Tuesday, 24 March 2020


In Nigeria and generally all over the world, a university degree is not a prerequisite for a successful music career.

A higher education is only sufficient but not adequate for success in this life.

If you are unable to pass the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examination to secure a place in a federal or state or private university, you ought to be able to get into a federal or state polytechnic or college of education or other private tertiary institution to study music. 

Did you read me clearly? You should study music and not any other course.

My bone of contention is with what you intend to study in this higher institution.

If you intend to be a full time professional musician and you are studying mechanical engineering or accounting or any other course different from music at the higher institution then you must be a joker. You should switch your course now!

You should take a cue from the late musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who changed his mind from studying medicine to studying music at the university and it paid off for him.

Peradventure you get a great record deal offer while studying for your degree or diploma or certificate course, take it. Grab it with both hands! 

If you cannot combine school with the requirements of a busy musician life, drop out of school and forge ahead with your music career because you might never get that opportunity again. This is because the younger you are, the faster it is to become a successful musician. If you wait till you finish school, the world will forget you. Musicians need the world to remember them in order to succeed in their music career.

If you intend to become a music business professional such as a music manager, tour manager, record label executive, entertainment accountant, music publisher, etc, you should study courses like accounting or entrepreneurship or business administration. After your degree, you should get a diploma in music.

If you want to become an entertainment or music lawyer, you should study law and then get a  diploma in music.

If you want to become a music journalist, study media or communication and language arts or mass communication or journalism, etc and then get a diploma in music afterwards.

Study a course at the higher institution for the purpose of using it to work or enhance your career and not just for the purpose of merely having a university or diploma or certificate.

The following musicians knew what they wanted and they went for it even without a degree or diploma or a certificate in music.


1. Chief Ebenezer Obey

He was born on April 3, 1942 as Ebenezer Remilekun Aremu Olasupo Obey-Fabiyi in Idogo, Nigeria and is nicknamed the "Chief Commander".

He is a songwriter, singer and guitarist.

He began his professional career in the mid-1950s after moving to Lagos. 

After tutelage under Fatai Rolling-Dollar's band, he formed a band called The International Brothers in 1964, playing highlife–jùjú fusion. The band later metamorphosed into Inter-Reformers in the early-1970s, with a long list of Juju album hits on the West African Decca musical label.

Obey began experimenting with Yoruba percussion style and expanding on the band by adding more drum kits, guitars and talking drums. 

Obey's musical strengths lie in weaving intricate Yoruba axioms into dance-floor compositions. 

As is the characteristic of Nigerian Yoruba social-circle music, the Inter-Reformers band excel in praise-singing for rich Nigerian socialites and business tycoons. 

His music is laced with Christian spiritual themes. 

2. King Sunny Ade

Chief Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye MFR was born on September 22,1946. 

He is a Nigerian jùjú singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. 

He is regarded as one of the first African pop musicians to gain international success and has been called one of the most influential musicians of all time.

Adé left grammar school in Ondo City under the pretense of schooling at the University of Lagos. It was in Lagos that his mercurial musical career began.

3. General Kollington

Kollington Ayinla ranks alongside his friend and late competitor, Ayinde Barrister, as the two most important artists to dominate Fuji music from its inception in the 1970s through to the 1990s by which time it had grown to become one of the most popular dance genres in Nigeria. 

Anyila Kolawole was born in 1953 in Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria. Between the mid-70s and late 80s, Kollington ranked with Barrister as the leading star of Nigerian fuji music - like apala and waka, a Muslim-dominated relation of juju, retaining that style’s vocal and percussion ingredients but abandoning its use of electric guitars in order to obtain a more traditional, roots-based sound. 

He began recording for Nigerian EMI in 1974 and in 1978 achieved a pronounced but temporary lead over Barrister when his introduction of the powerful bata drum (fuji had until that time relied almost exclusively on talking or ‘squeeze’, drums) caught the imagination of record buyers.

Ayinla and Ayinde were soldiers who resigned from the Nigerian army to pursue their music career.

He is songwriter, singer and saxophonist.

Although, one regret that General Ayinla Kollington has is that he does not have a university education Albeit, he was still successful without it and he can still go back to school if he truly desires a university education. There is no excuse for a lack of education.

He remains my best fuji musician of all time.

4. Sir Shina Peters

Born Oluwashina Akanbi Peters in Ogun State, Nigeria, Peters' career in music began at a young age when he played with friends under the handle, Olushina and His Twelve Fantastic Brothers.

While playing with his friends, he taught himself how to play the piano and later joined Ebenezer Obey's band. 

Thereafter, he left Obey's band and joined General Prince Adekunle's band as a guitar player. Adekunle's band played in Lagos hotels such as Western Hotel, Palm Beach Hotel and Executive Hotel. 

When Adekunle was ill, Peters sometimes acted as the lead singer. He left Adekunle to form Shina Adewale, a band with juju maestro Segun Adewale. However, the duo soon split. 

Shina Peters, after releasing many albums with Segun Adewale through the 1980s, went on to form his own band, Sir Shina Peters & His International Stars.


5. Wizkid

Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun was born on the 16th of July, 1990. 

He is a songwriter, singer and the CEO of Starboy Entertainment.

He dropped out of Lead City University, Oyo state to focus on his music career.

6. 9ice

Alexander Abolore Adegbola Adigun Alapomeji was born on the 17th of January, 1980. 

He attended Abule Okuta primary school and CMS Grammar School. 

He is a songwriter, singer and the CEO of Alapomeji Ancestral Records.

He dropped out of his law course at the Lagos State University to focus on his music career.

7. Olamide

Olamide Adedeji was born on the 15th of March, 1989. 

He is a songwriter, rapper, singer and the CEO of YBNL Nation.

He dropped out of Tai Solarin University of Education because his father could no longer the tuition fees.

8. Dbanj

Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo was born on June 9, 1980. 

He is a songwriter, singer, rapper, harmonicist and the CEO of C.R.E.A.M.

He dropped out of his mechanical engineering course when he was in 300 level.

9. Don Jazzy

Michael Collins Ajere was born on the 26th of November, 1982. 

He is a record producer, singer, songwriter and the CEO of Mavin Records.

He dropped out of the Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma in his first year.

10. 2Baba

Innocent Ujah Idibia was born on the 18th of September, 1975. 

He is a singer, songwriter, record producer, serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, humanitarian and activist.

Innocent Ujah Idibia dropped out of the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu to pursue his music career.

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