by Chi Ibe
Femi Kuti was on hand recently to speak with Y! on his life, reason for agreeing to be a Nigerian Idol judge and other things you might not know about him.
Read through to know what the saxophone wielding Afrobeat legend has to say.
YNaija: Why did you agree to be a judge?
Femi: To help the youths understand it is not just about glamour, and that music is a difficult and serious profession and hopefully people will understand we have to create academies to groom our so obvious talent.
YNaija: But you are very TV shy and barely ever leave the Shrine for performances in the country, what touched you really?
Femi: This is because over the years the press in many sectors decide to pick on me to write negative stories that were not true. Some tried to blackmail me into giving them money or writing bad stories, I saw I couldn’t win so I decided to concentrate on my foreign tours, my albums, family and the Shrine.
I was saddened by the obvious bad state of our country and music industry that for me there was no point in traveling round facing too many difficulties with unreliable promoters and the Sharia law in most northern states.
With the Nigerian Idol I see a platform to take the struggle to new heights cause I see a positive and vibrant new generation that wants to excel positively and I hope I can contribute my small quota to this great course.
YNaija: What was it like being on TV as a judge for the first time?
Femi: It was exciting and very funny. I found many contestants have the wrong impression about the entertainment world which made me laugh, it brought new life to me too.
YNaija: Do you think the mediocre music on the airwaves this days will not corrupt good music in this country?
Femi: I don’t think so. First of all, we need to appreciate that our youths are trying to do positives things with their lives instead of becoming criminals or drug barons and we need to encourage them.
The bad will fall by the way side and the good will forge ahead. Like my father, see his music still lives long even after him.
YNaija: Do you think too much attention is being paid to talent these days. Every young person thinks they are D’banj giving them excuses to abandon education?
Femi: I don’t think too much attention is given, but the same amount of attention should be given to encourage them to study music and play musical instruments.
YNaija: What would you say you are most proud of with the young musicians of today and which one of them do you admire?
Femi: That they are trying to do positive things with their lives despite the hardship in the world today. After our last Felabration festival I noticed a lot of groups are now trying to play with bands which is another positive development. Well, I like Wizkid and Davido.
YNaija: What advise do you have for them?
Femi: That would be to learn at least one musical instrument.