In the 1980s, the Nigerian music industry saw the likes of Ras Kimono, Sony Okosun among few others who used their music to preach to both the government and the masses. Joining the league of these music prophets, Wailing Stone, an afro centric exponent is set to use music to correct abnormalities that litters our environments.Â
In this interview, â€˜Wailing Stoneâ€™ real name Kenneth Anikputa revealed how his sojourn into the music industry started, his many challenges that got in bedridden for over a decade and the things that shaped his life.
Many years ago there was news about you that you wanted to release an album and the next thing you disappear into thin air, where have you been?
Thank you so much, it shows you are keeping a tab on me then. Well i started my music career professionally in 1985. I have this band that put everything together and we got an album that was supposed to be release in 1990 both in Nigeria and UK. We got all the travelling documents to embark on the journey for the first release in UK but at that point i felt sick. I was a sick bed for 12years with ailment that couldnâ€™t be diagnosed.
That sickness suspended all my musical ambition not until recent that God said its the right time for me to come back as a musical prophet. Iâ€™m a lyrical prophet for the government and the masses. I find it more comfortable to express my feelings. It is not about jumping and dancing, but a medium you can use to express your feelings about the ills of a society and human rights. There are about one hundred and one types of African music, but I chose reggae because I feel it suits me best to reach out to people easily. Great musicians like Bob Marley and others promoted reggae internationally and used it as an instrument to fight injustice worldwide.
What has that conditioned done to you?
As a person it has made me so determined no human can deter any plan of God. Also it has really opened my eyes to what is obtainable in Nigeria music industry. I have a motto that says â€˜positive impart with musicâ€™. Am not a baby in the industry am my motive is to open people eyes to many odds going on in the country in all categories be it political, religious even in the music industry.
Itâ€™s unfortunate that the Nigeria music industry is litter with mediocre. When you watch our music videos or listen to the audio, if you are a professional you will feel sorry for the industry. Itâ€™s sad that there are no messages of any sort in music available today and video only sell sexuality.Â Though we are developing very fast musically, but music in this country is not inciting listeners positively.Â
My early stages in the music industry, before any recording company will sign you they will want to see the message in your music which means they are particular about content.Â No it longer the same now not even with this trend of claiming to be a musician and the act cannot play the simplest musical instrumentÂ
I am very happy with the way the industry has grown, even though the structure is not yet in place. How I wish it is the companies that are churning out all the music in the market, like in the days of Polygram, CBS, EMI Music and others. It would have been very wonderful. Back in the days, those companies were involved and the artistes made it. But now, it is a different ball game.
In the 80s and 90s, reggae and afro centric kind of music used to be the genre that dominated the musical scene. But in recent times, it seems to have gone to bed, so to say. What do you think is responsible?
The truth is that the country has been under pressure economically. If you remember vividly, from about 1995 to 2000, it was like everything was going down the drain. The economy was so bad that if you released an album, nobody was ready to buy it. Many people were finding it difficult to make ends meet. So, music was the least in order of peopleâ€™s preferences. You have to get shelter, food, medication and other basic necessities of life. You donâ€™t expect people to listen to music with empty stomach. So, the economic downturn of the country affected the fortunes of the artistes who live on album sales, stage performance and concerts.
Now that hip-hop, rap and other kinds of music have virtually taken over the dance hall, are you sure that reggae music is still relevant?
I have been to shows and concerts in recent time and their reaction to reggae is still luadable. So, believe it or not, reggae music has come to stay. It has no competition and no rival. What people are playing now is just one-way style. Nobody is touching reggae because it is too hot to handle. For now, just give me a little time to find the fire and come out with my throw. You would find that everybody is going to follow suit.
Lets talk about your latest album, tell us more about it
Yes, the album is title Better Generation. Itâ€™s a seven track album with two video already. The album is filled with messages that can ginger you to do the right thing at the right time. Our society is getting eroded with negative tendencies and the musicians ought to be like prophets of the present age telling both the government and the masses the best to way to go about what we faces in lives.
If you remember, there are some musicianâ€™s years back in this county who had songs that affects our heart and we still sing them today. We had people like Sony Okosunâ€™s titled â€˜which way Nigeriaâ€™ and that of Ras Kimono ;Under Pressureâ€™. These songs are evergreen till date. The messages is that we should earnest what we have, our natural resources and make the masses live a better life.
Where do you get you inspiration from?
Music is spiritual and if the spirit is in you it flows. Now it depends on which spirit flows in you, maybe that of God to win souls or other that leads to destruction. Do you know that music can motivate you to do something bad?Â So it depends of the spirit that leads you. There is a tract that talk about our leaders looting the treasury and smile to the foreign land while the masses suffers, the spirit that flows in them is what is obvious to us all. In a simple word the spirit of God that inspires me that which seek for peace. My music is not the type that will make people carry placards and get involve in riot but the type that you will listen to and have a change of heart if you are not the type that has Godâ€™s spirit.
Who is marketing and distributing the album?
With my able team headed by Baba Alli, we have the best marketer and distributor working on this album.Â We made researches and arrived on those choosing, you will get to see everything soonest.Â
Â How Soon will wailing stone become an household name?
I am a reggae musician with a difference. I believe in telling the truth. That is why I use my music to fight the ills of society. It has become part of my philosophy. To those who love the truth, â€˜Wailing Stone and the Heralds is an household name.