“There are people I like but I can’t say I am in love with them. But if any of them gets pregnant, I’m not ready; but then it’s fine. We will keep the baby”
Former Kennis Music singer Adewale Lawanson Junior, aka Minjin, has extended his musical horizon. From being a musician, he has metamorphosed to an artist, a painter to be precise.
In this interview, Minjin speaks on the challenges of combining music and painting, as well as plans to take his new art to the next level.
What’s new about Minjin?
I just shot a new video, Slowly, and also I’m releasing a new single. The song is about love. It is passing a message that love is not necessarily about money but true feeling of affection.
What prompted such song, it’s so unlike Minjin?
I’m quite connected to my fans. Most of them wanted me to do a love song. Then, I sampled the song with my major fans and they all fell in love with it. I was stubborn about it earlier but I had to succumb.
Talking about love, is Minjin in love? Are you a romantic person?
To me, love means peace of mind. Who gives you peace of mind is the person you should love. Feelings of affection are good but I can’t be with someone who claims to love me but won’t give me peace of mind. It keeps you sane and helps you through life. Love is quite consuming. Inner peace should always come with love. Peace, joy and happiness should also follow.
I’m in love with a lot of my fans. Right now, I am weighing my options. There are people I like but I can’t say I am in love with them. But if any of them gets pregnant, I’m not ready; but then it’s fine. We will keep the baby.
What inspires you?
My ears inspire me. When I close my ears, noise is out, then I feel the inner me. My ears are very sensitive. I trained them. I might be driving and I hear a song playing, I can easily pick it and do something different.
Aside music, you also draw and paint, can you tell us about it?
Art is my business side, because most of the people that buy my artworks buy them because of the painting. They are not buying them because I am a musician or because they like my song. They buy them because they are cute. Some of them don’t even like music. They are just rich people who have money and want to buy artworks. For me, music comes first because it is my life
Did you attend any art school?
No, not at all. All I did was street apprenticeship. I had to lie to my mum that I was doing extra classes. She had no idea I was on the streets learning how to perfect my art. Everything I saw my boss do then, I made sure I tried it at home. It was rough but I had the zeal and interest; and that saw me through. All I needed was the spark that the street apprenticeship gave me.
How long have you been painting?
I have been painting since 2006, but music took all my time and attention until recently. When you have something inside you, it will always come out, one way or the other. When I decided to take painting seriously in 2015, I began to attend exhibitions. At the moment, I have people who are interested in my paintings. I have my own studio now and I am doing my exhibition before the year runs out. I will collaborate with some clubs in Lagos; Quilox is part of them. Fans will have an opportunity to interact with me and I will engage in live paintings as well.
What’s the idea?
The idea is a musician painting, singing and doing lots of fun things. My fans will watch me do music and painting at the same time. Most people don’t know that as a part of me, but now I really want them to know that I draw, paint and sing.
Won’t this new side of you affect your music career?
No. Right now, it’s time for reflection. Instead of wasting time with friends, drinking at clubs or hanging out, I can use that time to do something useful with my pencil. It’s not easy to see a musician that paints like me, because I know that I’m very good in what I do. Painting keeps me away from trouble.
I can paint you to look exactly like you. I’m that good. I like to wow my clients. I have done lots of jobs. Now, I have less but quality friends.
How do you cope painting naked clients?
Most men don’t feel secure when their wives or women are around artists. But our job is not different from a doctor.
You cannot say because a doctor will see your wife’s nakedness, he must not attend to her. Also, the doctor must behave himself regardless of what comes to his mind.
I am used to seeing naked women and it is not because I enjoy seeing them. My job requires me to do so for me to bring out an unbelievable image.
I am a man too; I get moved when I see naked women, but it doesn’t mean I don’t get the job done. I work with my imagination a lot and what I see around. In my art, I try to depict African culture because it is where I am from. If I showcase Africa, people will understand where I am coming and appreciate me.
How long were you with Kennis Music?
I was there for five years. I left there and worked with a management company in Malaysia. I had a good working relationship (with Kennis) whereby they took me on a tour but it didn’t work out, as I wanted it. Now, I am doing everything by myself and I have a good team.
Was there any kind of misunderstanding that made you leave Kennis Music?
No, our relationship was basically mutual. I wanted to go because I felt like I needed to test new waters; it’s like putting in so much and getting so little and then you’re still answerable to somebody.
What has the music industry taught you?
It has taught me the need to get the best team first; and putting out your stuffs is good. Just imagine Rihanna posting that I am her favourite artiste. Imagine how many people will look for me even if they don’t know me, because it matters who is talking about you.
The best musician in Nigeria has not ‘blown’. He might just be somewhere doing ‘yahoo yahoo’ stuff. What I am trying to say is that there are lots of talents out there that are yet to be discovered.