Mike Aremu can easily be seen as one of the frontrunners of world-class saxophone players but what sets this distinguished musician apart is ability to draw from traditional Nigerian sounds to create a sound that represents both creative-passion and his culture.
Growing up in the state of Niger, Nigeria (West Africa), and his musical interest started from the age of eight where in Church each child was encouraged in playing a musical instrument, from there with some basic lessons and determination by 1995 he decided to make the full transition and concentrate solely on the Saxophone. The following year, he joined House on the Rock’s music team playing alongside the likes of Sammie Okposo, Agboola Shadare, Abiodun Akhigbe, Victor James, Gbenga Owoeye Wise and others. At about this time, Mike was also playing with the Compassion Band of the Strong Tower Mission. As his confidence grew so did his reputation as a charismatic musician. This resulted in a stream of appearances at such venues in Nigeria as Pintos, The Green Lion, Club Towers, K’s Place and Mega Plaza’s Dome. Demand for his talent came in thick and fast with Mike completing session work for Onyeka Onwenu, Ras Kimono, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, Kingsley Ike and Olufunmi to mention a few.
The next step in Mike’s career was signing a record deal with Kennis Music Label, Nigeria’s largest record label, through which he released two chart-topping albums “Dance” (1999) and “No Shaking” (2002) shifting a combined total of more than 1.5 million copies. He has also recorded two songs for the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in the United States.
Nowadays Mike spends a considerable amount of time travelling and performing at venues across the world. To date he has played alongside notable international artists like Kenny G, Hugh Masakela, Najee, Kirk Franklin, Marvin Winans, Ron Kenoly, Mary Mary and Adlan Cruz. He appeared at the John F Kennedy Centre, Washington DC’s main concert arena. He has also made considerable progress in Europe, in particular the UK where he has performed in two of London’s principle music venues The Barbican and Ocean as part of the annual Awesome Praise concerts. He has also played at Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC), the UK’s largest Pentecostal Church and many of the branches of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) one of the world’s largest chains of Nigerian-based Church networks.
Performing before mega crowd is quite becoming normal to Mike. Most recent of these remarkable performances were the EXPERIENCE 2006 and 2007 ; with the ’07 EXPERIENCE attracting a crowd of over 300,000 at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos. Mike Aremu also performed at the London Festival of Life (FOL) an event that was attended by over 40,000 people at the Excel Centre, London. This event took place in March 28th, 2008. The Green Belt festival was also a part of a major feat for his music career as he performed to a 30,000 audience with about 90% Caucasian.
As part of his high demand from his fans across the world, he put together a debut concert to crown his four month tour in the United Kingdom at the famous and prestigious jazz café October 2008, an event which sold out and made history as one of the few Africans to ever make such landmark.
Mike is the convener of the biggest jazz concert in Nigeria, Sax Appeal, a concept which is geared towards the rebirth and promotion of live musical performances in Nigeria. Also as an objective, to create a platform for interaction between Sponsoring Organization, Corporate Executives and Entrepreneurs coming together under an entertainment friendly environment. Sax Appeal has featured renowned artists like Kenny G, Judith Sephuma, Kunle Ayo, Yolanda Brown, Agboola Shadare, Yinka Davis, Tosin Martins, Bez, Cobhams, Waje and many more.
Industry recognition has also been bestowed on this innovative Saxophone composer where he adds African Gospel Music Awards (AGMA), TOMA Awards (Today’s Gospel Music Awards) and AMEN Awards on his list of gongs received Best Instrumental Album of the Year and Best Gospel Music Video of the Year. He was also nominated twice at the KORA Award’s in 2003 which is Africa’s best known and recognized mainstream music awards ceremony. JCI’s TOYP (Ten Outstanding Young People) – Best self-developed personality.