At nine, Praise Adebayo Olaoluwa whose stage name is Praizhym is already a saxophonist performing at big events like the May 29 Prophetic Concert with the likes of Mike Abdul. The hyperactive Praizhym who was our guest at LEADERSHIP Lagos office in company with his dad, Mr. Peter Adebayo, spoke with SAMUEL ABULUDE on his love for the musical instruments and plans.
How did you come about sax?
I came about the saxophone when I went for a competition titled God’s Children Great Talent (GCGT) at City of David Redeemed Christian Church of God in 2016. Having progressed to the next level to the semifinal stage, we were asked to request for any instrument we wanted so I requested for a saxophone and I started learning the sax at my school, Valiant Havilla Kiddies College in Isolo before I got my private tutor who teaches me music lessons every Saturday. I also play contemporary music.
Have you started learning any instruments at the point you were asked to choose any instrument you wanted during the competition?
Yes, I was playing drums in adult church at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Centre of Greatness, Province 48, Isolo. I’m also in choir.
How long did it take for you to start playing drums publicly?
I started playing drums when I was four months old. According to my father, I started exhibiting the skills at four months. And at six months, I could drum on almost anything I see including kids in the children’s church at age two
When was the first time you played in church?
I was six years old when I started playing the typical drums.
When did you start training on sax playing?
Two years ago; in 2016 precisely.
How was your progression at GCGT before winning the sax?
After the auditions, I got to semi-finals then the regional finals before we were asked what instrument we wanted. There was a boot camp for all the regional finalists in the competition and we lodged at a hotel in Victoria Island for the two weeks camping. 2016 was the second time I was attending GCGT. I also attended the 2015 edition.
How was the competition?
It was interesting, it was tough and it was fun.
Who did you compete with?
I competed with other children from RCCG. I played drums for the competition. It was after winning that we were asked what instrument we wanted and I said saxophone which I was given.
How do you combine academics with saxophone and music training and has it improved you or given you any challenges?
It has improved and it has given me challenges. It has improved my academics because I learnt sight reading while training. They teach us things about music that I don’t get to learn in school. And it has challenged me academically because I usually have many assignments both from school and the training school. I also study animals.
Are you thinking of doing it as a profession?
I’m thinking of making a living out of it and it is part of my hobbies now. I want to spread the gospel with the power of sax.
How do your mates in school relate with you considering your popularity as a saxophonist?
They relate normally with me.
How far do you want to go with the saxophone?
I want to become a gospel artiste and a zoologist.
Why do you want to become a gospel artiste?
I want to take the gospel music to another level.
Who are your role models?
I look up to Mike Aremu, Funmi Sax, Imole Ayobami, he’s my teacher and plays jazz. I like them because they play gospel music. I have played for Femi Kuti on phone during one of Nnena and Friends show. He was pleased and said that he would like to meet us (that is me and my friends at the show).
Have you met them personally?
Yes, I have.
You have been playing for two years now. What fascinates you about saxophone?
It’s an instrument that allows people dance. Like the saying goes “music heals people”. And saxophone produces music. It makes people dance, it makes them happy. It makes people feel relaxed.
You play drums and sax, are you looking up to playing other instruments?
Yes. I look forward to playing piano, guitar and the talking drum. I also play the talking drum. I have all these instruments at home. I play piano and guitar a little but play talking drum very well.
You want to become a gospel artiste and a zoologist. Does that mean you will study zoology in the university, why not medicine?
Yes I will. I really wanted to study zoology since it has to do with animals. I am really fascinated about animals. I don’t have passion for medicine.
What fascinates you about animals?
The way animals react to people, whether wild or domestic.
Do you think parents should encourage their young ones to start learning instruments at a young age or do think it would be a distraction as some parents would
There are some people that have certificates but no job but in music, they can go to church and they give them money for performing and even transport back to their destination.
Have you been given money for performing before?
Yes, at Magodo in Lagos when we went for a competition in a church with my team. I played drums in the competition.
How long have you been playing drums?
For nine years.
Really how true is this?
Yes because I started playing drums early in my life. It was the first instrument I learnt to grasp and play. My mum said I had started touching anything I saw and was beating it even as early as four months old. So I said nine years because I started a few months old but got into choir a few years ago and I am part of my church adult choir at nine years old.
Do you think parents encouraging their children to play an instrument will improve their academics?
Father, Peter Adebayo: Like I said, they have to learn and also have a certificate so that when they grow, they can have a double edge. If you have the certificate and there is no job, you can make a living with your talent and skills you have learnt
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now and are sure, you won’t go into secular music?
I see myself still being a gospel artiste but not in Nigeria as I would have gone international by then.
Do you think the Nigerian environment is encouraging young stars playing instruments?
They are starting to encourage them unlike before.
Have you encountered any challenges since you started performing?
Yes, at another saxophonist, Funmi sax’s concert. They said I was too small and that there was no time for me to perform. I felt discouraged.
How would you describe Praizhym?
Praizhym is a multi-talented gospel artiste.