Alhaji Abdul Kabir Bukola Alayande, popularly called Ere Asalatu, has been an Islamic singer for almost two decades. In this interview with SAMUEL ABULUDE, he speaks on the essence of Ramadan and his foray into music
What does the Ramadan season mean to you?
Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year for Muslims. The early verses of the Holy Quran were revealed in the month of Ramadan. The Prophet (Muhammad) SAW said, “When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed and the devils are chained”.
How best do you think Muslim faithful can maximise the season?
Make dua (prayer) and give more alms to the poor or the needy. It was Allah who gave you the ability to keep good habits in Ramadan, and only He can help you maintain them afterwards. Make dua that Allah helps you not only keep the habits, but that He accepts them and makes them a way for you to grow in closeness to Him.
As an Islamic singer, what have you been up to?
I have been up to a lot of things of late. My new album titled ‘Osu Tuntun’ (New Month) is coming out soon. I am also into other things which everyone will know about very soon Insha Allah.
How did you become an Islamic singer?
It wasn’t by accident. I was initially a (music) producer so when I decided to go into music, I thought going into Fuji music might not be the best idea as my idea was to propagate Islam and I felt all my Islamic knowledge might not be utilised to the fullest in that medium. So I just opted to become an Islamic musician and Alhamdulillah today it is what it is.
What of the challenges and how were you able to sustain the passion?
Like every profession, there’s always a challenge and in every step taken in life there’s always a challenge. I will say my biggest challenge is to connect with my fans through my music. As an Islamic musician you have to be able to teach lessons in your song and at the same time understand what the fans want and connect to them through it. For me it’s a big challenge for every musician, not particularly Islamic artistes.
What was the experience recording your first album?
Like I said earlier, I was once a producer so I decided to do my own album which I never knew it was going to be my breakthrough into the music industry. Alhamdullilahi Robil Alamin for where we are today and where Allah is taking us to.
How many albums do you have now and how has the reception been?
I have 10 albums so far, Alhamdullilahi Robil Alamin. We have gained a lot of fans globally and my fans are loyal to our music thanks to technology that allows people to listen to our music not only on a compact disc (CD) but other devices. A lot of our albums are still selling fast.
Do you have any regret as an Islamic musician?
I have no regrets at all because I have been able to propagate Islam through my music messages. And a lot of people have changed and converted to Islam through the song.
Do you think Islamic musicians are getting enough patronage here?
To be fair enough I think the patronage hasn’t been bad. We give the fans what they want in the Islamic way and everyone is happy at the end. On a serious note we hope more people accept our music and understand that it’s all for the propagation of Islam.
What are your dreams for life and your ministry?
The dream of every human is to be the best in their field. I want to be the best in this and make sure every fan of mine is proud of me. I also want to lay a legacy that no one has ever done in an excellent way.
How did you get the name Ere Asalatu?
From when I was a kid I had this so much love for the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) so much that I could hardly go a day without Azkar for him because I always thought what would I have been if the prophet didn’t bring the Quran to us from Allah. Then when I started singing I was like, what would be my stage name? Then again that love came and if you know the local way of praising Rosulullah, is called asalatu that was how the name came about. So my first album was more of praising Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).