Four-time Grammy Award-winning singer India.Arie will headline this year’s edition of Sax Appeal 5 in Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday, June 26. “Shout-out to Nigeria,” India.Arie says in a video posted on a YouTube. “I’m gonna be in Lagos at Sax Appeal on the 26th of June. That’s next week. It will be my first time in West Africa. My first time in Lagos. I am looking forward to seeing you guys. Shout-out to Lagos.”
Hosted by renowned saxophonist Mike Aremu, Sax Appeal attracts music lovers, top politicians and businessmen who come together for a night of live music and world class entertainment. The concert will also feature Nigeria’s finest, Praiz and Timi Dakolo.
Growing up in the state of Niger, Nigeria (West Africa), Aremu gained an interest in music at the age of 8. His music transcends class, age and race, but what sets this distinguished musician apart is his ability to draw from traditional Nigerian sounds to create sounds that represent both his passion for creativity and his culture. He’s received a host of awards for his work.
Aremu has received a TGMA Award (Today’s Gospel Music Awards) and AMEN Award for Best Instrumental Album of the Year and Best Gospel Music Video of the Year. He won in four categories at the 2014 MEGA Awards (Album of the Year, Best Collaboration, Best Use of Instrument, and best Contemporary/Alternative Album of the Year) a Crystal Award in 2014 for Best Use of an Instrument and an AGMA Award UK winner in 203 for Best Afro Jazz/Instrumental. He was also nominated twice at the KORA Award’s in 2003, which is Africa’s best known and recognized mainstream music awards ceremony. He was recognized as one of JCI’s TOYP (Ten Outstanding Young People) – Best self-developed personality.
Here, Aremu offers insight on why he started Sax Appeal and why the fifth edition is an exciting milestone. –carles summerour
Tell us a little bit about Sax Appeal, what’s some background on it?
Sax Appeal is my way of rebirthing the live music in Nigeria. There were no live bands in Nigeria, so in my opinion, music wasn’t being done properly. People were just singing soundtracks. I wanted to get rid of that. In doing so, I wanted to share with my country an experience I had on tour in Europe. The feeling of good vibes listening to live music that’s organized well. We started in 2009; the movement is going on its fifth year. I missed a couple over the years. So far at Sax Appeal, I’ve had a lot of local artists and some artists from South Africa the United Kingdom. Just a few artists by name, Judith Sephuma, major artists from South Africa, saxophonist Jesse J, and Grammy Award-winning Kenny G in 2011.
Are you a musician yourself?
Oh yes, I’m a musician myself. Since we started Sax Appeal, there has been a lot of jazz bands coming up and for me that excites me. That was my vision, seeing jazz and mainstream music in Nigeria on the main stages.
What instrument(s) do you play and how long have you been playing?
I am a saxophone player. I’ve been playing for 24 years.
What led you to start playing the saxophone?
I grew up where it was a tradition for every child to learn some type of instrument, so I started playing the local drums, then guitar, a few other instruments. Finally, I majored with the trumpet for a while. Then I picked up the saxophone, 11 years after the trumpet. I learned the basics of the saxophone at 14 years old and was already sounding like a pro.
Where and when will Sax Appeal take place?
June 26, 2016, at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria.
What do you want your audience to know about what makes your concert different?
Sax Appeal is not your average concert. Sax Appeal is really jazz, soul and African which makes it different from your regular music. No offense to general music, but this is where we actually celebrate jazz. We have people who actually appreciate jazz. I want people to come and look forward to listening to music that they usually wouldn’t get in Nigeria.