Traveller Magazine met up with Samtone recently and he spoke on the state of music, especially gospel music in Nigeria among other issues.
Can we meet you sir?
My name is Olude Samuel Akanbi. a.k.a Samtone.I had my primary education in my home town at Local Government Primary School, Ketu Adie Owe between 1985-1990; after that, I gained entrance to Community High School Alapoti, Ado Odo/Ota, Ogun State between 1991-1997.After my SSCE, I worked for a while to raised some funds to support my family so that I can further my education.In 1999, I gained admission to Federal School of Statistics, Ajibode road, Shasha, Ibadan, Oyo State where I bagged my OND in Statistics. I later got admission to Osun State College of Technology, Esa Oke, where I obtained my HND in Mathematics and Statistics.
What are you doing presently before we go into your music career?
Presently, I work with United Bank for Africa.
Now, you are a musician, how did you get inspiration?I was born into it, my mother was a good singer. Infact, she created our own songs, but those songs were not penned down. I grew up seeing her singing. She is a chorister and loves singing. For me writing songs is in-born. My first song was composed at age 12, it was the period we were planning for our annual thanksgiving. I have seen myself singing probably in the dream or trance, bathroom or when taking a stroll or when relaxing, even writing some songs as well. It has been a wonderful experience doing my own crafts.
What kind of music do you do/play?
Any good music, though I am a gospel artiste and I started singing from the church. Many people know me as a gospel artiste. But this year, my fans should expect a surprise from me, I am taking my music to the next level so that it can be appreciated locally and internationally. So, I sing inspirational gospel and reality songs. Infact, anything good music.
Looking at year 2020 and the issue of Covid-19, do you think it affected the music industry and entertainment generally?
Of course it did, it affected a lot of things, especially entertainment worldwide. No movement whatsoever, total locked down everywhere. Year 2020 was a crazy year indeed, not to talk of #ENDSARS palaver.
Looking at the Nigerian music industry especially gospel/reality songs where you belong, do you think gospel has gotten to a stage of acceptance worldwide especially Africa?
It is better now unlike before when our music was only known locally but in this advance technology era, we are gaining acceptance and credibility, that is why Nigerian artistes are now doing collaborations with international artists. However, I believe we can do more because God keeps giving people new ideas like what the Bible said; “sing a new song onto the Lord.” We should expect more new songs.
Who is your role model in the gospel industry and other genres?
Firstly, Evangelist Bola Are; her music is heavenly and highly inspirational.Also, Baba Ayewa is another gospel artiste I love, his lyrical content is great. Other artistes are Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade, Tope Alabi, Dare Melody, Atorise and so on. In contemporary world, I have Frank Edward, Nathaniel Bassey, Sinach, Tim Godfrey, Don Moen, Kirk Franklin, Michael Jackson, Steve Wonder and so on.They have helped in improving my music. Creativity and originality are my lyrical weapons because our God is a creator and He expects us to be creative as well. So, I encourage every artiste to be creative to write new song instead of using people’s rhythms and beat.
That is why my recorded songs are unique. Looking at the music industry these days, people just recycle, we are expecting a song that the lame and the blind can hear and be leaping for joy. How can we change that? I think the point is that we need to get to a stage where we need to believe in ourselves and our creator. God has given us different gifts, that is why our fingers are not equal. God gave some people one talent, some two and some five. If we trade that little seed with passion, it will germinate and become a tree with branches. More so, we should not forget that everyone has his own time.
We have to do our music in our own way. That is why I called my stage name Samtone which means doing my own thing, my own way. I want to be different. So, no matter how small what you are doing is, some people will appreciate it. The sky is wide enough for 100 million birds to fly at the same time without collision.
How did you come about the name Samtone?
Many years back when I was in the church choir, some people usually have mixed feeling with the way I sing but I told them that, that is my tone because we are created differently. So, they have no choice than to accept me the way I am. I used to have issues with some singers especially in the area of creativity. Then, along the line, I decided to create my stage name which is Samtone.
So, which part do sing?I am a tenor singer but I do sing other parts too.
How many albums do you have and have you done any collaboration?
I recorded my first album in 2010. The album was titled: Baba Iwo Ni.Since then, I have not recorded any album but I have a couple of singles such as Ife; unity song, Ogo f’Olorun loke, meaning Glory be to God in the highest. I released a single on Covid- 19 to help sensitise the people. The song was titled: Corona Virus. Everyone loves the song, it was produced by Owen Charles.Recently, a friend told me to do a birthday song for her and by time I finished writing the song, I discovered the song is good. So I decided to record the song so that everyone especially ladies can enjoy it on their birthdays.
What has been your acceptance to the general public?So far, so good, all my songs have a unique tone; the lyrics, composition, arrangements and the concept is exceptional.
Can you tell us how government can come in to assist in the music industry in Nigeria especially for the upcoming artistes?It Is only God that will help this country. If the government can mandate the radio stations and television stations to air upcoming artistes songs free of charge, it would be a huge relief for artistes and also ensure they curb piracy.
In the next five years, where do you see Samtone?
I want to see myself up there, winning awards nationally and internationally. Equally, I want to see myself being used as vessel to help young artistes.
Have you been doing jump, gigs and shows? How do you charge for shows?
I have not been going for jump and gigs regularly due to my job but I have decided to go to full time music this year.I am working on a reality song titled: Ori Mi which will be released with the Happy Birthday song soon. I do not charge much, I charge according to each person’s capability. It is not about money but being fulfilled by making people happy through my music.
What is travelling to you and how many countries have you been to?
Internationally, I have been to Ghana and Republic of Benin. Locally, I have been to Kaduna, Abuja, Lokoja, Warri and South West region. For me, travelling makes one to know a lot of places, understand other people’s culture and tradition. It also exposes you to new surroundings and experiences and this can reset your body and mind. Even planning a trip has a great effect on the body – it boosts happiness. Not only does travelling reduces stress, it expands the mind, body and soul. II cannot wait to travel with my family with Travellers Magazine.
As a banker, how has it affected your gift?
My gift is my passion. Because I love what I do and I do what I love, so I create time for it. Even if you work 247, you will always create time for your career. Banking would not give you time but at the same time, you must have a schedule.
What is your advice to the youths?
My advice to the youths is that they should not run faster than their shadow, they should believe in themselves and always look up to God. They should keep pushing, believing and trusting God and also be creative in their crafts.