Veteran singer, Ebenezer Obey, in a recent interview reveals why he has not taken legal steps to deal with singers who steal his songs.
The ace musician, who spoke with PUNCH NG, stated that all an artiste had to do before stealing his intellectual property was to inform him. He said, “I know the right thing to do but I have been so lenient. Some of them don’t take permission but some do. Simi took permission (before using my song) and she showed appreciation.
“However, I believe I have to sow. I just tell the artistes that if the song turns out to be successful, they should come back to me. I believe that no musician on earth can claim to be great without singing other people’s songs. I recorded the song, ‘Eni ri nkan he’ (which was originally done by a musician called Ambassador) without telling the owner of the song. That was because I didn’t have sufficient knowledge then. My version of the song then turned out to be more popular than the original one. So, I always remember what Ambassador did for me. I know I can take the legal route but I decided not to do that.”
And on imparting quality music-making knowledge to the younger generation. Obey who is one of the most prolific musicians in Nigerian history, added, “The Ebenezer Obey Music Foundation is sitting on four hectares of land in Abeokuta (the Ogun State capital). We have a sound engineering department. We are also affiliated with a polytechnic in Ogun State.”
Sharing his thoughts on the young generation of Nigerian artistes, Obey said, “They are doing what they can. They are communicating according to their age. Their generation understands what they are singing about even though I don’t. I don’t like to criticise them but I ask questions. If there is any slang I don’t understand, I ask about it.”