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Conversations with Olalekan Ajalaagbo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Olalekan Ajalaagbo a/k/a King Lekan.

Hi Olalekan, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I moved to the United States from Africa, Nigeria to further my education and music career. My parents saved for many years to get me and my sister to greener pastures here in the United States. Upon arriving, everything was different; from the weather to the way of life, to the music, it was a culture shock. I was made fun of in high school because of my long name, but I was very popular because I was smart and I was on about three teams (basketball, tennis and soccer). In college, I was enrolled to become a medical doctor, but I lost interest. I later graduated with BA in Psychology and MBA in Management (Business & Media). Even with my education, music was always something that I always wanted to pursue, so I was still determined to make it and become one of the best musicians the world has ever seen. I was always interested in music from a very young age. My mom was a singer in the church and my dad played percussions. Therefore, I always had an ear for music. My curiosity with music began when my parents hired a piano teacher for my sister. As she would have her lessons, I would always be interested. This then made my dad hire a piano teacher for me as well, and the rest for history. After several lessons and teaching myself by ear, I was able to play the piano, drums and bass at church at a very young age – 11.

Here in the United States, I started a band – Kingsmen and became the music director/keyboard player. With my band, through hard work and perseverance, I was able to tour with Mr. Eazi (Coachella, James Corden Show, O2 arena), performed with Adekunle Gold, Davido, Angelique Kidjo, Olamide and many more artists. Between 2019 and 2021, a major turning point happened along the way; some band members quit on me. This resulted in me being at a very low point in my life where I was also on the verge of quitting. I had spent and invested so much money in the past on videos, recordings, etc. Sometimes, I won’t even get paid for some gigs, but I will always make sure that the band members were taken care of. Therefore, at this point, it felt as if all my efforts had gone to waste. I felt like there was no moving forward and everything seemed to be crumbling. As a result of this, I actually became less interested in music. I couldn’t concentrate, I wasn’t enthused in practicing. I was going through depression and anxiety, but the African in me wouldn’t want to admit it. I actually made a visit to the doctor during this time, which I took several stress tests and turned out that I was under extreme stress. Therefore, I quietly took a break for some months. Then during the pandemic, with my loving wife, Maryam by my side as well as family and a few close friends, I found life again.

As everyone was home, something came over me and I was able to get my creative juices back. I worked on my first ever EP, “No Time” which has over 500K streams today and counting. I titled the EP “No Time” because I literally talked some senses into myself that I have no time to be sobbing around and I need to get back to what keeps me sane; music and music performance. After this EP, God started to do amazing things beyond my wildest imagination. Aside from being featured in many media outlets, myself and my band manager, Dayo got back to the drawing board to work and we got the opportunity to tour with Tems as her Music Director, Fireboy DML as his Music Director, performed at the Jimmy Kimmel show and many opportunities. I have always been a person that keeps going no matter the circumstance, and I always look ahead as to what the next goal will be. As a result, I released one of my best works yet, “Panadol” on the 29th of April. In addition, myself and my band accompanied WizKid at the Broccoli Festival in DC on the 8th of May; which has been one of my most notable performances yet. And there are many more opportunities coming up that I am excited about. The road has been very long and uneasy, but with my perseverance, hard work and dedication, I kept pushing and I will keep pushing myself.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has not been a smooth road. I have submitted my music to so many agencies and media outlets and I’ve been denied so many times. Also, the media outlets that do respond back want so much money that I can’t afford as an independent artist with no label backing yet. Therefore, financial challenges to push my music has been a struggle initially. Finding the right artist to collaborate with has also been a struggle. I just don’t collaborate with any artist. I like to collaborate with an artist that we can both benefit from each other, but it’s been a struggle finding the right artist to collaborate with.

Also, finding a dedicated team was a struggle. In today’s day and age, an artist has to already come with the following and buzz before a label or management team wants to work with him/her. Therefore, as a growing artist, it has been a struggle building a team.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a musician (keyboard player, arranger and Music Director), and a producer-artist. I specialize in playing the keyboards and directing live music for major international artists such as Wizkid, Fireboy DML, Joeboy, Davido, Adekunle Gold, Stonebwoy and many more. I am also a music producer who releases original music.

I am known for being a music director and a music producer.

I am most proud of my body of work that I have released “No Time” and every other music that I have released. As a creative, I tend to self-sabotage and overanalyze and criticize my work. Therefore, having the courage to begin to release original music is always a proud moment for me.

What sets me apart from others is my endless drive. Through all the obstacles, I still always find the light and positive mindset to keep going. My love for music and belief in myself is beyond any monetary amount. Therefore, I will always strive for greatness in the presence of little to resources/finances.

How do you think about happiness?
Music makes me happy. I find endless joy in creating music. It serves as a zen to me. Creating music on stage (performing behind artists) and off the stage (working on my original music) allows me to disconnect from the world and get lost in my own world. I allow myself to always be present while making music.

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All Images by APMWorldMag

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