Wednesday, June 30, 2010

‘Not All Artistes Are Manageable’ – AUDU MAIKORI, C.E.O, Chocolate City Music

Most of the time we concentrate on artists, yes, because they are the visible ones who we get to hear and see. But behind every successful artist is a dedicated producer, manager, publicist and a lot of other background personnel whose special inputs brings us the final product of a hit song, a super video, a popular artist and so on.
I once chatted with the highly regarded boss of Chocolate City Music, Audu Maikoiri. A lawyer, he was the first Nigerian to win the British Council sponsored International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year (IYMEY) in 2007 and has along the way helped nurture the careers of Jeremiah Gyang, Jesse Jags, Djinee, Asa and the current rave, M.I. We talked about most of the strategies involved in artist management and the various challenges facing the Nigerian music industry…

From what musical background do you coming?
The music started from my father. When we were small my father was and still is a major collector of music. We had access to different varieties of music. My dad was also a choir master and his loved for music spread to everyone of us his children. We had various musical instruments at home and even had a music teacher. As we grew older, we began experimenting with our own sounds and today I am a music producer. That is basically where it started.
Do you play any musical instruments?
Not anymore. I used to play the piano.
How did you then get into music production?
I am not a technical music producer. There is a big difference between a technical music producer and what I am doing. When I was at the University of Jos, I and a couple of my friends had a club and I suggested Chocolate City and they accepted the name. Our task in the club was to go from club to club and talk to people about music. It also spread to other universities but most of its branches were not from us. That was way back in 1997. In 2001, one of my directors started an NGO where he encouraged creative people to come in and share their ideas. People used to come to us with various problems, especially, as regards music contracts and careers and we helped. So, eventually, in 2003, I registered Chocolate City as a company. 1n 2005, we launched Chocolate City Music.
How do you decide on which artiste to sign or not?
We looked at the quality of artistes not numbers. We never compromise on quality when signing an artiste. When M.I came along with Crowd Mentality, we still worked on it to get it to where it is today. I may not be technically inclined, but I have an ear to good music and can make informed judgments on music. I have been with music all my life. A music producer has to have an ear for music and how to handle the business aspect of it.
The Nigerian market is peculiar and when you say an artiste sold let’s say 30,000 copies, it is not the same with the situation in other parts of the world. How are you able to manage your artistes in the Nigerian situation?
Like you said, the market is peculiar but music is music everywhere. We don’t put out music that we don’t think is of international quality. Once we are sure the quality and contents of that music are up to the standards we have set for ourselves, the next thing is that we develop a strategy for selling that music. We use all the available information outlets at our disposal to promote the music. I think it is really a question of defining a product, branding the product, and selling that product.
What’s your take on the moral content of Nigerian music?
We know that Nigerians generally are not vulgar and we producers take that into consideration. We don’t put out music that does not agree with our audience into the market. We also synergize with lots of corporate bodies, so we mind the content of the music we put out there.
What about the videos. You know sex sells…
Yes, sex sells but I think there is a way out. You cannot run away from sex but there is no reason you can’t do a video that will send a message, even sexual message, without being sexually explicit. You don’t necessarily need to do video showing naked women and stuff like that. That is not our culture. In this part of this world, it doesn’t even make sense to shoot explicit videos. If we do that, how can we show them? If the NBC bans our video, how do we recoup the money expended on it?
How are you managing with the copyrights issues of your artistes?
I am a lawyer and I have adequate knowledge of the copyright procedure. There is nothing new about piracy. It has always been there even overseas. What we are doing here is the explore as many distribution channels as possible – from the internet, i-Tunes, to normal distribution so that we can be able to get our works across to as many people as possible and limit the effects of piracy. The job still remains for the Nigerian Copyright Commission. They are the right people to tackle the problem. There’s not much we can do individually. The customs also come in.
People import printing machines from our ports and what they should do is to demand licenses and purposes of the imports. This will go a long way in checking piracy. We, the artistes and producers can only try to out smart them and then sensitize the public on the issue.
What do you think about the proliferation of record labels in the country?
I don’t really think we have a lot of standard record labels in Nigeria. A record label’s job is not about producing records. A label also has the job of promoting its artistes both at home and abroad. It doesn’t end at organizing album listening parties. The record label works hand in glove with the artistes’ manager to develop and promote the artiste. The proliferation of these labels in the county without proper checks and balances will only lead to a decline in standards. A label should be big enough to promote their artistes so that the artistes growth will not be stunted or limited.
You won the award as the International Young Music Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007, what was involved?
It is a worldwide project of the British Council. Every year the British Councils in over 110 countries selects ten countries to participate in this programme. The programme is aimed at developing music entrepreneurs, record labels, managers, etc, to sharpen their skills and help them learn what is going on elsewhere in the world and in other countries. In 207, I won it for Nigeria and got the opportunity to travel to the U.K to visit their music industries. At the end of this, the ten countries now compete among each other for the global prize and I won the global prize as well. The prize came with a cash amount of 7500 pounds which to be used for a collaboration project with the U.K. The project was executed last year. We discovered 30 Nigerian music industry people and sent them to the U.K to participate in a global trade event centered around music.
Are there other Nigerian music entrepreneurs that have won that prize?
This is the fourth year of the award. In 2006, Emem Ema of KUSH won. I won in 2007. Cobhams won it this year. But I am the only Nigerian that has won the global prize. The others won it at the country level. Nigeria has so many talents. More educated people are coming into the Nigerian music industry and that is helping the music industry. That we were able to win against countries like Poland, Malaysia and Holland shows that we are on the right track and that there are still more potentials waiting for their opportunities.
Are you still practicing law?
Yes. Law is in the blood because ever since I was four, I knew I was going to be a lawyer. Law gives me fulfillment. A kind of fulfillment which even music which I am very passionate about cannot give. In the label we are grooming people who would one day take over.
Let’s go a little bit private. Tell us about your wife?
Her name is Dr. Zeluwa. She is from Anambra State. We have been married for about a year now. She is a very wonderful person and has been my major backbone. She is in a large part involved in the management of Chocolate City. But is a medical doctor. She is very much in NGO work.
How did you meet her?
We were in Unijos together but we hadn’t met each other then. I met her in Abuja in 2004. I knew we were going to be together right from the first day she entered my car. She was the first female that didn’t complain about the volume of my music. I usually play very loud music in my car and she didn’t even notice the volume.
How did you get her into your car?
(Laughs) Like I told you, I am the president and founder of the Creative Writing Club in Abuja. So, we usually handout introductory forms to new members and welcome them afterwards. She had a headache during one of our meetings and I took her in my car to go buy her some pain reliever..
How do you know a good artist?
First of all, it is the music. Then the personality of the person comes in. The artiste has to be cool headed and responsible so as to be manageable. An artiste could be a load of trouble if he is not responsible and cannot be managed like that. You can be a good musician but you might not be a good artiste to manage. If an artiste takes drugs and indulges in all sorts of vices, he or she might not be a good artiste to manage.
Any advice for the artistes?
They should be hard working. They shouldn’t judge themselves by what others are doing. Most of the artistes that are hot now have been working on their contents for the past ten years. They should work on their contents so that when they finally come out, they will have something to show. Wherever you think you are now, work harder, there’s much work to do.

‘I Dress According To My Mood’ – SASHA


Miss Anthonia Yetunde Alabi who we all know as Sash is the First Lady of Storm Records. Her first album, also entitled, First Lady entrenched her into discerning Nigerian musical minds as a gifted rapper.
In this chat she took time out to address some general and personal issues ranging from music, fashion and style and her personal relationship with other artists...

What are you up to at the moment?
I am currently working on my second album which should be out by the last quarter of the year. I am not giving out dates yet.
What are you titling it, Second Lady?
(Laughs) No, never! I am the second to none. But I have a working title, but that may change anytime I have a theme I am working on. It is about a woman’s life in Lagos and the different experiences she passes through in her daily life. I am putting work together based on that concept and when everything is complete a title would definitely pop out.
How many tracks are you thinking about?
You know a standard album is about 14 tracks and my last album had 13, so you never know I am not restricting myself to any number. I will keep recording songs and continue picking the ones that fit into what I am trying to do. Whatever number I finally come up with, I will work with it.
Which producers are you working with?
I have worked with Tee Y Mix, a new producer who is absolutely amazing name icon, Frenzy and I did a couple of collabos with the Mozambican hip hop star, Dama Do Bling. She was around in March, and we did the song then. On my birthday, May 21, I went into the studio and recorded Gidi Babe. It is a song that still deals on Lagos life. You know Gidi means Lagos and I am a real Gidi babe so, I used the song to talk about how and how not real Gidi Babe should be. I was also recently in South Africa for the opening of ThisDay Music and Fashion Festival. I also used the opportunity to do a remix of one of my songs, Making Money, and also shoot the video.
What do you think is the position of the female artiste in the current structure of things in Nigeria?
The men usually own every turf you try to play but we are giving them a run for their money now. In the past one year, women have started proving themselves and have become more visible. A lot of women are also coming up too. But the truth is that there are a lot of things we can do and got away with but women are more restricted but I will always believe that if you do quality music, you can never be ignored whether you are male or female. Just look at Asa, her music speaks for her. Women are not really at a disadvantage, but it takes a little bit more for a woman to be recognized than the men.
How many awards have you won so far?
I won the Women in Entertainment Award sometime ago and have been nominated in a lot of categories of different awards but I think the recognition is more important. If I say I don’t feel bad when I don’t win an award, I will be lying but I think it is important to put into perspective the reason that I am doing this and the reason is to make a difference in my generation. I want to be someone that in ten years time, when you talk about my generation, you will mention my name because I am not just there to come and sing, dance and go. Awards are testaments of one’s efforts. Awards are just an icing on the cake.
How do you make your fashion choices?
I am a very eclectic person which is why fashion label is called Eclectic by Sasha. I go with how I am feeling, It is a jumble of everything. I wear what fits me whether it is in vogue or not. I stick to wearing whatever makes me feel comfortable. I make a lot of my clothes. Sometimes, I buy and I just sew them together. So, if you see me in anything and I am outside wearing it, just know that I am comfortable wearing it, comfort is what determines my fashion choices.
You are one of the very decently dressed female artistes in Nigeria, what do you think about the amount of body exposure in most of our music videos?
That has been happening for years now but I think the defining factor is being set apart and knowing who you are. I don’t think I need to unnecessarily and indecently expose any part of my body for anybody to like my music. People have different orientations and that I am not that kind of person does not mean that I am going to knock anybody for it but it is my opinion. I simply believe that a woman needs to always show a certain amount of decency in her dressing.
What’s your creative mode while composing your music?
A lot of the times when I write, I am usually pushed by a particular issue or experience. I usually write with a theme in mind but sometimes I could just go into the studio and make a beat with a producer and make music with it. Sometimes I write in my house but you can’t really put it in a box or give it a formular. It just comes.
But you influence your beats?
Yes, but it is not all them. I usually have an opinion about what I want and when working with a producer, I let him know them. But sometimes, you find out that a producer has taken care of whatever you are thinking and that reflects in the beats he has for you. Sometimes you write according to the beats you have. A beat could inspire a song.
Who are your closest friends in the industry at the moment?
I really like to keep my personal life private but at Storm Records, we are a family.
What about your love life, who is your man?
I won’t tell you that either.
But which kind of man attract you, what kind of man can you fall for?
My man has to be tall because I am a tall woman. He has to be taller than I am. I wear high heel shoes, so he has to be taller than those as well. He has to be good looking. I have to find him attractive. He has to be God-fearing and very confident. For the kind of woman I am, a man has to be able to hold his own. So, definitely he has to be a kind of man I am look up to and learn from. He also needs to have a very good sense of humour.
You are signed on to Storm Records which is one of the biggest labels in Nigeria, could you please the position of a record label to the artistes?
The label is the guarantor of the artiste. They are the ones to protect the rights of the artistes. They are an artiste’s family unit and are in charge of the distribution, publicity and image of the artiste. The label at times is the executive producers of the artiste’s works. It is a partnership business and there are different dimension to it.
Who are the artistes on Storm Records at the moment?
They are Naeto C, Sauce Kid, Tosin Martins, GT, The Guitarman General Pype, YQ and myself. We also have some other people we are partnering with.
What major challenges have you faced so far in your career?
It is not necessarily a challenge but of most importance to me is the need to be consistent. Consistency is not just a matter of releasing an album every six months but it is important to be a functioning artiste. Even when I don’t have a new album out, I am busy and working all the time. Io work hard at what I do and I enjoy doing what I do. I can’t be the same person everyday. I have to keep improving everyday. Making hits is not just the challenge, but remaining at the top of your game is the most important thing.
When did you decide to become an artiste?
I never really decided it just sort of happened. Being a professional artiste sort of fell into my lap. I just started school and met Eldee through a friend of mine. I used to rap for fun and my friend who knew him gave me his number and I called him. He asked me to come over to the studio. I went with a couple of my friends. Eldee asked me to freestyle but I told him I don’t freestyle but I could free write. He asked me what that was and I told him I could write as fast he could think if I had a beat. He played a beat and I wrote something and rapped it for him. In less than two weeks, I had a record contract with Trybe Records. That was in 2002. It was a very beautiful experience because I was going to shows and traveling with the Trybesmen.
Why did you leave Trybe Records?
My contract with them expired and Eldee travelled out of the country. Storm Record offered me a contract and here I am today.
Your first album entitled, First Lady and Eve, is the first lady of the Ruff Ryders, does she influence you?
I wouldn’t say that now but I grew up listening to a lot of artistes and a lot of them influenced me. Most of the female rappers at the time of my development influenced me. I am a fan of Eve and when I met her I cried. I can truly say that hen I met Eve was the first time I was ever star struck in my life.
So, how did the title of your album, First Lady come about?
It was Obi Asika that came up with the title. We were deliberating on the title to give the album when he came up with First Lady. And I have been the first lady in many places when I was rapping with my family friends, I was the only female, when I was with Trybe Records, I was the only female and at Storm Records, I was also the first ever female hip hop artiste to be nominated at the KORA. The title of the album also came from the theme of the album. I was trying to create a good female image that other women could identify with, a woman of substance. And when you think of such a woman, she should naturally be the first lady.
Apart from music, what other things do you enjoy doing?
I love writing. I write for Hip Hop World and I have been doing that for four years now. I love reading but these days, it is almost limited to magazines because of my fashion interests. But I love books a lot and I have a mini-library of my book collections. I also love shopping.
What about your legal career, are you ever going to practice Law?
I studied Law because I wanted to have a voice to speak out. I wanted to command respect but I am doing both with music, but Law is still part of me.

‘I Was There a Long Time Before Good or Bad’ – J.MARTINS

Justice Martins who we all know as J. Martins didn’t just arrive on the scene when most of us got to know him (the release of his hit single Good or Bad and album Get Serious, a couple of years block).
He has been there quite a long time ago, but behind the scenes as a producer. He has produced songs for virtually all the major eastern gospel musicians before coming to Lagos and getting on the hip-hop wagon.
A native of Ohafia in Abia State, he first studied Mass Communication at the Institute of Management Technology (IMT) before getting a degree in Business Administration of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT). Musical commitments have so far made it impossible for him to proceed for NYSC. But as the 27 disclosed to Notes and Tones, that among other things are goals he has set out to achieve within the next few years…

Prior to the release of your first album Get Serious last year, what were your musical pre-occupations?
I was fully into beat production and that was what people knew me for. I have been producing for more than ten years now. I started way back in school and I used to produce songs for most of the gospel artistes in the east. I produced for gospel artistes like Luke Ezeji, Agape Love Band, Gozie Okeke (Akanchawa), Patty Obasi, Luke Ezeji and so many more.
From that point till now, how in your estimation has beat production evolved till date?
It has virtually been the same with the same level of sophistication and computerization. The only major difference is the fact that everything used to be analog but sometimes even live, while now the digital age is fully with us. We used to have producers very competent with musical instruments, personally I play six musical instruments – drums, keyboard, bass, acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar and the flute. But these days everything has been narrowed down to the computer.
How did you get into music and beat production?
Music has always been in the family. My mother was a choir mistress and as a kid I used to play twant in order to go to the music studio considering my age then, they never used to allow me in but I usually bribed my way in. once I settled them, they would allow me in and I would just sit on the floor to watch. I used to visit Tabansi Studios and Rogers Allstars in Onitsha. That was the beginning and then I was very good with musical instruments. In 1994, Minaj gave me an award as the best bass guitarist in the east.
Which producers influenced your musical development at that time?
I have always loved Quincy Jones, Dr. Dre and Timberland. Growing up in the church also contributed a lot to my development. Presently on the Nigerian music scene, I have a lot of respect for the present crop of producers. I can’t mention all their names but there is Cobhams Asuquo, Don Jazzy, ID Cabasa, Eldee, Dan Jiggy, Dr. Frabz, TY Mix. In short all of them. I can’t mention all.
What does it take to become a producer?
When we say a good artiste should be able to play at least one musical instrument, a producer should play a minimum of four. As a producer, you won’t be able to mix guitar beats, or any other beat for that matter when you cannot play that instrument. You need to be able to express the feelings of an instrument before you can make beats with it. This is one of the very many things involved in music production.
In the process of making music, which comes first: the beats or the lyrics?
It depends. It goes either way. You may write the song before the beats or the beats before the lyrics. You might have an idea of what kind of beat you want to make while writing the song. Most artistes even have an idea of the kind of beat they want for their songs and it then lies with a good producer to look at what the artiste has and blend it with whatever beat he is going to he would make for the song to get the best. Whatever the artistes brings to the producer is a raw material. He should take it and improve on it without overpowering the artistes. The producer should not take away the lay down which the artiste has brought to bring out the best for the song.
Bearing in mind that not every artiste can work with every producer, how do you identify an artiste you can work with?
By their works now. If not their works, from whatever they have done before, their vocal samples and their strength.
Producers are usually specialized in particular beats. Which would you say is your own specialty?
I don’t like blowing my own trumpets. I let the public judge from my works. People know me as a producer and some others know me as a producer of hip-life beats. People will get to know me more by the time the project I am working on now finishes. I am releasing some singles this year and next year, you will have the full album.
Which artistes are you working with at the moment?
I always tell everybody, the number one is P-Square but I am also working with 2face, Banky W, KC Presh, Weird MC, Obiwon, Bracket and so many others. I can work with anybody at anytime.
Are you in anyway related to P-Square?
We are not cousins, we are brothers. I am not related to them by blood, but we are much closer than most brothers could ever be. We live together and we can disagree or agree at anytime. We complement each other. People have tried to come between us before, but we have been able to surmount all obstacles to be where we are today. My relationship with P-Square is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I can virtually give anything for it.
How did you guys met?
It was during my days in Enugu that they came to meet me. They were in Lagos then.
What’s your personal evaluation of the current Nigerian music industry?
The music industry is doing well. We are discovering new people everyday but there is a snag somewhere. I recently read an interview that most artistes on the scene are just ‘one track’ artistes. They just produce one hit and promote it but when you buy the full album, you will find nothing else. This is a very serious issue and we really need to address it. The industry is growing but we just need to make a few corrections.
What about the issue of miming on stage?
That’s another issue because a lot of people also complain about it. We use stage performances to judge real artistes and when most people can’t represent on stage, it is a problem. I don’t support it on the whole, but in the absence of nothing, use make do with what we have. Most people or organizations find it hard to pay an artistes very well for stage performance.
Hat would it take for an artiste to perform live on stage?
I know that artistes like D’Banj, P-Square and 2face are very good on stage but can you find organizations who are willing to pay them N10 million to perform to a live band on stage? They all have their own instrumentalists who have to be paid. That’s just an instance, what I am saying in essence is that if we cannot maintain a band with what we are paid, then we make do with what we have.
Why do most Nigerian artistes, yourself included, have to go to South Africa to shoot their videos?
I have only shot one video in South Africa and that was Cool Temper and that was because it was an outdoor shoot. You can’t really do that kind of outdoor shoots in Nigeria, if you do that Alayes would either break your camera, extort money from you or cause all kinds of problems for you. Going on South Africa is all about being careful. It also have to do with locations, an artiste could shoot a video anywhere in the world as long as the location fits into what he wants.
Prior to Get Serious you were a full time producer and you were really doing well. What then necessitated your getting into singing?
I did not just wake up one morning and decide to start singing. I have been dropping singles before then. The only thing is that Good or Bad brought me a lot of attention but my singing career has been progressional. I started from the choir like most people.
How have you been able to avoid scandals in your career?
The thing is that you keep things that happen at home private. That one doesn’t have scandals does not mean that he is a saint, the only thing is that I am careful in all. I do and ask God to guide me in all I do. The bottom line is that I am always open to corrections when I make mistakes and I try no to join issues with anybody. I don’t know long things will be that way, but I pray to God that it remains that way.
What challenges did you face while coming up?
One was that my parents never wanted me to do music. I got disowned by my dad. He shot at me on no less than three occasions. He is an ex-Biafran service man and fought in the civil war.
I left my parents when I was eight years old when I got to Lagos to stay with a friend of mine and the only he did was to help me to finish all the money I came with and then pushed me out telling me that his brother does not want a third party in the house. There was a time I even slept under the bridge. There was a time I served in a restaurant but I thank God for where I am today.

I Just Love Being A Producer’ – TEE-Y MIX

He rarely talks, he smiles. But Darey still accused him of causing trouble in his song, With This Woman. And what was the trouble? Producing some of the best beats for both top and upcoming musicians in the country. Name them: Darey, Naeto C, Sasha and so on. Most of the songs he produced have won various awards but he hardly gets nominated. Why? He doesn’t talk much.
This is the story of Temitayo Ibitoye alias Tee-Y Mix, as young Ondo Indigene and one of the best moment. He also has business interests and is currently a judge on hit musical talent hunt show: MTN Project Fame West Africa and is getting ready for the 2010 edition which kicks off immediately after the World Cup in July. I had a chat with him and even though we stayed away from the issue of awards, we still had a lot to talk….

You are primarily known as a producer but in the current scheme of thing, most of our producers sing or make extended appearances in some of the songs the produce but we have never seen you sing…
I sing. However I am not looking at recording an album anytime soon. I do some bit parts in most of the songs I produce but I don’t let them credit me with any of the singing because I don’t want anybody to recognize me as a singer. I love being a producer and I want to continue being recognized as one.

Apart from production, what else do you do?
I do business. I am into artistic designs, sound installation and presently veering into artiste management. My company ET Quake Multi-media has done some installations for House on the Rock in Abuja. I also sell musical equipment but not the regular ones. What we do is to come to your venue, design the system, supply and install them for you. But music is number one.

It seems most of your business interests are in Lagos, why then do you prefer staying in Abuja?
It is not like I prefer staying in Abuja. I have been in Abuja for a very long time, I am an Abuja based person. I believe that the kind of business I do is service oriented and you can function anywhere. If you look at it critically, Lagos is a bit overpopulated. I have my contacts in Lagos and I can come to Lagos at anytime. Anywhere the business is, I would be there. It really doesn’t matter where one is.

When did you start music production?
I started producing playfully. It was something I enjoyed doing. I started out under the guidance of Daniel Jones who is now in the U.S producing as well and I have been producing beats for ten years now.
Before then, I already knew how to play drums and keyboards. Thought I started playfully, I believe God has a plan for everybody and I believe strongly that it was what God has destined for me because being a music producer was never what I really wanted to do but I am happy to be here right now of this level.

You have an outfit called, Cerious Music with Naeto C, what is it all about?
Cerious Music is supposed to be a record company/production outfit between me and Naeto C. Naeto sources for the clients, we put our heads together and I do production. Naeto is a very brilliant and intelligent guy, he has a lot of ideas in his head and both of us have a very good working relationship. I have worked with him, I know how to interpret his ideas. I know how to bring them to reality, that is why we are together. But right now Naeto is in school in the U.K and I am here in Nigeria doing business. There’s nothing officially out about Cerious Music but that’s the original idea.

How do you know the kind of beat to give to an artiste?
There are two ways. It is either the artiste has an idea of what he or she wants and the producer would just build on that or if he or she doesn’t have, I ask a lot of question like: what kind of music you listen to, what kind of songs you like, what direction you are looking – questions that would tell me or give me an idea of who the artiste is.
Because I believe strongly that if you are doing music that will last, it is always best to represent you as an artiste, music that is not too far from your kind of person, music that you can defend over a period of time.

Who is a good producer?
I think a good producer must be attentive, vast, versatile, up-to-date with what is happening in the music world and sensitive to the artiste. A lot of times these artistes react in different ways. Most times communication is a problem because they try to communicate to you certain things but might not be saying them in the clear terms but you still have to be patient enough to find out hat they want. They want. A good producer must be detailed – he must be able to pay attention to every aspect of the production – the vocals, mix and every other thing affecting the production. A good producer must be creative because production is all about creativity.

Have there been occasions when you found out that you cannot really work with a particular artiste?
Many times. But usually what makes me not work with someone is either the person is not ready to be in the studio to record, who doesn’t know the basic. Music is serious business, it is something you have to give your all to, you have to learn the trade. I turn down artistes when I feel they are not ready and I tell them why and most times I even give them alternatives. I give them things they can do to either improve their vocal or singing quality.

Are there particular genres or branches of music that you are more comfortable with producing?
To be honest with you right now, I don’t even know. I have tried all sorts of genres and I think I enjoyed it every time I try something different. I enjoy laying my hands on different genres, so I can’t really tell which is my favourite or my strongest point. Even though in Nigeria, most of the hit songs I have produced are rap songs but I am not just a rap producer. I produce RnB and even traditional music. I just love music. So, what I do is that any genre I am trying to work on, I do some research on it. Listen to previously recorded materials in that same genre. I just express myself and I don’t really have any favourite.

Do you think computerization and digitalization have really helped music production or has taken a toll on the discovery of musical talents as regards to instrumentalists?
We are living in a technology driven world. I think it has made production easier. People can now sit down with their laptops and good musical software and produce fantastic beats. But creativity is not cheap. Not matter how easy technology has made music, the manufacturers can only make the machines but the machines will always need brain to function. Technology has made our job easier and given us room to express ourselves some more. Nothing is impossible in production at the moment but technology cannot take the place of creativity.

Don’t you think it has affected the level of the originality in the artiste? Artistes sound very nice on their CDs because their voices have been decorated, but when they climb the stage you wonder if they are really the ones that recorded those songs?
There’s a difference between a recording and a performing artiste, but the truth of the matter is that in Nigeria we have not been able to develop the aspects of our performances, stage performances is something you learn. You have to know to act on stage and carry your audience along with you. Right now, I am one of the judges on MTN Project Fame West Africa and one of the things I am looking out for along with my co-judges is how a contestant connects with his audience – both the studio audience and people who are viewing at home.
Because as a performer, besides singing well, you have to know how to captivate your audience and relate with them well. I don’t think technology has affected performances in Nigeria at all. I just think that we have not been able to improve on performances. We have more recording artistes than performing artistes in Nigeria.

With the level of piracy in the country at the moment, do you think any artiste can survive on his recorded songs alone without performances?
That is why you see that most of the artistes who perform well are the ones standing out when people hear a song on radio, they may like it, but when they see you perform, it is either they like you more or they write you off.

With the knowledge of music, how would you grade the Nigerian music industry?
Nigerian music is improving. We have potentials and we are very strong and focused people. We are surviving against all odds. We have some very creative people and with the selected few who are doing their music rightly, we deserve to be celebrated. Artistes like Darey, 2Face, Banky W, D’banj, Asa, Kefee and so many more all stand out.

What did you study in the university?
I studied Computer Science at the University of Abuja and I am currently studying Business Administration at the University of South Africa. I did a course on Sound and Audio Recordings at some point.

How did you get the name Tee-Y Mix?
Firstly, the short form of Temitayo is Tayo which could be further shortened to TY. The mix was added to it by Daniel Jones, the guy who taught me music.

How satisfied are you with production?
True satisfaction comes from God. We as humans we always want more but if you have a grateful heart, you will complain less. There is room for improvement but I know that God who has brought me this far will take me to the next level.

To Be A Good Rapper, You Must Read. - Mode9

MODE9 (pic courtesy

Prior to his winning the award for the Lyricist on the Roll for the fifth consecutive year now. Notes and Tones got an audience with the paradigm shifting lyricist., Olusegun Babatunde, popularly called Mode 9. He bared his mind to us about the Hip hop World Awards but refused to say anything about Ruggedman with whom he had been dragging for rap supremacy in Nigeria before the emergence of some very talented younger artists. On the awards he told us, “It feels good to win an award. Seeing the plaque on your shelf makes you very happy.”
But when we asked him to make a pick of his best Nigerian musicians at the moment he refused saying, “I don’t feel comfortable talking about other people. Last time I checked, the interview was about me. So, let’s talk about me.” So, we talked about him…

What do you think about the Hip Hop Awards?
I think they are doing a good job. I personally can’t organize an award. Io don’t know the first thing about organizing an award. You can see that these guys went out of their ways to make this a success. For the first time they flew everybody to Abuja accommodated them. From what I have seen so far, this is a very successful venture. This is the fourth year of these awards and these guys are carrying on very well. I support this.
You have won the award for the lyricist on the roll for three consecutive years, what do you think are your chances today?
I don’t know. I don’ read the future.

With the level of success that you have attained through music, what are your contributions to the development of upcoming acts?
I haven’t really given that much thought. All I know is that this Hip hop thing is like a family business. You draw as many people as you can into the game. I kind of offer mentorship to many people, but they don’t always know that I have mentored them. I sit people down and I give them pointers. I have been a judge on many rap contests and most people approach me asking for advice and I tell them to go and read. To be a good rapper, you have to read.

What is your creative mode?
My act is spontaneous. It also depends on my mood and how I feel at a particular moment. Sometimes, I might just start writing and it won’t flow; sometimes the creative juices just flow. It juts happens especially when I am really excited. I write faster when I am excited.

What do you think about miming?
I don’t mime. But nobody should be knocked for miming. I have been to some shows where the microphone is really bad. In one like that, I was the only one that didn’t mime and nobody could hear what I said. The technical need to step their game up. They should always make sure that all the equipment are really good. But generally, I am not a supporter of miming. I don’t think any good artistes should mime. That’s my personal opinion.

We know Paradigm Shift is still out there, what is occupying you at present?
I don’t like revealing my plans. I am a planner. I am not in the Nigeria music industry. I am on a different planet. I don’t base my work on a particular model. I am somewhere else. My world is different. I am just a different person, so I don’t tell people what I am up to. It is not right for a businessman to reveal his plans before executing them.

How do we promote rap music in Nigeria?
I don’t know. There is no formula for trying to promote something. The money you will expend on ventures like that could be channeled towards other pertinent societal issues. You could organize free shows for example. What works for one person might not work for another person. You can drop the tightest stuff in the world and when it comes out, people won’t feel you.

You are one of the big names in the rap genre of Nigerian music, do you see yourself in the position of the rap pioneer in Nigeria?
I am not a pioneer. I don’t ever want to lay any claims to that. I just do what I have to do. There were some people who were doing this before me. I know I said I wasn’t going to name names, but I feel like mentioning these people. There was a group called Furious Two back in the days. They were like the first hip hop group that I saw represent Nigeria on TV. They need to be given their due respect.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Preparations have begun in earnest for this year’s edition of the CHARLY BOY SHOW LIVE. The show which began in the 1990s on TV took a radical turn last year after a long hiatus with the infusion of the JUSTICE OPUTA AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN LEADERSHIP and CHARLY BOY ON THE LOOSE. It held at This Day Dome, Abuja and was graced with performances by P. Square, Bracket, J. Martins, M.I, Jesse Jags and AY among others and hosted by Justice Chukwudifu Oputa (rtd). Awards were also presented to deserving governors and it was transmitted live on AIT.
This year, the show is taking another turn. It is now adding THE CHARLY BOY TALENT HUNT. The hunt would search out talented young people in different areas of entertainment during a four-day period and winners would be given the opportunity to perform alongside established stars like P. Square, M.I, Jesse jags, J. Martins, Wande Coal, Gordons, Funny Bone, A.Y and I Go Dye. There would also be a command performance by 2face Idibia.
The forms for the auditions are out and the event would hold at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Sunday, August 29, 2010.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

‘Why I left Lagos for my village’ - BRIGHT CHIMEZIE

You cannot talk about Nigerian music without mentioning Bright Chimezie. The Ziggima Music exponent was a veritable musical force in the 1980s and 1990s. During that period, he lived in Lagos and was very visible in entertainment circles because of the vintage position Lagos occupies.
Ziggima was a complete Afro-centric movement that transcended music. It preached it's philosophy of the African and Bright Chimezie fully portrayed this in his music, dressing and lifestyle.Here, he explained that the need for inculcating this belief into his family and which also led to his relocation to the East in 2003.
Still handsome and amiable, Okoro Junior, as Bright is fondly called, was at the Airport Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos on Monday, May 24, to show his support for the Tony Okoroji-led Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), which just got the backing of the Federal Government of Nigeria to operate as the sole Collective Management Organization (CMO) for music and sound recordings in the country. He sat down with me after everyone had left for this exclusive interview...

Where have you been, what has been happening?
For seven years now, I have not been in Lagos. I used to be a Lagos-based artist, but I have not been in Lagos for seven years and it was a tactical Zigimatical withdrawal. I have my reasons for that and after I have achieved my aim, I decided to come back and that is why you have seen me.

What were you doing in that seven years?
I still maintain my 16-piece brand. I still maintain my family; I still play, I still release music. The only thing was that I did a little bit of withdrawal from Lagos.

Where did you go to?
I have been in my village, Ekeoba in Umuahia, all this while. I have been taking off from Umuahia to all parts of the world to do my Zigima thing.

What actually happened was that by 2003, I wanted my family to see where I come from and to get to know it as their first home. Apart from being a good musician, I am also a good family man. I was raising my family here in Lagos and it got to the point that they couldn't even speak my language and I am a cultural ambassador and my family does not even know where I come from. I was going from Lagos to the East and other places for shows. So, Lagos was going to become their first home and I said no, this should be corrected and I couldn't just leave my wife to go and do it alone. The story would have been that (launches into pidgin English) Okoro Junior carry him wife go dump for village come dey for Lagos dey touch small small girls.
So, I relocated to have a kind of balance. That's just the reason and I needed the whole concentration in the whole world or any story about it. By 2003, I quietly left Lagos for my village and I thank God, the kids now know where I come from and speak my language fluently. It was a well planned move and I think I have executed it beautifully. I had mapped out ten years for this particular programme and this is the seventh year of it. Everything has worked out beautifully and I am gradually showing my face in Lagos again. I will also gradually begin to bring back my family to Lagos.

Tell us about your family, please.
I have five children. My first two sons are a set of twins and they are 19 years old this year. They will be going into the university this year, because when we went home, they had to start afresh inorder to catch up with the environment. Their names are Chukwuemeka and Kelechi. My third child is Chukwudi, fourth is Chinemeze and fifth is Chidinma, my only daughter. She would be seven this year, speaks Igbo fluently and knows about her daddy's people and where he comes from. My wife's name is Chinyere Oyiridiya Chimezie and we have been married for about 20 years now.

What does she do?
Presently, she is looking after me and my family and that's a big job for any woman. She has contributed a lot to my success and achievements. There's no way I could have handled all this without her.

How did your family take the relocation back to the village at first?
Initially, it wasn't very easy, but home is home and blood is thicker than water. So, spiritually, they felt a sense of belonging. I was there and their mother was there, so it wasn't so difficult again. They managed, made new friends and acclimatized.

When you relocated to Umuahia, was it the town or did you go straight back to your village?
I am from Umuahia town. My village is within three kilometers of the main town, so we are still within Umuahia urban. So, if I had gone home and still stayed inside the township area, it would have been like I was still in Lagos.

When you got back home and stayed, didn't your people wonder if you had retired early?
I am a cultural ambassador. Even while I was in Lagos here, most of my shows were still in the village. I am not alien to the village because I have always visited. Moreover, I was working for myself and I could situate Zigima at any place and still power sounds. So, what's retirement? People were coming to book me for shows right there in the village. My latest album was recorded in the east. It is entitled, Because of English. I don't know if my people were going to ask if I had retired. But by the time they saw my truck load of musical instruments, my 36-seater bus, my wife and children, they knew I was home. But we were still rehearsing every other Thursday and I was taking off for shows to anywhere in the world and coming back. There was nothing more to ask.
Maybe they would have asked questions if I had gone to stay idle. Exactly the same way I lived here in Omole Estate, Lagos is how I am living at home. Also, there is ease of communication now. I could reach anybody from anywhere. So, being in the village didn't stop me from doing anything. For seven years, I was at home, I have been recording from home with my band. You know Zigima music is not something you do with the computer and since my band is with me at home, I have been able to record. So far so good, but the only thing is that Lagos is the Centre of Excellence and every other person is here and the moment they don't see you, there will be questions.
But I stand here to tell you that I am still the same Okoro Junior. If I had ventured into any other kind of business, you people would have been the first to know. I still have my 16-piece band, I still play shows and I still release music. Zigima music is evergreen and it is not something you release in bulk. It takes me years to release my music and when they come out, they are hits. I don't do praise singing in my music. Zigima is unique, people that love it love it and people that don't, stay away from it. People that like my dressing, physique and natural philosophy buy it and people that don't, don't come close. I thank God that in the seven years I have been away from Lagos, I have achieved my aims and I have been successful in my endeavours and I am going to gradually start getting back to Lagos.

You are going to be 50 this year, for many of these years, have you been a musician and how much has music rewarded you?
I have been into music for more than 30 years now. I can't measure how much music has done for me with specific parameters. I don't believe in materialism. I have good health. I have a family that I am very proud of, I have a powerful reputation to maintain. When people pick up my music, apart from picking fun, they also pick up natural philosophy and knowledge. There's no reward that is greater than that. If you want to judge me by my wealth, you are making a mistake. I know some people that started before me and those that I started before who rushed things and things are not that rosy for them anymore.

Your dress code, do you ever wear western culture?
I have never put on a suit on this body. The last time I did it was in 2001 when they wanted me to act in one film and it took them days to convince me to put that thing on my body. My fabrics are only African. I don't spend anything on suits, jeans or any foreign materials. I live my life naturally and happily. I am very comfortable in my skin.

When did this African philosophy come to you?
I was born and bred in the village. I grew up with the image of a beautiful African village in my mind. There were tales by moonlight, moon dances, folk tales and so on. I was active up reading African authors like Chinua Achebe, Cyprain Ekwensi and Elechi Amadi. I read about how the white man came here and desecrated our culture and I started picking interest on African things and ideology. That was how the Afro-centrism flared up and everything I did brought up the exclamation, “Ah, Okoro man,” from people. They meant it to be derogatory at first but I liked it and picked it up. That was how Okoro Junior came about.
My name is not Okoro, my name is Bright Chimezie Ironmuo. In Lagos, people will call me Omo Okoro, so I asked them to also add Junior to it. That was in the 1970s.

When did you come to Lagos?
The first time I entered Lagos was in 1974. I was still a student in the east then. I was here on holidays. From then till the late 70s, I was visiting Lagos on holidays. Then, by 1979, when I finished my secondary school education, I relocated to Lagos permanently. I played with a lot of bands and in clubs before I joined the Customs and Excise Dance Band and became the assistant band leader and the lead vocalist. I was here when my first album, Respect Africa, which launched me into limelight, came in 1985. Then, I resigned from the band on August 17, 1985 and formed my band, The Ziggima Movement.
The next thing I did was to relocate to the east and from there, I was coming to Lagos to power shows. By 1990, I came back into Lagos. I stayed here, got married here and started having children here in Lagos.
By 2001, 2002, my kids were becoming grown and I realized that being in this environment, they would soon start taking Lagos as their first home. I wanted them to know where I come from and how do I achieve that? I brought out my script and the ten-year plan to take my family back home for them to know their roots and not get lost in Lagos.

What's the next stage of your script?
I won't tell you. That's my game and I am playing it out to the fullest, pre-empting me would only scatter it.

How much education did you get in schools and where and how did you acquire the rest?
I had my primary and secondary school education in good schools. I never attended any university, but I have been lucky to mix up with intelligent people. Most of them have influenced me. My profession as a musician has also helped me because I travel a lot. Inwardly, I think I have depth and all these have woven themselves around me and helped define my person.

What do you think about your music at this time?
If my music was not accepted, I think I would have gone into oblivion. I still have my band and people still patronize me and call me for shows. In the east now, there is one guy that plays my kind of music. His name is Eje and if he plays here, you will think it is me.

Being so passionate about African culture, what do you think of other Africans who do not have great regards for it?
The African culture is not adequately represented, but what can one do. I believe God intentionally created me African. Gave me the Igbo language, gave me Ogbono soup and garri and other African delicacies. All I have to do is embrace them and take things to a particular height. I have a God given opportunity and I don't joke with it. I don't know about other people and I don't want to worry about them.


The brothers, Skuki, Tumininu (Vavavoom) and Atewologun Laolu-Ogunniyi (Peeshaun) are the newest toast of the Nigerian music industry. Their hit single, “Banger”, has just won them the highly coveted Next Rated award, plus a brand new Kia Optima and a Blackberry curve at the recently held MTN-sponsored Hip Hop World Awards 2010. Their full album, also entitled B.A.N.G.E.R, has just been released on the streets and suddenly people can't get enough of the duo. I sat with them for a chat at the office of Kiss Group, their management company, owned by the amiable Howie T and Dipo Abdul, to trace their musical development up until this time. What comes forth is the story of a disciplined family which made sure they received the necessary university education before they could be allowed to pursue their musical passions. Below are the details. Enjoy…

You just won the Next Rated at the Hip Hop World Awards with the accompanying car prize, were you ever expecting it?
We weren't expecting to win and we weren't looking at losing either. All we know was that the people we were nominated against are some of the best new talents in the country at the moment. It was a very competitive category and it was a big shock to us when we clinched it. But we had been working and campaigning for it. Once we knew we were nominated, all the shows we had both in and outside Lagos, we practically begged our audiences to please vote for us; we explained to them what it meant to us and they supported us.

You guys started music about ten years ago, why did it take this long for you to break even?
First, we are from Ibadan and everybody knows that Lagos is the actual entertainment capital of the country. Our first album, an eight-track album, was packaged to be released on December 26, 2001, but our parents noticed that we were beginning to take music serious. They asked us to put everything on hold.
All along, they had let us do music as a hobby, but at the time we wanted to release the album, we were also about writing JAMB, so they made us stop the music so that we could concentrate on our studies. And we didn't write that JAMB once. That's where the long gap came from. When we finally succeeded, we had to separate as Peeshaun was admitted to study at the University of Ibadan and Vavavoom went for Geography at the University of Lagos. Now, we have both graduated and the music is back.

How did you guys manage while in school?
It was very tough. Our university days was when the Nigerian music industry transformed the most. We were monitoring the goings on in the industry. We were skipping classes for studio sessions; we were travelling out of town for shows and those were responsible for us having a few carryovers during our school days. But we thank God that we still came out graduates with good grades.

Have you guys served?
Vavavoom: I am presently serving in Abeokuta.
Peeshaun: I have not served yet. I still have to go to Law School first. That would come sometime before our second album or anytime. I have a break because we want to get this music hustle fully on its feet before I can do that. The first album is just out and we are still promoting it. The music is doing well, so I have to wait till the buzz of the album dies down a little before I can go.
I think I have achieved the hardest part of it by becoming a Law graduate. That was what my mom feared most, that we could become dropouts. So, the Law thing is now like a plan B, that if the music thing stops working at a point, then I can pick up Law again.

Having got to this stage now, do you think all the efforts and carryovers are worth it?
Vavavoom: Yes, all the sacrifice is worth it. I was in UNILAG and having to stay away from school most times because the music really took my time. But I am glad I scaled through. We spent the normal years for our courses in school.

How long did it take you to put the album together?
The oldest song on the album is the last track entitled, “You”. It was recorded in May 2006. But in between that and our first album in 2006 and now, we have been recording.We record a song and before we could release it, it would become outdated and we will do another one and so on.

How many are you in the family?
Peeshaun: We are from a family of seven. There are five children and we are the last two. Vavavoom is my immediate elder brother. They used to regard us as twins. We got into trouble and also got rewards together. We also fought a lot while we were young. Our eldest brother, Jolaolu, also had an inclination for entertainment, but being the first born, he couldn't easily pursue it, but we being the last, they were a bit lenient on us and allowed us to flow. Also our elder ones had our back and always helped us through.

When did you guys find out you were going to be musicians?
We have been very good friends since childhood, but there was no time we knew we were going to do music. But when we were younger, we used to steal play. We used to mime MC Hammer and he used to be very upset about it. Things went on like that before we started getting our own songs ourselves and complemented each other a lot on it.

Now that you guys have broken even in your music, how does the family take it?
The day my mom got our certificates in her hands, she virtually told us to do what we want. She really believes in one doing what he or she enjoys most, but she never fails to tell you to face reality. That's also where our dad comes in, he is a realist. They made us understand that the Nigerian music industry is massively populated and only a few up-coming acts make it from among the larger number of people that get in. They supported us with their prayers and now we have won a brand new car and the music is paying the bills gradually, they are excited. They are really proud of us and right now my mom sees us as heroes. We have always been her babies, but now she sees us as babies that really stuck to what they wanted to do.

Now that everyone is happy with you, what are your next moves?
Now that we are sort of officially the next big thing in Nigeria, there are a lot of expectations and the spotlight is on us, so we are definitely not going to dull that position. Now that the album is out, it would be a wonderful thing for fans to go out there to pick their copies and checkout for themselves if we are really going to be up to it. Any show they see Skuki performing, we are definitely going to make sure we entertain and live up to expectations. Tours are also coming up, both overseas and local and another video is coming from Skuki next month and it is going to be betther than the “Banger” video.

Why didn't DJ Zeez show in the video of Banger since he featured on the song?
He had a delay in processing his visa and we were already in South Africa waiting for him and our resources were rapidly running down. We were even looking for garri in South Africa before DJ Zeez gave us the go-ahead to shoot the video and we thank God it came out fine.

Let's talk more on the album.
There are 12 tracks on the album and there are five producers: ID Cabasa produced “Rosie” on track 5, DJ Zeez produced “Banger”, Puffy T produced two tracks while Meka E, produced one and Nay Palm produced about 50 percent of the album. The title of the album is B.A.N.G.E.R and it stands for Building Africa's New Generation through Entertainment and Recreation.

What would you want to say to your fans out there?
If not for technology, we would have found it hard to reach out to them. We have been trying our best to let them know how we feel and we want them to know that we appreciate all they have done for us. I just want them to know that they are the ones that made us believe in ourselves. The award is dedicated to them.

Was there anytime that you contemplated quitting music?
Peeshaun: Yes. In 2005, I actually quit and Vavavoom said he would do it alone. My grades were quite bad in school and my brother even recorded a song alone, but he wasn't happy about it. Then, after about a year, my grades bounced back and I was able to rejoin him. That was about the only time we had a little hitch in the course of our career up until this point.

Intro: PEESHAUN x12

Ma yin e ni banger (chei),
Ma yin e ni banger (chei),
Ma yin e ni banger (chei),
Ma yin e ni banger (aaah),
Ma yin e ni banger,
Ma yin e ni banger,
Ma yin e ni banger ,
I blow you banger!
Everybody say peeshaun,
Peeshaun, peeshaun (skuki)
Peeshaun (skuki),
Peeshaun, peeshaun, peeshaun,
Peeshaun,peeshaun, peeshaun

Any show I go take u higher,
Cos I don dey make d cheddah
Anywhere baby any weather,
Skuki is taking over.
Olomoge cool temper
Look at me u go know who better,
Take a cruise in my range rover,
Then we ride like a jange-rover.
I dey flow like d river niger,
Number 1 u can call me master
Anybody here remember,
Say me I like to fire (peeshaun).
If u miss ur road and u start
To dey try to show..
I go take u down, cos u know
Say Skuki don blow.


Igimu jina sori, opa eyin o
Oyato si henessy (henessy),
Men I be number 1,
Wan tun gbo mi ni Serrialeone,
Sippin on Dom perignon
Rock ur body to d break of dawn.
Because they like me,
All d girls they fly on top of me,
U come dey eye me,
Everywhere u go them know skuki,
So I say Hanlele, hanlele,
Hanlele, hanlele, hanlele,hanlele,
Hanlele, hanlele, hanlele,
Hanlele, hanlele, hanlele,
Hanlele, hanlele.


Who be actor, who be boss,
Wa je ka soro, wa je ka fo,
Becos u fine o, u come dey po,
Take am easy, omo no be sooo.
Omo to ba bere sini le mi,
Moma shako,
To ba tun wa wa mi wanu le mi,
Moma demo,
D.J Zeez, na me be this,
Skuki, so fun wan,
Make them feel beat o.

Hanlele, hanlele,
Hanlele, hanlele, hanlele,hanlele,
Hanlele, hanlele, hanlele,
Hanlele, hanlele, hanlele,
Hanlele, hanlele.

Skuki! Skuki! Aaaah, Skuki!
Another DJ Zeez production.
Hanlele, hanlele, hanlele
Hanlele, hanlele. PEESHAUN



This lady would be readily remembered with MTN PROJECT FAME. She is one the FACULTY members of the show. But that’s not all she is about. Mrs. Dupe Ige Kachi is one of the top Classical and Gospel singers in the country.

On Monday, May 31, 2010, she launched her album, THE EVOLUTION, at the Lagoon Restaurant, Victoria Island, Lagos. A host of friends and fellow musicians were on hand to support her. Some of them she had featured on the album and some were even her protégés. Lara George, Olufunmi, Yinka Davies, Madonna and a young exciting Gospel rapper, Provabs, who brought in a lot of energy and force to the proceedings of the evening, were all there while a choir and an orchestra were also there to back them up live. Madonna, her protégé, a contestant on last year’s MTN PROJECT FAME WEST AFRICA SEASON 2, rendered one of her compositions and Ben Ogbeiwi who was a fellow FACULTY member on PROJECT FAME acted as the MC of the event.

Ige who was beautifully pregnant and her friends took guests, among who were her husband and manager, Mr. Duka Kachi, parents, Ven. and Mrs. S.B Akinola, Sammie Okposo and Pastor Ituah Ighodalor who presided over the launch proper through a memorable evening of live music and enchanting performances.

The album, THE EVOLUTION, has 15 tracks. It contains collaborations with Different Stones, Provabs, Fytt, Samklef and O’ Cube. Production was by Kayode Omotade, Sunny Nweke, Sammie Okposo, Samklef and Cobhams Asuquo. It was mixed by Bouqui’s elder brother, Jide Afolayan aka Mix Master J. Above were some faces at the event.