Friday 30 December 2022


King Sunny Ade is an Omoba (Prince) having been born into a Yoruba royal family in Ondo State, Nigeria.

He decided from Age 5 to not smoke or drink because he didn’t like the smell of cigarettes.

Young Sunday Adeniyi came to Lagos in 1962 in the guise of earning a degree but instead, joined Federal Rhythm Dandies led by Moses Olaiya (Baba Sala).

He was given his first instrument by Chief Tunde Amuwo who was a friend to his then band leader, Olaiya.

He was nicknamed “kajekaje” which means “eat it, eat it” because he didn’t like food and rarely ate.

Before his mother’s demise, she prepared all his meals because she didn’t want his wives to be jealous of each other.

KSA introduced the pedal steel guitar to Nigerian pop music. He also introduced the use of synthesisers, clavinet, vibraphone, tenor guitar into the juju music repertoire.

In the 1970s and 1980s, KSA embarked on a tour of America and Europe. His stage act was characterised by agile dancing steps and mastery of the guitar which made The New York Times describe him as “one of the world’s great band leaders”.

His Album, Syncro System, in 1983 earned him his first Grammy Award nomination in the folk/ethnic music category.

When his 1988’s Odu was nominated for a Grammy, he became the first African to be nominated twice for a Grammy Award.

Nigeria’s masked musician Lagbaja, is one of the very many that have been motivated by the music maestro.

KSA embarked on a Hollywood career in the 1980s. His music was featured in the 1983 film Breathless and the 1986 comedy One More Saturday Night. He acted in Robert Altman’s 1987 comedy O.C. and Stiggs.

He collaborated with Stevie Wonder on his 1984 album Aura.

In 2008, KSA was given an award for his outstanding contribution to world music at the International Reggae and World Music Awards.

He was appointed a visiting professor of music at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 2009.

He has been classed as one of the most influential musicians of all time.

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