King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal’s, (KWAM 1), mansion in Ijebu Ode is like a fortress. The security at the gate is A-class. The surprise of the visit was the hospitality of the Olu Omo of Lagos. He’s indeed a good cook. This interview took place in his massive all white kitchen, as he gladly prepared dumplings, pepper soup, potatoes and seafood.
How do you feel at 60; you really don’t look it?
I thank the Lord. It’s a great feeling, because it’s something I believe everybody is looking forward to. You see, a lot of people I started out with and grew up with are no more. My mother you saw outside would be 99 in October. If you don’t get yourself unnecessarily worked-up, you have all it takes to look fantastic.
Do you do anything extra-ordinary?
I have my gym where I do my exercises but I don’t strain myself. I don’t do that much, because it has its own effects.
Any special food?
I eat lots of standard advanced food. Food that is not too dangerous to the body, food that keeps the body very well. Food that is so easy to get off your system at all times. I do a lot of seafood. I eat vegetables and all that reflect in my daily routine.
Is that why you prefer to cook by yourself just to get things done right?
Not only that, I have been cooking since I was four. I was taught how to cook by my mum long time ago to be able to take care of my younger ones and that became part of me. I enjoy cooking.
Are you the eldest?
I’m not, but I was responsible for those that are junior to me.
What was your childhood like?
We had a fantastic time growing up. We respected and feared our parents. I grew up with both of them. They are very good parents but unfortunately I lost my dad a very long time ago when I was a kid. We couldn’t run anywhere when we misbehaved, but my parents rewarded good behaviour. My family is closely knitted.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Lagos Island (Isale Eko), Agarawu area.
Does that have anything to do with your career?
Oh yes! Lagos Island was where everything happened. We played and listened to music daily. Lagos is life, life is Lagos. You definitely do what everybody around you is doing.
Who were the early influences on you that shaped your career?
A whole lot of them that played music then on the Island. We had very many of them. Yusuf Olatunji, Habib Buari and Saka before Sikiru Ayinde Barrister who happened to be my boss. I loved him so much that I had to follow him. As a matter of fact, I ran away from home to follow him.
Did your parents object to that?
At first they did but when they saw that it was worth doing, they left me. People told my parents to pray for me and support me, that they never could tell what tomorrow would bring for me. And this is the tomorrow they were talking about.
Did you ever envisage that you would be well known? You know, some artistes and musicians fade away after a while but you are still waxing strong.
You never can say that. You can only be trying. All success that comes one’s way is the making of Almighty God. You can’t boastfully beat your chest to say this is how it’s going to be. Many people are doing what you are doing, some are born lucky and some are unlucky. It’s never by their making. Nobody wants to see himself being unlucky. You that are lucky, don’t rate yourself above others. Just give glory to Almighty God and keep doing what you are doing. Everything is about blessing. Before Jesus Christ came to this world, there were lots of them that came. Jesus came, He has the blessing of the Lord and that’s why till today, people keep shouting and mentioning Jesus Christ. That does not mean others are not there. There are lots of them before us, lots of them after us, and some will still come after we are gone.
Do you have people you mentor?
There are lots of them. A lot of people have passed through me but the beauty of life is very many people are looking up to you.
If you do it well, definitely it will reflect in their own growth as well. Always bear that in mind that some people are out there looking at what you are doing. You have to be a good role model to them.
What would you say you have learnt about life?
Life has taught me a lot. It has taught me to be good at every opportunity and use it wisely. Remember you are not just the only one, so you should see it as a rare privilege and don’t let it get into your head.
Any embarrassing moment?
Maybe when I wasn’t this popular. Some people looked down on us, probably to give way to the known and notable ones. But we didn’t feel bad. We just had it at the back of our mind that our own time was coming. We would get there one day.
Has any lady jumped on you on stage?
Ladies do many things and you cannot see them as craziness but they are just catching their fun. All these things, we see everyday abroad. It’s everywhere, it’s music, and don’t you know that music is therapeutic? It helps a lot of people to ease stress and pain inside them. Good music can bring such people back to life.
When they see their idol; they want to go crazy. In all these, you don’t let that get into your head and you don’t look down on them, or see them as wayward. Get to know that they are just expressing their love for the music. Don’t see them as crazy. We see such things every time.
Is it true you are planning to go into politics?
I have been in politics for long but I’m not seeking elective office. I’m in politics to represent the constituency that we are, to represent our people.
We serve as eyes of our people, between the people and people in government since we are the mouthpieces of the people and we want to do it in such a way that people will feel great and good about what we are doing to alleviate their plights.
How do you unwind?
If you look at my environment, you will see that I have almost everything here. I take my time. When I am bored, I go to the pool, when I’m bored I come to the kitchen, take time to cook; when I am bored I do many good things to myself.
Where’s your best holiday destination?
I am a good traveler. I go everywhere. I enjoy myself all over the world. I love Miami, I go to the Carribeans and Eastern Europe, and I enjoy myself oh. I love life.
Does your music dictate what you wear?
I wear what is good on me.
You live in Ijebu Ode but many wonder if you’re from Lagos. Where are you from?
I was born in Lagos Island. I’m a Lagosian but my father is from Ijebu-Ode as well as my forefathers.
I’m a Lagosian by birth and I hold the prestigious Olu Omo of Lagos title. My mother is from Ekiti State.