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Mike Adeyemi Aremu, popularly known as Mike Aremu, is a notable Nigerian singer and saxophonist. The humble musician who hails from Ogbomoso in Oyo State, started music....
Mike Adeyemi Aremu, popularly known as Mike Aremu, is a notable Nigerian singer and saxophonist. The humble musician who hails from Ogbomoso in Oyo State, started music at the age of four and has over the years honed his skills to become a songwriter, composer and instrumentalist.
Recently, Aremu went on tour of the United Kingdom where he performed at different concerts in addition to having a stint at a wedding ceremony. He also entertained guests during a convention hosted by the London-based House on the Rock Mission.
While on the performance tour, Aremu equally put finishing touches to his new album, entitled: Unveiled aside seizing the opportunity to complete his new photo album.
Aremu recalled that his lovely mother, Mrs. Janet Aremu, 74, brought him into music through the church choir. He also remembered how his elder sister used to play trumpet in the choir, while they were young. Today, the multi-talented artiste believes God has deposited in him a divine gift through music. He is, therefore, grateful to God for his progress since the release of his first album Oluwaseun, which became an instant hit.
While speaking on his new album, Aremu explained how and why he left Kennis Music for Ojez.
How I started
I started playing music as a chorister at the then Cherubim and Seraphim, Minna, Niger State. Then, we had a tradition whereby we play music, using the local percussions unlike what obtains nowadays. I enjoy playing the drums then but the trumpet has actually been my major instrument for a very long time. I first started with the keyboard and the guitar, later, I trained as a saxophone in 1992 and mastered it but I became a full professional in 1995.
God is my inspiration. I see music as my ministry and not as a business. I use my music to heal the broken heart and give hope to the hopeless and I am contented with the blessing that goes with the music. Recently, I was touched at a concert at Washington DC when a medical doctor walked up to me to commend my music and to appreciate God blessings in his life. He said, " whenever I want to undergo an operation, I play your music because there is so much blessings and faith in it with great spiritual power, I feel the presence of God in the theatre room" I was moved to tears knowing that the lord has being using my music to touch the lives of the sick. And it was my first concert ever outside Nigeria, I was really encouraged by his words and all that the Lord is using me to do in the lives of people.
Journey so far
In 1999, I decided to take music more professionally because music has been my hobby and I find joy in playing instrumentals. I signed a recording deal with Kennis Music being the frontline recording label then in the country to help boost my music as well as bring out the best in me. After my first and second albums, which were released under Kennis music, I released the latest album entitled: Unveiled under my own label, Mike Aremu Vision. The album contains 10 tracks including Bona, Dance 4 Joy, Jehovah, Ose, Halleluyah, Wonder, You Are The One (Iwo ni mo fe) and Unveiled, which is the trackís title. It was released under my label but now, I have re-unveiled it with Ojez recording company.
Why I left Kennis
I left Kennis after my contract expired though I never thought of signing another recording deal with the company. Though we never had any form of dispute before I left, l just decided to move on with my life because I believed in myself and having God on my side, I had the conviction in my heart that I will definitely make it. I have always put God first in all I do in life especially as it concerns my music. So, whatever level I attain in life is traceable to the glory of God upon my life. The statement the label made on some previous publications about some artistes they dropped has nothing to do with me because I had already left the company after my deal expired.
I appreciate God for His mercies in my life and I will always live to appreciate Kennis for all their supports in the past for promoting my music.
Impact of the first album
I feel great being an artiste most especially a gospel artiste because the more I grow the more Lord inspires me. I will say that my first album really made a great impact on my person because it brought out the real Mike Aremu. Though I play inspirational music and it is more spiritual because it has a lot of messages on healing and giving the hopeless hope.
Kind of music
My music is gospel oriented, I play Jazz though Jazz it is not well recognized in the country but I appreciate the fact that Nigerians are beginning to appreciate Jazz especially the gospel form of it. Iím a saxophone player basically and a great composer. I enjoy playing the saxophone because its what makes me outstanding among other artistes. I appreciate my kind of music for its uniqueness and for the fact that everybody canít play the same music.
I use my music to deliver excellence to Nigerians most especially to those who are downtrodden, assuring them that with God their tears could be turned to joy. He has done it in my life, and he can also do it in other peopleís lives too.
My major challenge before releasing my first album was that, I feared that my kind of music wouldnít be accepted in the market because it was new then but I thank God for all his mercies that after releasing the album, it sold and people appreciated it and anywhere I go I get recognition. For my love for culture and tradition when I thought of shooting my video, I chose the village location to boost African culture and tradition and as well used our local fabrics of Aso Oke . I must say that Iím glad that people appreciate the video because I got a lot of commendation for the video and I appreciate all my fans for all their love.
My new album is entitled, Unveiled, which has about 10 tracks. We are at the moment promoting two of the tracks Oluwaseun and Dance 4 Joy. Though, I have played it in London and the crowd appreciated it, I also know that back here in my country, people will also appreciate it because Nigerians love gospel music and Iím happy the way we worship God in Nigeria. I have other tracks like Do Wonder and Haleluyah in which I featured Yinka Davies and Segun Obey. I also featured Soji Israel in the track and Unveiled. Iím still planning on the video because I want to take my time to shoot the video to enable me get the best that will be appealing and different from others.
My new project entitled: Unveiled was originally released last October under my label Mike Aremu Vision but as an artiste, it is quite challenging to run it alone. Sometime you find out that the artiste, who is supposed to be managed, is at the same time doing the work of the manager. In the kind of music I play, I donít entertain distraction because it involves a lot of concentration and dedication to compose the music and sound.
Attraction to your new label
Though, I have heard of the recording label for a long time before I signed on with Kennis music, I never knew the man behind the mask called Ojez until I unveiled the mask. Though after I signed off with Kennis I decided to use my own label but I later discovered that I needed a label for promotion and that was when I went for Ojez. I chose the label because I feel all the artistes under label had no regrets and so far, weíve had a good working relationship.
Eradication of piracy
One way we can eradicate piracy in Nigeria is by organising seminars on piracy to educate people who are patronizing pirated copies in the market instead of the original copies. The recording companies have a major role to play in the issue of piracy if they could stand out and be more aggressive with the marketing strategies to meet the artistes demand of the album produced.
I love hanging out with my friends, going to the movies, or going for swimming though Iím not a very good swimmer but I enjoy it.
Playing on stage as an instrumentalist
Iím naturally a show person, I love entertainment a lot. Singing on stage is something I find pleasant to do because that is what makes me a real artiste. Sometimes, I donít sing while on stage- my instrumentals speak for me and I enjoy dancing when on stage.
I was born in Nigeria and I appreciate my country so much though the economy is bad but Iím happy being a Nigerian. Though I have been away for sometime in the UK, I still have my base in Nigeria. The fact that my wife lives in London doesnít necessarily mean I have relocated to London. I go on vocation and sometimes when I have concerts or have to visit my lovely wife. I must appreciate my Pastor Paul Adefarasin of House on the Rock for his prayers and support and Captain Jide George of Strong Tower Mission for all their encouragement and love.
Elton John and a Cameroonian Jazz player, Richard Polar though the latter sings in his language but his music is well accepted in the world as one of the best jazz singers.
Advice to Nigeria artistes
They should keep their head straight and try to put excellence in all they do in life. They have to put God first in all they do in life. They must not lose focus to attain any level they want in their musical career, and they have to stay away from drugs and have the fear of God in their heart.
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