Wednesday, March 31, 2010


In a manner typical of him, Charly Boy, the Area Fada, and his cousin, Dr. Alban  (Alban Uzoma Nwapa), who has been out of musical circulation for a long time, staged a one of a kind album listening party at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, last year.
It was a gathering of their kith and kin, friends and the press. Charly Boy and Dr. Alban were returning to music after a very long hiatus. Another interesting thing is that they picked Dekumzy, the talented and humble producer, who boasts of hits like Resonance, "Yori Yori" and Nigga Raw's two albums to work with and together they did a 15 tracker entitled Charly Boy On The Loose, featuring Dr. Alban.
They performed a few of the tracks and from what we saw, a lot of work had been done. They have also shot four videos.
The event was more of a routine stage performance by the trio of Charly boy, Dr. Alban and Dekumzy till they got to the track, "Commercial Waist," which Charly Boy re-titled “Commercial Nyash”. All along, there were two scantily clad dancers on stage, but with
the start of this song came a third less-clad one with a mask. She was obviously there to buttress the message of “Commercial Nyash”, and she did.
Not that the two girls already on stage were not doing well, but this third girl took things to a higher level and actually gave guests more than they bargained. She danced from seat to seat, leaving either one of her bracelets or ring to show for and for people to gawk at.
Prominent among these men were Denrele of Soundcity, who featured in the original video. She left him a ring. Another was Big Bamo, who, after an unsolicited session of lap dancing, was still open-mouthed when the girl added one of her bracelets to his souvenirs.
Other members of the audience were Lady D, Charly Boy's wife, his daughters and grand daughter, his younger brother, who is a lawyer, Tunde Obe, Elajoe, Nyore, Yaw, Felix Duke, KC Presh, Anis of Project Fame and others.
The four songs whose videos were previewed and premiered were “Work Work”, “Carolina Remix”, “Shayo Plenty” and “Commercial Waist”.
The videos were shot by Clarence Peters and Bobby High. There was viable quality and directorial dexterity in all of the four videos.
But the highlight was the “Commercial Waist” video. There was bold attempt at the sexual provocation of the viewer and was obviously not shot for public consumption. At least, not for terrestrial TV channels. Charly Boy even echoed this fact when he stated that they just shot the video for the fun of it. “We know they will not show it on local channels, but we are not after that. We were just playing. There are many other works that define the album. The album will not be judged by just this song”, he explained. Adding that there were more sexual explicit versions of the “Commercial Waist” which he is not bringing out.
After the show, Notes and Tones had a chat with Dr. Alban in one of the Lounges of the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos. Excerpts…

What prompted this musical return to Nigeria after such a long time abroad?
I came back because after so many years and 16 million records sold and I hadn't done anything in my mother tongue, I realized the need to do something here.

Looking at the Nigerian musical terrain and what you are used to overseas, how lucrative would this be for you?
No matter what happens or what will happen, this is a dream come true for me. I needed to do this to make myself happy and complete as a musician. The monetary aspect is a secondary issue. It was never about money. As you can see, we have already done four videos without a marketer for the album yet.

What message do you want to pass across to Nigerians, at this point of your career?
The album contains my project and that of Charly Boy. There are 15 songs in the album and about half are mine and the other half are Charly's. I have songs that encourage people to strive hard and make a success of themselves. There is a song called Work Work, which was performed at the recent Nigerian Music Video Awards and that is the message.

Why did you people combine your works when you could have released them independently?
We are just having fun; we are happy with what we are doing and we are cousins. We didn't ask anybody to give us money or any marketer to pay us any money. The main thing is that we did it, it is a dream come true and it is fun.

How often do you visit home?
I am home every other Christmas.

What has been the reception of this work outside Nigeria since you released it?
The song is in Igbo and pidgin English. It has been released in Finland and it was well received there. The white man loves the rhythm and it interests him. That's why he released it. Moreover, there are a lot of Igbo people overseas and they enjoy the home flavour of the song.

What is your evaluation of the current Nigerian music scene?
The music industry is good. The music produced is good, but there's a whole lot of attitude problem, indiscipline and other vices among artists and that is hindering them from getting the crossover they need. You make more progress when you have a crossover, but most of them are not willing to do that.
For instance, I called D'banj to do a collabo with him and he directed me to his manager. Just imagine that! I told him no, because I am an artist like him and an elder for that matter. And I was not going to talk to any manager.

Did you make any attempt to work with any other artist?
Yes. I recorded with the Danfo Drivers, but they started quarrelling and we couldn't release. They wanted to go to court and I told them that I wasn't going to any court, so the record is lying there.

Are there other musically inclined members of your family?
My daughter is developing an interest, but she is still quite young. So, we will see how it goes. I would just look at her talent and make her focus on that and help her develop it.

You brought this project down to the contemporary musical situation in Nigeria, how did you arrive at the decision to work with Dekumzy among other producers in Nigeria?
Because he is young, talented and humble. He was able to do what we wanted and how we wanted it. He is a very disciplined young man and he can communicate very well.

You people are exposing him to a new world different from what he is used to, how are you going to keep him up?
I and Charly Boy are very down to earth and we have been advising him not let the negative things of the Nigerian music industry affect him or influence him.

‘I’m glad Fela is still a phenomenon’ - FEMI KUTI

October 2009 marked the 12th anniversary of the death of Afrobeat King, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. As has been the custom since his death in 1997, his children, once again, organized a week-long musical festival in his honour. Held at the New Afrika Shrine, in Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, last year's event once again witnessed a variety of spectacular performances from the likes of King Sunny Ade, Fatai Rolling Dollar, Sir Shina Peters and even Femi Kuti himself. There were also imputs from acts like Seun Kuti, Wande Coal, Timaya, Terry G, Bigiano, Star Quest winners, The Pulse and Diamonds, among others. This interview was conducted just before Femi's performance at The New Afrika Shrine, Lagos, during Felabration in October 2009.

What does Felabration at 12 stand for?
It stands for the fact that our leaders cannot get away with what they are doing -destroying the country. People support Felabration because it stands for what is right and assures the leaders that they will never get away with what they are doing, and that people remember Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. He will never be forgotten, and there's no greater joy for me than knowing that.

What does Fela mean to you that other people do not know?
That's a very hard question, because he is my father. He means a lot of things as my father and there were times he annoyed me as well. What I miss most is his presence. I know that if he were alive now, he would have been able see my son, play with him and teach him things. I know I am giving my son the best, but he still does not have a grandfather. He met my son, Made, but now I would have loved to see Made disturb him. I would have loved to see him send Made on errands and advise Made. I think they would have bonded very well together.

How do you feel when you see the large turn-out at Felabration every year?
It shows that he was a great man and that people appreciate the work he did while he was alive. Most of the young people performing at Felabration today were not even there when Fela was fighting, but they have heard of him and seen his impact on the world. Fela was fighting in the 1970s when Fanta and Coke were just 5 kobo. It was N1,500 to buy a car; it was N200 to travel to America or England. Now, things are more than a thousand times worse and we are still surviving. We keep complaining about these things while some people steal all the money and keep it to themselves.
We have Felabration so that young people can understand what is happening. We have Fela as a strong base with which to launch our anger and the government cannot ease that. When you say you have no light and you are angry and you know a man lived and fought against these things many years before you were born, you have authentic proof on CDs, TV and everywhere that Fela stood and was incarcerated many times while fighting for the truth.

Do we still have such heroes?
Yes, we do. We have them in music. All the artistes coming out now are like Fela's children. Fela's music spans the whole world. Producers of Hip Hop are all Fela boys. People who produce Jay Z, Common and Alicia Keys are all Fela boys. There is one of Jay Z's tracks now that has a mixture of Afrobeat. I have met with most of these artists and they all love Fela. In the current hip hop scene, you will hear a lot of Afrobeat undertones.

What should people expect from your performances?
I used to do a thousand press-up and sit-up everyday. I am getting old now and I am very experienced. I have just come back from touring about 40 different locations in the world and I did Africa proud. The Shrine is my home and I am the same old Femi Kuti and everyone will have the time of their lives when I play. I always use the world 'Africans' instead of Nigeria because in Africa, we are virtually fighting the same fight and I am not restricted to Nigeria.

How did Felabration 2009 go?
It was great. King Sunny Ade was here. What more can you ask for? He was honoured to be here and was very happy to be on the stage in The Shrine. Pasuma, Sir Shina Peters, Fatai Rolling Dollar and a lot of the young musicians were here and they enjoyed performing here.

What's your opinion of Nigerian music at the moment?
I like a lot of what I am seeing. I like the hip hop movement going on among the youths. It is a very great development and I am happy about it because if not because of it, most of the youths who are stars today could have ended up in the wrong direction.
The people in government have so confused us and made it look like if you are not corrupt, you will not be successful. But the youths have been able to overthrow that by going into the arts, music and films. They are so successful in these areas and all hope is not lost for us in this country. Felabration supports the youths and everyone is welcome here.

How do you view Nigeria today?
I know that in Nigeria that we are number one in Africa. We have the energy, the manpower and mineral resources to be the best. If we want three national teams, we can have them. It is an insult when our boys cannot do well in football; we can't swim, even when we have Rivers State here. The government has no proper developmental policies in place. They cannot just pick some people and train them up to do the country proud in sports or any other area for that matter. They don't pay the doctors well, so who is going to treat us? Go to all the ministries, all you will find are people only interested in embezzling funds while the areas under their watch suffer neglect.
We want good education, we want good schools. We want our teachers to be well paid; we want equal education for everyone; we are tired of the situation where if you don't have money, your child will not get a good education. We want equal opportunities for everyone, we want a situation whereby the oil money goes round to every Nigerian.

How much do you think you have achieved with 12 years of Felabration?
With the condition of Nigeria and considering our situation we have achieved everything. Felabration is international; people are aware, there is a large followership. The youths are improving and people are using the stage to enhance their craft. What more can you ask for? We have no light in Nigeria and people are suffering. Yet we can still party. Felabration held without any serious cases of violence and people are happy. That a concert of this magnitude can hold without people being violent shows that we have made progress. It shows that we are law abiding and that there are still good people in Nigeria. Felabration has proven many of my beliefs right. It has shown me that Nigeria can be the greatest country in the world.

Sometime ago the Shrine was shut by the government and since then, we haven't been able to talk to you about it, what were their actual reasons for shutting down The Shrine?
They didn't have a reason, that's why they re-opened it.

‘This is going to be our best album so far’ - TUNDE OBE

Tunde and Wunmi Obe (T.W.O) are about coming out with their fourth album. They are titling it T.W.O Legit, after it was rumoured earlier last year that they were quitting music. 'T.W.O Legit' is also the name of a track in the upcoming album. During the course of his interview, Tunde, who spoke on behalf of T.W.O was able to take us through the course of their career, music and life as a couple...

Why did you stay four years before releasing an album?
Rather than just keep dishing out a bunch of weak songs every other year, it is better to take your time and make sure that every song is strong in its own right and has a message. If you listen to our last album, every song in it has something to offer. It is just that there are some popular ones which you hear more often than others. But the forthcoming album is much better and we make bold to say that this time, it’s the best of them. So far, all the feedbacks we have got point to that and everybody we take their opinion very seriously is of that opinion. This is the strongest album that T.W.O would be bringing out.

What did you put into this album?
We take our time to study the society and identify the trend of things, then we try to infuse that message into the songs. We look at the style of contemporary popular music and try to follow it. We first of all identify these and then we start getting the words and the kind of melody we want together. Sometimes, a great producer like ID Cabasa or Puffy T can be inspired to do a groove with one person in mind and when they give it to you, you can be inspired to do a song that would fit it. After we did Cupid's Ball in February last year, we practically vanished from the radar and concentrated on recording our songs for about four months and at the end of the day we are very satisfied.

How did you pick the producers you worked with?
We worked with people we feel some kind of affinity with; we might like your beat or work, but when there is no spiritual connection with the person, we won't be able to work with that person. Music is a spiritual thing and there must be that connection between the people involved before a great work can come out. No matter how good or talented a person is, if we don't like the person or don't connect with the person, then we can't work with that person. Among the producers we wanted to work with on this album, the only person we missed out on was Cobhams. Our timetable didn't match his own when we were recording. So, we weren't able to work with him. We wanted to do just one song with ID Cabasa, but ended up doing two.

Do you think you are going to stay another four years before releasing another album?
We don't know. Things would depend on the success of the coming album and our fans. We are older artists, our songs last longer than those of the younger ones. "Mo Gbo Mo Ya", which was in our last album, lasted more than two years on the streets and even now you can still find it if you look for it. Look at Sunny Neji's song, "Oruka", it’s still popular out there because of the message it conveys. Songs have to resonate in people's soul and not just in their heads. People tend to get tired of songs that only sound in their heads faster than those that appeal to their spirit. People still play "Adupe", from the last album, because the message is strong and there must always be something in your life that you want to thank God for. A song like "Welu Welu" by Sammie Okposo was on for more than two years and still stirs souls now. "Igwe", "Kon Kon Below" and so many songs have stood the test of time. In this album, we have songs that can last four years, but we are just putting out the very commercial ones first. By the time we release the full album, you would find out that there are actually deeper and more interesting songs than the ones out there now.

Tell us about some of the songs in the album.
We have "Hit The Dancefloor" and "Get The Party Started," "Ole A Fajo" talks about people who wake up in the morning and only search for the easiest part of life, without trying to build anything solid for themselves. "There's God Time Is The Best," which was done with Rymzo; "Two Legit," which talks about people trying to pull you down and you having faith in yourself. There are a number of other songs which altogether make up 14 songs on the album.

Why did you bring down your style to the contemporary mode of things and also work with the younger producers?
If you want to remain relevant, you have no choice than to look at the producers that are cooking the day's beats; there is just no shortcut to that. We worked with Zeeno Foster, who is about the best sound person in Nigeria at the moment and he mastered and mixed everything for us. He also works for P-Square and we have been working with him since 2003. We have learnt a lot of things from working with the younger producers. Sound production is a lot easier these days because of the computer. Earlier on, things used to be much more complicated.

How do you get the message of your songs?
A lot of these things are divine. Some people might be looking at something and not see anything and somebody else would look at it and see so many things. Wunmi and I see many things that happen in the country that we need to talk about or celebrate. In this country, the issue of "Fine Bara " (another song in the album) has been in existence for many years. Seemingly well dressed people end up being beggars. Bara is just like a beggar, so Fine Bara means a fine beggar. They are everywhere in the society, well dressed and begging on very flimsy and spurious excuses. The last time we celebrated "Mo Gbo Mo Ya," - people who attend a party uninvited and this time it is "Fine Bara." By the grace of God, we will continue to come with topical issues that all Nigerians can identify with. Everybody should have a role to play in the industry. Our own role is basically to put a smile on some peoples’ faces and share the love.

From the sound of the album so far, it seems to be a pot pourri of various styles of music. Are there particular styles you are more comfortable with?
I have always loved soft-rock, reggae; soft songs that touch your soul when you listen to it. There are two songs like that in this album. We did a song with Rymzo who is reggae artist. Wunmi tends to be more of strictly R 'n' B. There was a song we did called "Believe In Me." But if you are going to be an artist that would stand the test of time, you cannot impose your style in your songs so that you do not lose your core fans; you have to set out for the general populace.

How do you feel being in the same profession with your wife?
(Laughs) By the grace of God, we do other things. The things that we do in entertainment are the things people see and focus on. We met doing music in 1988 and music is something we both have passion for, so it's been part of our lives for 21 years. It has become a second nature to us and we just flow with it. We try to keep the business on one side, keep the family on one side and keep the other jobs on one side. We have a fine balance and when you have people that respect themselves the way I and my wife do, there are just a few problems here and there and nothing much.

What are your other interests?
My wife likes the beauty industry, so she owns a salon called Hair Afrique. We also run an office called KopyKat, which is both an advertising and entertainment outfit. I am still always on TV. Most people still remember me as a TV person because I have been on TV since the early 90s. People know my relationship with Charly Boy.

At your age and level, how do you still manage to dress the way you do with your wife?
We are in showbiz and we like to dress like that. I like clothes a lot and my wife loves to dress the same way with me. Before, we used to wear exactly the same thing, but as we got older, we began to diversify and she began to wear more feminine things . But what majorly happens is that I just tell her the colour I want to wear and she would find something that would match it. I just make sure we are colour-coordinated.

Who makes the choices?
She knows when I have to wear a particular colour and she just picks her own to match. I have about 50 suits and it is just about telling her the colour I want to wear. Most of the time, I wear black suits. I have about seven black suits which I wear with any colour and she wears her own to match. Moreover, it is very nice to see two people that are united when you come out for an event. It is not nice to see a couple that dress out of sorts.

How do you manage to keep your band together?
The Dejavu band is strictly a business. It is not just about Tunde and Wunmi Obe. Apart from us, we have about four other solid singers that can hold their own anywhere. It is what the organizers want us to play that we play at events. The band is a business and we play what people want us to play. Once we are at a party, you don't even need a DJ. We play every kind of music and genre of music. Everything depends on the client. We give people what they want. We are a party band and once you can afford us, we are there.

How much does it cost to hire your band for an event?
We don't come cheap; we are one of the most expensive bands in the county, but we have paid our dues and if you want a good thing, you have to pay for it. Everything in life comes with standards and everything has a standard. We are expensive and we are not ashamed to say it. When you want us, you have to count six zeros at least, after the number. We can't be everywhere. That's what makes us relevant.

How do you cope with your female fans?
I get all sorts of attention from women. Once, I was at a car park and a lady walked up very close to me, almost into my face and screamed, “He is the one! He is the one!” I thought she was crazy. Then, she asked me, “You are Tunde Obe, right? “I said yes, then she saw my phone. “This is an E-90 right? It's a nice phone. Can I have a look?” I said “yes” and she asked if she could have a look. I let her have it. Then, she punched her number in and dialled, then she got my number in her phone. Five minutes later, she called me and she bugged my life for months. That made me stop holding a phone. It is amazing what happens in the entertainment industry, but one has to be responsible and treat women with a lot of respect.

As a very stylish person who are your favourite designers?
I love Italian designers. Their suits fit perfectly, maybe because their body structure is very similar to ours. All my suits are Italian and they cost quite a fortune. But if you want to get a good suit, you have to have money now. It is not as if I buy suits everyday, but when we work hard, I can pick a couple of suits as a present to myself. We need to look good for our image. A good suit for us is a necessity.

What about your wife?
About ninety percent of what she wears are from Maufechi. She is her sister and her friend and she makes most of the things she wears. She also visit Everywoman, Pretty Woman and Collectibles.

How do you manage with your marriage in the spotlight?
I and my wife are only celebrities in the eyes of the people that see us. We relate as those two people who met 21 years ago, who didn't have anything, but had a lot of dreams and passion. She is my best friend and I am her best friend.

What are the things about her that still attract you to her?
She is a very strong-willed person, intelligent, dynamic and kind. We both have similar stories of rags to riches. We are children of very wealthy people who came together and had nothing, but built from the scratch to where we are today. Wunmi is a very down to earth person and she speaks her mind.

Friday, March 12, 2010

‘My music, my man and my cars’ – OMAWUMI

2007 Idols West Africa runner-up and winner of a brand new KIA Optima at the recent Hip Hop Awards, Omawunmi Megele opens up to Notes and Tones on some very interesting issues in her life…

Prior to Idols West Africa, what were your major musical activities?
I was already singing before Idols, but it wasn’t something that I would call a career. I was concentrating more on my law studies, did some businesses on the side and a couple of choruses for some people. I was also a very active member of the choir.

At what point did you know that you were going to make a career out of music?
Immediately I got into the top five. Even right from the top ten, I knew I was in for something big because we were voted into the top ten by viewers and for one to be amongst the top ten means that the people must have seen something in the person to vote him or her into the top ten. I felt that if people think that I can be a good and successful musician, then I should give it a go. It is only fair that I do that.

You trained as a lawyer, with all these musical developments, do you think you will ever have the time to practice it?
Yes, I trained as a lawyer and I am not yet a barrister because I haven’t gone to Law School, but I will have to go to Law School at some point. If I don’t do that, It would be like being handicapped. You can’t get to being a lawyer and not go the whole nine yards of becoming a barrister. So, I would have to, eventually. Besides, it is a good thing for me to do because it is going to help me in whatever field I find myself in.

So, when do you think you can find time?
When? That’s the issue. But we thank God because there is no age restriction to admission into Law School. But it is something I am seriously considering. Maybe in a maximum of five years, I should be at the Law School.

Do you intend to ever practice it?
Eventually I am going to have to. What I wanted to do with law was to teach it. It wasn’t entirely to practice it. But you can’t teach it without practicing but most times it is always good for one to practice it before teaching it so that one can have practical examples while you are teaching it. Now that all of this has happened, it has put it on a hold, but it has also made my future more open. There are so much more opportunities that those experiences have given me. The things I planned to do with my future. This has made it easier. Let’s just see how it goes. That’s all I can say for now. My life is in God’s hands. It is where he decides to push me to, that’s where I am going.

Now God has pushed you into music. You were second in Idols West Africa, you won two awards at the Hip Hop Awards, you have three exotic cars and have just won another one. All with just one released song…
(Laughs and cuts in) God is wonderful because na as you talk am na so e be.

Do you have a passion for cars?
Yeah, to an extent. I have a passion for cars. I like having different cars for different occasions. I don’t like driving at night and there are time I like being inconspicuous. I like classic cars. I know that in my life that I am going to own a Volkswagen Touareg, I know that in my life I am going to own a Jaguar, I know that in my life that I am going to own a bad Monster Truck…I have a thing for cars, to tell the truth.

Let’s talk more about your music. When is your album coming out?
The album was supposed to be out in April but we decided to take our time. We think that it is only better for us to work hard so that the people out there who have put so much interest and trust in us will be happy to buy my album. Not to say that delay is a very good thing, but it is just like God was just arranging the situation for me to wait. In The Music to have bagged two awards (thanks to the many people that believed in me and voted for me) only goes to say that the album should be better. In The Music has set the pace and everything should be as good as it is or better. I cannot afford to go into the studio and bring out something that people will not be happy with. So, I have to work harder. The question of when the album is going to come out, push come to shop, next month. But I promise you that I will do everything in my power to make sure that you get a good album not a quick album.

Nigerian music has acquired its own style, language, rhythm and various other distinctive qualities that distinguish it from that of other people. What you did with In the Music is a kind of experiment with South African beats, are there other experiments like that in your upcoming album?
Firstly, yes. It was an experiment. But it would not be fair to limit me to any particular genre of music. Without wanting to sound immodest, I believe, people noted my versatility during Idols West Africa. Yes, you are right to say that the beat is Kwaito, but it was in pidgin English. I would also like to say that it would not a fair to limit music. Someone could wake up tomorrow in Nigeria and start doing country, as long as it good music, I think it is okay. Secondly, yes. You are going to have a whole lot of other experiments in the album. There is going to be a blend of many things. I am going to touch hip life, highlife, reggae, techno, RnB and so many other genres.

We met you performing Live at Idols West Africa, are you still on that part or have you joined the bandwagon of artistes performing with their CDs?
I have an eight-man band and perform live most times. The few times that I performed with my CDs are with a special performance CD. The lead vocal is silent on it, so the voice you hear is mine live. The only time I have ever mimed was on Moments with Mo, when I didn’t have my band or my performance CD and they insisted that I sing for them, and I sang over my voice. I don’t mime. I don’t like miming and I don’t encourage it. Anytime you see me mime in the future, know that I was either forced, and if you listen clearly, you will hear my voice over whatever of my CDs they play for me.

Let’s talk about your man. How and when did you meet Dr. Frabz?
We met in a studio in Ikoyi late last year.

What attracted you to him?
It is not something that you can see. He weighs his words. He is not a man of many words and that I respect a lot because I am a woman of many words. He is very respectful. He is very observant and he is very good at what he does.

Did the music contribute in anyway? I mean did he being in the music line contribute in any way to the development of the relationship?
I don’t know. I don’t think so. He is not the only producer that I have worked with and I work with a lot of other producers. I have intentions of working with ID Cabasa and Terry G.

Apart from music, what else do you like doing?
I like reading a lot. I can read anything, but they have to be good. I read Steven King and John Saw. I collected the complete series of their books because I like horror novels. In my university days, I read thrillers and courtroom drama, but I am not a fan of John Grishma. I like his books but if I want to go into real courtroom drama, I have other authors. I also read fantasy novels. At moment, I am doing British humour. I hate outdoor games but like indoor ones. I like crossword puzzles and scrabble.

At the Hip Hop Awards, you had an already prepared acknowledged list prior to your winning the prize for the Best Female Vocalist. What made you so sure?
The first step in everything is belief. I had already weighted the two and felt that also preparing a list for the Next Rated Category would be a bit over-confident. I rallied my friends on Facebook to vote. Waje and Nikki are my very good friends and they are fantastic signers in their own rights, but just because they are my friends does not mean I will sit back and let them win. I knew that I worked as hard and so I wrote my script. My wish was for the best man to win but I believed and prayed that I was going to win.

So you lobbied for the award?
I believe lobbying is a strong and derogatory word to use in this context. I would prefer campaign. I campaigned on Facebook. I did not go the length to which some people did to win these prizes.You don’t know what people did for these prizes. I did not send text messages to people. I did not do bulk messaging. I got bulk text messages in my phone. I got e-mails in my box. I got a lot of things and I did none of those. The only thing I did was ask my friends on Facebook to vote for me.

What about your parents are they there?
My dad is dead but my mom is in Warri. I called her in the middle of the night when I won the car and she woke up, she went to my sister’s room and woke her up and both of them started singing. I joined them on the phone. I was overwhelmed with joy and emotion and I had to sing the worship song which my mom brought up with her and my sister.

What’s your relationship with Timi Dakolo like?
You know you cannot rule it out that there comes when you and somebody, una body no go dey sweet una, but I don’t think it is something that people should sit on. Timi and I are just two ordinary people like everybody else. If we have differences, we can sort it or straighten it out. I don’t have differences with somebody up to the extent the person becomes my sworn enemy.

What are the remaining promises of the organizers of Idols West Africa that have not yet been fulfilled?
I don’t know. I am not part of them anymore. I only got the same kind of record deal that Timi Dakolo got. Mind you, the competition was a winner takes all thing. They kept their part of the bargain to a certain extent, but the contract expired before my first single came out.

‘Music production is a very lucrative business’ – DOKTA FRABZ

Dokta Frabz
Dotka Frabz’s real name is Ayorinde Faboro and he from Ido in Ekiti State. He is presently one of the best music producers in the country but he largely keeps a very low profile. He used to wear his hair long but has now cut it down because of the demanding nature of that style. So, you might never really notice him in a crowd except for his size (he is very well fed) and his wide grin.
Apart from being a producer, Dokta Frabz has also been in the new because of his relationship with Miss Omawunmi Megbele, first runner-up, Idols West Africa, 2007. Unlike most other celebrity relationship, they have been very open with theirs and apart from the musical interests which brought them together, mutual respect for each other and the congeniality of their nature also keeps afloat a relationship with he told Notes and Tones, he would love to take further.
In this interview, Dokta Frabz takes us through the rudiments of music production and various other things that interest him. Enjoy…

How did you come about your name, Dokta Frabz?
Dokta Frabz means Doctor of Flavour, Rhythm and Blues. It came from the fact that I’m a very RnB person. Even though that’s not the only thing I like in music but as a music producer, I decided to call myself the Doctor of Flavour, Rhythm and Blues because as producers, we are actually like doctors.

How did music production start for you?
Music production started properly for me in 2003. I have always had the ideas of putting songs together in my heard since I was a kid; I have been playing the keyboard, the guitar and drums since I was a kid. I have also written songs but I never had the chance to get into the studio to produce a song. I had a lot of songs in my head that I was wishing to bring out before I came across a music software called Fruity Loops. I picked interest and spent a lot of time trying to understand the dynamics of the software. I also got in contact with other softwares and that was how my production really started. I also used to arrange musical sequences on our school keyboard before I got to know that I could make a living out making musical beats. I took myself through a lot of trial and error, crashed my computer more than a couple of times, took some internet lectures and today here I am.

How do you spot a good song?
There are so many songs I could classify as good but not many people would see it the same way with me. Not everyone would love the same genre of songs. A song could be good as song as if doesn’t make me fall asleep I also listen to the instruments in a song, the arrangement and composition, if I am able to make out something sensible and pleasant to my ears then I would assume if it a good song. But again it would take another four to five listenings to decide if I can put it on my playlist or not. Picking out a good song is a gift for everyone.

In another aspect, how do you know the songs you can work on and produce?
I am a very imaginative person. When I listen to song, I start to picture the studio sessions, the kinds instruments that could go with it, the kind of emotions and the mood the song could have. If someone comes to me with ideas, depending on how he delivers it, I would decide if it would be a love song, rock or RnB. I listen to the song and compose a tune or progression that suits whatever the person has and if it sounds cool and blends, then we have a good start, if it doesn’t, then we continue to look for a matching one.

How do you know artistes that you can work with?
I don’t know artistes that I can work with. I only have an idea because a lot of people have hidden talents and you don’t know what they have until they get to the studio or you stumble on it by accident. If an artiste is able to put across the ideas he has in his mind, then I think I can work with him or her. But I am supposed to be able to work with anybody. If doesn’t matter who the artiste is, as long as he is serious and knows what he or she wants, then I can work with the person.

Are there particular genres of music that you prefer to others?
Yes. Like my name represents, there is flavour, rhythm and blues and I am a very RnB person. I like cool calming music, like songs that make one relax and think. Songs that take one’s stress away and make one try to figure out a solution to his or her life. I prefer RnB to a lot of genres. I also like pop and soft rock. I like hip hop and so many other genres of music. But really, there’s a season for every type of music.

What do you think is the music season in Nigeria?
In Nigeria, I have come to discover that a lot of people don’t really want to hear what you are saying, the just want to dance. Beyond that, they also want to hear easy slangs that they use everyday, things that they can use to talk to people. Nigeria is all about groove, African likes to dance, so it is dance season in Nigeria now.

Are there times that you just tell an artiste, “I can’t work with you?”
Yes. That’s after I must have finished trying to work on them. I don’t just dismiss artistes like that telling them that I can’t work with them. I must have tried my best to work with that artiste without any success. A lot of artistes come with a lot of difficulties. Some don’t take professional advice they don’t listen to other people, so you don’t have any choice but to send the person away otherwise the next time you might actually fight with the person.

There’s was this rumour that you actually produced D’Banj ‘Why Me’, that was why you featured in the video and that you weren’t given any credit for it?
I co-produced “Why Me” and I also did a lot of co-productions with Mo Hits that I was never credited with. But you know at that time I was just coming up and most people that are coming up are never credited with anything. Don Jazzy produced “Why Me” but I did a lot of work with them. Don Jazzy is very good at drums and I am very good with the keyboard so that was where most of my contribution came from.

Was it Don Jazzy that brushed you up in music production?
He contributed a lot to my understanding of Nigerian music and production. He is a hitmaker, he understands commercial music. I picked a few things from him about producing and writing commercial music. A lot of people in Nigeria do good but not commercial songs. Don Jazzy has a very broad knowledge of commercial music.

Are there other producers that influenced you?
One can never know everything, so you have to pick something from everybody and I picked from quite a number of people. Cobhams Asuquo is one of them because when it comes to foreign music, ballads and pop, Cobhams is a professional. He doesn’t have any competition as far I am concerned. I have been able to pick form so many people that I can’t even remember all of them. I didn’t learn everything by myself.

How lucrative is music production?
It depends on what you have achieved, your status and your versatility. Music production is very lucrative because everybody wants to sing and people are looking for quality. If you have the quality they are looking for, then you are in business. You will always be busy and being busy means that you are making money. People always look for talent, so I am always busy. It is a very lucrative business and I will encourage anyone that has the talent to take time specialize. It is a good profession and a lot depends on how well you profile yourself. A lot of people that are good don’t even earn as much as I do.

How much do you charge for a beat?
At the moment, I charge N100, 000 to produce. There are other charges for studio time, mixing and mastering and when you add all those, it gets to roughly N150, 000 to completely produce a song in my studio.

What’s the name of your studio?
N’sayne Entertainment Studios.

How did you come up with the name?
All these means have been in my mind for a long time now because I have been planning all this for a long time now. I have the idea that entertainment is supposed to be exciting and very crazy so I came up with the name N’sayne Entertainment. It does not mean made but just crazy and multi-dimensional.

How many songs can you produce in one day?
I have produced three songs in one day before. Recording sometimes take time because the artiste needs a lot of direction and this may slow down production. I am supposed to use like three days to produce a song but sometimes I work fast.

Let’s talk a bit more about N’sayne Entertainment.
N’sayne Entertainment is an outfit that I want use to empower up an upcoming artiste to become a big music star of tomorrow. I am working on a project, sort of a mixtape, which I call Dokta Frabz presents The Next Generation, Volume I. It is an album that would feature a lot of people I feel have the potential to stand out in the future. There is also a beach concert coming up in November. I presently have one artiste on N’sayne Entertainment, Jimmy Flames. We are working on his first album. I am also an artiste on N’sayne Entertainment and my album would also be dropping early next year.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Meet Dekumzy, Dr. Alban, Charly Boy, Bracket and Resonance’s producer

The name, Derek Osonwa, may not ring a bell but Dekumzy definitely will. They are both the same person and since announcing his arrival on the beat production scene with his heroics on Esther's Resonance, the gospel album which featured the hit single, Chinweike, and helped redefine gospel music, Dekumzy also worked on Nigga Raw's first and second albums, and by the time he produced, Yori Yori and launched the careers of the Bracket duo, he knew it was time for him to leave the familiar surroundings of his Enugu home and seek greener pastures and greater challenges.
He chose Abuja, Charly Boy and Dr. Alban who were seeking to re-launch their careers and compete on the contemporary scene came calling next.
He took on the challenge and single handedly produced, co-wrote and co-sang on almost all the tacks on their new combined album. Charly Boy and Dr. Alban also took him to Sweden for the bulk of the production work and are most of the time on stage with him whenever they are performing.
Dekumzy is on the other side of his 20s and has a wife, Mary Ursula, and a young son, plus a growing career and ambition to help change the face of entertainment. We talked about these and more in their interview…

Prior to Resonance, what else have you done musically?
There was nothing concrete or major out there before it. I was doing some underground works that periodically got airplay, but nothing really serious and I was based in Enugu then.

How did Resonance contribute to your being where you are today?
It gave me a name. It became my platform, but being based in Enugu kind of restricted my growth, because Enugu is not the main hub of entertainment in Nigeria. I was part of those that worked on Nigga Raw's first album, then his second album, then Desperate Chicks album and a number of other works. While on them, I knew I couldn't continue staying in Enugu and a lot of people encouraged me to move out and seek greener pastures. Other Enugu-based producers like J-Martins and Mekoyo had left, so some of the other underground producers in Enugu began to see me as a threat. Then, I did Yori Yori and now decided to leave Enugu. The Charly Boy on the Loose, featuring Dr. Alban, is my first major work outside Enugu.

How did you come to do the work?
I don't really know what brought Charly Boy to me, but it’s Nigga Raw that gave him my number and he called and told me that he wanted to work with me. At first, I was really scared, but when I met him, I found out that he was different from what I had been hearing of him. He told me he wanted me to create a new him and I said okay. We started working and writing the songs. The way he sang on this album is not the way he sings normally. Even Dr. Alban sang in Igbo. We all travelled to Sweden, did everything there and came back.
Would you say that this is your biggest work so far?
Sort of. “Yori Yori” was big and all the other artistes I have worked with are big, but this is on the international standard.

How did you manage?
My dad always told me this: “When you are in your zone, take charge, don't let anyone else take over your zone; don't let another person control you in your zone.” So, when I am doing the production work in the studio, I know that is my house and I take charge; I say what I want. And it worked very well. I was virtually telling them what to do and when they followed what I said, I got more confident and really put my foot down. I was excited to be able to do that, but all was in the line of duty and I respect them a lot.
What of the other people you are working with?
We are all still working together. I and Bracket are working on “Yori Yori” remix with 2Face and Desperate Chicks are working on their new album.

How did you get into music production?
I have always loved music. I never knew I was going to be a music producer, some day. I used to be a very bad boy while I was in secondary school. One day, I got into trouble and while running from that trouble, I ran into the church. Entering the church and seeing the way they were singing and performing made me want to join them and I joined them. I was also a member of the Federal Ex-Christian Students Association. In fact, that was where I learnt everything I know about music today. I played music with them for four years. I learnt how to listen and understand the artist there and that is really working for me.

Where did you learn about the computer production aspect of your job?
I was trained on that by another producer based in Enugu called Obio (Obinna Oko). I worked on Resonance just a few weeks after I got into the studio to learn. He encouraged me to do the work; he believed in me and that also made me believe in myself. But he still trained me for years.

Why did you decide to move to Abuja?
I have a name now and I can walk into offices with minimal difficulties and Abuja is where the offices are. I have plans to influence a lot of changes in the life of the youth and entertainment in Nigeria. I am going to try and influence changes in the way artists and entertainers are treated. I foresee a situation where one day there will be a minister of entertainment, just like there are other ministers.
In years to come, there would be a lot of changes in the entertainment sector of this country. Abuja is where the decisions are made and by being there, I could help influence some of them. The government employs entertainment to get their wants. They use entertainment when seeking our votes and after that, they leave us to suffer.

How do you decide or spot the artist you work with?
I like people who are calm and humble. People who like criticism and do not take it wrongly; people who like sharing things. Some artists are very arrogant and till today, they are nowhere.

When you started production while still in school, didn't if affect your studies?
It did. I almost dropped out of school and my parents threw me out of the house. We fought a lot and they really kicked against it, but after a while, they found out that everything is not about going to school. Schooling alone doesn't make a man, but it is actually getting the education that makes one. If I decide to sit down and study music, that is part of it. I must not have a degree in Engineering or read one course or the other before I can succeed in life. So many people are studying different courses in the university because of their parents. One has to find out what he or she is really good at and go after it. Otherwise you will end up a failure, whether you go to school or not.

Tell us about your wife
My wife has been with me for four years now. She's been singing. She is one of the Desperate Chicks. They featured on Charly Boy and Dr. Alban's song, “Shayo Plenty”. She is a very understanding person and I understand her too. Since both of us are in showbiz, we are most of the time out for one for commitment or the other.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Nigeria's most prestigious youth event held on Sunday, February 7, 2010, at the Shell Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos. Powered by Redstrat, a company of three young Nigerians: Chude Jideonwo, Emilia Asim-Ita and Adebola Williams, the award aims at recognizing the achievements of youths aged between 18 and 31 over the past year. The award is in its fifth year and always attracts the cream of the society, including older people who have sympathy for youthful endeavours.
This year's event was no exception as personalities ranging from Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the World Bank, Professor Pat Utomi, Dr. Reuben Abati, Chief Dele Momodu, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, wife of the governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Sarah Sosan, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Chimamanda Adichie, Toyin Subair of HiTv and many more were there...

The green carpet reception was billed to start by 5pm and the show proper by 6pm, but due to the fact that the MUSON Centre is used as a worship centre by some churches on Sunday, the hall wasn't released to the organizers till around 4pm and one hour wasn't enough time to put it in order. The green carpet, didn't start much behind schedule, but it lingered past the proposed 6pm. It was actually by 7:40pm, after guests had been allowed into the hall, just a little bit earlier, that comedian, Jedi, came out to apologize for the late start.

Undertaken by Omolara, Nene and Uche, the National Anthem officially signalled the commencement of proceedings. They did a good job, but the amount of flavour and colouring which they added to it almost completely defamiliarized it. They were in gospelic raptures and a tune of such national stature should rather be done with the eyes open. Or still, let a permanent model be set and a singular tune be always used.

The young organizers of The Future Awards pulled off a major coup by bringing down the Managing Director of the World Bank to come and deliver the keynote address. There were actually indications that she might have personally chosen the date to ensure her availability and attendance. Past events held in January. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala rallied the Nigerian youth to stand up and defend the country. Anytime things are going wrong in other places, the youths are always the ones that challenge the powers that be to do things right, peacefully.

*Asa and her manger, Janet Nwose, Toyin Subair and Banky W, all came in at 7:50pm.

*D'banj, D'prince and Sauce Kid arrived at 8:10pm.

All this while, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was still talking. She finally finished at 8:20pm and received a standing ovation from the audience.

Then, Sasha came on and announced a performance by Bez, Djinee and Cobhams.

8:30pm: Bez and Cobhams who arrived first were still battling with the sound system which had refused to be steady for them to perform. They finally started and after Bez had finished doing “Zuchia Daya,” Djinee joined them on stage and they rounded with “Overkillin'.”

The official hosts of the evening were rapper Naeto C and former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN). Naeto was in a black suit, pants, a white shirt, a bow tie and his signature dark goggles. Muna, looking gorgeous, had on a beautiful gown and wore her hair in a partially blonded mohawk. They called up Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi of Beat 99.9 FM and Gbemileke “Oscar” Oyinsan of Inspiration FM to present the first four awards.
M.I first ascended the stage to a rapturous reception from the audience, but he wasn't coming to perform. He instead invited a team of performers whom he recognized as “The Future” of Nigerian music to come and perform. They were Lil' H, Willy Bang, Skales, Whizkid and Mo' Cheddah and they took the stage one after the other. Even though they did justice to the tag of being the future of Nigerian music, only Skales and Whizkid were audible because they had their performance CDs, but the others sang to their pre-recorded tracks. Mo'Cheddah was particularly noticeable in her skintight black leggings.

When Naeto and Muna reappeared on stage, Muna had changed into a very skimpy, tight dress that barely allowed her to walk. She then rapped to the beat of Naeto's “Ako Mi Ti Poju” and the audience approved, but Chimamanda frowned heavily at her dress.

The beautiful blogger won the award for the Style Entrepreneur of the Year and when she ascended the stage she kept striking model poses for the paparazzi to the amusement of the audience. When she finally collected her plaque, she told the audience that that was the first award she was winning in her life. This further amused them.

*D' Prince of Mo' Hits and Audu Makori of Chocolate City Music came up to present the next set of awards. After them were Uche Nnaji of Ouch! who won the Style Entrepreneur of the Year at last year's Future Awards. With him was a plump lady, who introduced herself as Bobby Taylor, to present the next award. It was for the Journalist of the Year, which was won by Next Newspapers' Ruona Agbroko. She was not there, but her sister stood in for her and read her speech. She also won a Blackberry from MTN.

9ice's estranged wife was ushered up the stage with the beats of her husband's hit song, “Gongo Aso.” The DJ, Neptunes, abruptly stopped the song midway, but Toni immediately asked him why. The audience actually didn't recognize her at first, but she happily introduced herself as Toni Payne. She then called up the “Branama Queen,” Kefee, for her performance. She first did her new single, “Sapele Water,” before the popular “Kokoroko” which got the crowd on their feet.

*Prof Pat Utomi walked in at 9:35pm.

Then, Naeto and Muna came up to call comedian Owen Gee and TV presenter, Yvonne Ekwere, to come and present the next set of awards. They did well excellently and combined beautifully to give the audience a treat.

Naeto and Muna came out and announced that they were done with their own part of the show. Kevin, winner of Big Brother Africa 2009 and Omawumi Megbele, who also released her debut album, Wonder Woman last year, were taking over. The applause used to receive Kevin was deafening. He then invited Omawumi to sing herself out from the backstage.

Essence, Waje, Timi Dakolo and Nene came up to render a special composition of some “Old Skool” Nigerian songs to mark our 50th anniversary. Nene was first, followed by Waje, Essence, and Timi. After performing individually, they then gathered on stage to sing together.

Omawumi and Kevin returned to the stage to invite Chude Jideonwo, the Creative Director of Redstrat, to come and talk about The Future Project and drive in hosting the awards. He did a fine job of it and stated that the talents and challenges of the Nigerian youth were too many for them to be ignored. Thus, they have taken it upon themselves to always host the awards which they have done for five years now and will continue to do.

Two of the heaviest weights in the house, Toyin Subair and Chimamanda Adichie, were then invited to come and present the award for the Young Person of the Year. Toyin first showed off his Durella sneakers and introduced the audience to the young musician’s project. They then called up all the nominees on stage. Certificates were first presented to the eight of them: Ikponmwosa Osakioduwa, Stephanie Okereke(who was missing, but had been earlier spotted in the building), Toyosi Akerele, Cobhams Asuquo, Qudus Onikeku, Asa, Tolu Ogunlesi and Ify Aniebo. D'banj, last year's winner, was also invited to join them on stage. The award was won by Ify Aniebo, a 26-year old Nigerian young lady who is a research scientist and currently a Ph. D student at Oxford University. She had earlier won the prize for Best Use of Science.

Chimamanda Adichie who was dressed in a beautiful red gown came to the event in the company of a white chaperon. After giving out the award for the Young Person of the Year, she returned quietly to her seat, by his side. Comedian, Seyi Law, then took the stage to lighten up the atmosphere. As Nigerian comedians are wont to do, any white person in the audience usually attracts their attention. This was the case with Chimamanda's companion. When Seyi noticed him, he went over to him, but Chimamanda was visibly displeased with the attention being drawn to them. Seyi soon left the man alone and continued with his jokes, but Chimamanda, still irritated, made efforts not to laugh at his jokes, but that wasn't quite possible. She was reeling with laughter like the other members of the audience by the time he left the stage.

Everyone witnessed the controversy caused by Dr. Reuben Abati's article on the identity crisis in the Nigerian music industry last year and Banky W's highly celebrated response to it. Dr. Abati was the next presenter and Omawumi comically ran away from the stage so as to make way for him. When he came up, he acknowledged the responses he got for his essay and professed a new found fondness for contemporary Nigerian music. “Strong Thing” by a young man named Bankole Wellington (emphasis on the name) was one of his favourites. He requested DJ Neptunes to play it to him while Mr. Bankole Wellington (emphasis on the name again) should join him on stage. Thus, a classic moment of The Future Awards was born. Banky W joined Dr. Abati on the stage and they quashed their differences. Banky then proposed that Dr. Abati assume a moniker and requested that he henceforth be addressed as Uncle Reub or Uncle Reuben.

Kevin and Omawumi came back to announce a performance by the dance groups, Dance Na the Main Thing (DNMT) and Streethood. They executed a very energetic and entertaining dance steps to the admiration of the audience. VJ, Deji Falope, who hosted the Malta Guiness Street Dance contest last year, also appeared intermittently to moderate this part of the show.

10:55: Chimamanda and partner left.

*The dance groups continued to entertain.

11:05: Omawumi and Kevin came back on stage.

*Prof Pat Utomi left with his ‘wife’.

11:15: The show was brought to an end and guests were directed to Swe Bar, where DJ Neptunes would hold sway for the night.

Kemi Lala Akindoju

Adekunle Samuel Owolabi

Tolu Sangosanya (Dustbin Estate Children)

Fatima Zara Modibbo (Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria)

Ify Aniebo (Research in Malaria)


Bade Adesomowo (BINCOM)

Soundcity Blast

Debola Lewis (Yvent Couture)

Warebi Martha


Kenneth Gyang (“Finding Aisha”)

Jesse Jagz

Janet Dung (Athletics)

Matse Uwatse (WAZOBIA FM)

Linda Ikeji (Blackdove Communications)

Andre Blaze (NIGEZIE)

African Youths Unite for Change

Ifunanya Maduka (Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls)

Ify Aniebo (Science Researcher)

"‘Yes, I'm in a serious relationship and getting married this year’ -- Cobhams

“Families are involved and it doesn't speak well of me if I should just disclose details of an issue as serious as marriage without due consultation between all of the parties involved. I will let you have more details, but at the moment, I can tell that none of the things written so far about this issue is true. The first public statement that is going to be made about this issue is what I am going to tell you now and even those would not be very specific because nothing has been finalized yet. None of the other people who wrote about this talked to me.”
Thus said Cobhams Asuquo, and with that as the backdrop, we embarked on a exclusive interview with the multi-talented producer on the stories going about town that he is getting set to get married.
The lady in question is a tall, slim, dark lady named Odunola. Anywhere you see Cobhams, she will definitely be there with him. She wasn't at home during this interview, but Cobhams talked to us about her, his music and a number of other things…

We have seen you around with a particular lady and we would like to know who she is?
I don't want to publicly disclose her identity yet, even though some people have managed to put her identity together. I agree that I am in a serious relationship and I, in a lot of cases, appear with the person I am seeing.

How did you meet her?
We met at the Public Affairs section of a country's information centre where we were just preparing to go and study. That's the much I like to tell you now. It is a very interesting story how we met, but you have to wait a little more before you can get it.

How long have you been going on?
We've been friends for a long time.

Does she have any musical interests?
She likes to listen to music and she sings quite well. She's got a great voice.

Is she doing anything professional in music?
She supports me and that's professional enough (laughs). She is interested in some of the other things I like to do. We both like to write and we also do a few other things as well.

Let's talk a bit about your music. How many artistes are on CAMP (Cobhams Asuquo Music Production) and how many of them are you planning to bring out?
We are planning to bring out one artist at a time. We have about seven artists working with us at the moment, but we are going to unleash them one by one, starting from Bez, who in my opinion is the next big thing in Africa because of the buzz that is currently building up about him. There's also Omolara, Tarri, Pheel, Tamara. They are a crop of artists who hopefully are well grounded to give Nigerians a totally new musical experience.

How many people are actually going to come out this year?
We are pushing for five, but it may thin down to three. We want to make sure that we pay as much attention to each person's work as possible because they are uniquely different works of art and they need to be expressed and interpreted in their various respects. It is a lot of work and we are not in any hurry. For us, if we can successfully do only two of them, it would be enough. But going by our calendar, we are pushing for five people.

What made you decide to pick some particular people to work with, apart from the general work you do for people?
I decided to begin to work with artists when I realized that there's a need. First of all, we have a crop of talented Nigerian artists who don't have the avenue to express their kind of art because there's this pop culture that does not necessarily give room for the unique sounds that some artists have. I belong in a lot of sense to that school, but I felt the pain of a lot of artists who are gifted with very unique forms of musical expression, but have no medium of expressing themselves, so I decided to put something up. I wanted to help them to realize their dreams. I have found out that real music is music that's done from the heart and there's the chance to introduce Nigeria to another brand of music that is wholesome. There's academics and art to music and not just commerce, and I found with me a group of people who are willing to express with me these very same ideas of myself and I said to myself that rather than sitting down and sulking over it, let's make things happen. By the grace of God, I have worked with a number of artists and earned myself a measure of reputation as a producer and that's some good name that can be put to use if I have the studio and a good name that can be put to use, then what are we waiting for? Let's come together and start something as long as we can do it right.

What's your view of the current Nigerian music industry?
I think the industry is not doing bad for itself, but it needs structures. The industry is still growing. Piracy, which is one of the major issues we are dealing with, can be tackled if there's a structure. A structure in terms of relapse, supply meeting demand, affordability, publicity and research. The industry needs to speak with one voice. There needs to be a body that can speak for musicians, a body that speaks the language of musicians generally and sincerely.
I think we are on our way. I believe in the Nigerian music industry. I think to an extent it is commercialized though, which to an extent is a great source of concern for me. I know that as we progress, the great separation would happen and we will know what is from what's not.

What about the quality of the musical output?
It is happening in two ways. There are those people who strive to create materials that can be considered international export materials and there are people who do music purely for the commerce of it; pe-ople who want to sell music to Nigerians since they know what Nigerians want. They create the very popular style of music, make a few quick bucks, buy a second-hand car, rent a cheap apartment and carry on with their lives. It is a trend that will come to pass after a while because Nigerians are getting wiser by the minute; Nigerians are responding more and more to real music, that's why I speak of the great separation. There will come the time when the latter will not have it as easy as they are having it now. There are quite a few who are striving to create wholesome music. Some people will call it alternative music, but for me, that's real music and if they continue at it, one day, one of us would come home with the Grammy.

Still going back to the earlier issue of your marriage, what are some of the other things you would like us to know at the moment?
I have always been expectant of marriage. As a child, it's quite uncommon to have dreams about getting married and all that, but I grew up really looking forward to that point of my life. So, it shouldn't be news to anybody that I would be making plans to get married. Although I think a lot of magazines have not handled it well, because you are the first person that is talking to me about it. Like I said before, all other comments out there purportedly made by me are all lies. This is the first time I am speaking about it to any media. Yes, I will be getting married very soon, I can't put a date to it just yet.

Tell us a bit more about the lady.
I am in a serious relationship with a wonderful lady and we have been together for almost a decade. It is very deep, very wide, very rewarding, very rich, very enriching, very productive relationship. It's been my drive for years. It's driven me to achieve, to succeed, to be a better person, to be a more honest person. It is a very meaningful relationship. It has given me room to express and has taken me to another level of expressing myself. It has taught me to love. It has taught me to give and receive love. It has taught me to appreciate and to enjoy being appreciated in return. I am in a relationship with someone I consider a very wise woman at her age. She is an absolutely amazing and admirable person. I like the way she laughs; it just kills me. She's a great person and I do hope sincerely that she and I will get married this year.