How I Coped with the 3 Months Covid-19 Lockdown – Beejay Sax
Beejay Sax is one of the hottest celebrity Saxophonists in town right now. Before Covid-19, this handsome young man was the most sought after Saxophonist as he travelled around the world to entertain at many destination weddings.
But with the Lockdown, Beejay Sax was at home for 3 months. He was our Guest recently on City People TV Instagram Live Chat during which he spoke about how he was able to cope with the 3 months Covid-19 Lockdown.
Before the lockdown started, you were playing and performing at nearly every major event. From weddings to birthdays and other major events, you were everywhere. Sometimes, you performed at two or more events in one day, how have you been able to manage your busy schedules?
Yes, to the glory of God. It has not been easy but it’s what we asked God for. It’s like asking God for blessings and when the blessings come you have to be able to contain it. So, as we are asking for blessings, we must prepare for how we’ll contain it. I thank God for everything. I am in the social events, in the event sector and I like to be the best in what I do. There’s something we call ourselves in our team here, we call ourselves Premium. This means that if you have any event coming up and you don’t have us there, then it means the event is not complete. And it works for us. Every major event we were there.
How did you take the news of the lockdown in March? How did it affect you?
It came as a shock. I just got back from Dubai then where I had an event. Of course, Covid-19 was already in Dubai at that time. So, I was able to return to Nigeria early enough. Now, I had an event on Saturday and the lockdown started within the week and I had been paid for the event. I had prepared for the event and then we were told all events were cancelled. So, we were wondering, are we going to refund? And of course, there’s a no refund policy. Now, the new date that would be agreed on, are we going to be free on that date? So, at first, there was social gathering restriction and we thought, okay, we will deal with that. Then the following week, there was a total lockdown. That was when I knew this is real. There was no income, and you know we make our income when we go out to play. So, we had to start thinking, what can we do to stay afloat? What can we do remain relevant? At that time I came up with the online praise party. That’s what has been keeping us busy since then. You know everything is happening online now. I’m sure if not for Covid-19, we will probably be having this interview somewhere. For one reason or the other, this season has opened our eyes to a lot of things we were not thinking about before, so we’re all adjusting. But we all can’t wait to get back to our normal lives. I was telling someone earlier that we need to get back to playing for people and making them happy. You know, as musicians, we get our energy from people. These days, you’re playing in front of the system or computer and you’re wondering, what’s going on? You don’t even know if the people are feeling you or not. People say it’s the new normal but I am not going to accept it, we have to go back to the old normal as soon as possible.
You have this yearly event that you do, how do you hope to go about that now?
Yeah, I have my concert which holds every year in May at Eko Hotel and in fact, I’d paid some deposit and was already doing some adverts underground but we had to cancel the event because right now, its safety first. Nobody wants to go anywhere now, everyone wants to stay safe. Beejay Sax Live was scheduled for the 10th of May and of course, 10th of May has passed already. It’s been really crazy. We’re losing money. A lot of dates have been cancelled and some have been shifted to dates that have already been paid for and taken by other engagements. It looks to me like we will have to move everything scheduled for this year to next year. I had an event in Dubai, I had an event in the Carribeans, events that they’ve paid for and I’ve bought my tickets. So, most of them have moved their events to next year and the dates are now clashing. What this means is that my income will be reduced next year because most of them are moving their events to the same date next year. We are one of the most affected sectors, but what can we do.
What are the lessons you will say that you have learnt from all these?
Well, number one lesson is that, when people ask me where do I see myself in 5 years, I used to tell them I should be this, I will be that, but now if you ask me, I will say I don’t know because if someone had told me I would be in the position I am today I will say it’s not possible, you understand. Before I would’ve said by now I’ll be in Canada, I will be in France, but now, we are all at home doing nothing. So, now, more than ever before, I believe there’s a God. Of course, I have always known there is God, but now I know that we can plan, we can project, but his own plan is the final. I was now remembering at the beginning of the new year when everyone was making different declarations saying 2020 is my year of this, my year of great upliftment, not knowing it’s going to be our year of saying at home. I’ve learnt the importance of contract for every deal or programme. Of course, here, we always have our contracts. Here, we don’t refund, we will rather have you pick a new date because, in this situation, for instance, it’s nobody’s fault. I have also learnt about the power of social media because it is all we are left with right now. It’s the only way left that we can reach out to the fans, friends and family. So, everything that we used to do in church, interviews like this one that we’re having now, everything is online. Music concerts, meetings, are now done online. Some people used to go abroad to attend meetings that could’ve been done online and the result would still be the same.
Let me take you back to when it all started, the relationship between you and sax, how did it begin?
Okay, I tell this story a lot. I started playing sax from secondary school. I was fortunate to attend a school (Caleb International College) that was grounded in music. As a young boy then, I was very tiny, small in stature, and people used to say only big boys then could play big instruments because you would need the energy to play it. And I said no way, as tiny as I am, I will play the sax. So, I started learning to play the Sax from JSS2. I started with the trumpet, but after about a year later, I switched to the Sax. I started at a very young age, that’s about twenty years ago. At that time, it was just about playing at assembly ground, play the national anthem and so on. But as time went on, when I got to the University, that was when I started professionally. I went to Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ogun State. You know how it is as students how we always look for something extra to come in aside from what we get from home, the saxophone was my own extra at that time. And fortunately for me, before I finished secondary I’d built Beejay Sax to a certain point. I studied Mechanical Engineering, but early enough I knew what I wanted to do because I already knew what playing the Sax could mean for me even at that early stage.
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