NLSundaySpecial:- Spotlight Profile On Gospel Singer “Yinka Ayefele” The Rise From Wheelchair To Stardom
Yinka Ayefele can be referred to as a living legend as far as Gospel music is concerned in Nigeria. As a Tungba-higlife musician, he is one among popular Gospel musicians in Nigeria singing predominantly in Yoruba, English and sometimes Igbo and Hausa.
Ayefele was born and bred in Ipoti Ekiti State where he completed his primary and secondary school education. He later proceeded to Ondo State College of Arts and Science at Ikare Akoko, Ondo State Nigeria.
Initially, Ayefele was a journalist and broadcaster at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Ibadan, where he also produced jingles and musical works on radio. Even though he has been doing music right from his days in secondary school where he plays trumpet as a member of Boys Brigades and as guitarist in the church choir, he didn’t not dive into music fully until 1997 when he had a fatal accident that got him confined to wheelchair.
The year 1997 was a memorable one for Yinka Ayefele, not only because he has a fatal accident that claimed his spinal cord, he also discovered he could survive in the music industry as full-time Gospel highlife music artiste. His friend and Boss Late Kolawole Olawuyi inspired him to putting some songs together to raise funds for his treatment after spending up to 9 months in the hospital.
This suggestion resulted to the release of his debut album titled, Bitter Experience in 1998 which brought him into limelight. The title Bitter Experience reflected his ordeal after the 1997 fatal accident. While speaking about his ordeal after the accident, he said;
“I had a choice – to die or to live. I chose to live. I didn’t want to become a liability. I decided to live and make it. I learnt how to play all musical instruments on my own. I was in persistent pains 24 hours – five of my ribs got broken in the accident, but I had to forget my pains and forge ahead.”
The release of Bitter experience was followed by the release of Sweet Experience and the Sweet Experience album reflected the sweetness he enjoyed after a “Bitter Experience”. Some other albums released by the gospel musician are Something Else, Divine Intervention and Life after death, released in honor of one of his benefactor, Gbenga Adeboye a Nigerian radio presenter, musician and comedian.
Despite Yinka Ayefele’s predicament, he got married to his wife Temitope Titilope in the year 2000 and today the couple are blessed with grown up kids. Ayefele owns Fresh FM 105.9, a radio station in Oyo State, he also owns Down Town Hotel in Ibadan among other businesses he runs asides music.
As an artste, Yinka Ayefele has up to 15 albums to his credit and he has won over 200 awards among them is a National Award, Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) awarded by Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2011), Ekiti cultural ambassador award and lots more.
Yinka Ayefele’s rise from wheelchair to stardom has been a source of motivation to many. From 1997 to till date, his musical works are still breaking grounds both in Nigeria and abroad.