January 3rd, 2016 – Nigerian Music Producer Cobhams Asuquo: Blindness Is My Gift,How My Parents Positive Attitude Made Me A Star
See excerpts from Cobhams Asuquo’s recent chat with The Entertainer
Are there things in your upbringing responsible for your success?
A lot of things helped me succeed in my upbringing. First of all, my parents are very positive people, even when we didn’t know how it was going to happen, my mother would say to me, “I know you are going to become someone great in life.” So that positive confession, growing up, stayed with me. And my mother is quite the optimist; she has had her fair share of life, but has managed to remain a happy woman. I think that sense of optimism, undeterred by anything, has helped me.
I am a product of love; I grew up in a family with lots of love. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we had a lot of love, and pride in ourselves as a family. We often described ourselves as a family jokingly as members of the Asuquan Empire or something stupid like that. We liked it, we liked ourselves and took pride in who we were, and I think that instilled in me a sense of pride in myself, and self-confidence.
And then the God side of my mother began to manifest as I grew older, and then my father’s responsibility for his family, his generosity. A lot of things: my father’s love for me, my mother’s love for me, my brothers’ love for me. I am literally the culmination, if you will, of the bringing together everything my family growing up actually believed in.
There are many believers (especially gospel singers) who would not want to do secular music, or even work with secular musicians. As a believer in a secular work environment, especially the entertainment industry, how have you managed that? The interrelationship between your work, your faith, and the people you work with; especially with the lifestyle that goes with the entertainment industry?
I think what makes one really who you are is inside. The environment you find yourself is external; your ability to function in that environment depends on what is inside of you. I believe that I have a strong foundation. I grew up Catholic and went to Catholic schools, and have always been a person of faith even though I had to find my way, from trying to understand Catholicism as a young boy, asking so many questions I thought I wasn’t getting answers to, becoming a ‘Protestant’ (as they would say) to becoming Pentecostal, to becoming a moralist where you believe that it is good to do good and evil to do evil.
Going beyond religion to finding Jesus myself, and being conscious of who I am (is) the whole gamut. I have gone full circle, and for me I believe it helped me build a foundation where I am aware of whom I am. So when I go into whatever environment, I go in carrying the person I am inside, recognising that the person I am has a mission to affect what is around him. So that is what I do. My talent is for a reason; you don’t hide your light under a bushel, or hang out with just anyone. Scientists create innovations that help the rest of the world do simple things, and not just help other scientists function at helping other scientists.
That is how I see Christianity. For me, it’s about just functioning in the space where you are just holy or safe. So you go out, and you influence people. The word says that they will know us by our love, so you try to influence people and you show love. You do what you do with people, you don’t judge people, and you don’t have the right to. Just do right and you will influence people, and you learn. I think, for me, that is what it is. I have a foundation because of who I think I am internally, and I take that presence with me wherever I go, and I try to create my own impact. It functions better when you are actually in a space that actually limits it.
You once said that blindness is your gift. Why do you think so?
I think so because I learnt a lot from it, because it shaped who I am. I think so because sometimes it takes something as startling as blindness to find yourself, and find meaning. I don’t know who I would have been if I was not blind. A ton of sighted people have done amazing things with their lives.
I just feel that not being able to see has this amazing side to it. It gives you perspective. As I have said, it left me with fewer options than everyone else, and so I had to make use of the options I have. When something transforms your life radically like that, you can see it as a blessing or a curse. Whatever you see it as is what it will yield to you. And for me I see it as a gift, and I think that is self-evident.