MAJEK FASHEK: My seclusion was for spiritual rebirth
Nigerian born reggae star Majekodunmi Fasheke attracted international attention in 1987 when his self-penned tune hit the spotlight after he signed a record deal with Interscope and released his debut, "Send Down The Rain”, which came as a prophesy from his spiritual father - the late Primate Emmanuel Owoade Adeleke Adejobi - and seemed to coax a rain storm that ended one of the worst droughts in Nigeria’s history. After the hit track, he was labelled a "prophet", as he fittingly became a super star and one of Africa's greatest reggae-influenced performers after the death of foremost legendary Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter, musician, and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim, the late Bob Marley. Born in Benin City, once the centre of the ancient Bini Kingdom, Fashek inherited his love of music from his businesswoman mother, an Edo woman, who supplied concrete to road contractors. She was his guardian angel, a strong prayer warrior who raised him following the death of his father when he was eleven years old and stood in the gap for him as a single parent. As a youngster, he played the maracas during ceremonies. While he developed an early interest in the music of Jamaica, Majek was equally drawn to the music of Indian cinema. Learning to play guitar while in secondary school, he joined a band, Jah Stix, and began playing in Lagos’ clubs. He started out as a youthful, bubbly, full of life reggae musician who could thrill crowds with just the strum of his guitar strings. Fast forward to years down the line, his uncontrollable fame and fortunes brought disaster,signing him into the rehabilitation. He went in and came ou,but with renewed energy, special grace and the will to conquer a terrain he once ruled. Ayo Ake, Damilola Ogunnaike and Adejare Adejobi spoke to Majek Fashek in company of Uzoma Omenka Day, his manager who is helping him heal and live a new life, where the rainmaker tells of his rebirth, collaborations with Tuface Idibia and plans for the future…..
With this fame receiving global claim, he released another solo album, “Prisoner of Conscience” in 1988, selling more than 200,000 copies in Nigeria alone. Living to his name, which means “power of miracles,” Majekodunmi Fasheke became a household name in Nigeria and many other parts of Africa. And for several years, he was the rave of the nation’s fledgling entertainment industry. His songs were creative, rational and delightful to the listening public. A few years down the line, everything changed as he suffered a severe mental breakdown from an addiction to marijuana, cocaine and alcohol - three of the most dangerous hard drugs in the world - thus looking sickly, fray and haggard. For the rainmaker, "I only went into seclusion for spiritual rebirth."
Majek claims that he had never been on drugs all his life. He attributes his slow career and stubby looks to spiritual enemies who are attacking him – the ones who do not what him shine and remain successful. He says: “I never used drugs. I have home trouble. When people see your star they begin to get jealous and they want to kill it. That was what happened to me.”
Following Majek’s intensive rehabilitation in the United States of America and Nigeria, after he had an encounter with schizophrenia, and going through series of therapies, he has over the months proved that he is truly back on the grind as shown by his performance at recent gigs and stage performances.
In his usual elements, dressed in the same oversized jacket, jeans and signature cap that have been the hallmark of his musical career over the years, Majek stepped up to the podium in his typical “rumba style” walk, exuding a semblance of the aura of confidence and appeal with which he held sway in the 80s.
One could not help but be spell bound as Majek dished out some of his popular songs such as “Africa’s Unity”, “Majek Fashek In New York”, “Send Down The Rain” and a few others that gave listeners serious goose bumps and moved some to tears.
It’s obvious the rain-maker has not totally lost his musical charm and one couldn’t help but imagine the huge talent that has all these years wasted away under the shackles of drug and alcohol addiction.
According to his new manager, who doubles as his caregiver while in rehabilitation at the St Nicholas Hospital Lagos, “he is staying clear of environments and association that can trigger any cravings.”
Amongst the few people who played a major role in Majek Fashek’s rehabilitation and healing after he allegedly separated from his wife and was deported from America, are a US-based musician and one-time Majek’s band-mate, Monica Omorodion Swaida. She, through crowd funding platform, GoFundeMe, coordinated and sought fans around the world to donate to the fundraising cause, to save the reggae icon’s life.
“To fully explain what the rehab was to me, I have a song titled, ‘a living dog is better than a dead lion.’ It captures how I feel. I give thanks to the Most High for where I am today,” Majek said.
According to him, it was not just rehab, but alcohol detox as well.
“For me, it was an opportunity to dry out. They say recovering addicts return from rehab dry, but, somehow, after a month or a year they go back to their old habit, but I must say I have been vilified. I have heard people say all sorts of things about me, but I need people to understand that stress can make anyone do anything. It is true that I have an addiction, but I trust that I will be fine,” Majek added.
The father of three said when he was growing up, he neither smoked nor drank.
“Growing up, I never tasted alcohol or smoked, but you know it is actually part of the lifestyle of a performing musician.”
According to him, “You must be high. But now, I am working on an alternative form of inspiration. And I am not the only one. In many genres of music, from reggae to rock, one needs to be high to play some rock songs.”
When asked if he thinks musicians need to be under the influence of some substance to perform, Majek notes: “For certain genres of music, you must be high; like highlife, rock music, reggae. For a man like Bob Marley to maintain that level, it must not have been easy. But I have calmed down, and will find a way.”
On how he thinks he will be able to compose or perform without using substances as a song writer and singer, he says, “Now I am cold, very cold. I will try to do music without using drugs.”
Speaking further, he says, “If you want to go far in music, as an upcoming act, don’t womanise. Stay away from hard drugs and too much alcohol.”
In a thankful tone, Majek appreciated all those who prayed for him and wished him well while in rehab.
He says, “It is one thing to go into rehab and another to come out.
“The doctors gave me first class treatment, but God healed me, and I give him the credit. Only God and the Lord Jesus Christ can deliver.
“The good thing about rehab for me is that it helped to right my image.”
My significant visit to the late Primate Adeleke Adejobi and Pastor Wole Oladiyun….
I first went to the Church of the Lord Aladura in Anthony village to see and appreciate God over my life and healing. Papa Emmanuel Owoade Adeleke Adejobi was my Spiritual Father and mentor. There are very few men of God in this time that honestly can stand the anointing and spirituality of that man. He was indeed a true prophet and man of God. Until his death in 1991, he stood strong and tall behind me. I still call him Oosa-meaning an Oracle. He was indeed an Oracle of the living God.I was moved to go to my church, were I grew up, learned and played music to thank God because they equally stood by me through my trying times. My mother was equally a staunch member until her death.
You know, before I went to Abuja for my rehab, Baba Oladiyun came to my rescue; most church won’t do that. May God bless him and keep this ministry. Materials and spiritual are two different thing because Jesus Christ cannot come from Heaven to heal you. This Baba is a ‘correct’ prophet. I shared his testimony at Pastor Wole Oladiyun’s church (CLAM).
Apostle Oladiyun during his message described Fashek as a legend that will blossom again. He then prayed that the Lord will perfect all He has started in the life of the reggae artist as he called on churches and ministers of God to show Godly love to people irrespective of religion, ethnic and condition.
My testimony is that Jesus Christ is Lord, Jesus Christ is the Master
Performed at the AY Live show recently…
Veteran musician Majek Fashek was trending after his performance at the recently held AY Live 2016 for a number of reasons. Majek dispelled his fans’ worry of his inability to perform again, as he thrilled the audience at the popular AY Live Concert which held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
For a lot of people, it was exciting to see the old-timer back on his feet as he performed hit song after hit song. During his performance, Majek did not mince words as he shared his thoughts on politics, the past government and the present government.
Majek, who stormed the Nigerian entertainment industry in the 80s with his popular ‘send down the rain’ track while performing at the concert, pulled off his shirt, to the surprise of the crowd who wondered about his move, age and his impaired health.
The rain maker’s coming album titled: ‘A living dog is better than a dead lion’ is a reflection of his terrible drugs and alcohol experience, as well as his rehabilitated life.
Telling the reporter how he struck a responsive chord with the rain manker, ‘‘I go to know Majek Years back, but in year 2000, we became more friends. I have from time immemorial recognised the talent in him and I believed he will bounce back. I can boldly say that everything is better and Majek has bouncing back to life in full gear. We are indeed grateful to God who intervened. ’’
During his rehabilitation at the Saint Nicolas hospital, Lagos. We both spent months in rehabilitation. I practically leaved there with him. I stayed in the hospital all through ,encouraging him , we pray together, had morning devotions,bought old school music , watch movies together and we both have planned on how he will bounce back and achieve great heights in his music career.
When asked on why he believes in the rain maker, he said, we have a mixed grill of ups and down. I believe in him and would not stop believing in him. He is a bundle of great talent. Thanks to honourable E. J Agbonaiyinma and Captain Hosa Okunbo who have been of great support to Majek Fashek without making public announcements. Chief Ayiri is also appreciated.
Speaking on what presently keeps him engaged, ‘‘I am presently engaged in school, on a computer training at the New Horizon Computer learning center .I am grappling with technology because during my time, it it was analogue. And so, in this jet age, I am not left behind, and so I have gone digital by knowing how to send email, facebook ,watsapp, instagram etc for him to be able to reach out to his fans worldwide.
Asked on how he copes with and manages the living Legend, ‘‘managing Majek Fashek is really not easy but the good thing is that he listen to me also my advice’’
When asked on the next big thing from the Legend, the manager replied, ‘‘there is a big surprise coming from Majek. We are playing some gigs now and open to more local, national and international gigs’’
When asked what project they are working on, ‘‘we just finished collaboration with Tuface Idibia with a video is coming out soon. Majek is bouncing back soon ’’
Majek since last year November has been hijacked by his new manager since November last year, and they both leave in Magodo.
seeing all these effort, Majek said that when am getting married he is going to be my best man by wearing tie and suit for the first time