adplus-dvertising
News

Why NFF worker threatened me with lawsuit for Super Eagles song – Artiste

Music artiste, Austin Uyammadu, aka Austino Milado, who composed theme songs for the male national football team, the Super Eagles, shares his motivation and frustration with AJIBADE OMAPE

What were your early years like?

My name is Austin Uyammadu, aka Austino Milado. I was born into a family of nine. I’m from Akili-Ozizor in the Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, but I was born in Onitsha. I am the first surviving male child in my family and I was born into a considerably humble family. I had my primary school in Mushin Town Council Primary School very close to Igbobi College in Lagos, and from there I was moved to Aiyetoro Primary School in the Ajegunle area, which you can connect through Amukoko. From there I was sent to Satellite Secondary School in Satellite Town, I was later taken to the East and enrolled at Christ the King College, Onitsha. I then attended the Federal Polytechnic Okoh, Anambra State.

While in secondary school, I met someone who saw the talent in me and decided to help me then as I did my first demo and it was at that time that I met the great Nkem Okonkwo, aka Jake Solo, of blessed memory, who later signed me on to a record label owned by himself and a friend.

When did your music career start?

 Well, I can say that music for me started in 1983 or 1984. That was after I was moved from Lagos to the East, so I was in class two in secondary school when it all happened. I was opportune to meet a whole lot of people, but it was quite difficult because I was still in the boarding school and I did not have time to explore unless I was on holiday, so it slowed things down very well. I was signed to the Jake Solo Production label, and I became the third Luke Year artist. Unfortunately, Jake Solo, the producer, and the artiste, met their fate when they went on tour and had an accident.

 Did your parents support your choice to do music?

 My parents were not in Lagos; they were in the North and I was with my uncle in Anambra. However, my uncle used to say that people who played football or sang music never did well but unfortunately, I was playing football and singing as well so you can imagine his disposition; my father, on the other hand, was the leader of his peers in the village whenever they were having festivals, so it is something that runs in the blood. Hence, he never saw anything wrong with it and he was not against it, but my uncles wanted me to do something more responsible and lucrative.

 What was your dream job while growing up?

 Initially, I wanted to be a pilot. I had a friend whose dad was the chairman of Nigerian Airways so I always looked at that and wanted to fly aeroplanes; I also wanted to be a chemical engineer although I ended up in the art class, from organising drama, scripting drama and also directing drama and making sure that everybody played their roles. Also at a young age, I was anchoring events even for the senior class and I was able to combine all these things and also sing at the same time, so my guidance counsellor in school advised me to put in Theatre Arts as my first choice of study and Law as my second choice; she made me join the art class, and when it was time for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, my score was beyond the cut-off mark for Law but my WASSCE result was withheld because it was noted that I and some students were part of people who led protests, organised riots in school and all of that.

Another dream I had was to become a lawyer, and that was because I always loved to advocate for people; I love to fight for people and stand for others. So life happened and I didn’t get to study Law again. Even in recent times I also sought to study Law again because I also needed it for my real estate business, but it is not easy for a business and family man to go study Law full-time, because it will affect a lot of things.

What motivated you to sing a theme song for the Super Eagles?

It is just the activism in me and the passion I have for the players and my country. You know a whole lot of the players in that era were called ‘Gentle Giants’ and I remember that there was a particular match when the line-up was out and the fans were calling some players ‘tired legs’, and I felt those players had previously delivered and were still delivering time and time again.

I felt bad for the way the players were being mocked, so when I got home that day, the idea for the song came in and I started putting things together, and writing, and the inspiration just kept coming and that was how I recorded that song, and I thought to record a song that would be sporty and full of energy; so when picking the genre for the song, I decided to use a gyration pattern and the song came out amazing. I strongly feel like, as a team, we are suffering today because we do not have creative midfielders and not because we don’t have good players; we have very good attackers and outstanding defenders.

 In your most recent interview, you mentioned that the then Nigerian Football Association threatened to sue you, why was that?

 After I did that song, a friend and I decided to record the send-forth match between Nigeria and the Republic of Ireland; I remember that we won by a goal and I remember they celebrated with us that night, so it was the clips from that match, alongside other clips from other matches that were put together and by the morning, our editor had put them all together and that was how the video came up.

With such acceptance from the fans, I thought that the people whom I sang about would accept me with open arms, so I started looking for how to get across to the NFA; luckily, I got the contact of someone and I placed a call to him and when I introduced myself, I was told to call back. Subsequently, whenever I called and he figured it was me, he would tell me to hold on and that he was busy; I would be on the call till my airtime ran out, and that happened several times.

Initially, I was not looking for payment from them, I was only looking for them to adopt my song and adopt me as a part of the team so I could support the team with my music. Upon subsequent calls, the man got angry and asked who gave me the authority to sing with the Super Eagles’ name, and that I could be sued; I told him that I was doing it to support the Super Eagles because I am a Nigerian, but he insisted that I could be sued. It was after a while I decided to talk to somebody about it. However, on that note, I would love to make things very clear to the public because I understand that not many people watched the full interview I had in Abuja.

I can’t conclude and say that the Nigerian Football Association (now Nigerian Football Federation) threatened to sue me; whatever happened was more of an individual response from their marketing manager at the time who told me off and asked if I even sought permission before using the Super Eagles, so it is not as if the federation threatened me; it was just a staff member who I felt that I did not table my request to the federation at the time.

I was notified about an advert in the newspapers where the NFF needed a theme song for the South African World Cup in 2010, I composed a song and sent it to the Glass House but I never got a response, which indicated to me that the people who didn’t want me to get there saw the demo and sat on it, so I can never say the NFF gave me an official response and threatened to sue me. I felt there was another person’s song that was of more significant interest to the people involved in the process of choosing a theme song for the team. While I was in Warri, I got a call from a radio station where I was told that someone was even accusing me of requesting money for the demo I sent, which was false because I paid all the fees required to get my demo to the Glass House; I even got a tip that my song was better than many of the others but mine wasn’t chosen as the theme song for the team.

 What was your reaction when the then-marketing manager threatened you?

 I will be honest with you; I became scared at the time. I felt not appreciated by people who I showed so much passion for. I was hoping that they would look for me and ask me to do something for them but an individual in the association threatened to sue me.

 How do you feel when you hear the Super Eagles sing and play your song?

 I feel very excited whenever I see them and I even get surprised that they are enjoying a song that I did years ago. It makes me feel fulfilled; I feel on top of the world when I see them play and dance to my songs. I am so in love with them; I remember in 2018, the then media officer of the Super Eagles told me to do something because the boys loved my songs so much that they would usually dance and vibe to the initial song I released even though I did not mention their names in the song. I just take solace in the fact that we can compete in the African Cup of Nations 2025 so it will be another opportunity for us to win the cup because the boys worked from the qualifiers down to the final.

 Have you ever regretted composing the ‘Super Eagles Carry Go’ song?

 I have never felt that way, never. I never felt any regrets about doing what I did. I am so happy some people call me like I just released the song yesterday, and people call me from all over the world; I’ve received calls from Cambodia, and I’ve even seen videos on TikTok so I can never regret it because the love that I get from my fans is massive; let me tell you, incredible is not amazing enough to describe the joy I feel from the fans; and amazing is not enough to describe the incredible joy I feel, and for the love I receive from my fans. So I have never regretted it and I thank God for inspiring me and I pray for more inspiration.

 Do you feel disappointed that the Nigerian football team did not endorse you as a brand ambassador?

 Well, I won’t say that I was expectant, I don’t want to sound like I’m exhibiting an entitlement mentality; I was never desperate and I was never entitled, but I am human; I was expecting that they would look for me or reach out to me and ask me to do something for them, even if it meant doing another one, but nobody called me or said anything of some sort. But I just believe that what will be will be and what is driving me is the love I have for my country. I did not do it to collect money from the players but I hoped that I would be contacted to be a part of them and my fans would see that I was appreciated; my fans are even more disappointed than I am because I have received calls from people who wished that the federation endorsed me.

How did you get the stage name Austino Milado?

 My name is Austin, so Austino is a funky version of my first name, but the name Milado came from the musical note ‘Mi La Do’. So that was how the name came and it stuck.

 You mentioned that you recently composed another motivational theme song for the Super Eagles. What was the reason behind it?

 I wanted the names of our new boys to be in the new song, so I titled it ‘Super Eagles Reloaded’. I didn’t sleep for three days trying to put this one together; I wanted them to do so well (at the just concluded AFCON 2023) and bring home the trophy and gold medal but even though we got the silver, it is still something good enough to be celebrated as the second best nation in football in the whole of Africa.

 What will you do if you get threatened again after releasing another theme song for the Super Eagles?

 Well, I hope it won’t happen again but if it does, I will exercise my rights as a Nigerian because the Super Eagles is a brand that belongs to all Nigerians.

 As the MD/CEO of Amilado Properties, how do you balance your music career and the real estate business?

 It is not very easy; real estate is very demanding and music is also time-consuming. It is something you build over time, managing both music and the real estate business is quite demanding. I hope to hit a big transaction in the real estate business and use it for my music, and also to help support my family.

 If the NFF approaches you for collaboration, will you accept after you were initially threatened?

 Of course, I will accept it with all my heart and open arms; I can also say I’m looking forward to it but I will not go overboard with my expectations.

Back to top button