I almost abandoned music – Shina Peters

Popular juju musician, Sir Shina Peters, and his wife, Sammie, speak to MOBOLA SADIQ of Punch about their lives, career and marriage

What has kept you going in the music industry?

I give all the glory to God for good health and a sound mind. Sometimes, when I reflect on my humble beginning, I always praise God for the journey so far.

Do you think that modern juju musicians have been able to maintain the originality of that genre of music?

Despite the influx of the digital form of music, it is good to know that juju music is still able to retain its original flavour. Both the old and new generation still fuse the digital and analogue equipment on which juju music rests on. Don’t forget that juju music is part and parcel of Yoruba culture and tradition. Our services include providing entertainment during naming ceremonies, house warming, birthdays, burial and many other occasions. Juju music dishes out ‘vibes’ that mobilise the society; identify societal ills and promote love and unity.

Which of your songs is your favourite and why?

It is not easy to place a particular song over the others because each composition has its unique message.  However, I always put special effort to better what was done in the past. All my songs remain evergreen and that has always been my focus.

Which song surprised you in terms of popularity and commercial success?

My story is a peculiar one. After my partnership with Segun Adewale ended, I started my solo career with high hopes and determination. But after few releases without the expected impact, I made up my mind that if the album, ACE, did not bring me fame and fortune; maybe, I would consider something else. I, therefore, carried out deep research to find out what the other genres of music had that made their audiences addicted to them. I picked Afro feelings from Abami eda, Fela Anikulapo Kuti; got the Fuji percussion from the late Ayinde Barrister, then mixed it with the fast pitched heavy drumming and swings from the disco lovers and came out with what I called ‘Afro juju’. 30 years after, Ace is still a shocker and breaking records. Nothing prepared me for the success story of Ace. I thank God for the ability to produce many hits after Ace.

What are the most memorable moments of your life?

The day I was nominated for the PMAN Awards 1990 in the categories– ‘Artist of the year’, ‘Best Song’, ‘Best Album’ and ‘Best Musician’.

Do you have any regrets?

Due to my faith in the Lord and belief in the founder of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, St. Moses Orimolade, and the church where we always put our trust in God and look up to Him for things. I have no regrets. I have also enjoyed God’s abundant grace. Hence, it is difficult for me to have regrets in life.

What would you have loved to become if you were not a musician?

If not for music, I would have probably ended up doing God’s work as a preacher or teaching Christians about the life and times of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Have you ever contemplated retiring from music?

After releasing three albums when I went solo, I got so frustrated at that time and I contemplated doing something outside music. It was during the frustrating moments that Ace came into being. If it had gone the way of my past albums, I am not sure I would have continued with juju music.

Have you ever being persuaded to join politics because of your popularity?

I have been a victim of manipulation by the political class based on my popularity and the huge acceptance of my music across Nigeria and the globe.  All the tribes in Nigeria relate well with my music. So, there is always pressure on me to use my God-given talent to persuade voters and make certain governments popular. I thank God for the wisdom and direction.

What were some of the prices you had to pay because of your passion for music?

That is a deep one. Unknown to many, I am a very shy person; an introvert even. I lost all that to music. If I had my way, I would prefer a private life with my family but God had other plans for me. I was already a music star at the age of nine. Hence, I lost the opportunity of a normal childhood. I didn’t grow up with my peers; I was always in the midst of elders and I became an adult from age 10. I still can’t do what normal people do.

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