How Orlando Julius’ American wife swept him off his feet

How Orlando Julius’ American wife swept him off his feet

Friday, April 15, 2022 6:34 pm

Late Orlando Julius and wife, Latoya

Late Orlando Julius and wife, Latoya

By Nehru Odeh

Since the news of the death of legendary musician, Orlando Julius, broke, the globe has been paying tributes to him. Yet not many are in the know that his beautiful American wife Latoya not only complemented, but also supported him and played an invaluable role in his music career.

Aside from the fact that she relocated to Nigeria from the United States with him, she also toured the globe with the Ikole-born artiste.

Little wonder he died peacefully in her presence. While some reports say Julius died on Thursday night in his sleep at 79, others say he died in the arms of Latoya. Still, no matter how he died the truth is, Latoya herself said her husband died peacefully in his sleep and in her arms.

Still, the fact that the legend died at home in Ilesha, in the presence of his wife, is symbolic enough of their closeness.

Latoya herself was the one who broke the news of his death.

“Yes, my husband passed on late last night, there was no indication that death was coming, he was not ill, he only slept and died in his sleep,” she said.

Latoya also spoke to a national daily that her husband died in her arms. “Orlando has gone oh …He died in my arms at night. I thank the Lord,” she said, sobbing.

Indeed, Latoya will surely miss her partner. She was not just a partner, she played a very significant role in the life of this larger-than-life musician whose music defined the Nigerian entertainment scene in the 60s and 70s, what with his releasing hits after hits such as ‘Asiko Lo Laye’, Isedale, Jaguar Nana and Mapami, to mention a few.

Who is this beautiful African-American lady who left the shores of America to pitch tent with her husband and support him throughout his music career? Who is this American lady Orlando Julius was proud of and confident of her love for him before his death? Who is this American lady who wowed her husband with her dancing skills and knowledge of music? How did she meet her husband?

Julius met Latoya a dancer when she was 17 at Pa. Ambrose Oladipo Campbell’s house, shortly after the death of her father in Los Angeles. Latoya, who was fond of music and dancing would go to Orlando’s house, where they always talked about music and Nigeria.

“I met Latoya through the late Ambrose Campbell, who was a father figure to her. We became friends and her understanding of my music swept me off my feet. Naturally, she became a member of my band. We tour the world together. I am very happy she came along, so many good things have happened since she joined my band, my music has also grown,” Julius once said in an interview.

Julius was also quoted to have said it was Campbell who introduced her to him. “He (Campbell) was very popular and luckily my wife met him and he became her godfather.

The iconic musician never minced words about the supportive role his wife played in his career, calling her a good companion, lover, daughter and a mother to behold.

“I’m happy and grateful to God that I met Latoya … when I needed a good singer and dancer. She has been with me since early 90s as a good companion, lover, daughter and a mother to behold. Candidly, she’s been very supportive.

Late Orlando Julius and wife, Latoya

Late Orlando Julius and wife, Latoya

He also said his wife complemented him perfectly. “God is the one that gave me music and dance, and talking about my wife, she’s too much when it comes to dancing. She never tires. I never do too because you should be happy to have a life.”

Latoya, on her part, once said when her husband “plays the saxophone the world is in a better place.”

“I guess because Orlando has been at this for a long time, people outside the shores of Nigeria still enjoy his contributions to music. We are simple, we enjoy ourselves on stage. We sing of joy, love, happiness and we sing against war. When he plays the saxophone, the world is in a better place.”

Asked whether she could share with the public her life with her husband, she said no without mincing words.

“No. I will not share me and my sweet husband’s life with you. As you can see, we have been together for a couple of decades, so far so good. We work, love, pray, enjoy and share life together. We are great trusting friends.”

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