“I am still with Kennis Music and I am releasing my upcoming album on that label” – Jaywon

In a recent interview with PUNCH, James Oluwajuwonlo Edahi AKA Jaywon talks about his life style , his music career and lots more:

What inspired the hit single, ‘This year’?

I was tired of doing the same thing and I wanted to do something different. Also, I wanted to be different from every other person. I wanted my music to sound more inspirational and that is why my songs always have a feel of highlife and juju. Let me not explain that I retraced my steps. I just wanted to do something different.  I listen to a lot of King Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey because their songs are the type that stands the test of time. They are evergreen songs.

Did you anticipate the single was going to be a hit?

Every song is a hit song. It now depends on how well you handle the promotion. We have seen songs that the lyrics and beats were zero per cent yet they ended up being the biggest songs in Nigeria. I just do my thing and pray to God about it.

Why is it taking you so long to come up with another album?

You need to put a lot of things into consideration before releasing an album. In the last 18months, only few albums released have been successful. People would rather go to the Internet and download the entire album on their phones instead of buying CDs. These days, you drop an album just for the sake of doing so and not because you want to make money from copy sales. Even pirates are not helping matters. When I dropped my last album in 2010, the market was better and people bought CDs.  I am singing for the people and if they are clamouring for an album, I have to drop it.

Which of your songs do you consider to be evergreen?

In the next 60 or 70 years, ‘This year’ will still be relevant. It’s a song that everybody can relate to. I was in Asaba, Delta State, about two weeks ago and I could not believe that people there knew the lyrics of the song. Delta is not a Yoruba-speaking state, yet the people mouthed the lyrics .I did not know the song was that big.Kona is one of the biggest songs in Africa, yet we don’t even understand the lyrics yet everybody is dancing to it. If music is good, it is good. Nobody can fight it, whether consciously or unconsciously.

But there was a time you went low-profile…

It was deliberate and I won’t say it was an issue. Everybody needs to grow and I always tell people to assess themselves and check if they are growing. This should be done every now and then. Then, you make the necessary corrections. Maybe, I noticed certain things about me and I took time out to make amends. In the past, there were some things I did which I wished I never did. Sometimes, because you are signed to a record label, you feel they should do everything for you and as a result, you let go of many things or don’t take responsibility for what you should.

Was that why you attempted to leave Kennis Music?

I am still with Kennis Music and I am releasing my upcoming album on that label. I was misinterpreted when I said I was building a team for myself during an interview with Hip TV. I did not say I was leaving Kennis Music. By my statement, I meant I was building a platform for myself inside Kennis and not outside of the label. Bloggers misinterpreted my words because they like to spread bad news. I have a fantastic relationship with my bosses, Keke and D1.

What circumstances led you to music?

I always say people discovered me. This is because while growing up, I used to sing Sunny Ade’s music and people encouraged me to sing more and write my own songs. The first song I wrote was in 1994 and a lot of people liked it. I took to music professionally in 2005 and ‘Bebe nlo’ was the song that launched me into the limelight. There were songs like those I did with Konga and W4 which helped to shore up my popularity. The likes of Fatai Rolling Dollar, Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey inspired me and still do.  I took to music after my National Diploma programme at Bida Polytechnic, Niger State where I read accounting.

Many music fans still believe some Nigerian musicians employ meaningless lyrics…

You can’t blame anybody for that. If you have a song that is not dancehall and does not have a strong beat; and then you see someone who has got the entire beat and no lyrics, making all the money, then you will go his way. People in Nigeria are better influenced by beats instead of the message in the song. Everybody wants to make a hit song without making sense. I believe in good music, a song you can listen to in the morning when you wake up.

What are the pains and gains of being an artiste?

There are lots of them and because nobody forced me into doing music, I have to cope with the bad ones, like being misunderstood by the press, who in turn push those wrong messages to your fans. Sometimes, you don’t even realise how big your act is until one wrong incident happens and you experience the outpour of reactions. Also, you don’t seem to have a private life apart from constant criticisms. I am yet to see someone who goes to the toilet and bathroom with his phones. So, when someone accuses me of not taking my calls, I laugh and ask if he takes his phones to those places because it’s possible that I may have been taking my bath when he called. The gains are many. People pray for you and some even pay you to come and party with them. It’s not that I was invited to perform; it’s just to come and identify with the host. That’s the kind of love people have for me.

I expected you to list your female fans as part of the gains of your profession…

It depends on the artiste and I think that goes for the very young artistes. I have been around for a while and there are some things, which, if I do now, I will look stupid. I am not in this industry for girls; I am here for a lot more serious reasons. I have a female fan base and our relationship is platonic.

What has Jaywon been up to?

I have a new video out, ‘Madantin’and it has got a lot of reviews. I am working on an album titled, ‘Product of an Environment’ and it’s my third. I am working on the video of a song I did with Tiwa Savage. I chose to work with Tiwa because I enjoy working with female artistes. In the past, I worked with Goldie and Essence.

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