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Shola Allyson: 20 Years After, ‘Eji Owuro’ Still Glows Like Morning Dew



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Twenty years after releasing what was termed a love tune, Sola Allyson has remained one of the few Nigerian artistes across genres still consistent and evolving.

In fact, aside from her signature head gear, age and forehead, as she jokingly mentioned, Allyson has evolved from being a backup singer to a full blown artiste.

Sola started her career as a back-up singer in the late 1980s, when she was only 13. She later became a professional back-up singer and worked with musicians such as, Yinka Ayefele, Gbenga Adeboye, Pasuma, Obesere and Daddy Showkey. The opportunity to make her first album, ‘Eji Owuro’, came when she met a man with a movie script in a public bus. The man initiated a conversation with Allyson, telling her about a film shoot he just concluded, titled, ‘Orekelewa’.

She was eventually called to sing a soundtrack for the film, which led to the change in the title of the film to ‘Eji Owuro’. She said: “After ‘Eji Owuro’ movie was released, the Executive Producer of the movie, Ola Ibironke, felt it would be good for the song to stand on its own, so, I had to add to the songs to make it longer.”

The album, upon release, became a huge success commercially and critically, launching her into the music industry.

The songstress said: “With all sense of humility, there wasn’t any sound, any melody structure like ‘Eji Owuro’ before it came. It is the song that registered me into people’s heads.”

Asked what’s the next agenda in her musical career?

She said: “I don’t put myself under pressure. I just take thing as they come. Everything I’m going to do will be based on the same foundation I laid, on the same values but the dynamics might be a bit different, nonetheless, I’m still going to be the same Shola Allyson.”

When asked to define her genre of music, she said: “I’m a singer. So, if you are looking for a classification, you can say I’m a spiritual singer. I always say that I’m a singer. It’s strange to the society that an artiste can do music without being vulgar. Before I came, it was either an artiste is a gospel or a secular singer, as for me, I’m a child of God and I’m a Christian, but I know that the spirit of Jesus that I know is spread all over, it’s not limited to the church, that’s my understanding. Spirituality is not limited to a religion. Jesus didn’t come for Christians alone. Jesus came for the whole world. Jesus is not limited to the four walls of the church. What matters is the souls my music has touched and transformed.”

Speaking on collaboration, the Ikorodu-born singer, said: “I collaborated with Adekunle Gold because our mode of delivery was similar, and he’s fit into the message I wanted to pass. Recently, I collaborated with Sunmisola Agbebi. I’m not going to collaborate with anybody for commercial reason. I want to make money, but I am not going to collaborate with anybody just for commercial reasons. I will collaborate with people based their understanding or my destiny and understanding of my purpose, but I’m open to collaboration.”

Allyson’s songs to date include, ‘Eji Owuro’, in 2003, ‘Gbeje Fori’ in 2005, ‘Ire’ in 2007, ‘Imore’ in 2009, ‘Adun’ in 2011, ‘Ope’ (2015), ‘Imuse’ (2018), ‘Iri’ (2019), ‘Isodotun’ (2021) and ‘Imisi’ in 2022. These songs have all gone to confirm her status as an artiste with a Midas touch. And despite pressure, the 52-year-old songstress has stuck to the use of Yoruba language.

Her mellifluous voice is a delight and has brought her collaborating gigs with nothing less than five artistes since she started her career.

Is she going to sing in English?

“Am I going to sing in English?” She asks.

“I doubt it,” she laughs. “There are so many young people under pressure because they want to sound in a particular way; everybody has a segment of the industry, where he or she has been sent to. Nobody is sent to everybody.”

She continued, “there are people your work will never reach. For me, I’ve found the people I’m sent to and I’m okay. As long as my music does the work of minds, heart and soul transformation in people’s lives, then, I’m fine.”

She said: “I’m not where I want to be. But I’m grateful. Life is lived each day. I’ve had feedbacks of what my music has done to people and it was even that that made me take it more serious. I wanted to just express myself but when I started seeing the effects of what I do on the souls of people, God use that to open my eyes to how serous my calling is. I’ve always been a serious person but I became more serious. I am still going far, but I’m grateful for where I am now. And I’m sure that I will evolve till I die. The only thing that didn’t change apart from my forehead; is my Gele and it has evolved. I’m grateful for where I am. I am not an entertainer; I am a singer.”

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