Though a chip off the old block, Muka Ray, son of late thespian, Ray Ejiwunmi, with his siblings in the movie industry, has exhibited a matured approach to establishing his movie career. The range of his craft has won him plaudits home and abroad and now that he’s found his voice in music, he’s wooing more fans. In this interview with BIODUN KUPOLUYI, he spoke about his passion for entertainment, his music and his romance with star actress, Iyabo Ojo.
Music seems to be taking a better part of you, are you moving from movies to music?
No, I’m not moving from movies into music, am doing both as you know all is for entertainment.
What inspired your foray into music ?
For me, IT’s all about entertainment, I believe in the entertainment industry’s dynamics. I can do anything when it comes to entertainment and music is one aspect of it. I believe if a person like Pasuma can come into acting professionally as an actor, then I can equally be a musician and a successful one too.
Can you share the experience so far?
The experience I will tell you has been interesting, very easy, I didn’t even know music is as easy because when it comes to Afrobeat, I sing like the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti and when it comes to Kennery, I sing like the late Orlando Owoh and like I said, it all come very easy.
Did you take your time to study their works?
I studied King Sunny Ade’s works very well, I also took time to listen and master the AfroJuju style of Sir Shina Peters, the classical Fuji of late Alhaji Ayinde Barrister and of course, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal.
You new album, who produced it and what is the name?
New dimension, it was produced by Bolaji Bello.
What is your album, New Dimension like, I mean the compositions, collaborations?
The album was produced by Bolaji Bello. New Dimension is a fusion of styles of music yet very serious because of the message to people of all ages. We can call it serious music yet it has a fusion of comedy because we have this Apala music, I play like Haruna Ishola and there is one Afrob song featuring the likes of Iyabo Ojo, Liz da Silva , Dayo Amusa. I also have Taiwo Hassan,(Ogogo) and Yinka Quadri, infact a whole lots of artistes are involved to give it a great feel. I have my own group, Muka Ray and His Music Band backing me up.
Do you engage in parties and concerts?
Yes, mostly concerts that is if the client can afford my fees.
Do you praise singing, is it difficult or what?
Yes, I do praise sing. It’s not difficult for me. I know the value, reward that comes from it, so I work at it because anything that involves money I always build my interest in it, even when it’s not much.
Perhaps that explains your new source wealth as reported?, has music been rewarding?
Yes, I thank God that both my acting and my music careers, are bringing food to my table and paying bills.
So which one will you say is more profitable?
Producing movies is more profitable, if the canker worm, piracy is stamped out, but if one is to compare, since music artistes engage in concerts, launch albums and bookings for engagements, music is more profitable.
There are reports you carry drugs that music and movies are enough to explain your sudden wealth?
No, it’s a total misconception. I have heard it too but I’m not bothered. I keep my eyes on the ball. Alot of people do not know many artistes source of income, so they speculate.They wonder how could Muka Ray with all the complaints about piracy in the movie industry can afford a car of Six Million Naira, the truth is it’s not drug but hard work and connections, because if I travel I don’t just do that for vacation, it’s either I have a show as the Master of Ceremonies or make appearances at a public show and get duly paid. Like come November, I’m going to UK and some parts of Europe for awards and concerts. I will touch Germany, Italy and Holland with my music band. I want Nigerians abroad to see Muka Ray in another form.
How many people in are your band?
I have nineteen people in all.
Do you think this will not affect your movies productions?
Thank God in movie making in Nigeria have got a platform already and I don’t think anything can affect
There is a trend in your movie and now music career, you hardly do anything without Iyabo Ojo, do you so much believe in her?
Well, Iyabo Ojo is my colleague, she believes in Muka a lot and when it comes to productions, we share a whole lot of fruitful ideas together and the outcome is always rewarding, so we are very compatible. We take advice from each other, like when I wanted to start my music career I told her about it and she was surprised but she later asked me what will make my music different, she said she hoped it would not be like those common beats out there, she wanted to know if my music will send message to the listeners. I remember that I told her it will be a unique style and it will come with a lot of messages. She found it like that and gave all the support.
So she’s more like your confidant and adviser?
Yes, she is everything you call it, she advised me a lot and she wants the best for me, just like I want for her.
So if you haven’t married would you have proposed to her?
If I haven’t married I won’t because I’m someone that is already in public and I cannot afford my wife to be too. It’s usually not easy to have a couple who are celebrities, the pressure can be unbearable, so I wouldn’t have proposed to her.
But do you people mix business with pleasure sometimes?
But a lot of people feel there’s a kind of chemistry between you two?
No, to tell you the truth Iyabo Ojo is more or less like my younger sister, she knows my family and she’s very close to my wife, she’s free with me and she has been a reliable colleague, we talk a lot.
You mean wife has never taken you up on Iyabo Ojo’s matter?
No, because they are very close and my wife knows the relationship that exists between the two of us, she knows she’s a business partner and a very good person to me.
You discovered her, right?
God discovered her.