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Femi Kuti – Biography And Net Worth Of A Legendary Afrobeat Icon

Femi Kuti

Femi Kuti is a London born Nigerian Musician and Instrumentalist. He began his musical career at age 15, when he started playing saxophone in Egypt 80, his father’s band in 1979. Later, he moved on to establish his own band, Positive Force. Today, Femi a multiple Grammy award nominee is a celebrated multi-instrumentalist and Afrobeat legend. In 2014, he signed a management deal with Chocolate City Record Label.

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Femi Kuti
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

Femi Kuti Background

Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo-Kuti was born on June 16, 1962 to Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Remilekun Taylor in London, UK. He grew up in Lagos (the former capital of Nigeria). Eventually, his mother left his father and took Femi along until in 1977 when Femi decided to return to live with his father. Femi is the eldest son of the pioneer Afro beat singer Fela Kuti, and the grand child of a political campaigner and women right activist, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti.

And when he clocked 15, he joined his father’s band, Egypt 80. Femi’s father died of AIDs related complications on August 2, 1997 and his mother died in 2002 at the age of 60.

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Femi Kuti Early Life

In 1986, Femi left Egypt 80 to begin his own band, Positive Force. After he started the band, he was joined by his sisters, Yemi and Sola (as the lead dancers). Thereafter, his band had its first show in University of Lagos, (Unilag). And in the following year, he began to play in international scenes like the New Morning Club in Paris, Moers Festival in Germany and many more. In 1989, he released his debut record titled No Cause for Alarm under Polygram records. Then, two years after, he released MYOB under the Kalakuta Records. Femi released his eponym studio album four years later.

Additionally, Femi opened a club The Shrine in 2000, and recorded his first live album there. He titled it Africa Shrine. Then in 2000, he contributed to the remaking of his father’s classic song Water No Get Enemy into Red Hot and Riot, a compilation CD in tribute to his father Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Femi is an activist who threads in his father’s line of music by erupting social and political uproar with his songs.

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Femi Kuti

Fela Songs

Femi Kuti has done several live performances and live albums. He has also produced several songs, and has gone on series of musical tour. In addition, he has some song collections and has made appearances in documentaries. He once shared a stage with his Chocolate city label mate, M.I Abaga and performed in a concert with his brother, Seun Kuti in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Kuti has also collaborated with Sound Sultan and Tu Face. Below are his studio albums and the track listings.

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Femi Kuti Album

He recorded and released an eponym album in 1994 and 1995 respectively. This was the album that brought Femi to limelight. The album was released on Motown’s Tabu Records label. He co-produced it with Andy Lyden. The songs in the track listing include Wonder wonder, Survival, Frustrations, Nawa, Plenty Nonsense, Stubborn Problems, No Shame, Live for Today and Changes.

Femi Kuti album was praised both in Europe and in Africa for producing a more streamlined and accessible style of his father’s music. The album was also included in a musical reference book – 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

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Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

Shoki Shoki

Femi Kuti released his sophomore album Shoki Shoki in November, 1998. It was produced by Sodi under the Barclay record label. The songs on the track include; Truth Don Die, Beng beng Beng, what will tomorrow Bring, Victim of Life, Blackman Know Yourself, Look Around, Sorry Sorry, Eregele, and Scatter Head.

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Fight To Win

He released his third album titled Fight to Win in October, 2001. It was released under the MCA. The album was done in collaboration with some United States Musicians like Common, Mos Def and Jaguar Wright. The songs on the track include Do Your Best (ft Mos Def), Walking on the right side, Traitors of Africa, Tension Grip Nigeria, 97, Fight to Win (ft. Jaguar Wright), Stop AIDs, Eko Lagos, Alkebu-Lan (Cradle of Civilization), One Day Someday, The Choice is Yours, and Missing Link (ft. Common).

Day By Day

Femi Kuti released his third album in October, 2008 titled Day by Day. It was produced by Sodi and released by Wrasse record label. The songs on the album include Oyimbo, Eh Oh, Day by Day, You Better Ask Yourself, One Two, Tell Me, They Will Run, Tension Grip Africa, Dem Funny, and Let’s Make History.

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Africa For Africa

Femi Kuti released the Africa For Africa studio album in 2010 and 2011 under the Wrasse Records and Knitting Factory Records respectively. The album was produced by Sodi and the theme emphasized bad government as a problem in Africa. The tracks in the album include: Dem Bobo, Nobody Beg You, Politics in Africa, Bad Government, Can’t Buy Me, Africa for Africa, Make We Remember, Obasanjo Don Play You Wayo, Boys Dey Hungry For Town, Now You See, No Blame Them, Yeparipa, E No Good and It Doesn’t Mean.

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No Place For My Dream

Femi released another studio album in June 2013 No Place for my Dream under the Knitting Records. The song genre included Afrobeat and Caribbean style and it was produced by Sodi Marciszewer. The songs on the track include; Nothing To Show for it, The world is changing, No place for my dream, Action time, No work no job no money, Carry on pushing on, Politics na big business, Na so we see am, One man show, Wey our money, and This is only the beginning.

One People One World

Finally, his recent album One People One World was released under the Knitting Factory Records in 2018.

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Femi Kuti Net Worth

According to Austinemedia, the afrobeat musician net worth is estimated at $1.5 million. He is one of the most influential musicians in Nigeria.

Femi Kuti Personal Life

Femi was once married to Funke Kuti, and they had a son together, Made Kuti. Also, Femi is blessed with other children.

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In 2012, Femi was inducted into the most prestigious music awards in Nigeria – Headies Hall of Fame. He also became an ambassador for Amnesty International. He was nominated on four occasions for the Grammy Awards in the ‘World Music Category’, in 2002, 2009, 2011, and 2013. In 2017, Femi broke the Guinness World record for a single note held on saxophone circular breathing for 51 minutes and 35 seconds.

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Femi Kuti

Femi Kuti Quotes

“I will never put anybody before my family because your family is your family.”

“Even if you are in pains and you have a performance, you should not show it to your audience.”

“I know I trust people too much, although I try to be a bit firm, but it is a fault that we have learnt from my father.”

“I want to make my family happy, and I want Africa to be free.”

“I don’t care who’s in power as long as he provides electricity, petrol, water. The President should be like a houseboy.”

“A composer is like a medium that high forces use to give people, joy, inspiration and courage.”

“Your gift is to be shared and not for you.”

“Looking deeper into African way of life, it wasn’t religious; it was spiritual. When you go into spiritualism, spiritualism will teach you about virtues, how to be patient, humble and kind.”

“Playing trumpet change my perception of life completely into being nice and adaptable.”

“You need to keep an open mind and always give yourself a room to improve.”

“For a professional, success is not about how great you are, it is a must, it is your job, so do your best.”

See Also: Young entrepreneurs in Nigeria making history across different industries.

Entrepreneurial Lessons From Femi Kuti

Hard work pays. Femi works hard and has continued to be relevant till today because he continuously reinvents himself. As entrepreneurs, you need to follow the trends in your industry to remain relevant. There are no short cuts to success. To achieve success in any field of interest, you need to work hard, you need to learn and you need patience to wait out the process.

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Photo Credit: The Guardian Nigeria, The Nation, Daily Post, Vanguard news, Billboard.com, and Hkw.de.



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