Blind Wonder of COBHAMS ASUQUO
Seeing him fiddle with musical instruments, perform on stage or on the console, making good music – something he is well known for – one will hardly believe he can’t see. Often referred to as ‘The Psalmist of Our Time,’ he is always conscious of the fact that God is the very reason he is where he is today. On why he thinks being born blind is the best thing that has ever happened to him, find out this and more as revelation iv takes a trip into the world of COBHAMS EMMANUEL ASUQUO where he is inspired by One he can’t see.
Challenges are supposed to be the stepping stones we need in life to get to the top, but for some these stepping stones have become stumbling blocks that have hindered a lot of people from stepping an inch into the fulfillment of their God-given destiny. However, the reverse is the case of the visually-impeded Cross River born super star and award winning producer, Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo, who was born blind on the 6ih of January, 1981, in Lagos, Nigeria, from a humble background. He is the youngest of six children to a military father.
Cobhams, when growing up, was not the strongest in his class academically, but despite the odds forged ahead to read law at the University of Lagos but opted out to pursue a career in music. It didn’t take long for the Cross River born song writer, singer, rapper and producer to find his bearing in the music industry as he finally found his calling in life, which is music.
In 2004, he got signed up as a song writer to SONY MUSIC ATV, a subsidiary of the record label that had Michael Jackson as an artiste. Later, he got signed to Question Mark Entertainment record label where he met Asa, who he wrote songs like: ‘Fire On The Mountain,’ which he co-produced. Apart from that, he equally produced his award-winning song, ‘Jailer’ – a song that dwells so much on the tribulations the oppressed suffer in the hands of so-called elites.
Today, Cobhams is the Chief Executive Officer of CAMP Music, which he started in 2006 after leaving the Question Mark Entertainment, and has young talents like Phillip Maduabuchukwu (Pheel), Bez Idakula, Joan Ekpai (West African idol finalist), Omolara Ayodele and Tarri Tebepah.
Cobhams is no doubt the best producer the continent of Africa has seen. Virtually all the songs he has produced are award-winning songs – ranging from Banky Wellington’s “Strong Thing” to Darey Art Alade’s “Not The Girl” songs, which he co-wrote. Other songs include: “Lagimo,” which he produced for the duo of Soul Snatcha and Sokleva, popularly known as Rooftop MCs, as well as “Mode Nine’s Cry.” He has worked with the likes of Yinka Davies, Timi Dakolo, Sound Sultan, Innocent Ujah Idibia (Tuface). He is equally the brain behind Etisalat’s official theme song, which featured Banky W, when they launched into the Nigerian market. The list is just endless, and currently, he is one of the instructors at the MTN PROJECT FAME ACADEMY.
Cobhams has proven beyond reasonable doubt that being physically challenged is not a determinant factor to one’s future, and self-discovery is all one needs to unleash what God Almighty has deposited inside of everyone, and he has this to say:
“I am greatly inspired by someone I don’t see. It sounds nearly foolish, but it’s the truth for me. I’m greatly inspired by God. I think about the things that I have read in the Bible, and it just inspires me. I’m greatly inspired by certain environments, by a certain ambiance – for instance, the bathroom is probably one of my favourite places in the world because that’s where I get to be an astronaut, a physicist, an army general, a preacher and a musician. I’m also inspired sitting at my piano: I love to play! I find music just by tinkering on the keys. Music comes to me naturally; sometimes, long train and bus rides equally inspire me.”
There is still a side of Cobhams people are yet to come to terms with, and that is his love for God. Despite being successful and blessed with an amazing talent, he owes everything he is today, and will ever be, to God, who he is so passionate about. His love for God inspired him into writing and producing a couple of gospel songs, which he termed as an expression of how he feels about the awesomeness of God. Among such songs include: “Heart of Worship” and “My Soul Thirsts For You,” which he did in 2005. He equally teamed up with Gabriel Ezishi and Joel to record the song, “My Praise” as well as Dekunle Fuji and Ikechukwu to do Mo like Jesu.
Cobhams’s displeasure for the decay in the society drove him into mobilizing the likes of Omawumu, Jude Abaga (MI), Modele, Rooftop MCs, Banky Wellington, Bez and Wordsmith to record a song, “Maga No Need Pay” – a song, which is more like an advice to youths to desist from being fraudsters; “yahoo yahoo” as it is popularly known, which went to become an official song for most anti-graft agencies in the country.
His compassion for humanity drove him once more to mobilize a group of Nigerian Artistes to do a song for the “Save the World Project” (the Nigerian version) to raise funds to help homeless and helpless Nigerian children roaming about the streets. Speaking about it, he said: “Being part of the project makes me feel fulfilled, although there is still a lot to do to help Nigeria move forward.”
He got married on the 2nd of December, 2010, to his long-time heartthrob, Ojuolape Veronica Olukanni, at the Redeemed Christian Church of God – The King is Coming Parish – at the Redemption Camp, and is blessed with a son, David, who is equally finding music as a passion.
It might interest you (to know) that the multi-talented producer, apart from experimenting with musical instruments ranging from the piano – his all-time favourite, which he does leaving a lot of people awed with their mouths wide open, he also fiddles with percussion, guitar and other musical instruments, and most amazing of all is that he also ‘watches’ movies! Yes, he does by mere listening; but that is not to say he doesn’t have his fair share of challenges. Hear him speak about it:
“Being blind is one of the best things that happened to me, because I’ve been challenged to get up and go. I realize the importance of making things happen and the results of a lack of action. One challenge I’ve had to face being a blind person working in the music industry is, for want of a better way to describe it, the loneliness. I have to deal with a lot of the challenges all by myself…”
But then he is no longer facing these challenges alone as his wife, Veronica, left her job as one of the executives of a leading telecommunications company in Nigeria to join forces with her husband in doing what he knows how to do best. His Role Models are Ray Charles and Stevland Hardaway Morris, popularly known as Stevie Wonder, both visually-impeded super stars like himself. He never ceases to talk about God being a pillar of support throughout his carrier. He states;
“Sometimes, when I’m confused about the direction to go, while in the studio, God just gives me direction to go and at the end of the day the job is done. I play classical music by hearing. I’ve learnt to listen and reproduce; in some cases it may not be 100 percent, but it gets the job done, especially because I pay attention to detail in music. My fingering is a bit tricky because I didn’t learn how to play formally. I may not have some of the techniques to run some of the notes with the required speed. I’ve devised my own technique and it pretty much works for me. I listen, I listen overtime; I love and then I play.”
Apart from his bathroom, which for most people is a place to wash all the dirt accumulated during the day being for him a place where he is inspired, his garage is equally a rehearsal studio, where he hosts friends, who are equally musicians, and they just play. If there is something Cobhams loves so much, that thing is praising God with his powerful soulful voice; and, aside from being one of the best producers the world has seen, he is also a good husband and a father.
He won Producer of the Year Award in 2007 at the Hip hop awards now the Headies Award, Nigerian Music Awards for the producer of the decade; won the Future Awards and Bella Naija Award for Entrepreneurship, among other national and international awards.
He equally has a special profile documented by CNN on his life, which premiered in 2011. Cobhams, which means, a “sheltering tree,” is an epitome of success, and his life is a testimony of the existence of the Awesome Wonder of GOD.
Culled from: revelation iv, Vol.1 No.4, 2014