Joseph Oyetunji: The Youngest Apala Genius
When you find your why, you don’t hit snooze! You find a way to make it happen. Such is as one small step for a man, but one giant leap for mankind. Success demands singleness of purpose and that is exactly what Joseph Oyetunji, popularly known as Jossey Apala who was formerly in outside will, had done.
Hailing from Ogbomoso, before becoming an Apala singer rapidly rising to croon across Nigeria, Jossey was a road side sim card seller and a medicine store apprentice.
It was an amazing drift for Jossey Apala, in 2010 when he made the decision to become an Apala Singer and follow his divinely mandate.
Apala is one of the African ingenious musical genres originally developed by the Yoruba people of Nigeria, during the country’s history as a colony of the British Empire.
It is a percussion-based style that originated in the late 1930s. The rhythms of apala grew more complex over time, and have influenced the likes of Cuban music, whilst gaining popularity in Nigeria. It has grown less religious centered over time.
For Jossey Apala, he blends panegyrical rhythms to his lines, leaving him on the top of the list of his admirers. He was never taught the craft but as expected has sought every effort to polish his skills. Today, there is absolutely no native of Yoruba, Jossey cannot chant their panegyrics.
In his words, Jossey started singing back from his primary school days. But his professional sojourn began with him venturing into a trade, to learn the trade of selling drugs (popularly known in street parlance as “chemist”). Later, “I soon discovered that I was not really into this such that I didn’t complete the training before I dropped out of it,” Jossey stated.
“I later joined an organisation called, DemmyGlobal, selling sim cards. That was where I met one man called Mr T-fat. We used to sit in his shop where I’ll be performing Yoruba traditional songs like Àpàlà, ìjálá, ewì and all sorts and he would often lament that ‘this boy is gifted’, that is, me. So he took me to Ademola Adeniyi known as Kukulaja who worked in Parrot FM in Ogbomoso, then. Kukulaja promised to introduce me to someone who also works in the radio station whom we will together be co-hosting a programme on the Radio Station. They call her Yèyé Oge Alamoyo. She does chant oríkì which I also do. I was with her for quite a while and we continued doing programmes together.
“Then sometime last year, when the news of Sunday Igboho and his struggles started spreading, I was intrigued by his exploits and I decided to do a song about him. So I sat, put my brain to work and completed the song titled ‘Sunday Igboho’ which went viral.
“Soon one afternoon, I would receive a message from someone that they would like to see me. They inquired if I sang the song ‘Sunday Igboho’ and informed me thereafter that Sunday Igboho wishes to see me. I honoured the invitation, sang beautiful songs for him and he gave me a lot of money.
“Then after that, I was invited by a Radio Station in Ibadan, Stride FM around University of Ibadan Second Gate. I started shuffling between Parrot FM and Stride FM in Ibadan. Though I am now more permanent in Parrot FM where I am currently doing a programme with one Lere Noah Alapo.
“It has been two months now that Bolaji Sanusi of Ajilete FM in Ogbomoso, also invited me that he wants me to begin a programme with them at Ajilete FM owning to how well I perform ìjálá, ewì, èsà and the like. All these are talents I discovered, I never learnt them anywhere. They are all God-given talents.
“I finished my secondary school in 2013 in Anglican High School in Atenda Area, Ogbomoso. I did my elementary education in Ebenezer Baptist Basic School in Okelerin. I did my tertiary education in Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo (now Emmanuel Alayande University of Education), where I graduated from in 2019. I will soon be starting a Degree programme.”
Joseph Oyetunji celebrates his birthday, today.
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