“Every little baby has the power to be great, And every tall tree grew up from some mustard seed”
FULL NAME: Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo
DATE OF BIRTH: 6th JANUARY 1981
OCCUPATION: Music Producer, Singer, Songwriter
MARITAL STATUS: Married
AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS:
-The Future Awards 2006 (Producer of the Year)
-Hip-hop World Awards 2007 & 2008 (Producer of the Year)
-Nigeria Music Awards (NMA) 2007, (Producer of the decade)
-LEAP Africa Award 2007 for his “Creativity, Fortitude & Exemplary Leadership in the Music Industry
-The Partnership Awards 2008 for “supporting the Worship for Change Concert
-One Gospel Awards for “Gospel Composer/ Writer of the Year” (2008)
-The Headies (2014) for Best Recording “Ordinary People”
-The Headies Best Vocal Performance
Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo is a blind Nigerian song writer/music producer per excellence who started his professional training as a lawyer, but later branched into music full-time to fulfill a lifelong desire. His style comprises a wide spectrum of genres based on his careful understudy of such classical, jazz and traditional music greats as Tchaikovsky, Dave Grusin and Haruna Isola respectively. He is the CEO/Head of Production of CAMP (Cohbams Asuquo Music Productions)
Growing up a young boy, he organized concerts in his neighborhood, drumming on his mother’s barrels of water.
“All the kids from the neighbouring block would come and we’d hang out and we’d make so much noise. I didn’t realize at the time that I was preparing myself for what would be my life, my career path, my destiny,” Asuquo remembers.
His musical journey, however seemed to come to a halt a few years later when he gained admission to pursue studies in law. But Asuquo soon realised that he had to follow his musical passion, leaving university to embark on a path that, for a young blind musician in Nigeria, was far from easy. It didn’t take long for Asuquo to finally prove himself as his musical talent soon began to shine.
“(I had to) sleep on studio floors all across Lagos, worked at different studios, worked without pay, I’ve been out on the road, out on the streets, doing my thing,” Asuquo recalls.
“I had to convince people that I could do it — I had sessions that were cancelled because they weren’t sure I could deliver either because they thought I was too young or maybe as a blind person, ‘how do we trust our music which is our future and investment?'” he adds.
Over the next few years he went on to work closely internationally-renowned artists such as pop sensation Asa and R&B star Darey and today he is in much demand
ABILITY IN DISABILITY
Born like other normal children, Cobhams seemed perfectly normal until about three months after his birth when his very observant mother began noticing his awkwardness.
She quickly took him to the University Teaching Hospital in Ibadan from where they were referred to a hospital in Kano. There, her worst fears were confirmed; her son had been blind from the womb and nothing could be done to restore his sight.
Rather than cry and blame God for her seeming ‘ill’ fate, Mrs Asuquo, who was a clerical officer in the army, resigned to take care of her son and prepare him adequately for a future she knew had to be great. It wasn’t easy at all. Her first responsibility was showing him that his blindness wasn’t a disability. “It wasn’t easy watching Cobhams do chores around the house and run errands like my other children but I resolved to make him as independent and capable of achieving anything he sets his mind to do.
I showed him where his box of clothes was and would ask him to go get his clothes after bathing him,” Mrs Asuquo says. These trainings came in handy when he had to move into the boarding school for his secondary education.
Cobhams’ father was an officer in the army and was hardly ever around so it was up to the mother to train and sometimes solely cater for her children. At some point, when he was deployed to Chad Republic, things became so unbearable that she had to boil and sell groundnuts to sustain the family. It was in the course of this that she noticed her son’s love for the drums. “He would beat on anything he could lay his hands on so I encouraged him by buying him musical toys. Cobhams never went to school to learn to play any music instrument; I think it was just an escape route for him,” she says.
She was therefore not surprised when he decided to drop out of the University of Lagos as a 300 level student of Law to face his passion full time.
Cobhams Asuquo likes to say that his music career started when as a child he used to puff his cheeks to play the 12-bar blues. Today, he is known for producing some of the finest artistes in Nigeria. In 2005, Cobhams signed on to Sony ATV London as a songwriter. After working as Head of Audio Productions at a local label, Questionmark Entertainment, he set up his own recording facility in 2006. He is CEO/ Head of Productions of CAMP (Cobhams Asuquo Music Productions), an all-encompassing entertainment company that discovers, nurtures and exposes great talents.
Cobhams shot to international acclaim with his musical production of the debut album by the Nigerian soul sensation Aṣa. He also wrote and co-wrote several songs on the award-winning album including the hit singles, “Fire on the Mountain,” and “Jailer.”
Cobhams has likewise produced numerous award-winning songs for Nigerian recording artistes such as: Banky W, Omawumi, Waje, Timi Dakolo, Dare Art-Alade, Rooftop MCs, Faze, Mode 9, Shola Allyson & Djinee.
He has arranged music, and performed with bands at international music events as The Harare International Festival of Arts, the AFA Sponsored French Cultural Center Concert with Asa and Angelique Kidjo; AFA Sponsored French Cultural Center Concert in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nigeria Week in Paris and the launch of MTV’s one hundredth channel (MTV Base Africa) at Abuja, Nigeria.
In the TV and film media, he has composed and arranged film scores to be interpreted for conservatoires as well as for film and stage performances such as “A Voice for Ella” by Uche Macaulay, Sunshine (Alpha Vision), “Bent Arrows” by Isang Awah and Communication For Change’s “Bayelsan Sillhouttes.” –
Cobhams has won multiple local and international awards for his creative and entrepreneurial contributions to the Nigerian music industry. On 2 December 2010, Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo got married to Ojuolape Veronica Olukanni It was a day filled with blessings, joy, music and when the music maestro Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo wed Ojuolape Veronica Olukanni on the 2nd of December 2010.
For Cobhams and Ojuola, it was truly a blessing to celebrate their union surrounded by their close family and friends. Their marriage was solemnized at the Redeemed Christian Church of God – The King is Coming Parish at the Redemption Camp. The General Overseer of the RCCG – Pastor Enoch Adeboye along with his wife were present at the ceremony and played a major role in the proceedings as they prayed for the couple and helped usher them into married life their union is happily blessed with a Son.
“It’s important for me to mentor and inspire fresh talent, to work with fresh talent,”
“I feel there is a lot I’ve learned in my journey as far as music is concerned and I’m in a position to share that knowledge.”
But Asuquo is not only interested in helping out fledgling music stars. He also sees himself as an ambassador for blind young Nigerians who still face many challenges in their daily lives.
“I think it would be meaningless if I can achieve as much as I can achieve and as much as I hope to achieve and I’m not able to affect other blind people,” he says.
“It is time to bring to the fore the needs of people with special needs and just how much they can contribute to growing Nigeria as a nation and the world.”
WHY WE CHOSE COBHAMS
Born blind, yet he was not discouraged from pursuing his dreams. Cobhams serves as a role model worthy of emulation, an example to most who keep giving excuses and pointing fingers. To you out there at the verge of giving up, be rest assured that the world needs you and that you are not done with actualising your purpose on earth until you make an impact. Don’t just accept what life throws at you, decide what you want to make out of life. After all, it’s not what you don’t have that will limit you, it’s what you have but don’t know how to use.
“We are higher Angels, blessed with abundant gifts and talents from God”