Juju legend Shina Peters was Nigeria’s most popular artiste for a straight decade.
He was what Michael Jackson was to Nigerians, young, handsome and rich. Very rich. Even till now he remains an iconic figure.
In his exclusive chat with us recently, he discloses how he spent his fortune, his deal with SONY and the criticism of younger artistes being out of jealousy, among several other topics.
On how he used to spend money:
‘You see, let me tell you. There’s hardly any artiste that really enjoyed that era more than me. I had three shows daily and I had engagements every day, for almost four years. I was stopped by the Nigerian Medical Association because they said I was on a suicide mission…
‘[People used to spray me foreign currency more than naira]. Come to Stadium Hotel every Friday, you will see. We had Bureau de change that used to change money. People will come from U.S, London, Canada, Europe, for Shina Peters stadium Hotel performance every Friday and go back to their base.
‘They won’t even go to their family’s house. They’ll just want to come and enjoy for Friday and go back. From the airport straight to Stadium Hotel and back to the airport. It’s when their family sees the video that they’ll say ‘Ah, so you came to Nigeria and didn’t come home…’
‘But money spraying is not money, no matter how much it is. It’s because money is there physically that they assumed it was to be spent.
‘Because before you knew it, this person will come with her problems, that one too will come with his…
‘After finishing the show, you will see lots of people at the back of the stage.
‘‘Ejo, mo loyun sir’ (Please I’m pregnant sir). I don’t have school fees, my rent has expired…all sorts of issues.
‘That’s how the money will go o! And we’ll be left with nothing.’
On people who say the new generation of artistes make rubbish music:
‘That one na jealousy. Don’t mind them, Let me tell you, see, you have to be very aggressive, to pop into the music market. You have to sing something catchy.
‘When I separated with my former partner (Segun Adewale) I [did moral music]. Nobody bought the moral music. Lyrically wise, it is great but nobody cared. When I came out with ‘Ace’, the Ogun State Commissioner for Arts and Culture at that time had it banned. But in December that same year, he was the one who came to National Theatre to present ‘Ace’ the best album of the year.
‘You see all what these younger artistes are doing now, it’s what we too have done in the past. They know it too but they’re just trying to penetrate the market big time.
‘I didn’t want to play my music for only Yoruba tribe. I want to play music that will unify the country. I want to play music that will break all the barriers, I want to play music that will cut across ethnicity. And that’s what the current crop of artistes are doing too.’
On SONY Music signing Nigerian artistes in recent times and why artistes don’t need to tie themselves to long contracts any more:
‘SONY Music did business back then, very big business, but no artiste now needs to tie his talent, his personality for any record company again, thanks to technology.
‘I’ve been there. But now there’s no way I will now tie my name, my personality, the name that I’ve built for years – there’s no way I will now tie it all down with one company.
‘See what the corporate bodies are doing to us in the entertainment industry. So Sony or no Sony… they should just give us endorsement and forget about tying us down.’