“King” Sunny Adé also known as King of Juju, and Minister of Enjoyment is a Nigerian musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and a pioneer of modern world music. He has been classed as one of the most influential musicians of all time.
Here are 10 things you should know about the Juju legend:
1. King Sunny Ade was born 22 September, 1946 into a royal family. His father was a church minister and organist, while his mother was a trader.
2. He left his home in Ondo for Lagos to pursue his chosen career under the guise of attending the University of Lagos.
3. His career began with Moses Olaiya’s Federal Rhythm Dandies, a highlife band. He left to form a new band, The Green Spots, in 1967. Over the years, for various reasons ranging from changes in his music to business concerns, Sunny Adé’s band changed its name several times, first to African Beats and then to Golden Mercury.
4. His first experience as an entertainer was with Baba Sala‘s Federal Rhythm Dandies.s Island Records signed KSA in the early 80s following the death of Bob Marley. KSA released 3 albums (Juju Music-82, Synchro System-83 and Aura-84) under Island Records.
5. He is the first Nigerian musician, and African to be nominated for Grammy Awards twice.
6. New York Times described King Sunny Ade as one of the world’s great band leaders in Record as a breath of fresh air, a positive vibration we will feel for some time to come and in Trouser Press as one of the most captivating and important musical artists anywhere in the world.
7. Sunny Adé runs multiple companies in several industries, creating a non-profit organisation called the King Sunny Adé Foundation, and working with the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria.
8. King Sunny Ade made a cameo appearance in the 1983 Hollywood movie,’ Breathless’ which stars Richard Gere.
9. Sunny has collaborated with major artists such as Manu Dibango (Wakafrika) and Stevie Wonder (played harmonica in Aura), as well as younger Nigerian artists such as Wasiu Alabi Pasuma and Bola Abimbola.
10. Sunny Adé’s brief recordings with Island Records opened the floodgates for other world music artists like Senegalese Youssou N’Dour, Mali’s Salif Keita and many others.