Samuel Ogunyinka popularly known as Psalmist , is a poet and graduate of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Ogun State. In this interview with OgunWatch, Psalmist shares his journey in the world of poetry and other issues.
Can we meet you please?
My name is Samuel Ogunyinka popularly known as Psalmist, a graduate of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta Ogun state and I am from Osun state.
What is poetry to you?
Poetry to me is life. It is more than just the right to speak, it is a form of expression so it is an art that comes from my heart. It is another form of expression that gives me the freedom to talk about issues pertaining to society and myself.
I started writing poems in 2013 and switched to spoken poetry in 2018.
What attracted you to become a poet?
I wouldn’t say something attracted me though, it just started. Someone said something, I think it’s Plato he said “ At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.” But this is not about love though(laughs).
Sometimes when I post a picture and want to write a caption I find out I am writing poetry already so for me Its just the freedom of expression.
Aside poetry what else do you do?
I do freelance writing, I brand clothes, books and other things.
Do you do it for fun or as a career?
I don’t think its bad if you make what you derive joy in doing a career or work though it all started more of passion after I started getting head-waves I made it a career.
Have you started smiling to the bank yet?
You know I am just starting so I cant say I make plenty money from it for now. We still do it for passion not like they don’t pay me but its still a work in progress.
The least I have charged here in Abeokuta is N20,000.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
It comes from deep thought, research, societal problems, love, hatred but then all inspiration comes from God.
What is the place of spoken words in nation building?
To me, I will say it helps one stay true, gives something to do to, it helps reduce idleness it just like music, acting movies and the rest. It is a form of art that gives opportunity to people and one of the top art that addresses things facing the society and country at large.
It helps in teaching morals. I tell people that when you listen to music there is a tendency for you to dance away the meaning, when you watch a movies there is tendency for you to laugh it off. It is because of some features remember for music we have beats. So, for spoken poetry you reason with the words, it reaches the heart. I feel it speaks more louder than the rest.
It can help to reduce crimes and the rest of illegalities.
On what scale do you think poetry is in the entertainment industry?
For now poetry is still emerging just as we don’t want to call Nigeria an underdeveloped country, we call it a developing country just to give hope. So, poetry is still emerging. I mean now, in Nigeria poetry cannot stand music, comedy not to talk of movies but its gaining it light already so we believe in growth.
Do you consider yourself famous yet?
I will not consider myself famous yet because I haven’t gotten to 0.1 percent of where I want to be. So, when I call my self the world Psalmist it is not Abeokuta world, so, I haven’t gotten there yet.
How many awards have you received In poetry?
Well my first award was in 2015 and so far I have received almost 20 awards.
Do your peers and parents take you serious?
Yes, if I have any one to be grateful to it should be my parent, my siblings and my friends. I remember when my dad was alive and I went to receive one award in Ibadan, I had to travel back home (Osun state) to see my parent with the award. On getting home, my dad who was a teacher was very happy, he read the poem that earned me the award and even gave me N25,000. They have been so proud and supportive.
Who do you look up to in the world of poetry?
I have people although they are not fully into spoken words so I will just call them my role models. I like Jackie Hill Perry , Dike Chukwumerije, Titilope Sonuga and few others.
What are the challenges associated with poetry?
I wouldn’t count them as challenges though I see every stage as place of the making especially when one is just growing.
Its just the acceptability and the society for me. People don’t really want something deep they just want to have fun. And also money, it has its effect too if there is a lot of money forget it.
What keeps you going?
The passion and the projection keep me going and also encouragement I receive from people and friends when I send them a new poem, they share it. Even those that I don’t even know at the end of the year walk up to me and say we want to give you an award, some even come up to me to say they want to be like me. So, if I have people who want to be like me, why should I give up? If I give up now I am ‘falling’ the hand of those who believe in me. So, I just keep on going.
What has been your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is talking and people being able to listen and relate to what I am saying, it is being able to impact.
I had the privilege to perform last year at the MKO national stadium and the audience loved it.
Does the society attach any relevance to spoken words?
Our society is getting to realize that now. We can’t compare poetry of today to five years ago. They are finding relevance to it not but it is still not like music.
How do you think the public can help you in achieving your dreams ?
What I will ask for is more support. I have a lot of poems online please stream it. I have some on audiomack (psalmist) and some platforms. Before the middle of the year my poems will be on all streaming platforms so the society should please listen, like, share and even follow me.
On instagram, tiktok, twitter its world_psalmist, on facebook it is Samuel O. Ogunyinka.
Which of your poems do you think perform beyond expectation?
Its “ Erin Kárelé ” , though people had different reasons for liking it, also “Which Way My Country” its more like which way to go Nigeria. “Gen Z,” it talks about our generation, “ As-salam Aleikum In Jesus’ Name, ” talks about why the Christian and Muslims should not be at war.
Your advice to youth on chasing their dreams and living a legit life?
They should not give up, keep chasing your dreams and when chasing do not allow something else chase you like EFCC or even repercussions . So, be careful and live a legit life.