One of Nigeria’s most popular 90s musiciansFemi Sylvester Mayomipopularly known asFather ‘U’ Turnis dead.
The dancehall artiste who rose from poverty as an orphan, to build a successful and inspiring career as a songwriter, recording artiste, TV presenter and performer, passed on in Lagos today, following a brief illness. He was 36 years old.
The late U Turn was from Kabba-Bunu in Kogi State where he first tried his hands on entertainment, working as a radio and TV presenter.
He had a brief stint at NTA in Lagos, after relocating here, before signing a deal with Ultima Records which released his early albums.
He was a little boy, with braids and a charming personality. And his signature intro ‘Apoola Berekete’ was far beyond his stature. But he got the industry’s attention and got a leg in the door before long. After years of club tours and free gigs, he got his first break when he was signed to one of the biggest record labels of the time, Ultima Records.
Ultima engaged Nelson Brown to work on his first album which proved to be a huge success.
The hits ‘African Culture’ and ‘Shakara’ threw him into national limelight, instantly putting him in the league of bonafide ghetto stars like Daddy Showkey and Daddy Fresh.
He espoused Okokomaiko where he resided, with many songs dedicated to the Lagos outskirt.
His second album ‘Padlock Ur Mouth’ produced the smash hit ‘Yetunde’ a collaboration with Pasuma Wonder.
With dozens of awards confirming his exploits, including multiple decoration by Awards for Musical Excellence in Nigeria (AMEN), Youths Awards for Excellence in Music (YAFEM), amongst many others, U Turn lead a generation of alternative dancehall cats by the hands. And in Okokomaiko where he spent the last two decades of his life, he was like a king. His success encouraged many children in the area to embrace music, and he supported many of them.
Although his later years were troubled by label issues with Bayowa Music, and career challenges that came with unsuccessful albums, Father U Turn remained dedicated to his art – recording endlessly and refusing to let go of his passion and dedication to reggae/dancehall. He also vehemently refused to relocate from Okokomaiko, despite constant pleas from friends and family.
He died in a hospital around Okokomaiko today, after suffering a liver related illness. A family member confirmed he had been in and out of hospital for many weeks. He had been on admission at the last hospital for 10 days before he passed on.
He is survived by his siblings, wife Ajimoh and five children.
This particularly saddening to me cause he used to leave few blocks away from where I stay before moving out.
May his soul RIP
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