Nigerian singer, Telemi has spoken about how he gets his songs, insisting that he receives them from God.
According to Punch Metro, gospel artiste and a former president of the Gospel Musicians Association of Nigeria, Timi Orokoya (formerly Osukoya), aka Telemi, has said that just like many others, he didn’t have it easy at the early stage of his career.
Recalling his days of humble beginnings, the talented singer told Sunday Scoop, “There was nobody to help. I had the gift but there were no funds to push it. On March 6, 1987, I went into the studio to record the album, Telemi, but it wasn’t released until April 1, 1990; that was over three years later. I wasn’t able to pay the studio fee of N400 then, so I made a deposit of N200, and was looking for the balance before I could work. By the grace of God I was eventually able to pay the balance because if I could not, I would have had to forfeit the deposit I made.”
On whether he was ever tempted to quit music during the hard times, he said, “Apart from music, I was also a graphics designer. It was when my music career blossomed that I abandoned graphics. I once worked at Punch Newspapers, and Lagos News (owned by Alhaji Lateef Jakande). It was through those jobs I was able to raise the studio fees.”
Though widely known for the hit album, Telemi, the singer insisted that he had bigger songs and albums. “Telemi was well known because it was my debut album. When I was the choir master at the Methodist Church, Shogunle, Lagos, I did some works, including Shilekun Ayo Mi, which did very well. It was produced by the late Sunny Okosun. I have had other works that actually did better than Telemi. I have so many evergreen works and that is why I’m planning an evergreen concert later in the year.”
The singer also decried the lack of messages in songs churned out these days. He stated, “In our own days, we received songs; we didn’t write them. That’s why I always tell artistes not to write songs, but pray to receive songs. If God inspires a song, it would last forever. But nowadays, a lot of these artistes are just chasing after money. Yes, they may get the money, but they wouldn’t last. Originality is missing these days. We play with rhythms but no message. Also, they no longer sing hymns in churches and that’s not too good. These days, hardly would you find a gospel song that would make you shed tears. Those are some of the things I want to change with the Back to the Roots programme I’m embarking on.”