Michael Adebayo Olayinka (born 23 September 1999), popularly known as Ruger, is a Nigerian Afrobeat singer and songwriter tells BLESSING ENENAITE in an interview about his career, challenges and other issues
What gave you the inspiration of becoming a singer?
“He said “I started singing at Church, that’s where I was fully in love of singing. I have always loved making music.
What were the challenges you faced in the early days of your career?
He said He had challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Working during that time was hard because everyone was indoors. As a creative person, one has to experience certain things, but that could not happen then because one could not go out due to the lockdown.
I used the experience (of me going out to places) to make my songs. But then, I was just indoors making music. Everything was uncertain at that time and one did not know where the world was going because the pandemic really shook the globe. However, I continued working hard and was releasing songs. The words of encouragement from everyone on my team also helped me get through that period.
How will you describe your relationship with D’Prince and what role did he play in the growth of your career?
I see D’Prince as an icon. He is a music critic. From the moment he saw me, he believed in me, and started working (on me). He is involved in my creative process, right from the studio sessions. Whenever I want to do a (music) project, he decides the songs that would be on that project and ensures that it goes well. I just record the song and send it to him. He would then choose the one that would be on the project. He has ears for songs that will travel around the world. He has always been there for me. I have so much love for him as a boss and friend.
As one who started singing in the church, do you have any intention of doing gospel songs now or in the future?
Yes, why not? Music is like a wind and it can ‘blow’ one to wherever it wants the person to go.
What are the elements that brought you this far?
Patience, God, hard-work, perseverance, and the love from my fans, are the things that have brought me this far. Without my fans, my music will not have gone this far. Wherever I go around the world, my fans always show me love.
Some young artistes find it tough to handle fame and fortune. What is your experience in this regard?
First, they should remember where they came from, so that they would not lose focus. I will also advise them to limit the way they go out. If they go everywhere, they will hear all kinds of things.
Many people do things for their selfish interests. If you go out too much, you may be misled by what other people are saying they heard about a particular person. It is good to be a bit reserved. As an artiste, you should focus on your craft. Rome was not built in a day. A person cannot just ‘blow up’ (experience a breakthrough in the industry) in one day. You have to keep working and believing in your efforts. Also, keep believing in God.
Do you have certain principles which have helped you to succeed?
I work and pray.
You have been touring different cities in the world for some months. How has the experience been?
For me, it is a reminder that I have to keep believing (in myself). I cannot afford to rest on my laurels. I cannot sit back and say that I have become successful and that people are now singing my songs. Rather, it is a reminder that I have to keep going hard. Whenever I go out and I hear people singing my songs word-for-word, it encourages me to do better. When I go to shows and I get a good reception, I get more ideas to go back to the studio and make other songs. The ideas are not just for the studio alone but for my social media posts as well to make my fans happy.
You have experienced sexual harassment from female fans while performing on stage? How did you feel when it happened?
I don’t like to talk about that.
Artistes usually indulge in wine, women or weed. Are you involved in any of these?
No, I am not.
You usually wear a patch covering one of your eyes. What is the reason behind it?
It is my trademark.
Some artistes only enjoy short-lived fame. What efforts are you making to stay relevant in the industry?
I plan to keep working on my craft.
What is your most memorable moment as a singer?
My most memorable moment as a singer was the first time my song, Bounce, got to the number one spot on the Apple Music Nigeria Top 100 Chart in Nigeria in 2021. That was very memorable for me. I recall that I was at the airport when I got the news. I was very happy.
What is your most embarrassing moment on stage?
I really cannot remember any of them.
Who are the people you look up to in the industry?
I look up to D’Prince.
What are your hobbies?
I love playing football and watching movies