Brymo is one Nigerian Afrobeat singer who came into limelight after the release of his hit song Ara. During the recently concluded 2018 Ake Books and Arts Festival, the singer granted an interview in which he revealed details about his musical career as well as his general perception on Nigerian music and sounds. The interview which was conducted by Sahara TV threw more light on the career of the musician whose sound has generated a lot of controversies amongst Nigerians and other musicians. Brymo whose real name is Olawale Ashimi spoke about the numerous issues that musicians in Nigeria especially need to address the industry is going to go farther than it has gotten. For the 32-year-old Brymo, musicians should rather focus on these numerous issues rather than dump music and go the political route.
The soul musician was insistent about the fact that not concentrating on one’s musical calling but rather going ahead to pursue other ambitions in political spheres was tantamount to the act of stealing. Any one who engaged in this should thus be tagged a thief. In making his point, Brymo talked about himself and how he have remained true to his musical career for more than 10 years. “I think it is a very difficult move in the sense that there are years invested in every industry. So, you’ve been a musician for 10 to 15 years, and suddenly you dump that to go and become a politician and run for office.
You’re just a thief, because there are issues in the entertainment industry you can take part in to fix. Why do you have to run for public office? There are things you can do as a musician in your own music industry and make things better there. If you cannot make things better there, how are you going to make things better in public office?”
Going forward, Brymo asserted that musicians should remain they have placed themselves and leave politicians be. The ability to cause change wherever one finds his or herself is far more important for the singer. “I believe everybody should stay in their lane. Let musicians be musicians and let politicians be politicians; let everybody do their job. I have invested 15 years in music and I have no intention to throw all that away for another career. This is my career; this Brymo. I feel everybody should treat their music that way and leave politics alone for politicians.”
Even more, Brymo lauded the praise of the late legendary singer Fela Anikulapo Kuti. He spoke at length about how the life of this legend reflects the dynamics of music: those who were once criticized turn out to be praised and revered in many more years to come. Brymo was altogether disappointed that although a lot of Nigerians have talents in musical abilities, they have not exactly been daring enough to show forth their skills and stand against any oppressive mechanism hindering its projection just like Fela did.
“A lot of our parents were like ‘don’t listen to Fela’s music’. The government says ‘don’t go to Kalakuta Republic’.
Everyone was against him and now everybody says he is the greatest. Same thing applies to us; you can not quantify what we are doing right now until when it is done. When the next generation gets here, then they will say these people did something that was amazing. Right now, the story is being told.
I don’t think there is any need for comparison, because we have had more of the most skillful Nigerians now than then. There are a lot of amazing, talented people, but have we been able to show, to come out, to be bold like they were? Not so much. However, skill-wise, I think we’ve been able to match the last generation. But we need to show more buzz; we need to take the initiative and be musicians.”
In these statements made by Brymo about Fela, the truth is not far away. True enough, despite the initial resistance and criticism the songs of the Afrobeat singer received, they have gone on to become legendary and stir a revival of Afro culture in the country. The Felabration concert performances recently held only attests to this fact.