Lanre Fasasi a.k.a Sound Sultan discusses his career and also sheds light on his personality
You have been on stage for 12 years but you are not as aggressive as some of your colleagues.
It is not the aggression that matters but outliving one’s first performance. I am happy that after 15 years, I have been able to remain relevant and I am still getting invites to perform at shows. It is really important for us to bear in mind that humility sustains a successful career. If you say I am not aggressive, that is because I am just being humble.
How was your tour of the United States of America?
It is very hard to do concerts internationally— there are lots of heavy-weights involved in the business. You need sponsors too. Right now, I’m trying to put a DVD together.
What inspires you when you are writing songs?
I look at my situation; I look at the immediate environment and try to talk about everything that has happened now and in the past. I have a wonderful memory, I remember things easily.
You appear like an extremely shy person
Yes, every artiste has that, even the international ones, but I have come to realise that I cannot extend my shyness to making money. I was an introvert but I am not that anymore. Now, I am an extrovert and I make money with aggression.
Do you sometimes feel intimidated?
No. There is no way I would feel intimidated because I always have something to say. But when I am alone and just being me, not Sound Sultan, I just want that privacy for a little while. My approach is that if you don’t have anything to say, then keep quiet. People have made a lot of mistakes from talking without thinking.
What puts you off about people?
I can’t stand fake people. Some youths feel they should behave like white people, it is so bad that they cannot even identify with their parents sometimes, but I feel people should be proud of who they are.
What was your parents’ reaction when you opted for a career in music?
My parents supported my brother and I 120 per cent. All they said was that we should make sure we go to school.
Apart from Baba Dee, who else was your role model when you were growing up?
When I was growing up, role models were very hard to come by, unlike now ,when there are so many players in the game, even though some people are still very stingy with their knowledge and experience. Back then, you could hardly come around a star, you would just be looking at them from afar.
But having Baba Dee as my brother was a leverage, he was already several steps ahead of me and he had already seen the game in different lights. He was going for competitions then and I was always backing him up. I also had a lot of influence from Fela, Wyclef Jean, Tracy Chapman, Shade Adu and a few others. I never listened religiously to any artiste in those days but I always made sure I took a healthy dose of each artiste. I did not take too much so that the musician’s style would not reflect in my music.
What has fame done to you?
I know a lot of young guys get carried away easily when they come into the scene newly. I giggle when I see that because sometimes you get tired of certain habits. I don’t know how long they can put up with such acts before getting tired. I have related with international artistes and I have seen how wealthy they are and still, how grounded they are. I was level-headed before I met Wyclef Jean in 2010 but after that meeting, I became more level-headed. Whenever Wyclef, a multiple award-winning musician, calls me to inform me that he would be in Nigeria for my show, I am amazed at his modesty. Meanwhile, you would be begging Nigerian artistes to come to your show.
Where did the name, Sound Sultan, emanate from?
Then, my brother and sister were making fun of my previous name. I was doing everything then, I was a rapper and I was an instrumentalist. So, they asked me if I wanted to continue my career with my funny name. I told them to give me another name and they said since I wrote different styles of music, they would call me Sound Sultan— King of sounds. It’s like being a jack of all trades, master of all.
What does style mean to you?
If I was a new guy in the game, I would submit to the fashion craze that is currently going on in the industry. Everybody is going around asking, ‘who are you wearing?’ If I were a new guy, I would be worried about who or what I am wearing but as it is, anything that comes to mind and which I want to define myself with, is what I come out with. Style is not about being trendy or doing what is in vogue.
But you do like fez caps
I have always used fez caps to cover my face since I was in school because of my shy nature; I still use them to shield my face.
Why don’t you wear sunglasses?
I don’t want to charm too many people again because I am married.
How did you meet your wife?
I just met her.
How did she scale through your female admirers?
It would have been hard for her to scale through them, she was not a part of that crowd, she grew up in my neighbourhood, and I watched her grow up.
She was not a fan who was all over you?
She was not, I was begging her to even hear my song.
So how did you eventually date her?
I did not talk to her in the neighbourhood because I did not want people to start talking about the relationship. I always met her somewhere away from the neighbourhood.
What’s next for Sound Sultan?
My sixth album is dropping very soon, I am excited, and we are planning a tour with my management outside the country. My artistes are recording their album as well. I keep my fingers crossed, God is in control.