Adekunle Gold: Class-Act, Street Protégé Championing New-School Urban Highlife

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By Manny Ita
Gold is perhaps a very apt coinage for the guy Kosoko Adekunle, popularly known as Adekunle Gold, for the simple reason that the product only glitters after a tense process of refining in the furnace. People get to see the final gold product but are hardly aware of the excruciating process that precedes the precious product.
This analogy is not what inspired the name Gold for the Nigerian born musician anyways. It was rather his pastor. How? Well, Kosoko was under the ministration of his pastor one day and the man of God kept repeating ”you cannot substitute brass for gold.” That hit him like a hurricane as he had been seeking God’s face for a brand name as the vogue is, never fancying using just his name.
The eldest son in a family of five with three sister, Gold is a lagosian of the Ishilekun dynasty. Both parents’ educationists, Gold studied art and industrial design in Lagos state polytechnic, majoring in graphics.
He had stints with online marketing companies Jumia where he worked as photo editor and Konga as the head editor but was later moved to the marketing department to be in charge of creative designs and products. He also worked with Mobilizer as branch manager, in charge of campaigns.
However, without doubt, music had a stronger pull on Gold as he one day just walked out of everything else into what he loves best, music.
“Music started before every other thing, I learnt a lot of art in school and I knew I always had passion for art. I had actually wanted to be a lawyer but I knew that it wasn’t going to work out. So I just gave up on that hope and said let me just face reality. I have always loved music. I was in teens choir in church which helped develop my music talent. I grew up listening to Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade and then when I became much older, I started listening to Indi sounds, the script in particular, as well as Asha.” Gold says.
After resigning his job, the first song of Adekunle Gold was ‘Let it stop’ done in May 2014 which according to the crooner” just went like a massive airplane”. He next was ‘Shade’, a well-scripted golden oldie which gathered worldwide acceptance.
For Gold, it is more of grace than luck or faith that has brought him success and fame. “Yes I might say that I have worked so hard but that is not enough because every time, it’s God’s grace, so am blessed to have this opportunity to be in the lime light now”.
“There are places I have gone to, that I never imagined they would know my song. The first time I went to London, I was sure no one knew me. There was a store in front of my apartment so I just wore slippers to the mall and then this couple just came to meet me and exclaimed, oh my God, Adekunle Gold and I was surprised because I did not see that coming and they wanted pictures so bad.” He quipped.
The new kid up the block who has won seven awards in two years says he does not make his music for anyone. When he came out with shade, there were insinuations that the album would not sell since it was not the typical club music but now everyone knows better. Gold says” for me am not making my song for anyone really. It is my experience, it just want to do me totally and as God would have it, those who were skeptical about the success of shade fell over themselves with delight.”
Gold’s choice of style is yet another interesting bit. The guy who calls himself an all-round highlife adored Bruno Mars so much and wanted to be Mars but he realized soon enough that the best person he could be was himself which propelled him into the path of his destiny.
“ I listened to Bruno Mars a lot and I wanted to sound like him so bad so i started doing pop sound but it was not working and I think I even had Bruno addiction. But I thought better and said to myself, Kunle you are very heavy in Yoruba, you like highlife and you like hindi a lot so you can actually merge the sounds. I like storytelling; I love beautiful Nubia because of his folks. So I felt I could do a bit of this king Sunny Ade, Bruno Mars, beautiful Nubia, Ebenezer Obe, the script, I mean all of this people because they influence me a lot and I thought it made sense to listen to them well and do something around what I know am comfortable with.”
In the year 2000 when Gold moved from Agege to Ikotun, he bumped into a friend whom he discovered could sing and loved instruments. Together they formed a band called ‘The Bridge’ and started writing songs. While Gold focused on song writing his friend was producer and director. They did a song with skales called ‘non-breaker’ and ‘make it happen’ with GT the guitar man. They also did a famous cover of’ all of me’ by John Legend that was applauded by Legend himself.
“He said people should tweet at him their covers for ‘all of me’ that was in 2013. We were so thrilled that we were doing something great, you know. It turned out to be the best decision we ever made.” Gold said.
For Adekunle Gold what was the most difficult thing was getting heard. “Before Olamide it was very hard but after Olamide signed me it has been like from 0 to 100%.” He enthused.
Gold who stands firm against piracy and wants a proper distribution plan in Nigeria’s music industry believes nevertheless that the music from the sub-saharan country is doing well.
Looking back at the days when music had not gone digital, when the Nigerian music industry assiduously struggled for global reputation and acceptance, the likes of Baba Fela, IK Dairo, King Sunny Ade, Mike Okri, Onyeka Owenu, Christie Essien-Igbokwe and other erstwhile performers, trudged on the not-so-easy path and in no small measure projected the rich culture and heritage of the country to the world, through their songs. They loved music and were mostly not in it for just the money. They laid the foundation for the current buoyant musical terrain in the country.
Adekunle Gold springs from that foundation; a class-act, thoroughbred street protégé with the new school tunes he calls Urban-Highlife.

Africh Royale

Africh Royale

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