Femi Kuti says he forsook the opportunity to step into his father Fela’s shoes, opting to chart his own path in life.
The Afrobeat icon said although he was “groomed” to succeed Fela as a conscious musician and social activist, he chose to walk away and up until now, he has “no regret” about his decision.
“I was groomed to take over from my father. I decided I didn’t want that for my life. I walked away from it with no regret today. And my father was very upset. I didn’t want to take over. I wanted my own thing, my own experience, and my own success. I wanted to do it on my own with no help,” he told Daily Trust in an interview.
Kuti said he “was never taught music” and that every musical instrument he plays today was “self-taught”.
He said unlike his brother, Seun Kuti, he was never sent to music school.
“I wasn’t sent to music school, I was even taken out of school, so I didn’t finish my secondary school. I was withdrawn by my father. Seun’s mother made sure he went to music school and so on, but during my time, my father was against it,” Kuti said.
“I am very thankful that I am not an embarrassment to myself. I made a success of my career without help from any quarter.
“I taught myself the saxophone, the trumpet, and the keyboard. I didn’t want to be my father. I wanted to be Femi Anikulapo Kuti. I love, respect and adore my father.
The musician further noted that he knew very early on that he could never be like his father or replicate his deeds.
“But I understood at a very early age that I could never be him. There was no magic that could do that. I am my father’s son. Even my children can’t be me and people would have more respect for them when they are themselves,” he added.