By Henry Uche
Singer/songwriter, Agbutun, is passionate about arts, especially, music.
He, however, has a bigger passion for singing in his indigenous Eggon language. Believing this approach is musically transformative; Agbutun hopes it would inspire others to incorporate indigenous content into their works.
In this interview, Agbutun revealed how he reinvented himself after his eviction from Nigerian Idol reality show a few years ago.
What’s this Agbu thing all about?
Agbu is a collection of experiences captured in music. It’s the expression of songs in my local dialect, Eggon, which I had espoused since 2008 and had been in the pipeline until this time.
What message are you passing across using an abbreviated form of your name?
This is not an abbreviation of my name. It is an actual Eggon (my local dialect) word, which means ‘arrival’. I used it to represent the arrival of these experiences captured in the songs on this Agbu EP. Actually, I am a messenger who has been sent to deliver messages touching on several aspects of life. My message deals with love, unity, respect, family, loyalty and many more. Originally, the fabric of society was built on these values, which have overtime been thrown to the background and given lesser attention. These are what I have chosen to accentuate.
What’s your goal using your indigenous language?
I am following the examples of legends like Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Miraim Makeba, Hugh Masakela, Osita Osadebe, Salif Keita, Dan Maraya Jos, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Brymo, Blick Bassy, Doug Kaze, Esther Chungu, Asa and a lot more. I believe that music transcends language. I also believe that our historical uniqueness should not be devalued in musical expression. I listen to these people and I always feel what they sing, regardless of the language barrier. To this extent, I have decided to create contemporary alternative music using my own local language.
You said ‘we must encourage ourselves as creators to do more content that ties us to our roots’. To whom is this charge addressed?
Yes. The charge is for everyone, especially the creators of art with specific reference to music and drama.
Agbutun has always been passionate about music, people and God, how would these help you to promote the course of humanity?
God is the giver of the gift of music and I am just a vessel and instrument through which the messages in the music are passed to humanity. Over the years, I have been intentional as regards to the kind of messages I put out through my songs. I want my music to impact, impart, refresh, reassure, fix and preserve humanity. These are the core of my existence as a messenger, and one of the surest ways to promote the course of humanity.
What made you leave active law practice for entertainment law, advocacy and music?
I want to maximise my existence. I am still affiliated to law. I can never stop becoming a lawyer. I have just decided to major in entertainment law, advocacy and music. These aspects are very dear to me. I have an aptitude for them. These are the areas that I believe I will do very well. These are the things I see myself doing forever. Of course, there are other things I can do, but these are the things I have chosen to major in.
You are a lecturer of young people, what legacies do you want to leave for your generation?
I grew up in a generation of people who have been taught strong values. Part of my job as a teacher encapsulates sharing these values to the next generation. I also love teaching. Lecturing gives me the opportunity to share knowledge. It gives me the opportunity to affect the next generation positively. As a teacher, I see the minds of my students as a blank canvas that needs to be filled. I take advantage of this to share positive and impactful messages that should live with them forever.
What have you been up to since after participating in Nigerian Idols season 6?
I have been doing a lot. That period was a moment of reawakening for me. God used that period to teach me so many things. After getting to the top 17 on the show and getting evicted at that point, I knew that I had touched another level of experiences and lessons that would skyrocket me to another level. I am grateful for that.
It was an eye-opener. It exposed how much potential I was holding back from the world, so I decided to get to work. I reinvented myself. Part of the efforts is joining a community of few independent artistes who are intentional about music, and we have been creating music and sharpening ourselves.
I have learnt that as creators of art, we need to harness the power of collective efforts to make our dreams come true. We need to imbibe the collaborative spirit to make this music work for us. I doubt there is ever going to be a day when anybody becomes an island. So, we need a community to make our individual dreams come true. This led me to collaborate with amazing artistes like Doug Kaze and Eric Limani to create a music platform called, Soul, Folk & Chill. By collaborating, we intend to share our audiences and many other things. This has helped us to gain at least twice the reach and result. It is working for us and it’s been a great journey so far. It has brought us to the creation of my debut EP, Agbu (Arrival).