Singer Aita is a singer with an uncompromising manner when it comes to his Christian devotion. Aita blends his Christian life with fun and an ability to blend with others regardless of background. The lyrics to his songs are clear, clean and simple for everyone to understand at any level. His positive attitude has an uplifting effect on people he comes in contact with.
Having stared death in the face on October 3, 2012, Aita was resuscitated at Prince Georges Hospital Center, MD. While meditating on how his journey to the hospital bed began, he realized that death comes suddenly and he feared for his young family who would have been left alone to fend for themselves in a world filled with uncertainties.
Overjoyed on realizing how blessed he was to be alive, the first song that ministered to his Spirit was “Fear No Evil”. Aita believes that to appreciate God, one must sing a new song unto Him instead of recycling old ones, hence his resolve to do something new and different. His principal genre is Reggae, but he also loves other appealing styles, thus he has fused his Reggae style with other attractive world beats.
A native of Nigeria, Aita put together a recording in 1989 and sent it to producers in Liberia, where it was lost during a civil war in that area. The current Hyattsville resident gave up on a musical career, but after a serious health scare recently, he decided to return to music. His gospel-inflected 8-track, reggae debut, “Fear No Evil,” freshly released, is the culmination of his extraordinary comeback.
In an exclusive interview with Rick Jamm, Aita lays his heart and soul on the table, describing his music, life experiences, and career thus far, on a journey to rediscover his musical roots, and uncover his profound faith.
RJ: How did you first get started singing in Nigeria and how old were you at the time?
AITA: I cannot vividly remember at what age I really started singing but what I remember was that I was very young. In the evenings, our family would sit at the front of the house and have singing competition between the boys and the girls, first a mixed team and then individually.
RJ: Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?
AITA: Bob Marley, Mighty Diamonds, Don Carlos, Gregory Isaac and Yellowman
RJ: Which artists do you listen to today or consider important?
AITA: The ones I listen to and consider important are Buchi, Nigeria’s best Gospel Reggae Artist and Papa San a gospel great from Jamaica.
RJ: How did your move from Nigeria to Hyattsville come about?
AITA: I came like every other person seeking a better place where freedom is sacrosanct and opportunities abound and where you can sleep with your eyes closed. Before Hyattsville, I lived in Bladensburg, Capitol Heights and Upper Marlboro.
RJ: Apparently you had stopped making music at the time, so after your arrival in the United States and how did you manage to make a living?
AITA: I am a freelance Graphic Designer and by the special grace of God, it helps to put food on the table.
RJ: Tell us something about your illness and how you got back to making music again?
AITA: My illness has been with me for some time and unknown to me because I believe it’s not possible for a person to go from good to worse; it’s a gradual thing. However it came to the fore when I travelled to Alabama in October of last year. I travelled with one of the popular transport companies and a journey that was supposed to take thirteen hours ended up taking almost twenty-six. The Bus was at a snail’s pace and there was also an accident on the way that delayed us for too long.
On the way, we had no good food to eat except to stop at some intervals on the way to buy junk food. When we got to Huntsville, Alabama, we also did not see a place to buy real food because it was late hence we ended up buying food from a vendor truck near the hotel we put up. Some hours after eating the food, I was feeling discomfort and knew at that moment that something was wrong with me; I couldn’t sleep well at night and I guessed calling 911 and being taken to the hospital in a faraway state would not be funny to me so I endured for the night.
On our way back to the beautiful State of Maryland, I often had the urge to use the restroom. So when I got to a town, I exited to the nearest gas station. Immediately on leaving that town, it started again and I would increase my speed, I was driving at this time to the next town. That went on and on until I got to Lexington, Virginia. While rushing to the next town, I got pulled over by the Cops and handed a ticket to come to court, eventually, I got slapped with a hefty fine even though I explained to the Judge my illness and with accompanying Doctor’s letter.
While in Maryland, it got so severe until I became unresponsive. I didn’t know when I was taken to the hospital. When I woke up, a Doctor told me “welcome back buddy, you gone!” I didn’t understand what he meant until someone else told me I was resuscitated. I was so scared and realized it doesn’t take anything for someone to depart this world. While recuperating on the hospital bed, a silent voice whispered in my ears, “FEAR NO EVIL”! I started to use the words to sing within my heart so it would not go away and when I got home, I wrote it down as a song and the rest is now history.
RJ: Which one of your original songs has the most sentimental impact on you, and do you remember why you wrote it?
AITA: Most of my songs have an impact on me and also reasons so I cannot really pick one out. When I hear them, I am almost into everyone as it sounds. For example, Fear No Evil is a testimony of my deliverance, Letter To My Wife is adapted from a letter I actually wrote to my wife some years ago but I later added two Bible verses to make it an encouragement for marriage and staying married. A New Life is like everything about my life because I was really into a lifestyle I am not proud of and God brought me out of it. This is synonymous with almost every one of us on earth who are striving to live a life for God now.
You will find out that most people have lived unpleasant lifestyles before. Also there is The Last Day, which is a clarion reminder to mankind that the second coming of Jesus Christ shall be as when a thief enters our houses; we will not know and it admonishes us to do the right thing at all times. If you realize nowadays, we tend to take our problems to man who in turn will definitely fail us instead of us taking it to God thus the song, Take Your Problems; Jesus Christ is always ready to carry our burdens if we just learn to speak with him as our Lord and Savior. I tell you, there is nothing we ask in faith that we will not receive; if we do not receive, then it means it is not ours; everyone has a season and ours will come if we are patient and wait on the Lord. No Shackles is an expression of my joy in the Lord because I am free and having nothing to tie me down. As for God’s Beauty, it tells of the beauty of God’s creation, including mankind but do we cherish all that God has created? Finally, there is No One Be Like You; of course we know God is incomparable!
RJ: On which one of your songs do you think you delivered your best performance so far, from a technical point of view?
AITA: Fear No Evil
RJ: Which ingredient do you think is most essential in making AITA’s music, sound the way it does?
AITA: It is the Lord’s doing; when one is focused on Him, inspiration comes. I wanted to sing for His edification hence my focus was tailored towards Him. Evidently, I am a Reggae music lover and I wanted to sing in reggae tunes, so when I met with my Producer, Bright Erebor, I told him what I wanted and he asked me to sing it for him; I did and he offered his opinion. We blended his and mine and what we got was a beauty. He advised that I should try as much as possible not to sound like any other Artist and should just be myself because so many Artists out there tend to copy themselves instead of realizing that everyone is uniquely made.
Another ingredient is that I brought out my inner self and made sure I didn’t sing other people’s songs or popular choruses. I wanted to sing a new song unto the Lord because He deserves a new praise all the times.
RJ: If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you day after day to stay in this tough business. Is it joy, anger, desire, passion, hysteria or pride etc., and why?
AITA: I believe it’s the passion. I am in this business for real and not a fluke. I am a very passionate person when it comes to the things of God. My involvement in this business is not for self-glorification so it means if I have to step on toes, I will. Without sounding like riding on Horses back, I am known for being passionate in everything and anything that has to do with the work of God. Those who know me know this has made me step on so many toes not minding whose Ox is gored. Most times, I am misunderstood! The truth is that, I have been lax in working for God and this time around, I am not going to take with levity. Singing God’s praise is serious business!
RJ: Which aspects of being an independent artist and the music making processes excites you most, and which aspects discourage you most?
AITA: I am not an Indie Artist; I am fortunate to be accepted and currently signed to a Record Label, Tate Music Group based in Oklahoma.
I am most excited when I am putting life into the words I compose. When you write a song, you have to bring your listeners to live in it like it’s part of them especially when the finished product is out, which makes the adrenaline pumps up. Every song has to relate to someone if not everyone.
RJ: Which single, album or video releases are you currently promoting to your fans?
AITA: I currently have two on YouTube, Letter To My Wife, which already has over half a million views and Fear No Evil, which is showing a promising climb and very soon, I will release another.
RJ: How involved are you in any of the writing, recording, producing, mastering, and marketing processes involved in your music.
AITA: I write my songs and my darling wife also helps. As per recording, producing, mastering, my able and versatile Producer handles those aspects while TMG markets.
RJ: Concerning the music business, what is the best piece of advice you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure, that you should have?
AITA: I followed my heart to come back to music professionally and also followed my heart to set up a recording studio however, I didn’t follow the advice to learn and stick to a musical instrument… I believe someday, I will continue from where I stopped; I love to learn.
RJ: At this point in your career, which is the one factor you desire most, and feel will undeniably benefit your future.
AITA: I desire to have promos unlimited and tours; these are essential ingredients to a successful music life. Record sales alone do not cut it, one has to be on the road.
RJ: Having had a life full of diverse experiences, what is the ONE thing you will NEVER be prepared to do in exchange for any musical success or riches?
AITA: Go back to my old lifestyle.
RJ: How do you consider your family and your faith together with your musical career? Do you think they should go hand in hand, or should each be separated from one another?
AITA: My family gives me motivation. I am a family oriented man and do not toy with my family even if I am offered all the Tea Cups in China, my family is my family. It’s my responsibility to love and stick with my family and try as much as possible to give them the very best of my ability as a man. They do not distract me from my music, when I recorded all the songs, my wife and children were always with me; seeing them by my side gives me joy and pride.
RJ: Is going Platinum or winning a Grammy important you? And if you were forced to settle for only one choice, which of the two would you go for and why?
AITA: Sincerely, I think I love the Platinum aspect because it is recognition of your sales. If I am not mistaken, I believe going Platinum is when your Album has recorded 1,000,000 sales volumes. If that’s the case, may God give me at least Three Platinum’s. When you sell well, Grammy’s will come. I have never seen or heard of an Artist who sells 100 copies then win a Grammy.
RJ: What do you think is the biggest barrier an artist like yourself has to face and overcome, in the quest to achieve any goals and attain success?
AITA: Firstly, gospel music is not as popular as the secular ones. People are deliberately or unconsciously not interested in the clean lyrics of life gospel music brings. Rather, they are more interested in the kind that has curses, degrading and vulgar languages; the truth of the matter is that these are what bring in the money. However it is said that you cannot call a Bull “Uncle” because you desire to eat meat from it… I hope you understand what I mean? Or better put it, you cannot say because you want to make money from music you begin to write and sing what does not edify God. I also believe Marketers of Gospel Music don’t put in the extra effort the secular ones put in to market their Artists.
Piracy is a criminality that also hinders goals of attaining success. I cannot over emphasize this but we all know the detriment pirates bring to the table and until there is a technology that will cause a pirated copy to say, “You are a thief, go buy the real copy of this CD” when the music is dubbed, I believe the practice will continue unabated.
RJ: If you were given the opportunity to go back and change only ONE factor or event in your life that you think may have made your future brighter, what would that factor or event be?
AITA: Dedicated my life to serving God long ago in the beauty of His Holiness
RJ: Finally, tell us something about any future projects or ideas you are working on?
AITA: I am working on my next CD, a Concert and a Christian Home Movie. One idea I hold and which pricks my heart every day is to have an ultra-modern Orphanage in Africa where children will feel loved.
RJ: Thank you so much for your time and patience in taking part in this interview Aita, I sincerely hope you achieve all of your preset goals. Your certified devotion and faith should be an inspiration and an example to many artists out there.
AITA: You are most welcome; the pleasure is mine.
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