Most people don’t know him by his real name. But mention ‘Mega 99’ and all the eyes are on Abel Olufemi Dosunmu.
However, what makes the gospel juju singer thick? In this chat, he opens up on his road to stardom, lifestyle and drug peddling rumour among other issues. Enjoy it.
You are Abel Olufemi Dosunmu but popularly known as Mega 99. How did you come about the stage name?
My dad is well known in the Celestial Church of Christ. He owns a church and he is popularly known as ‘Baba 99’. So, when I formed my band, I combined the two names: Mega, which means great, and 99 to form Mega 99.
Did you start as a gospel artiste?
My dad founded Celestial Church of Christ, Oshodi Parish 1 where I grew up side by side with being a member of the church choir. So, my music is gospel juju.
You were reportedly sent out of the Celestial Church some years back. What happened, did you go against the church’s doctrine?
I was not sent out of the Celestial Church, we left when the church became factionalised. Some worshippers went with Pa Oshoffa’s son while others did not, and when the matter was getting messier, we went to court and the court vindicated us. Now, we are back to the church.
You were hardly known until you released Money, the album that shot you into the limelight. What was the magic?
It’s the Lord’s doing. I never knew that Money would go that far. I give God all the glory and I thank veteran broadcaster, Taiwo Akinsola aka Omo Baba Woli ni Ilasa, who believed so much in me and gave the album continuous airplay, to the extent that those who listened to it couldn’t believe I did it. I give God all the glory.
How has it been since the release of Money?
I thank God for His mercy, because if not for Him, I couldn’t be where I am today. I know that before you count three popular juju artistes in Nigeria, my name must be mentioned.
Who is your role model in the music industry?
King Sunny Ade is my role model. But when I started, I started playing like Sir Shina Peters and that’s the style I have been playing since.
What were you doing before coming into music?
I started music at a very tender age because I grew up in the church. However, before going professional, I attended Oshodi Primary School. From there, I went to Oshodi Comprehensive High School and then Ogun State University, Ago Iwoye now Olabisi Onabanjo University where I studied Accounting.
There’s a rumour that all you have today could be attributed to the proceeds of drugs and not music, most especially, your expensive musical instruments. How true is this?
I’m not surprised that people could be peddling such rumour. That’s how they peddled rumour against those before me. But the fact of the instruments is that I bought and paid for them on installment basis. What led to this was the disappointment I had from the person who used to rent instruments to us. There was a day I had a show in Oshogbo and we could not get equipment on time. We got to the show late and the celebrant threatened to sue us, we had to beg him despite the fact that my band members were manhandled. That was the most embarrassing moment of my life.
What about the mansion you built recently?
I’m a very busy artiste, I play virtually every weekend and I make money from shows. So, if I don’t smoke, drink or womanise, I should be able to save enough money to build a house for myself. By the way, I have been on the house project for a very long time, before it was made public on my birthday.
You have a unique baritone voice, how did you come about this?
I know you will ask that question. As for my voice, it’s natural. People often ask if I smoke weed; I don’t use anything to enhance my voice. I don’t take any strong drink or smoke cigarette not to talk of Indian hemp. With the voice, I can sing like the late Orlando Owoh and at the same time play my unique type of music.
What makes you stand out among your peers?
I hardly sleep because whenever any artiste releases an album, I will buy and listen to it to know its strong and weak points and how to work on my own. For example, I make use of a recording studio that Pasuma and (Saheed) Osupa also use, and I’m always busy. Because fuji artistes are always releasing albums much more than juju artistes, people think juju music is dead. No, juju music is alive!
Are juju artistes lazy?
It is a two-way thing; some are lazy while others are not. Some juju artistes are contented with two or three shows in a month and they don’t do enough research that will enrich their albums, and the more albums you do the more relevant you are.
Is it true that some juju artistes can’t play musical instruments?
Yes, that’s why we don’t have music stars any longer. Everybody now wants to lead a band.
How many musical instruments can you play?
I can play all instruments except the trumpet. Mind you, I grew up in the church.
Now that you are rich and famous, how do you cope with women?
I love women because they are our best fans but I don’t flirt with them. I’m married with children. I have cars, musical instruments, live in my own house, won awards and I have trained my children up to university level among other things, so I give God all the glory.
After your last album, Appreciation, what’s next?
We are working on the musical video, and it would be out soon.