Story: Blessing Ehidiamen
Irrespective of what people think about why many go into music, there are few who does for the passion they have for it. Among them is Surebanty, a fast rising musician. In this interview, he revealed the deepest part of himself.
Can u tell us about yourself
Yes, my name is Osho Abiodun, popularly known as Surebanty. I am a native of Abeokuta in Ogun State, Nigeria. I am the only male child of a monogamous family of four children. I grew up in Lagos and live in an environment where music plays all the time, and that was my father’s hobby and part time business; in fact, he was a DJ in the 80s.
I am from a Christian background, but now a free thinker, I believe in everywhere they call God, I don’t criticize when it comes to religion, and don’t smoke nor drink. I am a funny person, easy going, loves chatting and listening to all kinds of music, and it has always been my major hobby. I can listen to music from morning till night, and night till the next morning. I love dressing and about passionate about wearing jewelleries.
Tell us about your educational background
I attended St Peter African Church Primary School, Agbado Oke Aro, where I was the head boy in primary six. Later, I passed into Agbado District Comprehensive High School (ADCHS) for my secondary school education which ended in 2001. Between 2001 and 2003, I was busy doing odds jobs to survive, and later acquired skills in Land surveying. In 2003, I gained admission into Lagos State Polytechnic to study Science Laboratory Technology; this ended in 2006, before I heeded to the call of showbiz as a profession.
When did you start singing and what motivated you
I started singing when I was in the primary school. I also happened to be a celestial choir member too. Motivation to actually sing started through the repeated music playing my father is used to when I was a kid. This I thought eventually captured my heart and make me fell in love with music in general.
Among the popular songs my father use to play then are from King sunny Ade, Commander Ebenezer obey, Ayinde Barrister, Kolington Ayinla, King Wasiu Ayinde , Pasuma Osupa Saheed, Ayinla Omowura and last but not the least the late Orlando Owoh, who actually serves as my main mentor in music.
I quickly develop the habit of imitating Fuji voice over other styles of music, and recap the memories of music I have listened to, and I do them in my own way by just replacing the words, but still maintain their rhythm, but actually the Late Orlando Owoh music is actually the one that turns me on most, and determine to actually want to sing. I started combining all these music styles till I ended up creating my own rhythm in Fuji style. I started doing this since my primary school years. I was so popular in my secondary school level as a Fuji star artist, and a book genius coupled with my exceptional style of dressing. But in between all these, I also have a big flare for hip hop music, listening to 2pac, R Kelly and PDiddy; their ways of life and style of singing, with their dress code really aroused my interest, so I looked for ways to imitate them too.
But my mate use to mock me back then that whenever am trying to do hip-hop song, that Fuji tone is always there, which they classify as wrong tune for hip-hop music, and that always make me feel bad, of course, some ladies back then believe anybody that does Fuji style of singing must have a traits of a tout, so I try to soften my voice to suit their choice, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
So I just carried on with all the styles. I was celebrated mostly among my male colleagues and some ladies for my Fuji styles until I gain admission into the polytechnic. There, I told myself I can’t do full Fuji style unless I wanted to be tagged a tout. One fateful day, during our departmental week in school, I concluded that I was going to give it a try and decided to fully do the fuji style in an hip-hop way. Amazingly I wow the audience with just a few seconds performance and since then, I got the courage to do Hip hop in a Fuji style with some Orlando Owoh flavour
How has the journey into the music industry been so far
The journey has been rough, tough, but encouraging. Rough in the sense that before one can actually get everybody to like your song, one needs to imagine everybody’s mind while composing which is a bit hard at the beginning. This is because I happen to be someone that listens to critics a lot; this really delayed my music journey a lot thinking everybody has to love my music before I start promoting. It is tough in the sense that financial support can’t be ruled out in Nigeria music industry, so I battle with that a lot while trying to make a head in music just because there is no fund available or financial support. It is encouraging in the sense that anywhere I sing or play my songs, people always commend my style of singing as exceptional, this has been what keeps me going.
Do you intend signing with a record label one day or you are already with one
Yes definitely, simply because music is never a one man business, it is always a team work. Therefore, a label is always needed, so I so much look forward to it, although I was under one label before but we didn’t reach a tangible conclusion before I decided to do things on my own.
Have your parents been supportive with your line of career
Yes and No. Yes is to my mum and No is to my Dad. My mum believes I am always an achiever base on my educational performances back then, and she believes everything is possible with God. She can sing all my past and present songs from A to Z; she is even the one that motivated me to include Rap style and the use of English in my music. But for my Dad, it is a NO, he wants me to become an Electrical contractor, which I don’t like at all, so he has never been supportive till date, because he used to say music is not an easy business without a sponsor based on his experience. He only looked forward to the day I will be celebrated worldwide before he can believe me.
How have you been able to convince them that music is what you want to do
Hmm! At a point, my mum was almost fed up, but the way my fans celebrate me encouraged her, and because she actually sees that I am so determined, she decided that she had no choice but to be supportive. But my Dad does challenge me always, but I always make him realise, music is my calling, that with God, hard work and consistency, one day I will make him proud.
Now that you are a musician, definitely girls will be all over you. How have you been able to handle that
Hmm! I just see them all as my fans, though I appreciate pretty girls but I am aware that I just need to love one person as a wife, and like others as fans, so I just stylishly excuse myself leaving no bad impression though one can’t please all. What you think you do to avoid someone politely might greatly annoys the person, creating a bad impression.
Are you in a relationship-
Which artist will you like to do music or collaboration with
Hmm! I will like to do collaboration with a Yoruba, English or Ibo rap artist while I just do the chorus and probably one verse, so I am looking at Olamide, Ice prince or Phyno.
What is your favourite food
Bread and beans (laughing).
Where do you see yourself in next five years
Definitely I will be among the most celebrated artist in the world with God on my side, hard work and consistency in music.
What should Nigerians and the world at large expect from you, I mean, what are you bringing to the table
Right now, I have decided to give it my all having been overwhelmed by my fans’ acceptance of my previous singles and videos and of course the last video I dropped titled Sexual healing, a cover of the late soul singer, Marvin Gaye. Right from that spot, I decided to do an official re-introduction song which I titled ‘Call me Surebanty’, which I composed so as to be able to relate with the word.
Surebanty, meaning a philanthropist, is a new slang for the street to be use, and a new tag name for anybody that has the habit of giving. SUREBANTY means a cheerful giver that believe one good turns deserve another, insinuating that helping people is like helping yourself indirectly because what goes around comes around. It is a reality message song comprising catchy rhythm, slangs for the street with a banging club dancehall beat, which I officially drop since the 1st of June 2016 on all entertainment blogs and radios station; a song you can’t just wait to hear.
What advice do you have for people out there that have their heart set in doing music
I will like to advice anybody that wants to do music to first search their hearts very well and see if they actually want to do music for doing sake or do it for real, not to be bothered of how things might be before you get to the top. This is because music is more difficult to do or excel in than what many people think; it entails a lot of sacrifices that might make you look like a nuisance at the beginning in the eyes of people around you, but your determination and passion, with God, are the things that see artists through.