By DAMIETE BRAIDE
For Azubuike Henry Oghenemario popularly known as Mad Melon of the Danfo Driver fame, you can take a man out of Ajegunle but you cannot take Ajegunle out of the man.
After hitting fame and fortune a few years ago, the musician moved out of Ajegunle, a sprawling ghetto and settled in Iyana-Iba, a quiet suburb of Lagos. But now he has retraced his steps back to Ajegunle because, according to him, Iyana Iba was too quiet for his liking.
In a chat with The Entertainer, Mad Melon who recently released a10-tracker entitled, Back in D Days, speaks on why he parted ways with his colleague, Mountain Black and decided to go solo. He also talks about his future plans among other issues. Excerpts:
My name is Azubuike Henry Oghenemario popularly known as Mad Melon. I was born and bred in Ajegunle but I hail from Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State. I had my primary and secondary school education in Lagos.
Mountain Black and I
I and my colleague, Mountain Black were in a group and we sang a song entitled, Danfo Driver which became very popular, but we could not get much exposure because our record label then did not promote our works very well. Right now, I’ve decided to do something different which made me to go solo but Mountain Black and I are still together, we’ll release an album if the need arises.
Coming into music
I started singing when I was nine. I performed with Ras Kimono when his music was in vogue. I also used to dance to the late Michael Jackson’s songs to the admiration of my fans then. Someone took me to NTA where I performed for children, and I received a lot of gifts from those shows.
Later, I went fully into music but couldn’t make it due to funds. I couldn’t finish my education and I did the work of a conductor for some time. Later, I became a bus driver but I still had time for music. I performed at various clubs, birthday parties and child dedication ceremonies. Also, Mountain Black and I collaborated and released Danfo Driver, an eight-track album containing songs like Iya Mi O, and No Matter What Dem Do. Our second album was Kpolongo. It had tracks like Where You Dey and Where We Travel. In 2009, we released an album, New Chapter and in 2011, we released another album entitled, Back 2 Sender under two different record labels.
Both record labels could not promote our albums well and we could not shoot videos of those songs. Later, we did a video of New Chapter, Mishango and it was also not promoted well. So, both albums were not successful and it prompted our fans to think that we were out of music. But right now, I’ve decided to do something different because my partner could not meet up. I wrote my songs and understand them, not that I’m doing a song for someone else, so that was why I decided to do something different for the market, to show that this is Mad Melon, this is the key of Danfo Driver. It is still Danfo Driver, but I am releasing on my own label.
Back in D Days
My new album, Back in D Days, is a 10-track album. It has 10 tracks including Kanyi Gba Egwu, We Go Dey, Wetin Dey (Ghetto Song) Dey Well, Topom (Burkina Faso) Ololufemi, Gbemi Ga, Me Sha Dey Go, and Gbangan.
The name, Mad Melon
The name, Mad Melon came as a result of my love for Egusi, my best soup. I assume the microphone to be my melon. Each time I eat Egusi soup, it makes me feel different, and each time I hold the microphone, it enhances my mood to sing on stage.
My brand of music
I play reggae and conscious music because my mentor always plays my kind of music. That’s why I wail anytime I am on stage. I love the style they play.
My major challenge is piracy, which is really pulling me back. An artiste will take all the pains to release an album and pirates will steal the songs and begin to reap from the sweat of that artiste. Piracy has made artistes not to benefit from their works and it is killing the industry.
On Nigerian music industry
The way we used to play music before is not the same now. Music is going higher now. But as for me, the sky is not just my limit, heaven is my limit and I hope to excel in my career as a musician.
Why I am different from others
It is the kind of music I play. Theirs is different from mine. I play household music, music that has message for the old, young and everybody, and people enjoy my songs. No, my music is not only for people living in the ghetto of Ajegunle but for everybody, hence, I play household music. I called it household music because it’s for everybody.
What I admire in a woman
I admire black and beautiful women. I like their physique. I am not married but I have two kids and there is no hope of reconciling with their mother. Right now, I am in a relationship and I intend to marry the lady.
I just pray that this album I am coming out with takes me to the next level. I know it’s not by my power but God’s. I believe that my new solo album will take me to places.