With more than a decade playing the saxophone, Obasan Oluwagbemileke, popularly known as LayKay Sax, has made his living serenading thousands of music lovers to the sounds of his favorite instrument. Laykay, who calls himself a ‘Music Service Provider’, has performed in solidarity at social events that have been broadcast on national television stations and is currently performing with bands that sing the melodies of the crème de la believe me of society.
Also due to his amazing and skillful performances, he has shared platforms with international artists such as Cobhams Asuquo, Lara George, Folake Umosen, Frank Edwards, Freke Umoh, Donnie McClurkin, Israel Houghton, Alvin Slaughter, Lionel Peterson, to name just a few.
Where did your love for the saxophone emanate from?
My love for the saxophone came from a very interesting experience. I was in high school and could already play a couple of instruments. On a very random day, I went to an event with some of my friends and met someone who was playing an instrument that we couldn’t recognize.
My friends assumed I would know and asked my name. I took a wild guess and called it saxophone. Apparently I was right and instantly took it upon myself to add that to my instrument list. The rest, as they say, is history.
Tell me about your experience.
I am the second of three children. I grew up in Abeokuta, Ogun State. This may be unexpected, but I actually have a degree in Animal Production and Health. But you know what this life is like.
Some of us pursue careers that are completely outside of what we study in college. I also seem nice, but I’ll tell you not to be fooled by that. Serie.
How did your parents deal with you switching to music?
It was never easy. My parents wondered if it was okay. But I remember back in school then, we had a group called ‘Sons of Jubal’ which consisted of me and some other musically inclined friends. In 2009, we organized a concert and invited Cobhams to headline the event. It was a 2000-seater room and it was full. I invited my mom to witness this and I remember the pleasant surprise on her face. Her son did something great and I guess she had no choice but to support him.
Was there a point in your journey when you considered trying something else?
I honestly think that I have been quite fortunate in my journey. There really has never been a time when I have thought about quitting music. I have never used my college certificate for anything since I graduated 11 years ago and I can easily say that I have about 20 people who depend on me for their daily bread. Even when the events weren’t consistent, I didn’t give up because every day can’t be a sunny day. So, I think I’m doing something right with this saxophone. I hope and pray for more.
Who are the people you look up to?
There are a couple of people I admire in Nigeria whose achievements are worthy of emulation. First Mike Aremu, then a very good friend of mine, Beejay Sax.
Do you think a saxophonist can be as successful as a conventional musician in Nigeria?
I believe that a saxophonist can be as successful as a conventional musician or even better. It has already been done if you look around you. This shows that if it can happen to one or two saxophonists, it can happen to others.
What is the greatest achievement that has happened to you playing the saxophone?
It has given me full satisfaction and access to places that you would not imagine. Imagine playing in an event and someone just loves you for it, to the point of wanting to help you. I think I am in a very good place and the greatest achievements for me are the most intangible things like this.