By Joshua Olom
Abuja – Maverick Nigerian singer, songwriter and showbiz maestro, Charles Oputa (Charly Boy) has given an insight on how he got his break in Life as he clocks 70.
Oputa who is the son of late renowned Jurist, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) as he marked his 70 birthday on Friday in Abuja.
“My break came somewhere around 1982 when as the then Chief Justice of Imo, my late father who was strongly opposed to my career choice as a musician, was appointed a Supreme Court Judge and he had to move to Lagos.
“I left Owerri and went back to my village, Oguta, where I started the Charly Boy brand right there in the village,’’ he said.
“This is three years after completing the compulsory National Youths Service Corps programme in 1979,’’ he said.
Charly Boy, also often called “Areafada” and acclaimed to be one of Nigeria’s most controversial entertainers, explained how his ‘Charly Boy personality’ had been able to remain consistent and relevant for decades amidst huge misconception by fans and industry watchers.
The ‘young septuagenarian’, with nine children and 16 grandchildren, said that the strong support and understanding he enjoyed from his family over the years was the strength he needed to stay focused.
“My wife and I designed a brand that will remain youthful, a brand that is meant to shock conventional Nigerians out of their ways of thinking.
“The brand started way back in 1983 and since then it has been tenacious, consistent and audacious in challenging what is wrong in our society.
“At the beginning, my children were getting a little bit confused because the father they know in the house is different from the father people are talking about outside.
“My children are my friends and we always talk and I was able to explain to them.
“But with time, they were able to come to terms with the brand Charly Boy and their father Mr Charles Oputa,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Charly Boy’s most popular album was ‘1990’ released in 1988, a reference to Nigeria’s corrupt military government, which was expected to hand over power to civilians in that year.
In the late eighties, he created a new ‘punk persona’, consisting of leather jackets and boots, power-bikes, mohawks and a new direction in music, combining African pop and Afrobeat.
He is well known for his change of image, rings and piercings, as well as preference for make-up, relaxed and braided hairstyles and “women’s clothes”, which was controversial among conservative Nigerians.
Charly Boy’s most popular television series was ‘The Charly Boy Show’, a weekly sketch/variety show with political undertones featuring music, comedy and celebrity appearances.
He has also served as the president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and an Idol Series judge in 2011.