By FOLU OLAMITI
As his family, friends, associates, admirers and fans around the world celebrate the living music legend, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi on his 80th birthday, the celebrant gave more information on the circumstances of his rise to stardom in the entertainment world.
According to him, his choice of music as his career was God’s will for him and it was God who made all his acclaimed achievements in the music industry possible and did not allow him to fade away or die at most. strong in his career. like many music stars in history
Thinking back to his humble beginnings on the journey to stardom, he said the spirit had driven him since he was a child and then joined the church choir and school band and then the local band of his city. Over time, he began to notice an inner inspiration or vision within him that always propelled him forward to see and take advantage of opportunities in his musical journey, even without thinking about monetary or material gains.
Going back down memory lane, he said: “I have loved music since the days when I was crawling to where the drums and other musical instruments were placed in the church and then to membership. choir member then school band member then playing music as a hobby to entertain people when we formed a local band in my town.
Somehow along the line the young Ebenezer became interested in learning to play every musical instrument available at the time and it was not a common practice. Soon he mastered all of them, including the “Agidigbo”, a local instrument that many did not want to touch due to the energy and stress it put on the player.
Another uncommon attribute he acquired was his ability to compose songs with ease and compose different songs suitable for various individual occasions, which excited his audience during and after each performance.
Unbeknownst to him, God was just grooming him for the big leagues. As God willed, he had to leave his hometown for Lagos to stay with his father. By the time he left Idogo, he had become a multi-talented musician, but it never occurred to him to pursue a career in music.
Explaining why this was so, he said: “We then played music as a hobby where we entertained people for fun and we got cookies and cola pop at the end of every show. So, despite my love for music, at first I never thought of making a living from it. I worked as a pool betting agent on a salary of three pounds a month. »
The opportunity to turn professional presented itself unexpectedly in a curious way that could only be divine. Hear It: “An incident happened that changed my entire focus, which ultimately launched me into a career as a professional musician and propelled me to make music a career.
“One day I was sitting outside my father’s house in Mushin, Lagos when I saw two elderly people, whose names I later came to know as Akinbomi Savage and Jumoda Bamgbose aka Abengo Mayana. They were local musicians who were looking for a place where they could rent a particular local musical instrument called Ajadudu for their performance. From their discussion, I knew they had an outing that night of which the musical instrument was vital.
“With my knowledge of music matters, I knew where they could get it and approached them so I could help. They were initially skeptical of a young man with enormous knowledge of music and, of course, such a rare musical instrument. They accepted that I show them the place and they finally got the instrument.
“Eventually they started inviting me to their night outs and I was making more money than I was being paid as a pool clerk. There was one day when I made a pound, seven shillings after a show, which was more than half of my salary of three pounds a month. There was not a day when I came home with less than five shillings. So the money was no more a problem and I could give to those who needed it.
“It was one of the main considerations that propelled me into full-time music. I thought if I was making that much money doing music shows with people every night, then going professional and quitting paid work would be a better option.
Another big factor in evangelist Obey Fabiyi’s journey to stardom happened when he met and teamed up with the late Fatai Rolling Dollars. Many reports about his music career had interpreted this to mean that Obey Fabiyi had undergone training and tutelage under Fatai Rolling Dollars, but he says that is not true. He describes his encounter with Fatai Rolling Dollars as “both accidental and providential or intentional”.
He said that the first day he met Fatai Rolling Dollars, he (Obey) composed three songs as they were walking down the street and Fatai was so impressed that he invited him to join his band for some night shows. According to Obey Fabiyi, “My meeting with Fatai coincided with the time he was fired from his regular job at the railway company.
“I used to ‘raise’ him, that is, help him financially because I made money from going out with the bands I was with. Later, I joined him as a musical partner although he was the owner of the group. In fact, I helped him name his band Fatai Rolling Dollars and his Rhythm Band. We got along well but six years later we parted ways with no hard feelings when I decided to find a label to record.
Obey Fabiyi then formed the International Brothers Band and then approached Decca, the most popular recording label at the time to record him. The story has been told many times of how the company’s general manager’s secretary tried to stop Obey from seeing him and how the then-budding star worked his way up to the presence of the expatriate boss and convinced him he was a future star while asking not to be paid until sales traders confirmed his boast that the record would sell out and shake up the market.
Indeed, the record sold very well and a star was born. Over time, Obey Fabiyi became the most prominent and viable artist on the Decca label. His fame became boundless over the years and he later bought the business which is still operating till today under his leadership.
His verdict: “Looking back, I have no doubt that my journey in life to become a music star was planned by God Himself.”