Multi-talented and award-winning musician, Ayoola Michael
For those who do not you, who is Alayo?
I am Prince Akinola Ayoola Michael, popularly known as Alayo melody singer. I was brought up in Iyana Ipaja, Lagos. I am married to the love of my life, Yetunde Akinola. She has been with me from the day I didn’t have a fat purse. We both have lovely kids.
What is your educational background?
I had my primary and secondary education in Lagos. Thereafter, I went back to Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, to study Business Studies. So, I later went to NOUN for my Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminology and Security Studies.
How did you venture into music?
I never thought of becoming a musician but it has been written that I will be a musician, because I started my career professionally in 1999, which I will be 20years on stage in October this year. It wasn’t my intention to be a musician, but God called me, just like what Nigerian Pastors would say that ”Olorun lo pemi” (laughs).
So, if you are not a musician what would you have been?
I would have loved to be a Policeman because that was why I studied Criminology and Security Studies in NOUN.
What type of music do you do?
I ventured into gospel music, I am a gospel singer.
What are challenges in the music industry?
Life is all about challenges, I have seen a lot in the music industry and I have conquered some in life. Life is all about challenges, it is day by day activities the more we determine to face the challenges, the more we conquer it. I have faced a lot, and I thank God for my life.
How was your upbringing?
I was born and brought up in Iyana Ipaja, Lagos State, I was a rude and street boy in the real sense of it, But God has now chosen a name ‘Alayo’ for me. Now, every child wants to be like me. Before, it was so difficult to associate with me because of the lifestyle I was living then.
Were your parents happy about your profession?
I started my music career when my father was late in 1998. But I started professionally in 1999. My late dad had wanted me to be a pharmacist because I learn how to sell drugs, but when I didn’t have money to establish myself within the struggles, I was gifted, he had no option than to support my dream.
How did you start your music?
I started my musical beginning from Church, I am a Christian, I was a chorister then. When I came to Abeokuta in 1998, my church invited me to come and lead the choir, because their choir then then was having issue then. So, when I got there the baba Ijo then is late now he wanted me to stay permanently in the church and promised to pay any amount I desire to get, but I told the baba Ijo that my bible said ‘I should do his own will before he can do mine.’ He appreciated me so well for this, when I was going back that day he gave me money. From there, people were giving me money, and I talked to my self that this thing that makes people appreciate me means God has a plan for me. I went back to one of the programmes I have attended, when I listened to the audio, I made mention when I was singing that ”Ani Emi In Alayo singer, Olohun Arere” which have never planned to be a musician and I said to my self that Alayo singer that means God has a plan for me. So, I went into fasting and prayer, God told me that is my way. When we first named the band,we name it Alayo gospel singers, but people thought we will be singing only gospel and I want my message to be spread, so I now changed the name to Alayo melody singers and registered it in 2002.
What are your achievements in the musical industry?
Firstly, I want to thank God for his mercy, not by my power since we have started, I have never worked for anyone. This music has taken me far, music has built houses for me, I have many cars, I have a lot of records, music took me to abroad. I have been to London, Kenya, South Africa and Cairo. Music has sent my children to school, music made me a reliable person in the world, music gave me everything, it made me a rotary member. I want to tell you that this is my 20years in the music industry and I will be celebrating it in a big way.
What distinguished you from other musicians?
My good music is my identity, my meaningful song distinguished me from others, I sing good music which people appreciate a lot, and my packaging also works for me.
What should we be expecting on your 20years on stage celebration?
You will see what has never happen before in Ogun State, even the last time I did launching, it was a unique one in which no Egba musician has ever done. They gave me credit, my 20 years on stage will be merrier than the launching. Sefiu Alao, Oritsefemi, Dr Yinka Ayefele will grace the occasion, I want to tell you that it is going to be a fun-filled event.
What is your next musical project?
I don’t think of what to sing, I don’t take any alcoholic drinks for inspiration, I don’t plan what to sing like others artiste. The song just comes like magic, my own is to get my band ready and I pick up microphone and the magic comes up, without planing wat to sing. I just discovered the song comes naturally, with God all things are possible.
What is the issue between you and Sefiu Alao?
That is a forgone issue. It is true we had issue then, but we have since settled it amicably. He is my brother who I so much love and respect. Thank God we are doing fine now.
What is advice to the upcoming artistes?
My simple advice to them is to have the fear of God first in whatever they do. They should not be desperate as this could lead them astray. They should not be in a hurry, what will be will be, will always be. Most of these young guys are now looking for the fastest way to make ends meet. It shouldn’t be that way, they need to pay their dues in the industry too. They should be committed and creative in their own way so that they can stand out in future.