King Sunny Ade: Biography, Education, Career, Wives and Children, Net Worth, Source of Wealth, Cars and Houses, Achievements and Controversies

By Balogun Kamilu Lekan

Biography

Photo: Instagram/@sunnyadeofficial

King Sunny Adé(KSA), whose real name is Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye, was born in Osogbo to a royal family in Ondo.

He was born to Samuel Adeniyi Adegeye and Maria Adegeye on 22 September 1946

Sunny is a juju singer, actor, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.

He delivers his music with an infectious blend of electric guitars, synthesizers, and multi-layered percussion.

Photo: Instagram/@sunnyadeofficial

KSA is one of the most influential musicians of all time whose Afro-pop music genre has attained success locally and internationally.

He has collaborated with top music stars like Stevie Wonder, Wasiu Alabi Pasuma, Manu Dibango, Onyeka Onwenu, and Wizkid, among others. 

He is a recipient of one of Nigeria’s highest national awards, the MFR, and he is one of the most decorated Nigerian musicians ever.

Education

Photo: Instagram/@sunnyadeofficial

KSA attends a grammar school in Ondo State before dropping out to join Moses Olaiya’s Federal Rhythm Dandies in Lagos

Career

Photo: Instagram/@kingsunnyade70

King Sunny Ade is the undisputed king of juju music, the dance-inspiring hybrid of western pop and traditional African music with roots in the guitar tradition of Nigeria. Although he’s yet to equal the success that he enjoyed with his early-’80s albums and American tours, 

Ade left school to pursue a career in music. 

KSA started his music career with the Federal Rhythm Dandies. After seven years, the singer formed his band, The Green Spots, which he later renamed African Beats, and then Golden Mercury.

Photo: Instagram/@sunnyadeofficial

Sunny attracted western attention with his Juju Music, Synchro System, and Aura albums released in the early 80s under Island Records.

The Synchro System album earned him his first Grammy Award nomination

In 1983, Sunny Ade and his African Beats made their debut stage performance in America, performing to enthusiastic crowds. 

Photo: Instagram/@sunnyadeofficial

He dropped another album, Authority, in 1990. The album featured tracks like Alase Laiye Alase Lorun, Majo Ronyinronyin, KSA Ma Wo Won Loye, and Yio Pe Leti Omi, amongst others.

In 1995, KSA released E Dide (Get Up), a collection of enormous captivating African songs that paved the way for his Odu album, a collection of ancient Nigerian songs he released in 1998.

Photo: Instagram/@sunnyadeofficial

The Odu album was pregnant with irresistible hits like Aiye Nreti Eleya Mi, Easy Motion Tourist, Kiti Kiti, Natuba, Ibi Won Ri O, Eri Okan (Conscience). This album spawned his second Grammy nomination.

And in 2000, released Seven Degrees North, an album loaded with hit songs like Appreciation, Samba, Suku Suku Bam Bam, Odigan O Ni Se Barber, Merciful God amongst others.

Aside from music, KSA has also featured in some movies in Nollywood and across borders. 

Marriage

Photo: Instagram/@kingsunnyade70

Sunny Ade is a polygamist. He released a photo of a number of his wives in January 2018 to attest to this fact, but there is no public information about the total number of his wives and kids.

Net worth

Photo: Instagram/@kingsunnyade70

King Sunny Ade makes his fortune, unsurprisingly, through music. He has, however, used his wealth to establish an oil company, a mining company, a film and video production company, a nightclub, a public relations firm, and a record label specializing in African artists.

According to an online report, Sunny Ade’s company employs about 700 people.

Photo: Unsplash

The music icon also owns a garage with an exotic fleet of cars. He is reportedly the first Nigerian musician to own a Rolls Royce. He also has a Mercedes Benz GL450 in his fleet.

Photo: Unsplash

In 2016, as part of his birthday celebration, the music icon auctioned his famous guitar painting, which sold for N52 million within 15 minutes.

His net worth is reportedly valued at an estimated $55 million. However, NewsWireNGR cannot independently verify this claim.

Achievements

Photo: Instagram/@kingsunnyade70

King Sunny Ade has two Grammy award nominations. He also receives the King of World Music award by International Reggae and the World Music Award.

He was inducted into the Afro-pop Hall of Fame at the Brooklyn African Festival in the United States in 2009.

Later in 2009, he was appointed a visiting professor of music at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. 

Photo: Instagram/@sunnyadeofficial

In 2016, he received the AFRIMA award. Later in 2016, he became an inductee of the Hard Rock Cafe hall of fame.

King Sunny Adé is currently the chairperson of the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria.

KSA established the King Sunny Ade Foundation, which includes a performing arts centre, a cutting-edge recording studio, and housing for young musicians and performers on a five-acre plot of land donated by the Lagos state government.

He has also appeared in some Nollywood movies such as Fopomoyo and Olu Omo.

Below is a list of his filmography

  • Breathless (1983) (King Sunny Adé (Music)
  • O.C. and stiggs (1985) (Filmed 1983) King Sunny Adé (Music & appearance)
  • One More Saturday Night (1986) King Sunny Adé (Music)
  • Fifty (2015) King Sunny Adé (Music & appearance)

A glimpse of his discography

  • The best of classic years
  • Seven degrees north
  • Odu
  • The truth “Otito”
  • Aura
  • Vintage
  • Syncro system
  • Syncro series
  • Juju music
  • Maa jo
  • Eje Nlogba
  • Ja funmi
  • Mo Ti Mo
  • Ma Jaiye Oni
  • Ase
  • Oremin
  • Let them say
  • Merciful God
  • Mo Ti Kole Min Sori Apata
  • Oluwa lo yan mi
  • Odu oteyi yato
  • Samba
  • Ariya
  • E dide e mujo
  • Gbe Kini ohun de
  • Eje Nlo Gba Ara Mi

Controversy

Photo: Instagram/@kingsunnyade70

In 2022, KSA was caught in a paternity dispute when a woman, Elizabeth Temitope, alleged that he was her biological father. According to her, her mother told her after it was withheld from her for decades.

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