Daddy SAJ Returns With A Big Musical Bang
Diamond SAJ, aka Daddy SAJ, Sierra Leone’s most popular musical icon, social and political critic, continues to make waves even though he has not been in the spot light since his last album “Water Mellon Politics.”
Speaking from the United States, Diamond SAJ in this exclusive with Sierra Express Media bares his mind about issues affecting Sierra Leone, the musical industry, and the role politicians are now playing in corrupting artistes.
Sierra Express Media (SEM): You are known as Sierra Leone’s ‘lyrical warrior’ and social critic in the music industry in the country. What inspired you?
Diamond SAJ (SAJ): My utmost inspiration began during the period I was living in Conakry as a refugee, from Sierra Leone (1997-99). It was the commencement of an odyssey I will live to tell for the rest of my life; a vantage point to which my awareness as a citizen induced from the outside looking in.
The consequences of a failed political system inflicted an era of trauma on its citizens, which echoed the birth of democracy in Sierra Leone. In retrospect, I’d seen enough to not fear death.Â We’ve been silent for too long because we the ordinary citizens, thought politics are for politicians only. The people were librated through a democratic process yet suppressed by those who implemented it.
The cries of all our beloved deceased caused by the eleven year civil war, onto the present day living deadÂ during those periodsÂ needed a voice that could be heard from millions of miles away as their liberator. Â As a Christian believer, I’ve read stories from the Bible on how God used men who were the least in society to move mountains. This was my bulwark for faith and inspiration in which I’ve built my musical foundationÂ – that I will one day be the rock of hope for my people.Â Â The voice of pundits onto the unknown, the depiction of disgruntled critics all and around at the time also inspired me to write my first political debut; “Corruption E DO SO.”
SEM: Your fans have not been active on the musical scene in the country. What is the reason?Â
SAJ: People can only be motivated by examples. Throughout my musical reign from 2003 to 2006 advocating for the voice of the voiceless, the rate of those who wanted to become musicians was very high because I made myself not just a musician but a role model in the society to which I was dedicated to.
Fans are in need of constant diversity in how you present your ideas so they can always feel the freshness which keeps them actively engaged to the movement. Most of the other artists are rather concerned about the profits and fame they aspire to achieve in their career and careless about whom their fans truly are.
The musical industry is in need of an iconic example or else the fall of an establishment I was once a pioneer of will dilapidate or crumble.
I decided that my personal life needed to be restructured which caused me to deviate and seek more knowledge by going back to college in the United States of America.
Yet I’m back on track, and fans believe I ought to know better on what they want me to deliver, that’s why this time the best of the reborn “Diamond SAJ” Fayamambo will revive again.Â Â Â Â Â Â
SEM: After your popular album: ‘Corruption Corruption’ you seem to have taken a u-turn from political protests songs without your usual sound bites? Why?
SAJ: I decided for a while to keep out of the scene because of too many complications I had due to the type of songs I was doing. The risks involved in being too liberal is immeasurable because at the end of the day there will always be another to replace you. For this cause I was more or less focused on a broader base of protest which involved not just politicians but the entire corrupt society.
Most people found it as a betrayal, but that wasn’t the case,Â because I was the only one who felt the repercussions I incurred doing what was right. I later felt the ease to see how much I have inspired others to follow through by doing the same: Emmerson, Drai Yai Crew and many others.Â
SEM: You are currently residing in the United States. Are you engaged in the studio or just chilling out with other stuff?
SAJ: The reason for my move to the US, as mentioned earlier, was to restructure my personal domain. I am presently in college doing my bachelors degree and also completing my sixth album which is to be released in 2010.
I have been recording since IÂ arrived inÂ the US.Â Living in New York City gives me the greatest oppotunity of my life.Â I’ve had the opportunity to work with different producers and artists.Â I’ve already done a couple of collaborationsÂ along with videosÂ which will be aired soon.
Finally I’ve currentlyÂ signed a record contractÂ with DSAJ Entertainments/Viascity Records, more on this will be discussed later.
I have been chilling also but most of my time here has been working on taking Salone to the next level on the international music platform.Â
SEM: You have produced a single recently, lambasting issues in Sierra Leone, politicians, the attitude of the people in the country and other social mishaps. What caused you to go on this recent musical offensive?
SAJ: The reason for my return is to respond to the misleading messages from our so called musicians who are now polarized by politicians to betray the people they advocate for. Another cause for my return is to give comfort to all music lovers and to inspire future artists to continue advocating for society. I personally believe as a musician that our moral duty is to be the voice for the voiceless. I’m back also to give my fans the confidence they once bestowed in me, which is my burning desire to denounce corruption and injustice.
There is a lot of sellout going on in the music industry, wherein musicians are now focused in enriching themselves by singing for the same irresponsible government that we are to mandate. For this reason I felt so disappointed and decided to take up my position as the pioneer, lyrical warrior and to rule the land that I once propagated a system I called “freedom of speech” where politicians are publicly exposed of their evil deeds.
SEM: Still on your recent single, you condemned Emmerson Bockarie’s recent album – ‘Yesterday Betteh Pass Tiday.’Â Why the criticism?
SAJ: My criticism is generally based on the fact that for anyone to condemn and then endorse a particular entity should be described as a dimwit. It’s not just about Emmerson or Innocent, but also those in the aisle that laud the notion about how much improvement they’ve brought forth since they were elected to power.
The problem in Salone is not just about light and other basic needs; there are critical factors that should be highlighted also. This song called “Yu Go Lan” is an illustration of the past and present status quo of our political arena. It’s not a matter of cry down but a wakeup call for us not to be quick to forget because the consequences are always felt by us the ordinary citizen of this beloved nation.
The idea of these perpetrators paying the musicians proves how irresponsible their government is and moreover how disgraceful and shameful for these bigot musician to be viewed by their people.
SEM: You also made mention in your new single about musicians composing music for politicians based purely on commercial purposes, which musicians particularly can you name as belonging to this group, assuming that not all musicians in the country are guilty of this practice?
SAJ: Naming names will definitely prompt me to be sen as prejudice, so in this case I reserve my opinion for the rest of the audience to judge. They know themselves and I believe they will surely regret and even confess for their act of betrayal when the dust settles.
SEM: When do you plan to launch the new single?
SAJ: This hit single will definitely be launched on the 5th December 2009 along with the video. It will be on the internet, radio, and every available medium because it’s also free of charge.Â
SEM: Can you give a brief outline of your life and musical career?
SAJ: Daddy SAJ, the lyrical warrior, now the reborn Diamond SAJ, is an household name among the first breed of Salone musicians to make a mark in the millennium era. I was once rated the ninth best African musician in 2004 by the BBC, and I’ve also bagged several awards from best male artist, best performer to best videos both nationally and internationally. The name change is a game change: D for Daddy to D for Diamond which we do have in Sierra Leone. Diamonds are forever, an illustration of me as forever SAJ. My new management has implemented new strategies that will elevate my music status and also the standard of Salone music across the globe. .
SEM: What is your last word to your fellow musicians in Sierra Leone, the people of Sierra Leone and the politicians of Sierra Leone?
SAJ: My dear fellow citizens, I have seen different faces, races, and places, but I’ve never seen another home sweet home,Â like my beloved Salone! Rome wasn’t built in a day, we’ve all fallen short of our duties to Mama Salone, but with fervent prayers and enthusiasm we can take this journey to a golden height whereinÂ we can all yield the benefit of our struggle as a nation.
The purpose of being a politician is not to enrich oneself but the work for the people you once promised a fulfillment to their needs. As a musician myself,Â our duty is not to endure pleasure and fame and all of our egos, but to also be self-reminded at all times that we all have a duty to advocate for ourÂ people.Â We are to be Icons of good examples so that we can be heard even when we are dead and gone like the reggae preacher Bob Marley.
Â Yo Go Lan – Diamond SAJ -click here to listen!
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