Veteran musician, Friday Igweh popularly known as Baba Fryo, made fame in the 90s with his ‘Dengepose’ hit. The singer who is one of the greatest artistes from Ajegunle, the Ghetto City of Lagos speaks with SAMUEL ABULUDE about his experience in the music industry, loss of properties and hope for better times among others
What have you been up to lately?
I am working on some new songs. I am planning to see how I can push it.
How have you been coping in this era of COVID-19 where shows have dwindled or outlawed and musicians can’t perform at big events for now?
I’m not really happy about the situation but I’m managing with the little I have.
You featured in Sound Sultan’s “Ghetto Love” album released last year. How did you get involved in the project and how was the experience like?
Sound Sultan called me to feature in “Ghetto Love” as one of the ghetto music kings. My experience was awesome.
Before your song, “Demgepose” gave you fame, how was life with Baba Fryo and what did you use to do then?
I was still hustling in the street then… life wasn’t easy. I worked with a construction company those days. When I got into music, I was performing with the music school band called Black Egg. There is nothing I did then that I can’t do now because fame hasn’t gotten into my head.
You sent an SOS last year and it was published in the newspaper about your son’s health?
I thank God he is okay now but I’m not fully (financially) fit because of my past experience. I lost a lot in the past.
Can you tell us a bit of what you lost in the past and the lessons you learnt from it?
I lost my properties: lands, cars and other things. I am trying to see how I can get things back again. I pray for a divine helper. I was told that Femi Adesina, the senior special adviser to President Buhari on media would reach out to me pertaining the challenges I was facing, but till date, I haven’t heard from him.
How did music begin for you?
Music was in me right from the start but I came into the business over 30-years ago.
How was the experience like and as an upcoming then, how did you strive to get global attention?
I really worked hard to attain fame. I had an opportunity to feature in a friend’s song produced by Nelson Brown. I’ll say Nelson Brown gave me the opportunity to use the session. I went to clubs and hotels to perform sometimes. I went to Sunday Rendezvous, Grand slam and other places to perform. At a time, I started looking for sponsors, then I went to Muckmoson Records, Felin Records and finally Ultima Records. This was in 1991.
How was it like growing up in Ajegunle?
It wasn’t easy because some of my friends did not grow up to be full-grown men or live to see my fame. When badness is not in you, it can never be in you. The Ajegunle local government area is supposed to have given a big honour to us or name some areas after us, but they didn’t.
Young musicians of today are taking over the music space. Do you think your genre of music is still relevant in today’s the audience?
(Laughs)…There is a space for every bird to fly.
At which point did the Galala Dance and the hit song, “Dengepose” cause you to hit fame?
Dengepose hit the fame 1997 and it was produced by Nelson Brown, fame brought so many things to me, acceptance, connections, meeting a whole lot of people and it changed my style of life.
The experience you had with soldiers and police in 2019 and in 2012, what was your offence and did you get the justice you craved for?
My first experience was with the police and I got justice, thanks to the commissioner of police then. The other one was with fake soldiers and one of them was caught and I got justice too. I know my right, I can’t allow someone to humiliate me and go scot free.
What is your take on the music industry presently and what do you want changed?
The music industry is growing fast. We need to have a solid foundation in our music industry. Things may look good now in the music industry in terms of artistes but we don’t have the raw materials anymore. They are in the best position to talk about themselves.
In terms of future collaboration with artistes, there may be collaborations but I’m still working on who to collaborate with. But what I know is I’ll never go to any arrogant youth for collaboration no matter the height of fame he/she has.
Who is Friday Igwe aka Baba Fryo aside your music?
I’m the original “Denge King.” I believe in reality. I am humble to a fault, a man who likes seeing people happy, who likes helping people when I have but I don’t like to be taken for granted.
What are your plans for 2021?
My plans for 2021 is to put things in order. My fans should expect good news from me.