Sunny Neji’s active involvement with music began at an early stage. His parents’ love for music and his ol’ man’s collection of classic records provided the initial tonic. And in all of his career, one song stands out - "Oruka"
Born on October 24, 1965 in Lagos to Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Neji, Sunny Neji, the youngest of five kids (3 boys, 2 girls) had his primary education between 1972 and 1978 in Ogoja, Cross River State, his home town. He completed his secondary education at Government, College, Ikorodu, Lagos in 1984 and proceeded to Yaba college of Technology where he obtained a Diploma in fashion design.
Sunny Neji’s active involvement with music began at an early stage. His parents’ love for music and his ol’ man’s collection of classic records provided the initial tonic. As a boy, he participated in cultural performances and steadily developed the talent through the course of his formal education. By 1987, he took his game one step further and ventured into recording earning a reputation in the jungle production scene in no time. 1991 brought the release of his debut album “Captain” on EMI.
The debut was slept on but the artiste was undaunted. He joined Colours Band with which he performed as lead singer for five years and inched his way further into the mainstream. He made a grand return to the recording circuit in 1997 with the release of his sophomore LP “Mr Fantastik” on GM Intercontinental Records and firmly established himself a bona fide star whose fame stretched from Maiduguri to Bakassi. The album sold hugely and won numerous awards for the artiste who came to be recognized as one of Nigeria’s top all-round artistes.
His 3rd offering “Roforofo” dropped in October 2000 on the same label and consolidated Sunny’s position as the contemporary highlife genre’s premiere protagonist and further showcased an already glaring steak of versatility.
In 2002, Sunny Neji lent a hand and voice to Now Muzik’s “Touch of Genius: Tribute Album to the Legendary Sir, Victor Uwaifo” project and scored again with his re-interpretation of the classic “Joromi”.
After narrowly escaping the January 27, 2002 Ikeja bomb blast disaster, Sunny Neji raised his golden voice in a piercing call for support for victims with the single “Victim of Circumstance”. The project marked his involvement with O’Jez Music, the company that came all out to support the Victim of Circumstance Project. The socially sensitive artiste also recorded the single “Wake Up!” in 2003 to challenge Nigerians to vote right in the general elections.
These special projects set the tune for his forth full length album, “Unchained”, recorded in Ghana in 2003, released on O’Jez Music, “Oruka” and “Face Me” the pre-release singles needed only a few days to completely dominate the airwaves and assure everyone that another monster hit has dropped.
Every generation needs its classics as they form a legacy for future generations. “Oruka” (wedding band) is one such song, which can be referred to as a timeless classic as it has become the theme wedding song in Nigeria and several African Countries. The next couple of years saw “Unchained” blow up to become one of the most celebrated albums in recent times from Nigeria to other parts of Africa and helped him to win several awards.
His latest work is called “Off Da Hook” and was released in 2006 and is strong in terms of creativity and strong beliefs that permeates the pop climate and our daily lives in general.
Sunny Neji is happily married with a daughter. One thing is certain – Sunny Neji is totally committed to his art and intends to keep upping the ante in every regards until he completely runs out of gas.
Download Audio: Sunny Neji – Oruka.mp3