Please introduce yourself.
My name is Tiwalade Jetawo. I am the first daughter and second born among seven children of Chief Adewale Ayuba. I did my first degree (BSc) in Bowen University, Iwo, in Osun State. I have an MSc in international business from the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. I also hold an MBA from Vancouver Island University, Canada, where I am currently based. I am married.
Tell us a bit about your father.
He is a wonderful dad and I love him very much. He is gentle and a very private person. He tries to shy away from the public, which we his kids also imbibed. He is very understanding, accommodating and nice. He is a good listener and has a great relationship with his kids.
What are some of the values you learnt from him?
I learnt the value of humility. I also learnt respect, how to be accommodating, even to strangers, and to not look down on anybody.
How was growing up with your father?
My childhood was wonderful. Although most of the time dad was not always physically around because he had to travel to perform at one show or the other, but he kept in touch with us every day, communicating with us via the telephone. We were not too far away from him. Whenever he returned from his trips or shows, he spent quality time with us as much as he could. Again, we went to boarding schools, so we were always in the hostels.
Did he come to visit you and your siblings while you were in boarding school?
Yes he did.
What was the experience like each time he visited?
The first time he came to visit me in school was quite an event, as he got so much attention from everyone. I, for one, didn’t like it because most of my mates then did not know I was his daughter. After that episode, many people wanted to be my friend and I didn’t know if it was because some of them just found out I was his daughter or wanted to be my friend simply for who I was.
Every time he came around, I got so much attention. Later I told him I didn’t want him to come visit me in school, because I was reserved and quiet in school and didn’t keep many friends. I think I was about 10 years old. From then on, he usually didn’t come directly to visit me; he would go to my guardian in school; someone like my teacher. At other times, we would be the ones that would go to visit him in the guardian’s family house, or in my grandma’s house in Ikenne, Ogun State. I did a part of my primary schooling, as well as secondary schooling in Mayflower, Ikenne, then. My brother and immediate younger sisters went to the same school too.
How did he create time for his family despite his busy schedules?
Whenever he was around, we spent time watching movies together or he took us out. He would also ask us about what was happening in our lives personally and about our school work. He knows everything happening in my life and that of my siblings. We are very close to him.
How did he discipline you and your siblings whenever anyone misbehaved?
Dad rarely beat us. Growing up, I cannot remember him using the cane on us. But I can remember that he disciplined me by using his two fingers as a ruler to flog me on one of my palms. Other than that, he used words to correct us whenever we did wrong.
How does he react whenever he is angry?
He reacts like every other normal Nigerian parent, he would shout at one, and first ask, “What is wrong with you?” and so on (laughs).
How has your dad’s name opened doors for you?
We try not to use his name to get favours or take any advantage. I cannot really say that.
How do people react when they recognise that you are Adewale Ayuba’s daughter?
Like I said before, I was reserved in school. And I didn’t want it to be like I was using the name to get favours. Even when I was in the university in Nigeria, I never let my friends know that I am his daughter. Most of them later found out when I was about graduating from school. Some others were angry that I never mentioned it to them, while for most others, it was a pleasant surprise. I usually get that kind of pleasant surprise mostly when people find out. I am proud to be his daughter all the same.
Did you attend any of your dad’s shows?
Yes, I attended quite a number, particularly when I was much younger, and also when I was in the university. I went for his shows once in a while and it was always exciting to watch him perform on stage. When we don’t get to attend his shows, he comes home with the recorded version and we all watch it. At times, he would ask for our opinion or ask us to appraise his performance. We always tell him the truth, and when necessary, we tell him he could do better. Most times, it was always a good feedback we gave him.
What are some of your favourite tracks from any of his albums?
I cannot remember some of the names of the tracks right now, but I like Acceleration, Bubble (Raise the Roof, with Jazzman Olofin), and many others. I also like most of the tracks from the Fuji Satisfaction album he did with the Bantu collective.
There was a recent controversy about the creator of fuji music. Did he tell you anything about it?
No, he didn’t. I don’t think he has any rivalry with any artiste in his genre. I don’t know of any rivalry between him and any musician. Dad is an easy-going person and is always mindful of his business. He loves doing music.
Why did he name his own style of Fuji, Bonsue?
I think his style is called Bonsue Fuji because my dad likes the corporate lifestyle and is mostly dressed in corporate outfits. Also, his music reflects that kind of style.
What are some things Nigerians don’t know about your father?
Dad is very funny man and is a good actor. Most of the time, when he talks, he doesn’t mean to be funny deliberately, but he gets everyone laughing. We actually call him ‘actor’ at home. If he didn’t go into Fuji music, probably he would have gone into acting or comedy. He has a diploma in law from the University of Lagos and an associate degree in accounting from Queens borough Community College in the United States.
Some people feel that Fuji artistes are not well educated. Your dad doesn’t seem to fall into that category…
Yes. Some persons have a certain kind of perspective about Fuji artistes. But that doesn’t mean it is always like that. I think dad’s foray into Fuji music was meant to disabuse the minds of such people about their views of Fuji artistes. He sort of showed that one can have the corporate lifestyle look and still do great Fuji music as an artiste. You can see it from the way he talks, relates with people and from his style of dressing. I think that is where the Bonsue-Fuji music thing started from. Doing fuji music doesn’t put one in a particular box, like some see it.
Did he influence the career choices of any of his children?
No he did not. He only supported our choices and dreams.
Aside from Fuji, what other music genre does your dad like?
I think he likes Apala music, because I have seen some CDs in his car. I also like Apala music. He also likes inspirational music.
Mention some of his favourite artistes.
I may not be accurate on this, since I am just replying based on what I have seen in his car. I would assume he likes Fatai Olowonyo, among others.
Who are his role models?
They are King Sunny Ade, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
How does he like to relax?
Staying at home with his family is his form of relaxation.
What is the most important advice he gave you?
He advised me to always aim for success.
What is his music inspiration?
God and his family.
Your dad converted from Islam to Christianity in 2010. Did he talk about his conversion experience?
I believe he got converted based on his personal encounter. I am a Christian too, and most of us, my siblings and my mum, got converted long before he did. He is independent-minded and he never imposed his religion on us. We chose to go the way we wanted. He taught us to be independent-minded.
Did he talk about the alleged threat to his life because of his conversion?
No, he didn’t talk to me about that. I guess he didn’t tell me because he didn’t want me to be panicky.
Who are some famous personalities you met through your father?
I have met a lot of them, including the likes of Jazzman Olofin, Bantu (collective) and Lagbaja.
Who are some of his closest friends?
Dad has many friends in the entertainment industry. But I think his closest friends are not in the entertainment industry.
What is his favourite outfit?
He likes to dress in corporate attire or in casuals. He likes to dress ‘young.’ He has a good fashion taste. He launched his own fashion line called Bonsue Wears a few years ago.
What would you say is his favourite fashion accessory or something he spends money on?
I think his favourites would be wristwatch and shoes.
What is his favourite food?
I really don’t know. He loves good food.
Despite his Muslim background, your dad has only one wife…
How would you describe his relationship with your mum?
They have a great, loving relationship. They are best of friends and respect each other very much. I am learning a lot from them in terms of marriage. They talk things out to iron whatever issues they have. My mum is from the East, Onitsha, precisely. Dad does not hold sentiments when it comes to tribes.
Did he tell you how they fell in love?
I think they met in school.
What kind of sports does he like?
Dad likes football. He is an Arsenal fan. He also loves pool billiards.
What are his likes and dislikes?
He loves spending time with his family. He also loves travelling, singing and dancing. He does not like heights.
What did he tell you about how he started his career?
I think he said he started singing fuji when he was in primary school. At first, his parents didn’t support his decision to go into music because they felt it was not profitable then. It is not like nowadays where many young persons want to go into music full- time. But he was persistent with it and despite the disappointment and challenges, he has become famous.
How would you describe his contribution to the Nigerian music industry?
His place in Nigerian music industry is golden. He has been able to showcase our music to the world through Fuji. He also helped to change the negative perception about Fuji artistes, that they are not educated and so on. He showed that one can be educated, have a corporate lifestyle and still be a successful Fuji artiste. He also does his best to support up and coming acts in the music industry.
What is he most fulfilled about in life?
He is fulfilled that he has made a success of his music career and life, and also seeing his children achieve their dreams.