Jide Akinwunmi, popularly known as Jide Chord, is a popular musician. He has paid his dues and has been contributing to the music scene in Nigeria since 1984.
He had been in journalism and banking, but his passion took his profession from him.
In an interview with Wale Adegbuyi, Jide Chord opens up on his decision to pursue his passion and how he learnt so much from the late Professor Peller the foremost magicians.
He advised the younger generations to rate themselves in SWOT analysis and be humble to gain relevance in life.
Can you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Jide Akinwunmi popularly dubbed “Jide Chord”, I came from Akinwunmi family in Itoko Abeokuta, Ogun State. I attended Corona School, Lagos. Igbobi College, Lagos and the University of East London. I also trained as a journalist in the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) way back and a first stage diploma from the Institute of Bankers. Although my Father is from Abeokuta, my mother is from Ijebu Igbo also in Ogun State.
“If you expect me to rubbish my colleagues who sing about the fun side of life, you’re not gonna get that from me”
After attending NIJ and NIB what motivated you into music?
Music has always been a part of me, but I’ll try to tell you how one thing led to another. I worked for Punch Newspapers first as a court reporter and later when the entertainment department was created, I was one of the first to be posted to that desk. In the course of entertainment reportage, I met the late Chief Moshood Abiola aka Professor Peller, a renowned Magician. I eventually became his Public Relations Officer. That opened my eyes to how to run a showbiz business.
Can you tell the people how one thing led to the other?
After some years, my mother decided that I should find something more formal to do which may lead me back to education/university. However the showbiz seed had been sown in me.
How did your relationship with the late Professor Peller influenced your life?
I found a job in the defunct National Bank of Nigeria, where I spent about seven (7) years working and studying banking. At the same time, I was improving and investing in my musical skills by running a gospel band alongside my banking job.
“I have a son who is already in the business, Tokunbo Chord. It is a worthwhile career if managed properly”
So, you found a job after listening to your mum’s advice, now what led you back to music?
Yes! I learnt a lot about confidence and originality from my boss.
Music is a virus, once it’s in you, it’s very hard to ignore. So everything I did while as a banker was to further my music career.
So you started your music career as a gospel musician, but you aren’t singing gospel these days, what led to the change of style?
My exposure at the bank taught me business ethics which is useful to me till today.
How many albums have you produced and which year did your career in music start?
Although the market in which I operated then was Christian gospel inclined everyone knew I wanted to sing and compose music beyond that. I cannot actually define when I started performing or when I started getting paid for music. My first album as Jide Chord (aside the ones we did for church) was in 1984 and I have since released about six (6) albums.
What can you consider as challenges in your music career?
None, when I set out on a journey, I knew the pitfalls to expect and when they come up I deal with them. I’m not stupid like some people that achieve stardom and develop a sense of entitlement.
Well, initially when I moved to London, it was a big challenge to get professional band members to perform and it took a lot of time and money to train people to that standard beyond choir performance. Piracy was/is also a major problem especially as I was not in Nigeria to monitor my record sales.
“Always remember it is SHOW BUSINESS, you have to be adept on both sides. Be good in SHOW and be good in BUSINESS.”
What would you say music has done to you in terms of value?
Obviously, it has added value to me financially and status wise.
How do you think music can educate the people, most importantly the younger generation as it was in the past?
Music has multiple roles to play within a community or a nation. Sometimes, it can make you forget your sorrows temporarily. Sometimes, it is used to encourage and give hope for the future, and sometimes it is used to educate people about history, science and/or life teaching and sometimes it teaches about love. I think Nigerian music has enough of those attributes. If you expect me to rubbish my colleagues who sing about the fun side of life, you’re not ‘gonna get that from me.’
Can we be briefed on your parent position after you decided to go into music despite a clear cut profession that you were already established in?
Oh yes, my people were vehemently against it at the time. They thought if at all I wanted to go into music it shouldn’t have been traditional music. They felt I was wasting my potentials generally. They believed I could easily have become Nigeria’s youngest newspapers editor if I wanted. I could have gone far in the banking world if I put all my effort into it.
I have a son who is already in the business, Tokunbo Chord. It is a worthwhile career if it is managed properly and with God on one’s side.
Can you tell your audience the challenge you went through in producing the most recent album compared to what you’ve learnt in the past?
This is quite technical but I’ll try my best to explain. My Producer, Dr. Groove had a computer glitch or crash that caused us a 3 month delay and lots of money travelling up and down between London and Lagos. it was a task, that was beyond what I can explain.
Can you please send a word of advice to upcoming or intending musicians?
Always remember it is that it is “Show Business,” you have to be adept on both sides. Be good in “Show” and be good in “Business.” Borrow yourself brain by learning from people in the business or get yourself a good manager. Also do what is called a SWOT analysis of yourself and hammer on your strengths rather weaknesses.
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