Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A-Q Delivers a Champagne Album Launch Party.

It was indeed a thrashing night was had by music lovers who rock and rolled the night away when A-Q launched his new album into the small hours of the day.
The night of energetic music included performances from DJ Zeez, Skuki, Iceberg slim, Side one, Pope, Eva, Mtrill, Rico white and the host rapper AQ. A black carpet and paparazzi session that lasted two hours was graced by celebrity photographer Kelechi Amadi, South African star model popularly known as Cod Read and Rooftop MCs, to mention a few.
It was a loaded line up with emerging stars Yung Drug, MiekHarry and Lagos kicking off proceedings around 10pm for what would be 6 hours of continuous entertainment, with International DJ Spinall backing up all the performing acts. After the first performance, next up was M Trill who gave a huge hi-energy performance and definitely won over new fans with his fast growing new single ‘Trilla’ and ‘Kolobi’, then Iceberg Slim who ensured that the entire crowd sang along as he performed the 'Better than M.I.' track. Pope was next and held the crowd down for almost 15mins running through all his fairly new catalogue of records. Side-one might seem to be taking to a passive mode but his performance on the night revealed otherwise - fans sang along as he performed 'one by one' and his new song.
With the host, Kris Razor (Beat FM on-air personality) informing the crowd that one half of Skuki was 'in the building', A-Q climbed the stage Just after midnight.
It was an invaluable experience for any A-Q fan and a truly inspiring evening. It’s clear that A-Q is constantly evolving as an artist and creator track by track. His passion and vision for creating art is far bigger than Hip-Hop.
Like a veteran, A-Q ran through tracks from 'The Past, Present and Future' album. The crowd went into euphoria when tracks like Diary, Soldout, Names, Nightmares, Blame it, If I should die - a track inspired by Da Grin and Names remix with Iceberg slim, were performed. One half of the Skuki duo was next performing their hit track ‘Banger’ and new single with Mocheeda, Stamina.
Copies of The 1000 limited jewel cased CD were also on sale at the event for a NGN1000.
 Digital copies of the album can be downloaded from online stores like at $6.99. The album would also be available on,, and iTunes shortly.
All in all it was an incredible event, with champagne for invited guests, amazing performances, a 100,000 watts sound system, anchored by Kris Razor who ran the stage for close to 7 hours.The event was filmed by Hip TV, Soundcity TV, Syndicated TV show, Views and Tunes, TV continental and over the coming weeks it will aired on national and continental platforms.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Complete Story of The Experience 2010

In its five years of existence, THE EXPERIENCE, has remained the best and biggest musical event in the country. It has also been revealed that it is actually the biggest gospel gathering in the world and the joy and pride of Nigeria and Lagos state at that cannot be quantified. Addressing this year’s event at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos on the night of December 3, 2010, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State called it a “Logistics Phenomenon” while President Goodluck Jonathan stated that “We are a blessed people” because of THE EXPERIENCE.
More than 500 000 people were gathered inside the Tafawa Balewa Square, Onikan Lagos and the adjoining spaces like they have done for the previous four years for this year’s THE EXPERIENCE and as has happened in those past years, everything went on smoothly as full-blooded, unadulterated and majestic gospel sounds were dished out by highly classified vessels of God. Here’s how this year’s event went:
Because we omitted this very organic part of the success of THE EXPERIENCE last year, we are starting with it. At the Press Conference held in the morning of date of THE EXPERIENCE, Friday, December 3, Pastor Paul Adefarasin admitted that a large part of the organization of the event has grown beyond the organizers. Among them was the issue of security but he also authoritatively declared that God has never failed them in that area and since the organizers can never boast of being able to cater or safeguard the mammoth crowd which THE EXPERIENCE pulls, they have entrusted it to God.
Well that and some excellent diplomatic efforts on their part would account for the fact that even the “Area Boys” took very active part in the organization of the security of the Tafawa Balewa Square during the event. The Police, K-Square guards and so many other security agencies were involved in the security efforts but that of the normally troublesome “Area Boys” was most notable and who could have tamed them except God?
Last year was the edition of the VUVUZELAS and even though some of them still made a reluctant showing at this year’s show, normal whistles were the order of the day. These highly raised the volume of the noise in the TBS and could be heard a long way before one gets to the venue. So to reduce the noise, the security men were seizing them at the gates but funny enough there were people peddling it immediately behind them and if your whistle was seized and you felt very strongly about it, you could easily purchase another one immediately you crossed the security line. Some people jokingly remarked that the security men could have easily designated someone to sell back the ones they have seized to the same people they were seized from.
The advertised time for the event was 7pm and while many have continued to decry the shabby observance of time in our public sphere, THE EXPERIENCE kicked off at exactly the time it was meant to and went on non-stop for the next 11hours and 30minutes. There was no reason to waste time as the stage has already been set; there was no reason to waste as the sounds had already been tested; there was no reason to waste time as the majority of the audience had arrived many hours before; there was no reason to waste time because they were ready; there was no reason to waste time because there was no time to waste.
The Chosen Treasure, the in-house choir of the House on the Rock church, set the tone for the evening before Lionel Peterson came on and Sammie Okposo followed right after to deliver the first three performances of the night. The National Anthem was also sung within this period.
8:15: Saxophonist, Mike Aremu was announced at this time and together with his band and their “Gan gan” drums rendered a trans-ethnic medley of some favourite gospel tunes before doing a couple of his own original compositions.
Apostle Anselm Madubuko of the Revival Assembly and Pastor Amos Kenneth of the First Estate Baptist Church, Surulere were then invited to come and pray. Apostle Madubuko was asked to pray against denominational barriers in the church and as part of his preparation for this, he took a shouting census of the populations of the different denominations in the arena. The Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians and Pentecostals were asked to shout one after the other to indicate their presence and they obliged. But the volume of the shout of the Pentecostals easily drowned those of the others.
8:47: Panam Percy Paul and his band sing in a variety of languages during their performance. They sing in a variety including Igbo.
*A missing boy, Isaac Louis, is announced.
*Pastor Paul Adefarasin comes on stage. The cheering of the crowd is so loud that he had to hold on for some time for it to die down. He then welcomes everyone and introduced God as the convener of THE EXPERIENCE and not himself as was announced before disclosing, to the delight of the crowd, that Governor Fashola was coming to speak to them.
The governor of Lagos State who was last year “baptized” with the name Isaac by the consortium of pastors present started by paying homage to the “mamas” in the house – Mrs. Aba Folawiyo, Remi Tinubu, his wife, Hilda Adefarasin, Pastor Adefarasin’s wife and so on. He also noted that this was his second “Experience” and prayed that the people “Experience many more EXPERIENCES” in their lives. “THE EXPERIENCE is a logistic phenomenon and if Nigerians can attend THE EXPERIENCE in such orderly manner, the future of the country has just begun.”
He then went on to talk about how everyone is benefitting from the event. From the sellers to the transporters, there’s an economic boom and even though the government agencies would work overtime to put things back in order after the show, it was still a beautiful experience for the state. He then thanked all the leaders of Lagos who stopped the Federal Government from selling the Tafawa Balewa Square and thanked them. “Is there a man who has not offended God?” he asked. “But has God ever gone on strike?” And since God has never gone on strike, people should embrace dialogue and shun strikes. This was in probable reference to the spate of strikes that have affected the state from different corners. In conclusion, he asked everyone to register to vote and wished them a merry Xmas and prosperous New Year. Pastor Adefarasin presented him with a DVD of THE EXPERIENCE 2009 and a copy of his newly released musical album.
9:32: Micah Stampley came on next and took the audience through a very emotional worship session.
Bishop Francis of London came on next to deliver the exhortation. He spoke on the power of Agreement. He took the audience on a shouting spree and short individual dialogues in order to buttress his point.
11:13: Had Chevelle Franklyn on stage. She was followed by Rev. Dr. Felix Omobude of the Covenant Christian Church before Fred Hammond.
Pastor Paul Adefarasin had retaken the stage. He announced that President Goodluck Jonathan was going to deliver a speech to the people and this raised a lot of excitement. Some people actually expected to see the President appear live on the stage but Pastor Adefarasin explained that much as the nation’s number one citizen wanted to be there in person, the security implications of such a venture would be highly complicated. However preparations were made as if the President coming on stage in person. Micah Strampley, Onos Bikawei and Phil Driscoll were commissioned to render the National Anthem which they did before images of the President Goodluck Jonathan wearing a black OUCH specially designed THE EXPERIENCE T. Shirt and his usual black hat took over the massive LCD screens.
The President stated that “We are a blessed people” and that “There’s hope for a greater tomorrow.” He spoke about a variety of other things and the crowd really enjoyed having him endorse the programme.
Specially designed by young and talented designer, Uche Nnaji, these top quality T. Shirts came in a variety of sizes, colours and styles and a large number of the congregation wore theirs with the number “5” boldly inscribed on it to represent the fifth edition of THE EXPERIENCE. The shirts have gone on to become the official uniforms of the show as virtually all the artists, ushers, church workers, security and President Goodluck Jonathan had it on during this year’s event.
12:41: The one man gospel squad in the person multi-talented Grammy Award winner, Phil Driscoll, came on next with his trumpet. He played the trumpet and piano and sang a number of popular worship songs in a highly emotional voice.
1:14: Rev. Dr. Akinboboye of the Voice of Adonai Ministries and Bishop Mike Okonkwo of TREM came on to pray against kidnapping in the Niger-Delta and Blood thirsty demons in the North.
1:33: Judy Jacobs came on to perform before Ron Kenoly who celebrated his 65th birthday in Nigeria last year followed.
Comedians Gordons and MC Abbey come on for a spurt of comedy which was highly effective. They were on stage while Don Moen and his band set up so they took on him just like they did to Kirk Franklyn last year. They looked him over and had him and the audience almost doubling over with laughter when described as “looking like a non-alcoholic white wine.” Don Moen then went on to perform some of his greatest and most loved gospel worship hits.
For a show of such magnitude, many would have expected that there be a period for the very willing congregation to give some kind of offering but there was none. Instead in the VIP area of the arena, light refreshments were offered the worshippers and they thankfully accepted.
3:47: The word of God is delivered by Rev. Tudor Bismark.
4:20: Mary Mary thrills the crowd.
*Israel Houghton came on after and played till 5:46 before MC and Yaw come on stage for some comedic prophecies.
5:54: The Jamaican Reggae Gospel artist, Papa San took the stage for the last artist performance of the event.
Bishop Godwin Elomobor was charged with this task and he duly prayed for all members of the audience, the artists that performed, the country and the organizers of THE EXPERIENCE before blessing and sending everyone on their way at exactly 6:30am. Those that had given their lives to Christ in the course of the programme were invited to stay back for more counseling while others went away with the blessings of the Lord and immediately started counting down to next year’s edition.

Announcing the 2011 Grammy Award Nominees!

Eminem is the man to beat at the 2011 Grammy Awards as he walked away with 10 nominations announced yesterday at the Grammy Nominations Concert Live event. The rap star’s nominations included Album of the Year for Recovery and his song featuring Rihanna ‘Love the Way you Lie’ was nominated for both Song of the Year and Record of the Year.
Bruno Mars was the second highest nominee with seven nominations. Lady Gaga, Jay-Z and Lady Antebellum all walked away with six nominations. Best New Artist nominees include Justin Bieber and Drake.
Michael Jackson is also nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for the song ‘This is It’.
But surprisingly absent from the nominations list was Keisha who wasn’t even nominated for Best New Artist.
The 2011 Grammy nominees were announced a few weeks back during the CBS’ Grammy Nominations Concert Live event hosted by LL Cool J, with performances from Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Miranda Lambert.
The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will be held on February 13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The nominees for Best New Artist nominees are Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons, and Esperanza Spalding.
Record of the Year nominees include “Nothin’ On You” (B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars), “Love The Way You Lie” (Eminem Featuring Rihanna), “F*** You” (Cee Lo Green), “Empire State Of Mind” (Jay-Z & Alicia Keys), and “Need You Now” (Lady Antebellum).
Discs nominated for Album of the Year are The Suburbs (Arcade Fire), Recovery (Eminem), Need You Now (Lady Antebellum), The Fame Monster (Lady Gaga) and Teenage Dream (Katy Perry).
For the full list of nominees, click:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Will Marry When I Find the Right Woman - Jude Okoye

The person of Jude “Engees” Okoye may mean different things to different people but to his younger brothers, Peter and Paul “P. Square” Okoye, he means guidance, a manager, director and even protector. During the buildup to their 30th birthday celebration which was held at their new home, SQUAREVILLE, in Omole Phase 1, Ikeja, Lagos on Thursday, November 28, 2010, we sat down with him to talk about him and his brothers.
Tales of him being rude and distant had prepared us for a very cold reception but none of this was evident right from the phone call to fix the appointment to our arrival at the house. We were cheerfully welcomed into the brand new SQUAREVILLE and ushered into the tastefully furnished yet simple living room on the ground floor of the twin duplex. Jude carefully switched off his phones as the tape recorder came out and proceeded to answer to our questions.
Starting from the beginnings in Jos, Plateau State, he told us of how he first noticed and recognized of his brothers’ musical talents. “I used to watch them rehearse around the house but never took anything seriously until when they came to perform in my school, the University of Jos. The kind of reception they go from the students really surprised me and from them I started taking them seriously and giving them attention. But they were still “Imitating Michael Jackson” like they put it in their song and I encouraged them to try out their own lyrics. The first two songs they wrote, “Igbedu” and “Say Your Love” fully convinced me that they could make it as professional musicians and they won my full support.”
Jude who is the third in the family of eight children was also a musician in Jos then; in fact he had two albums of his own, one was entitled, HARD BEING ENGEES while the second was still untitled when he switched over to movie making. The switch was prompted by the movie RATTLESNAKE which was released then. “When I saw RATTLESNAKE, I was impressed,” he says. “The fact that Nigerians could capture the society in such manner impressed me a lot at that time and I immediately went to work on my own story.” The product was his first movie which he named, GREAT OBLIGATIONS. He enlisted the help of an NTA Jos staff who directed it and while watching the man work behind the scenes, the idea that he could also direct his own movie came to him and his second movie, TOBI, which came a year later was directed by him and featured Peter and Paul who were not yet P. Square then. Two more movies, SISTER SISTER and GAZOLA followed, but those were done in Lagos.
Everybody knows about how Bayo “Howie T” Odusami brought P. Square to Lagos and managed them through their first album, LAST NITE before Jude took over. So we asked Jude how that came about and he traced it back to their university days. “When they got into the university, I encouraged them to sing and dance to their own songs because people were beginning to make fun of them for dancing to Michael Jackson and other people’s songs. That came with the need to promote those songs and I went round the major cities of the country trying to push them,” he said. Then came the BENSON & HEDGES competition to Jos and the twins entered for it. They won in Jos and went on to represent the Northern Region in Abuja where they won again to proceed to the Grand Finale in Lagos. They again emerged victorious and that was the turning point in their career. BENSON & HEDGES then helped them launch their first album and according to Jude, “the rest is now history.”
Because Jude was still a student in the university then, Howie T, the renowned DJ and show promoter who was actively involved with the BENSON & HEDGES was saddle with the management of P. Square and he supervised the release of the first album, LAST NITE, under TIMBUK2 MUSIC. When they all graduated, Jude suggested that they all move over to Lagos where he now took over the management of his brothers. This was just before the release of their second album, GET SQUARED. And while earning the reputation of a very hard bargainer on the way, Jude has arguably managed his brothers to becoming the biggest band in the land.
His other reputation lies in the direction of award winning videos for his brothers and we made him also talk about that. That he was into movie making was already a given but how the switch from music to that and eventually the videos of his brothers came about needed more explanation and we got that in this manner: “Whenever I put my mind into something, I have conviction and believe that I can do it. The ‘Senorita’ video was my very first video and for a big company like BENSON & HEDGES to trust me enough to let me do it meant a lot to me. I was able to convince Howie T that I could do it and I just did it. I just know that when I see a good thing, I can identify with it and I know how to follow up and achieve it in a particular manner.” This was done without any formal qualifications whatsoever in video directing or editing.
But was concentrating on his brothers’ career not too large a sacrifice against his own career? “No,” Jude disagrees. “I don’t think it’s a sacrifice so to say, it’s a job; it’s a calling, responsibility and a career. If you say sacrifice, it would be like I’m just doing everything for them. I’m working as well and making a career out of what I’m doing. I run NORTHSIDE ENTERTAINMENT which manages artists. I have a video and movie making studio in the works right now and I have been working for about six years now – from the GET SQUARED album till now. It’s no sacrifice because if I wasn’t doing this I would still be behind the scenes of movies and music just like I am now. It was my choice to just work with my brothers for now.”
This then led us to talk about him not working for other people and he explains that he had tried to work with other people without much success. The fact that he is working for his brothers has been in the way because whoever he works for would ultimately come to compare him or herself with P. Square and if their success levels are not at par, there would naturally be a lot of dissatisfaction and grumbling. “If they don’t do well, the easiest excuse would be that I do the best for my brothers and that I don’t want anybody to be bigger than them. They will not admit the fact that they are not P. Square and that the levels of success can never be the same for everybody. It would either be that they are bigger or they are smaller. They cannot be at par because they are not the same. So for me to avoid such a scenario, I would simply concentrate on working for my brothers for now.” He is contented just working for his brothers for the meantime. “But very soon I will open the doors to other people in management, recording and video directing. And when I do that I will be sure that P. Square has got to such a level that there will be no room for comparison. In fact, once I release another album from P. Square next year, I will open the doors to other people, he says”
There are a lot of complaints about him being a very rude person and we confronted him head-on with it. “It’s simply not true. What happens is that people like misunderstanding others. I’m a very busy person like most other people and because of my schedules, I like being very blunt and strict. I don’t like beating behind the bush or dragging an issue that should have been concluded in minutes. I have six phones and I have to answer all of them and there’s no way I can satisfy everyone that calls on them. Bill Cosby said that he might not know the secret to success but he sure does know that the secret to failure is trying to please everybody. Most people call thinking that one is idle just because he sees them on the TV without know what the person has passed through in the other 23 hours and six days of the week. God knows I’m not rude and I can’t be. God has been very wonderful to us. His blessings are so much and there’s no way we can be rude with it.”
In getting to the top, there are always fights and challenges and Jude and his brothers have had their own fair share. Of note was the last year faceoff with their former landlord which led to them rushing through the building of their house. But Jude sees it as dues everyone has to pay to succeed. He believes that everyone has his own route to the top. The stoicism and determination of the Nigerian youth impresses him but what they have to face pains him so much that he unwittingly digresses into a larger sphere of discourse – the entire Nigerian music industry.
“I don’t know why some of these bodies like the PMAN, COSON, MCSN, PMRS and so on that always come out to say that the government has recognized them to come and collect monies on behalf of the artists only come out to collect things. Nobody has come out to say that the government has recognized him to come and repair, they only come to collect. We have a piracy issue at hand and what they are doing is akin to a patient going to a hospital with a spinal cord injury and the doctor is trying to trim his nails. The major problem facing the industry is piracy so why ask the government to bring money? All we want them to do is to recognize the industry and help us fight piracy. Piracy is corruption and we want the government to help us to fight piracy. Most of these bodies are fake and they misrepresent us to the government and then ask us to join them. I can’t join because they don’t know my problem. That the government should help me to collect my royalties from the radios and TVs is my right, I know, but that is not my problem for now; it is not the bone of contention.”
“P. Square has succeeded in becoming a success and building a worldwide brand but what happens to those coming after? If everybody comes to collect, who is going to come out to give? What are we keeping as a foundation to the next generation? We don’t have any foundation in Nigeria. Imagine if P. Square were not musicians today what would they be doing? If all the artists in Nigeria today were not musicians, what would they be doing? If they had not had the opportunity and the will to fight for themselves to become great, they would have ended up being miscreants and threats to the society. This is what they were able to do for themselves and the government is still yet to recognize them, what will happen if we give them support?
“In every country in the world the government supports entertainment except in Nigeria. Yet it is the same entertainers that would come out to support the government and entertain them. So it’s high time we stop praising who has made it or who has not made it. We need to come together and say after we have made it what next? Can a parent train up his child to grow up in entertainment just like being a doctor? Come one million years today, doctors would still be in vogue but can the same be said about every music? In the 1960s we had the pyramids of groundnut in the north but immediately we discovered oil everything about agriculture went behind. We are now focusing on oil alone and that would finish one day. If we don’t lay a foundation in this music industry, very soon I don’t know what is going to happen.”

So with Jude’s spiritedness on the things of the industry we inquired if he and his brothers were taking any personal measures to see that things are corrected but he explains that the job of safeguarding the nation lies with the state. “It’s not something an individual can do alone. I cannot take the laws into my hands or start walking from one shop in Alaba to the next to stop people from selling pirated CDs. It is what the government should do. P. Square has been recorded to sell at least six million copies of every album they make. But at how much? N70, N60 or N100. Even an empty CD costs more. If they should be able to sell at N1000 like 2face is trying to do, do you know how much the government can make in tax from that? Or how much more employment can be created through that? And this is just one person. What about when others are involved? But if the government doesn’t come in we will still have to selloff our albums at giveaway prices to marketers. There’s nobody implementing the laws and what these pirates are doing is stealing. They are no different from armed robbers!”
Jude could have gone on and on about this issue but we had to round off but before leaving we asked if he had any plans of settling down with a wife soon since he is three steps in front of Peter and Paul who were celebrating their 30th birthday already. But he simply smiled and told us that it won’t happen until he finds the right woman marry. “Or am I to walk down the altar alone?” he asked.

Monday, November 29, 2010

NMVA 2010: How it Went Down

Against all odds the fourth edition of the Nigerian Music Video Awards held at the Expo Hall of the Eko Hotel and Suites Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday, December 28, 2010. It was, as usual, a gathering of the stakeholders of the entertainment industry in Nigeria who trooped out in their numbers to come and witness this year’s version of the oldest music video awards in the land hosted by the longest running music TV programme in the land, LIVEBEATS, which is owned by Cally Ikpe’s CALLYVISION NETWORK.
In the buildup to the event he had complained about the lack of a major sponsor for the event. This fact, even though, it didn’t stop the event from holding definitely reflected on the quality of the show put up. The economic crunch has definitely affected the entertainment industry in Nigeria and while the $200 million dollars promised by Mr. President is a welcome development for it, the early and necessary access to it by brands such as the NMVA and other laudable entertainment projects annually put up in this country would go a long way in improving their quality and sustainment.
While there were no clearcut sweeping winners in the 24-category award like in last year's event where Darey, held sway, 2face, Clarence Peters and Dipp still managed two awards each while the rest of the winners got one each. Yet Clarence Peters could be said to have won the most awards as coupled with his individual two, his videos also won the Video of The Year, Best Use of Costume, Best Contemporary Afro and Best Video By a New Artist. Here is the winners' list:

 2face – “Only Me”
Mr. Raw Nwanne – “O Chukwu”
T.W.O – “I Need Someone”
Dekunle Fuji – “Funmilayo”
Sound Sultan – “2010”
Bouqui – “Take You Away”
Fela – “Viva Africa”
TOSIN IGHO – “Don’t Leave Me”
2face – “Only Me”
Dipp – “Pop Off Selecta”
J. Martins – “Eva”
General Pype – “Champion”
Djinee – “Overkillin’”
Dipp – “Pop Off Selecta”
 Kefee – “Thank You”
Goldie – “You Know It”
17. BEST R ‘n’ B:
Banky W – “Strong Ting”
KSB – “Turn Around”
Solidstar – “One In A Million”
JJC – “We Are Africans”
Clarence Peters
 Clarence Peters
Frizzle – “Taka Sufe”

Friday, November 26, 2010

P. Square Celebrates Birthday in Style

The Birthday Cake
On the evening of their 30th birthday which fell on Thursday, November 18, 2010, P. Square hosted a talk-of-the-town party at their new home in Omole Estate, Ikeja Lagos. Present were the major figures of the Nigerian Entertainment Industry including the extrovert Deputy Governor of Lagos, State, Mrs. Sarah Sosan, who presented them with pictures of the city. Their home, aptly named Squareville played host to the Red Carpet, cocktails, dinner and dances as all guests enjoyed themselves till the wee hours of the next morning. Here are some pictures from the party:

With the Deputy Governor

With Pictures of Lagos City

About to cut their cake

Jude and the ladies

Lola Omotayo

Paul and Darey

Uti, Gbenro and fans

Mrs. AY and Queen Ure

Mo' Cheddah

Sound Sultan and Olu Maintain

Obi Asika


Darey, J. Martins & Tee-Y Mix


Freeze and Eku Edoho

Efe Adabamu

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


In the buildup to this year’s event, SOUNDCITY, owners of the SOUNCITY MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS (SMVA) simply said “Expect Everything” and while their employment of this phrase cannot be comprehensively delineated, it definitely pointed to their intention to explore a wide range of options in putting up a display of activities at this year’s show.
So on Saturday, November 20, 2010, after elaborate and painstaking preparations have been made and last minute details tidied up, the crème de la crème of the entertainment industry in Africa trooped down to Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos for the third edition of the SOUNDCITY MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS.
PRE-AWARD RED CARPET AND FASHION SHOW: As is usual with similar events all over the world there was a red carpet session where the stars and guests were welcomed. This was the paparazzi’s forte and they had a field day as star after star happily posed for their cameras. This session also accommodated the fashion show which held at the poolside of the hotel while cocktails and small chops were being served round. It was an exciting visual experience produced by the Namibian-born Jan Malan Umzingeli who is the Creative Director of the event. He brought together some of the continent’s best, most accomplished and boldest designers and labels to put up an amazing show similar to what he does for the FACE OF AFRICA and AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL. Designers on parade were David Tiale and Dax Martin of South Africa; Jewel by Lisa, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, Momo, Odio Mimonet, Tiffany Amber, Zizi Cardow and Mai Atafo all from Nigeria plus Tanzania’s Mustafa Hasanali. They lit up the poolside of Eko Hotel and the guests who excitedly gathered to watch beheld a sight reminiscent of the classiest fashion shows anywhere in the world.
This however dragged beyond its allocated time of 6:00 to 7:30pm because it wasn’t until almost 10pm that the guests were allowed into the Expo Hall of the hotel where the awards proper was to hold. And even by then, they were only dislodged by the rain. Then came the long wait inside the hall as behind-the-scenes arrangements continued while the guests sat idly and listened to music being dished out by the DJ. It was a live broadcast on the SOUNDCITY channel and even the help of prolific director, Clarence peters, was also enlisted.
THE EXPO HALL: As guests waited for the start of the show, a glance around the large Expo Hall revealed a vast improvement and progress from the last SMVA. There was quite enough seating space for the audience and comfortable standing positions for those that ended up at the back. The gallery was arranged in a roundtable format while the main hall was in theatre mode. LCD screens adorned the front walls of hall and larger-than-life images of the stage were simultaneously beamed to the audience. All these were in sharp contrast to last year’s awards which was held at the now removed tent on the other side of the Eko Hotel grounds.
10:33: FINALLY THE START BY P. SQUARE: A voice boomed from the speakers and welcomes the guests. It then asked them to please resume their seats as the live broadcast would begin in the next 5minutes. It came back exactly 7minutes after to announce P. Square on stage.
The Okoye twins were the perfect tonic to kick start events and they did not disappoint. Their pumped up performance was with the full complement of a live band and they revealed the excellent sound quality that would be experienced all evening. They started off with “E No Easy” accompanied by two dancers who joined to display some of the choreography that has made them one of the most sought after bands on the continent. Kaffy come joined them as they launched into “Gimme Dat” to showcase her own GUINNESS record breaking dance steps and their combined choreography really excited the crowd. But the girls really went wild when Peter pulled up his clothes to reveal his well toned packs. Their performance helped lift up the atmosphere and they again welcomed the crowd before leaving the stage.
10: 50: UTI AND BIG BROTHER: The winner of the recently concluded BIG BROTHER AFRICA ALLSTARS, Uti Nwachukwu was the official host of the show and the ecstatic screams of the large retinue of ladies in the house revealed the extent of his newfound popularity. He arrived in a shiny overall in the company of three bikini-clad models who stripped the overall off him to reveal a black bespoke suit which he later disclosed was designed by MAI. He then went on to introduce himself and welcome the audience again. His speech was interrupted by “Big Brother” which brought a lot of laughter from the audience. Uti then announced Steve Babaeko and Michelle Dede present the very first award of the evening which was for the Best Male Video. As the nominees trailers were played on the wide LCD screen on the stage, the audience cheered heartily to the videos of Banky W, 2face and Da Grin. Banky W won with the video of “Strong Ting” and mounted the stage with his protégés EME Wizkid and Skales. He dedicated his award to Segun Demuren, Cobhams who produced it, his label EME (Empire Mates Entertainment) and Da Grin.
KSB BAREFOOT FOR GOLDIE: The second award which was for the Best Female Video was presented by Darey. Goldie’s “You Know It” which received the loudest cheer during the nominees video reel was the winner and since she was absent, her KENNIS MUSIC label mate, KSB, came up to collect it on her behalf after a short lull. “It’s a KENNIS MUSIC thing,” she said on Goldie’s behalf and then went on to reveal to the audience who hadn’t noticed that she was actually barefooted because she had to rush off her seat in excitement. Eldee who featured on the song also made a short appearance on the stage.
***Rapper, 2shotz presented the third award which was for the Best Choreography and it went to Mozambique’s Dama Do Bling who was also not present.
11:07: Uti returned to the stage to congratulate the winners so far. MTN Project Fame co-anchor, Adora Oleh was the presenter of the next awards and looking delectable as ever, she came onstage in the chaperoned by three trunk-wearing male models. Djinee’s “Overkillin’” was the winner of the Best Special Effects and in his speech he thanked all those who contributed to the success of the song – Jesse Jagz the producer, his father, CHOCOLATE CITY RECORDS and his father. He then asked Niger-Deltans to put down their guns.
***Performance by Deep Level of South Africa.
***Actress, Nse Ikpe-Etim and Kenny Ogungbe were the presenters of the next award for the Best Editing. P. Square won and Paul who spoke on their behalf thanked God, SOUNDCITY and everyone. He also described it as their birthday gift.
***Photographer, Kelechi Amadi-Obi and Lola Maja were the presenters for the award to the Best Duo. It went to South Africa’s Deep Level who had just performed and when they didn’t come up to accept it, Uti had to come out to release the presenters who had been waiting for someone to come receive the award.
SASHA’S PERFORMANCE (YEMI ALADE THRILLS): The First Lady of STORM RECORDS who just returned from performing at the CHANNEL O Awards was on hand again to deliver. The stage was opened for her by soul singer, Bez, who came on with his guitar, three male flutists and three ladies. One of them was upcoming singer, yemi Alade whose single, “Efimisile,” with Eldee is still being heavily rotated on the airwaves together with its video. She was Sasha’s backup and while the STORM First Lady presented a strong performance, it was Yemi’s sexiness and sassy high-pitched voice that caught the eye.
***YQ, another STORM artist was next on stage to sing his, “I Like Girls.” He and his slightly heavy but flexible dances got a very loud cheer at the end of their performance.
11:45: GBAGAUN! MR. NIGERIA, “CAN I HEAR YOUR HANDS UP?”: Current Mr. Nigeria, 2nd Runner-up Mr. World and the fifth sexiest man in the world, Kenneth Okolie, rubbished all those records when in his attempt to rouse the audience, he blurted out: “Can I hear your hands up?” He and the current Miss Nigeria, Damilola Agbajor had come upstage to present the award for the Best Cinematography and the audience, most of who didn’t know who he was had quite a laugh at him. He made matters worse when he proffered the lame cliché, “English is not my first language” as a form of excuse. The trio of the South African Teargas lifted back the spirits with acceptance speech. Their “Praise be to God” got a very loud “Alleluia!” and when one of them dropped the lines of Banky W’s “Lagos Party” as a parting shot, the crowd gave them a standing ovation.
11:49: UTI AND BIG BROTHER AGAIN: Uti has changed into a white suit and returned to the stage in the company of three male models. But as he tried to work the audience, “Big Brother’s” voice interrupts with mimicry of Sheila’s voice. This was in obvious reference to their love affair while the BIG BROTHER AFRICA house. Their repartee delighted the audience.
***The trio of BEAT FM’s OAPs – Gbemi, Toolz and Oreka presented the next award for the Best Hip Hop Video. South Africa’s Jozi won but they weren’t around to collect it so the ladies decided to receive it for their station, BEAT 99.9 FM.
11:55: ASA’S TAKES THINGS TO THE NEXT LEVEL: The stage is set for the petite songbird and her 7-piece band take positions. Uti was heard singing the National Anthem reminiscent of his BIG BROTHER AFRICA winning reaction in the background. He then announced Asa who received a standing ovation from the audience. Performing tracks from her newest album, BEAUTIFUL IMPERFECTION, she caressed the genuine musical taste buds of the audience as she strutted about the stage and sang happily and heartily to the adoring audience. Hers wasn’t a physical or energetic act but it was emotive and her energy was felt in the inner linings of the audience’s hearts. She got another standing ovation as she left the stage.
12:11: MIKE TO RELEASE AND AWARD: The smart young winner of the MTN PROJECT FAME SEASON 2, Mike Anyasodo, was announced as the winner of the Best R&B Video by the duo of Eldee and Rukky Sanda. In his excited acceptance speech he kept saying, “I dedicate this album…” instead of “award” and when he finally realized why the audience was trying to correct him, he sharply told them that what he just received was the album and that he would be releasing the award soon. He got a very loud ovation for it.
***Actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Segun Arinze presented the following award for Best Pop Video. It went to 2face for the video of his song, “Implication.” The amount of love and goodwill he enjoys from his fans was reflected in their cheers. The award was received on his behalf by his producer, J-Sleek.
***Teargas performed next.
12:27: Toyin Subair and Chris Ubosi came on to present the award for Best Collaboration which went to Sarkodie of Ghana. The DJ collected it for them.
***Matse of WAZOBIA FM and Freeze of COOL FM presented the award for the DISCCOVERY OF THE YEAR to JR of South Africa. He was also not present.
THE ALAPOMEJI BELOW PAR PERFORMANCE: A trio of performances from the ALAPOMEJI crew fell well below the audience’s expectations and they were happy to see their backs. First up was a group of three which included Snow which simply failed to impress. Next was the sweet-voiced Kayefi but this time, with her song playing on the background CD, her voice only served to spoil the melody while the Ajayi brothers simply completed a set of performances which the audience didn’t appreciate.
12:49: Damilola Adegbite and Gbenro Ajibade of TINSEL presented Banky W with the award of the Best Video. Banky who was preparing for his performance had to come from backstage to receive his award. He cited this as his best year and the night as his best night.
***Former Miss. Nigeria, Omowumi Akinifesi and actor, Fred Amata presented the award for the Viewers’ Choice Video which Buffalo Souljah of Zimbabwe won. He was not in the house but Fred Amata insisted that someone come up to receive it for him. When no one arrived, he personally nominated Zaaki Azzay to receive it on his behalf. Zaaki then went on to say that he would board a plane to Zimbabwe to go take the award to its owner.
BANKY W, WIZKID AND SKALES’ PERFORMANCE: Seats were arranged on stage and Skales opened the floor. The classroom scene of Wizkid’s “Holla at Your Boy” video was reenacted with dancer Kaffy acting as the teacher. A well rehearsed and dramatized choreography followed when Kaffy told her students that she was leaving for a meeting. Her return met music in her classroom and as she attempted to restore order, Wizkid threatened to report her to Banky. Banky then entered as the performance seamlessly transferred into his own as Kaffy sexily led the choreography to the appreciation of a loudly cheering audience.
1:09: DA GRIN WINS AN AWARD: The award for the Hit Producer of the Year went Sossick for producing Da Grin’s “Pon Pon Pon.” He beat off competition from Don Jazzy, Jay Sleek, Fally Ipupa of Congo, M.I and JR of South Africa to an emotion-laden delight of the audience. He climbed the stage in the company of GINI, the director of the video and a number of other Da Grin enthusiasts. His singing of the chorus of “Dreams” drew loud sighs from the audience.
***Dr. Sid came on next to present the award of the Best African Act to 2face. J-Sleek again collected it on his behalf. Then a trailer of DJ Jimmy Jatt and M.I speaking on the impact of the SMVAs on their careers was played on the LCD screen.
***The Ghanaian trio of R2Bees performed next.
1:28: Mo’ Cheddah and Wizkid deliver a well rehearsed presentation sequence by drawing drama from each other’s songs while presenting the award of the Best East African Act to Wyre of Kenya who also wasn’t present.
JULIUS LAMENTS FOR SPONSORS: When the duo of the comedians, Julius Agwu and Tee A came to present the award for the Best South African Act to Pro of South Africa, Julius used the opportunity to lament about the lack of sponsors for such an event. “A big event like this should have sponsors queuing up but look at the wall – very empty!” Julius lamented.
1:35: THE MO’ HITS THRILL THE CROWD (D’ BANJ’S BODYGUARD GOES VIOLENT): Uti who has changed into his third outfit of the evening announce a performance by the MO’ HITS crew. They were preceded by the fat, energetic and athletic Special Ed who pranced around the stage in excited frenzy while “acolyting” Dr. Sid. Dr. Sid’s sounds are among the biggest hits of the year and the crowd’s reception reaffirmed this fact. From “Over the Moon” to “Pop Something” and “Something About You” then D’ Prince’s “Omoba” and the quite new “Give it to Me” which featured D’ banj got everyone on their feet and jumping. D’ banj and Don Jazzy join them on stage at this point “Mr. Endowed” followed.
But here a very excited fan somehow evades the ground security to ascend the stage and would have sad tales of his experience for some time to come. Because D’ banj’s bodyguard, a well trained ex-military boxer appears from the background to give him such a violent shove that had his fall not been broken by an alert bouncer on the ground, he would have broken his neck. The stage was at least 6feet above the floor and it goes without saying that a milder approach would have nonetheless gotten him off the stage.
1:48: THE VIDEO TRAILER JAMS: When SOUNDCITY VJ, S. Dot came to present the award for Best Central African Act, the audience was surprised that there was no nominees’ video trailer. But the repeat of the same incident at the presentation of the last musical award confirmed that the trailer had failed to play. The LCD screen on the stage then remained blank for the remainder of the event. Sasha and Kingsley James presented the last award of the night to Tania Tome of Mozambique for her video “Nhi Ngugu Haladza.” The very excited lady who was present to receive her award thanked everyone possible – from two boys to her husband and so on.
***Uti then came on to present the special recognition award to Governor Timipre Silver of Bayelsa State. It was received on his behalf by a representative. Rehab and Tribeca were announced as the dual venues for the after awards party.
2:00: TIMAYA AND DEM MAMA SOLDIERS: The Egberi Papa 1 of Bayelsa commemorated his governor’s award with the final performance of the event. He ascended the stage with three of his DEM MAMA Soldiers and a large portion of the crowd remained to watch them wrap things up before departing for the after-party venues and others, their homes.
THE SMVA, A PAN AFRICAN AWARD: The expansion of the awards to include other African countries is one major part of the fulfillment of SOUNDCITY’s promise of “Expect Everything.” All African regions received something. The excellent packaging reflected painstaking and detailed preparations for the event which is a success in almost every facet. The sound production and quality is the dream of every artist and event organizer but the recurrent “African Time” syndrome has continued to bog down our events in this country. The organizers still succeeded in filling up the magnificent expanse of the Expo Hall even while selling tickets at N10 000. The exportability of this project is very visible yet that sponsors are unwilling to support speaks volumes of the entertainment industry in the country. But the $200 million dollar grant of Mr. President might just be the answer such projects need. We will continue to wait and watch while for the present massive kudos goes out to Mr. Tajuddeen Adepetu and his team for a show to be proud of.

Banky W – “Strong Ting”
Goldie – “U Know It”
Dama Do Bling (Mozambique) – “Moza Girl”
Djinee – “Overkillin’”
 P. Square –“Danger”
Deep Level (South Africa) – “We Run The City”
Teargas (South Africa) – “Mlobo Wami”
Jozi (South Africa) – “Wildlife”
Mike Anyasodo – “Fine Fine Lady”
2face Idibia – “Implication”
Sarkodie (Ghana) – “Lay Away”
JR (South Africa) – “Show Dem”
 Banky W – “Strong Ting”
Buffalo Souljah (Zimbabwe) – “Ezandlha Phezulu”
15. HIT PRODUCER OF THE YEAR (As Used in a Music Video):
 Sossick/ Da Grin – “Pon Pon Pon”
2face Idibia
Wyre (Kenya)
PRO (South Africa)
Fally Ipupa (Congo)
Tania Tome (Mozambique) – “Nhi Ngugu Haladza”

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Here is a sneak preview of the new inspirational book, TESTED AND TRUSTED SUCCESS SECRETS OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS, written by Azuh Arinze, the editor of ENCOMIUM MAGAZINE.
The book which contains quotes and interviews with about 100 leading businessmen, entertainers, sportsmen, veterans and respected elders is a must read. It tells in very short and concise formats the secrets and beliefs that took them to where they are today.
 The book which promises to be a bestseller would be presented to the general public in the early parts of January 2011.

"Polygamy was Never the Plan" - 2FACE IDIBIA

Innocent '2Face' Idibia is known as 2Baba to his fans and admirers. The 'Baba' is an appellation and a form of respect in recognition of his person and his music. He is constantly  in the limelight, not just because of his music, but also because of some of his escapades, ranging from gun attacks, his five children from three women and most of the activities of those women. An example is their alleged fight after his fantastic concert at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, on Saturday, September 18, 2010.

I recently took him up on different issues, including his music, women and lifestyle. Ever humble (the major reason why he has survived up until now), he happily responded to all my questions as I sat down with him at a hangout in Ikeja, Lagos… (Excerpts and quotations from this interview has appeared on various websites and blogs since it was published in ENCOMIUM MAGAZINE a few weeks back but here is the complete version.)

What went into the show? What did you put in to bring out the kind of performance we saw at Eko Hotels on September 18?
A lot of money, time and dedication on the part of the crew involved in it. The band, dancers and media who hyped it up and the people who came out, paid money and took out time to come. Then, the grace of God. We rehearsed for about two weeks non-stop before the show.
You have been performing with a live band for sometime now, when did you decide on that line?
Towards the end of last year was when I decided that I was no more going to perform with CDs again. I don't want people to come and watch me and only
 hear what they have heard on CD before. I want to give them something different, because if it's the CD they wanted, they might have as well stayed at home and played it on their sound system. I wouldn't have even needed to perform on stage at all. Performing live with a band gives the people the chance to get a different feel and at the same time enjoy the music.
How do you advise other artists to go about leaving their CDs and go with a live band?
It depends on how you are using the CD. It's not everybody that can sing with a live band. Some people's strong points might be dancing or other performance skills. Others might get their timing right with the live band, but no matter what you are doing on stage, just try
 and make it worthwhile to your audience.
You are already past ten years in the industry, please talk about your development and evolution through the years?
I just thank God for what has happened to me musically. I discovered my talent early and I decided to follow it up. So far, I am not exactly where I want to be yet, but I will say I am heading towards there. I thank God for where I am today.
How do rate your contribution to the Nigerian music industry in your years there?
Personally, I have brought some prestigious awards back to Nigeria soil; I have encouraged the new generation to embrace whatever form of music they are comfortable in doing. In terms of record sales, I will say I was the first person to have sold over a million
 copies of my records and my label declared it and it was confirmed. I have done over three successful albums, Face2Face, Grass2Grace and The Unstoppable, International Edition. To me, those are very big achievements and they have gone a long way in encouraging the younger generation of Nigerian musicians.
Who were some of the people you looked up to while coming up?
Over the years, we have had a number of different top class musicians who I have looked up to. There was Majek Fashek. Femi Kuti, Lagbaja, Baba Fryo, Daddy Showkey, Blackky, Weird MC and so many others. I can't remember everyone, but it's not like I want to omit anybody.
How successful has your experiment with The Unstoppable: International Edition been?

Overwhelmingly surprising, because many people thought that nobody would buy my CD for N1000. But surprisingly, people now call and just make requests and place orders. They don't even want to deal with the paper packs anymore. It all comes down to the fact that if people like something, they will go for it, no matter how costly it is. Definitely, the number of people th
 at would buy it for N1000 will never be the same with those that will buy for N150, but if 20 people buy for N1000 and 100 people would buy it for N150, we have already cancelled out their number.
What were some of the things you took into consideration before embarking on such a venture?
Number one was sacrifice, because nothing good will happen in Nigeria if people are not willing to sacrifice. And that sacrifice is the gamble, but one thing is certain, if you believe in something and you want it to work, God will be with you. The thing is that I just want quality to come back into music. From the sound to the CDs and the way it is packaged. When those happen and you sell it for the appropriate price, we will be able to make more money and be able to compete with our counterparts in other parts of the world.
The N1000 is not even up to what other internationa
 l acts sell their CDs. Their CDs go for $15 to $20, which is more than N1000, but we are on our way there. With time people will realize that that's the way my CDs are and if you buy anything else, you are supporting piracy. I never ever thought for one day that it would be easy or that my CD was not going to be pirated. Piracy is still in the system, but with dedication, seriousness and concerted efforts we can reduce it to the bearest minimum.
What are some of your suggestions toward the eradication of piracy?
The public, the government and the agencies involved in the implementation of the anti-piracy laws should all put their hands on deck. The people should please shun pirated copies, just like they run away from fake drugs. If piracy doesn't see people buying it, it will fo
ld shop.
The government should clamp down on pirates too. They are criminals, just like the thieves we catch on the streets. The agencies should go all out in stamping out piracy. No crime syndicate should be stronger than the government. We know that it cannot be wiped out in one day, it will take time, but we all should come on board and start on the right path. Just like our count
ry, nobody can arrange Nigeria under four years, but we can start on the right track in that time. Under one year, power should be taken care of, roads can be taken care of and so on.
Going back to your concert, what was the idea behind the Tonto Dike dance part?
Tonto is one of the very talented actresses we have in their generation and she is beautiful. In my song, Flex, we just wanted to add a little drama to it. We thought of a whole lot of other beautiful ladies to use, but either some will not be available on the day of the show or something else. So, I called Tonto who is my friend and a professional actress. It was all part of the job and Tonto is crazy too. She liked the idea and we put it into practice.
Do you have a deeper relationship with her?
No, we are just good friends.
The little girl you used as the Africa Queen is Annie's daughter, why did you choose her among the other children?
I chose her because she is my daughter.
Don't you think the other women would feel bad or neglected?
No, nobody felt like that.
How are you managing to keep all of them happy?
I just try to be a good person. No ojoro, no partiality and no favouritism and everyone is happy.
You have been pictured at different times in matching dresses with each of them at different times?
If mommy and daddy do a naming ceremony for their child, I don't see anything wrong with us wearing the same clothes. I and Pero wore the same dress during the dedication of her child and it was the same thing with Sumbo and Annie. It's just for our children to see our solidarity during their celebrations.
Looking at the period when the children came, d o you agree with most people that you would have been bigger than you are now if you hadn't involved yourself with all these women?
I don't know if I would have been bigger than I am now, but one thing I know is that it really affected me. There's no doubt about it. It definitely affected me.
But all in all, people will talk and others will criticize and others w
 ill rejoice at their fellow man's misfortunes because that's how human beings are. But they really affected me.
Yet in saying that I would have been bigger is what I don't I don't know. Maybe all those things happened to prevent me from doing something worse. Maybe they even calmed me down and diverted me from doing something that was worse, but I don't know.
But looking back, would you have done the same things again?
Polygamy was never part of my plan. I never ever planned to be polygamous. Everybody has their plans, but mine was never to be polygamous. But I would have done the same things agai
 n, which is to accept the children. Everybody has choices and I chose to take my kids.
You are home-based artist, you were born and bred in Nigeria and have been here ever since. In some of your trying periods and even at normal times, have you ever consider quitting the country and going to live somewhere else?
It has never crossed my mind. Never ever. But now you are talking about it, it could have been a nice idea to relocate from the country.
What do you think about people not really embracing the Unstoppable album in 2008, and now singing the praise of this new international edition?
I think when the old Unstoppable came out, most of the negative stories about me affected it and also the promotion of the album was poor. The style of music I did was
  geared towards the intellectuals, than the layman, but it wasn't because of the songs, but the promotion. But I just added a few things to this new one and it worked.
What about the number of 'collabo' you have do ne, it seems you are involved in far too many collabos at the moment?
Well, if you don't do, people will talk and if you do, people will also talk. But at the moment, I have stopped all collabos. Anyone you hear now was done sometime ago and there are still more that are yet to be released. Some are as far back as three years ago that are still to come out, but right now I have stopped.
How can one succeed and progress in music?
First and foremost, you have to have a talent. When I mean a talent, it's either you know h
 ow to sing very well or you know how to rap very well or you know how to entertain and to get the right people to work with you. Then, hard work and humility are very important.
What are some of the mistakes to avoid?
To start believing that you are too much, believing that you have made it and that nothing can affect you again.
What is your advice to the upcoming ones?
I just want them to know that music is not an escape route, it's a full time profession and they should take it seriously and they should respect people and respect God.


After a series of transformations, the group, SIGNATURE, has finally crystallized into a solid musical triplet made up of Uchenna Uchegbu, David Ovia and Nwabueze Paschal Amaechi. They started out in 2002 as a group of eight with the stage name, Paradise Large, but four of them left after just one year due to parental pressures to concentrate on their studies. The remaining four then continued as Faith in One but another two left in 2002 but the remaining two didn’t want to continue like and with the help of their then manager, they were able to get a third member on board. They then changed their name to DTU-an acronym of the initials of their names.
It was as DTU that the music actually started coming forth. They first recorded “We Need Love” with Cobhams in 2005 but were unable to give it the required promotion due to financial constraints. A few more tracks including “Can’t Give Up Believing” and “Emijojo” followed but never really saw the light of the day. In 2006, another member left the group but two more joined to make them four again and their name changed to D’ Flud. Again, one more left after some time and the remaining three swore never to leave again no matter the challenges. They put this in writing and signed on it and thus came the name Signature.
Currently, Signature has three songs and one remix on air. One is “Dream Girl” and its remix, then “African Beauty” featuring Don Kally and “Ntefo.” “African Beauty” and “Ntefo” were produced by K-Solo while “Dream Girl” and its remix were by Edmund Benson, aka Theory Sound. The group is already working on the video of “Ntefo” which would be directed by Akin Alabi. Their debut album which would contain 11 tracks is also taking shape. It would be entitled JUST BEING ME and would feature the likes of M.I, Timaya, Mallam Spicey, and the Mamuzee Twins who they have worked as backup singers for.