Shina Peters’ Younger Brother, Yomi Returns…Shares U.S Experience
Perhaps not too many people are aware that, the Afro Juju creator, Sir Shina Peters has a younger brother who’s also into music but it’s not news to those in the know. Very talented and passionate about what he knows how to do best, the handsome instrumentalist was at his best when Enquirer’s Faith Irabor cornered him for an exclusive chat where he shared his American experience, growing up with brothers, Shina and Gbenga and his 2012 musical plans. Here are the excerpts:
So good to see you after been off the scene for a long time, can you tell us what’s been happening to you?
Yeah for the sake of those who don’t know me, my name is Yomi Peters, I play Juju Music. Back to your question, I have been away in the United States of America and just came back to continue what gave me fame.
How long have you been away and why?
I have been away for over nine years and why I left the country was because I realized I have huge fan base over there but I am back to release a new album because of my fans who have also missed me too.
Ok, are you back in the country or you only came to release an album and leave?
Not really, I would only be shuttling between the Nigeria and United States for now, because if you’re not here, you’re not in the picture and the good thing is, I have been able to make my name over there so it’s time to come back home.
But if I may ask, what made you relocate in the first place?
The truth is if you’re known here and have not travelled out of the country to test if your music is accepted outside the shores of the country, then you’re yet to accomplish. What I am saying in essence is there is need for this international exposure, it’s very necessary.
But it could also be because your music was no longer selling here or you were no longer called for shows, more so it could also be because of financial crisis?
Not really. You see when you’re playing the kind of music I do, you’ll realized that there’s this need to take it beyond the shores of the country. I remember when I used to be under King Sunny Ade, he used to shuttle between here and abroad and could even be away for as much as six months. I used to ask why then. It’s only Ebenezer Obey that does not travel out like they do then, and that’s why Sunny Ade is still Sunny Ade till date because any connection you make abroad would never die, it would only make you more famous here and if you don’t have international connections as a musician, you’re yet to be known no matter how popular you may be because you have to promote yourself everywhere. Let me also state that it’s not only in music that one needs to be connected internationally, but in every profession you do especially in Nigeria where the flavour of international stuff is being seen as a big deal.
So can you still recollect your journey into music and the songs you did before you relocated?
I started my career as a musician in the church because my mum was a choir master in Cherubim and Seraphim church, so that was where we started developing music then from there I started joining bands before joining King Sunny Ade in 1985.
What was the title of your first album?
The title was I Love You and it was released in 1991, after which I released another one in 1993 titled Na you be this, I did another one in 1998 titled Mummy’s Pet, I did Forward Ever in the year 2000.
So which one would you say gave you the breakthrough and under what record labels were they released?
I worked with top record labels back then. Olumo Music was one of them, I was also signed under Ivory Music and before they sign you, you have to be really good. But Forward Ever remains the best among all of them.
What are the things you’ve put in place to ensure that your music is accepted now that you’re back because the music industry has changed and there are so many new talented artistes around unlike then when we can count them?
Yeah, am gradually getting my groove back here. And my fans here who travel to the US frequently normally attend my shows and before I got back they’ve put together a welcome dance for me. And I have been hosted by several people. I have also gone for big shows in Ilesha, Abeokuta and they were booked even before I came.
Now that you’re back what is your relationship like with your brother, Sir Shina Peters?
Our relationship is still intact as brothers.
I mean are you two planning towards working together in terms of collaboration?
The truth is music is what you have to plan very well before delving into it, so we have to sit down to think well before doing such and also think of the recording company that is capable of promoting it.
Basically how was growing up like for you and your brother and which area did you grow up?
We grew up in a Christian family, we grew up with our grand mum in Ijoko, Otta, Ogun State and we grew up together. Growing up was really fun for us.
Would you say you were born with silverspoon kids?
The truth is, we are not from rich family but we all struggled to make it.
So how many were you people?
We’re all three boys, oh sorry three men and are doing fine.
We seem not to know the third man?
His name is Gbenga and he’s also into music. He plays with me in the United States of America.
What’s your position in the family?
Shina is the first, Gbenga is the second and I, Yomi is the third.
Can you quickly run us through your educational background?
(Hmm…) My educational background is not that smooth because I am not from a rich family, though I would have loved to be very educated but one thing I know is in music God educate you to the very highest level. I am an instrumentalist and can play the entire instrument you can think of and I know music. But I didn’t go to school.
So what do you do aside music in the United States?
The truth is, music is the only job I do abroad and I have over a hundred audio CDs of the shows I have done while in the US. I had no other job aside music and thank God it paid my bills.
But can you highlight some of the challenges you encountered?
The truth is in this job, one has to be strong and not be scared at any level. For instance I was attacked by armed robbers just few days after I got into the country. I was preparing for a show on a Sunday and they collected all my phones, my Gold, all the cash I had on me and even the key of the car I drove, but still that didn’t stop me from performing at the show I was billed to go. I went and I played throughout and didn’t tell anyone until I was through with the event, so challenges would always come.
Where is your wife and kids at the moment?
We thank God for their lives. They are all in the United States but my wife would be back in two weeks.
How many kids do you have?
I have both sexes but don’t let’s count kids.
What is your projection for this 2012?
I don’t want to blow my trumpet but one thing is sure, my fans would enjoy me this year and that’s why I went as far as importing expensive instruments and even bought brand new bus that would be conveying them to shows. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed.
When was the last time you visited Nigeria before now?
That was about nine years ago.
So what would you say you miss most while you were away?
I missed (Isi Ewu) meaning Goat Head and (Nkwobi) an Igbo delicacy. (General laughter)
Is your wife an Igbo woman?
No she’s from Osun State.
Ok, which food do you enjoy the most when she cooks?
I like Eba so much.
Can you remember any embarrassing moments that you’d love to share?
I have faced a lot of embarrassments from the people I least expected it from and if I talk about it, it would affect some people.
But have you ever been disappointed by someone very close to you?
People are mere flesh it’s only God that does not fail so what I do is, I prepare myself for disappointments so that when it happens it won’t really weigh me down. Having said that yes I have been disappointed on several occasions.
It’s been nice chatting with you?
Thank you my sister.