I’ll keep my Dad’s memory alive – says Sonny Okosun’s daughter

One of the female artistes that made a surprise appearance at the recent edition of the Africa Meets Reggae concert in Lagos was Sonny Okosun’s adopted daughter, Faith Okosun. The young lady did not only thrill the audience to some of her foster dad’s hit songs; she put up an impressive performance that kept many wondering.

The pretty artiste says, in an interview with our correspondent, that she worked as a back-up vocalist to the late King of Ozzidi music for about 15 years before he died in 2008.

Since Okosun’s death, she has quietly worked hard to fill the vacuum that he left behind, most of the time operating ‘underground’ and away from the prying eyes of members of the public.
“Before now, I have deliberately restricted my activities to the church. I felt that I was not ready to revive the family’s music tradition and continue from where my dad stopped. But I have changed my mind. Now, I have decided to take the bull by the horns and do the needful,” Faith says, in an interview with our correspondent.
Now that she has made up her mind to brave the odds and keep up Sonny Okosun’s music legacy, Faith has just one vital hurdle to scale: reviving the famous Ozzidi band.

Noting that most members of the band, except the drummer, Richard Okosun and lead guitarist, had since left, she says, “I am raising a new band now. The members are young people who really have a flair for good music. Most of them loved dad’s music and they were very pleased when I invited them to join me in starting a new band.”

Faith feels that she owes the departed musician a duty to keep the band and his music alive. She recalls that just before he passed on, he made her promise to continue in his footsteps. “Dad begged me not to let his legacy die. At first, I didn’t understand what he meant. Then I started seeing him in my dreams and messages kept coming to me, reminding me about the pledge I made. Now I have decided to do something about it,” she says, with a promise that the new Ozzidi band will be ready to hit the music scene soon.

Since Sonny Okosun was known for his exotic fusion of Afrobeat, reggae and funk music, music fans might wonder how Faith could possibly fill in the vacuum created by his exit. But the artiste sounds quite confident when she says that being a part of his band for 15 years had sufficiently prepared her for the task ahead.
"When dad was alive, you couldn’t simply describe him as either a reggae musician or funk artiste. He played all kinds of music. I am just like him and I intend to remain so. But, I am more inclined to play reggae music. I think reggae is my strong point,” she says.
Although most of her foster father’s songs were released about 35 years ago, Faith is proud to acknowledge that they are still popular with many music fans in Nigeria. For this reason, she is inspired to record a reggae album soon.

Going down memory lane, the singer describes life in Sonny Okosun’s household, where she was treated like a princess, although she was just his adopted daughter, as a ‘beautiful experience’.
“Dad was a wonderful man. He had many children and he treated everybody equally. There was no discrimination in his household. He taught me to play the guitar. 

“One day, I couldn’t strike a particular tune perfectly and he hit me on the head with the guitar. He kept on driving me hard to learn how to play musical instruments and to sing. I wasn’t too pleased with his method, but I didn’t know that he was preparing me for a time like this. I miss him a lot,” she says.

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