Cobhams Asuquo is a super talented producer and musician who currently divides his time between Nigeria and Houston, Texas. As a record label boss, artiste, producer and business man, his life has been one of inspiration and his career has blossomed admirably, with hit anthems like Banky W’s Yes/No, Mo’Cheddah’s Destinambari and Djinee’s Ego to his credit.
Cobhams was in Nigeria recently and Y! Naija had an extensive chat with the gifted artiste. Read excerpts from the interview below:
You collection of work is quite formidable. How much of it do you imagine will stand the test of time and are there any ones in particular that you suspect will always be there?
I cannot say that for any particular song. Anytime I go into the studio and I try to create new music, one of my prayers to God is to come up with something that will not only work now but will still be enjoyed years later. Darey’s first album for instance, most of the songs were recorded in 2004 but the songs were released 2006. A lot of the material on Asa’s first album as well was created 2 or 3 years before release. I like to listen to my work to criticize and today I can enjoy Yes/No from Banky W or Strong thing or even Djinee’s Ego. Are there things I would do differently in terms of the sonic quality? Of course but it is generally music that will stand the test of time. I always look out for that. It is not always a question of trend but of heart. I listen to a lot of stuff from the 60s and 70s and I still enjoy them.
A lot of the artistes that have worked with you from Waje to Timi Dakolo have revealed that they pay quite a lot for your quality services. Do you think this scares off talented up and comers?
Expensive is relative. I am definitely affordable and I know this because I have remained in business. Having said that, I have decided to lay low in terms of making commercial music for now but that is my own decision and it is not based on whether people can reach me or afford me or anything like that. There are loads of producers in Nigeria right now who charge more than I do and they are working. I don’t think I am the second or third most expensive producer in the country. But that is how stories fly and it is a myth. People who do not know me go by Chinese whispers and it sort of spreads. I have heard all kinds of things about me. I have heard people say that if I don’t like your singing, I will walk you out of my studio. All the names you have mentioned, I still work with them. Well I started to charge in Dollars so I think that kind of created the expensive illusion but you don’t want to know what other producers charge.
Your life has been an inspiration for many. How have you been able to make Nigeria and make your blindness work for you?
It is how every Nigerian tries to make it work, you have a dream and you keep fighting. Having a dream is like walking on the road and fulfilling your dream is getting to your destination. I like to think of my destination. For me God is my comfort and I keep fighting because I see it in my head and I know what it should be. So every time I fight, I come a little closer so that encourages me. Now I have new dreams so I just pursue them. I have realised that whether or not I like it as a blind person, I have to work 3 times harder and the sooner you get with the program, the better. God has helped bring me to a point where sight is no longer the question but whether I can continue to bring value.
Do you draw parallels from the lives of people like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder?
There are similarities in that they are both dreamers and they both wanted music badly. Yes there are similarities but I don’t think their stories necessarily drive me. I am living a different life, different story in a different time and I am constantly trying to write my own story. I am interested in who I can become as opposed to living someone else’s shadow.
Read more from the interview Here.