Sunday Adah, popularly known as Sunny Adahson, is a Jos based actor, stand-up comedian and visual artist. The winner of the Rap Challenge competition 2020 by Pherewshuz, talks about challenges and prospects of stand-up comedy in Jos, his music career, how working with the acclaimed Jos Repertory Theatre (JRT) has helped him discover his talent in this interview with TONY OKUYEME
You started off as an actor, working with the acclaimed Jos Repertory Theatre led by Dr. Patrick Jude-Oteh, and featuring in several stage productions. But you seems to have abandoned acting for comedy. Is this deliberate? Why?
As an actor with Jos repertory theatre especially, I have been able to attend theatre related workshops across nigeria with the British council and the Spanish Embassy. I have performed over 50 plays across the country aside the annual Jos festival of Theatre which I have been a part of for about a decade now. A great platform where I have served as an actor, director, set designer and stage manager. I also learnt Radio drama acting and directing and proud to have directed series of radio dramas aired in several radio stations across the country targeted at both Hausa and English speaking communities But I never abandoned acting and will never do that because its from acting I learned every other thing I’m doing today in terms of entertainment like rap, music, standup comedy, set design, visual arts etc. Whenever any job comes demanding me to be an actor, I always embrace it with that joy and hope that engaging in it might still give birth to learning another new art. Acting will continue to be my first love.
Tell us how your career as a theatre practitioner began…
I started off acting in church as far back as 2005. I always had passion for it but never took it serious. I never believed I could take it to another level and start paying bills from it until a friend introduced me to an audition opportunity for the play, Queen Amina of Zazzau by Jos Repertory Theatre, and I auditioned and got even a lead character. That was the beginning of livimy dreams.
You also had a stint in music. How has it been?
Music had always and will continue to be a part of me, I have won rap competitions in music and have done a collaboration with Ice Prince as far back as 2009. I happen to abandon it for a while due to the fact that it wasnt paying bills then, the highest opportunity it presented was free shows (events) after spending so much recording songs, shooting videos and trying to promote them. It was really a big challenge back then, but recently, I started relating with fast rising celebrities like Classiq and also Pherewshuz who told me he would love a music collaboration with me soon.
Is Sunny Adahson your real name or is it a stage name?
Not really. As an entertainer, Sunny Adahson is a name customised out of the real name “Sunday Adah” my parents named me. I just styled it slightly and decided to adopt it until even my parents got used to it. The popular name stand up comedy gave me is “Retired Madman”
Tell us how your journey into stand-up comedy began…
I started stand up comedy early 2017 performing in churches and it made huge sense as I started getting invites from more churches, but in November 2017 when I qualified among the few finalists at the Comedy central grab the mic auditions hosted by Ali baba and Seyi law, it propelled me into a bigger level and that was how my journey in stand up comedy started.
How is the stand-up comedy business in Jos, Plateau State?
The stand up comedy business is growing in Jos, I would say, because people are beginning to appreciate it more compared to music. Although not as fast as Lagos, Warri, Abuja, Benin and the rest. For instance, I organised my first comedy event in Jos titled “gods must be crazy” because of my striking resemblance with that Kalahari actor in that old movie. As an upcoming comedian, I fixed a gate fee of 1,000 naira and had an audience of over 300 people in attendance. I can bet you, the biggest musician in Jos can hardly pull that through. That’s why I said people tend to appreciate comedy more than music at local levels.
Last year, you won the Rap Challenge competition by Pherewshuz courtesy of Airbove Music. How did you feel when you were announced winner?
I wasn’t too surprised. Music had always been a part of me and all I needed was such opportunity. I think my ability to add spices of Hausa to my rap lyrics gave me that edge to stand out as the best among other competitors.
How has winning the Rap Challenge affected your career as a musician?
After winning the rap challenge, I became motivated to revisit my music ambition and take it more seriously this time to see what could come out of it. I started recording new songs and getting lots of compliments to stay on track and keep it up.
Any plans to release a single or an album this first quarter of the year 2021?
No plans for an album yet until I possibly get signed. I have been working on a few singles and I have plans to shoot and release a music video hopefully this first quarter of the year. I intend to channel the energy and resources of producing an album into working on a single. I believe it takes a song to change one’s story. I’ll rather use 200,000 for instance to actualise a single music video for people to see than spend it on producing 16 songs audio album for people to hear.
You are a member of the fast rising music comedy group known as Kwaro Band. How has it been joining the group?
Kwaro Band is my new found family and hopefully the next big thing to hit the Nigerian entertainment industry. It was founded by a friend and colleague named Mc 3310 based in Abuja. He started by using Hausa accent to mime popular songs and most times change the lyrics to address the either problems of the country or pass positive messages accross to the people. Majority of the people that made up this band are all comedians and MCs passionate about entertaining people. At first, I was invited and was featured in a song by this band. After the video shoot, I fell in love with their dreams and prospects and became a part of them.
What are your expectations?
I have high expectations of making a huge impact in the entertainment industry this year especially and make a living out of it as well.
Are you married?
At this critical stage of my career, I see marriage as a distraction, and due to that fear of rushing into it and ending up with the wrong person, I’d rather take my time.
For obvious reasons, the year 2020 has been a very difficult one for a lot of people. How was the year 2020 been for you as an artiste?
Like almost every other entertainer, 2020 affected me badly. All events banned. Our only source of income. You can imagine what it looks like. This year I want to shoot more videos and learn how to make money online as well so that even if they say we’ll likely have a 2nd, 3rd and even 20th wave of corona, I’ll see it as an opportunity instead of a threat.