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Category Archives: INTERVIEWS

I Would 500% advice Aspiringing Entrepreneur To delve in to fashion – CEO DressMeOutlet


Written by HF Magazine Staff  | 


ceo-mrs-olatorera-oniru

HF Magazine recently sat down with Olatorera Oniru, the CEO of fashion online retail store Dressmeoutlet.com.

Torera dished on her passion as a fashion entreprenuer, her love for fashion, the ups and downs faced by budding business owners as well as her upcoming networking event Cocktails and Dresses, which she describes as the largest gathering of made in Africa event.

Read the inspiring interview below.

Please give us a brief insight into your background

I am currently Chief Executive at Dressmeoutlet.com, The Fashion Amazon of Africa, working to magnify and grow the African Fashion & Beauty industries. I love to speak publicly on topics related to leadership, entrepreneurship and technology driving Africa’s growth. I founded Nigeria’s foremost leadership program Top 100 Our Generation in 2007; a company that brought together and inspired many of today’s young leaders.

How old is DressMeOutlet?

Dressmeoutlet.com is almost a year old. We went live in January 2016 and had an official launch in May 2016.

We know many Nigerian business owners complain about the erratic power supply in Nigeria as one of the greatest challenges faced by business owners. Asides from this, what other major challenges have you faced in running a fashion business in Nigeria?

Yes the lack of stability with power supply is definitely a challenge that needs to be alleviated soonest. Other challenges may include setbacks with the local educational system in our attempt to recruit and hire the very best graduates. Also, relying on international companies for certain services given the significant hike in foreign currency exchange that we have witnessed this year.

Why did you decide to start with the e-commerce platform and not a physical boutique?

With my experience working for top companies globally, I’ve witnessed how much technology can contribute to growing a business. Plus a few industry players before us, had already established the potentials and high feasibility of the e-commerce market in Africa. We can also reach a wider, global market with e-commerce as compared to a physical store.

There are so many fashion online stores. How does DressMeOutlet stand out?

Dressmeoutlet.com remains focused on being an industry leader. We are the foremost fashion online retailer in Africa when evaluated on terms such as User Experience, User Interface, Customer Service, Quality of products, Availability of products, Company Awards and growth projections.

dressmeoutlet-coms-ceo

How has the Dollar rate affected you as a fashion entrepreneur?

Yes, for certain services whereby we work with international providers. Nonetheless, we are thriving because we continue to transition over to be the best service providers locally and this excites us because we are able to grow local businesses and still get the very best services.

At the recently held Africa fashion week, during your speech, you said that you have not yet broken even. Were you being modest because with how popular your brand has become, one would think you’ve broken beyond ‘even.’

Well as of today, we have broken even although financials are very confidential. We are very focused on growing the business, the market and the industry. Being profitable is not our only agenda, we want to work with tens of thousands of suppliers across Africa to magnify the industry. Nigeria alone has a potential of over $30 billion in revenue from the fashion industry alone. You can triple that amount when we combine analysis from the beauty and home goods industries too.

What can fashion entrepreneurs do to actually break even in this line of business?

Produce the very best quality products, give the very best customer service possible and employ the best employees and executive leaders.

Knowing the state of the economy right now, would you advise a would-be entrepreneur to go into the fashion business at this time and why?

I would 500% advice a would-be entrepreneur to delve in to the fashion industry. It is a rapidly growing industry with lots of opportunities for key players. The barriers to entry are also currently low and thus entrepreneurs should take advantage of all growth opportunities now rather than later. We love fashion and fashion is here to stay. Plus fashion is fun with a lot of freedom to express one’s passion, creativity, talent and ambitions.

ceo-dressmeoutlet-com

What awards and recognitions have you gotten in respect to DressMeOutlet?

We were recently awarded as one of Nigeria’s Most Innovative Companies at the recently held Nigerian Innovation Summit. We were also nominated for African Awards for Entrepreneurship, African Achievers Awards and a few others. Not to forget Africa.com’s Top 5 Entrepreneurs for 2016 and Forbes 30 under 30 Most promising African Entrepreneurs.

That’s quite number for a relatively new business. Congratulations on all of these recognitions.

Thank you.

Give us an insight on the Cocktails & Dresses event coming up. Is it really the largest gathering of made in Africa’s event?

Cocktails & Dresses is Dressmeoutlet.com’s technology, retail & fashion industry sales & exhibition event promoting high-quality manufacturers across Nigeria and Africa. Cocktails & Dresses would Feature over 75 established and emerging manufacturers and retailers across Africa & International. Over 30 press partners and over 10 notable sponsor organizations. The event would be a grand full-day of Special Speakers & Personalities, Music, Fashion, Food, Networking, Glamour and Celebration.

Who is this event for and how can people attend the event?

Cocktails & Dresses is for everyone who loves to look good and have a great time. There’s lots to celebrate, eat, drink and shop from!

Is there something else you’d want our readers to know about DressMeOutlet and future projects from your platform?

Please follow all our social media pages @dressmeoutlet to be the first to hear all updates, contests, promotions and freebies from the Fashion Amazon of Africa. Www.dressmeoutlet.com. Shop now and experience lightning fast delivery to your doorstep anywhere you are in the world!

What other businesses do you run asides from DressMeOutlet?

Nothing else. I’m fully focused on Dressmeoutlet.com and the fashion, beauty and home retail industries.

What is your highest ambition as a fashion entrepreneur?

Employing thousands of creative geniuses across Africa and dispatching to millions of homes on a daily basis.

Where do you see DressMeOutlet in the next 10 years?

Continuing to retail globally and proving the very best products with the absolute best customer service to customers worldwide.

If you were not a fashion entrepreneur, what would you be?

CEO of a multi-national conglomerate.

Thank you for your time, Torera, it’s been nice chatting with you.

Its been my pleasure.

HFtv Africa Interviews Femi Kuti On ‘ Da Chat ‘


Written by HF Magazine Staff  | 


Femi Kuti

After its official debut on YouTube last week (April, 13 2016) with guest-singer, Yemi Alade on set, HFtv has unveiled a new and exclusive interview with Afrobeat singer, Femi Kuti on its weekly edition of Da Chat.

In the new interview, Femi Kuti speaks about making music, growing up in the African shrine, his late father, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, family, marital issues and the pressures of living life as a popular figure among several other issues.

Watch the mind blowing interview as host, Zinnia Bassame speaks with the legendary Afrobeat icon, Femi Kuti.

HFtv Africa is an online channel, dedicated to serving short videos of original programming with segments such as, Entertainment Gist, Fashion, Beauty, Battle Of The Sexes and Music. The Channel  also touches on topical issues affecting the lives of the youths across Nigeria and other African countries.

[ Subscribe to the HFtv’s channel on YouTube (HFtv Africa) to see past and future editions of Da Chat on HFtv ]

How To Raise A Billionaire – Bill Gates Sr.


Written by HF Magazine Staff  | 


How to raise a billionaire.

It’s rather ironic how parents spend millions in a bid to give their children the best available education that will make them independent in future, while the world’s richest man dropped out of school. Be that as it may, one can’t overlook the power of education in a time like ours. With that said, here are excerpts of an interview by Forbes’ Kerry Dolan, where Bill Gates Sr. talks about raising the world’s wealthiest man.

What sort of child was Bill?

Just about every kind of book interested him–encyclopedias, science fiction, you name it. I was thrilled that my child was such an avid reader, but he read so much that Bill’s mother and I had to institute a rule: no books at the dinner table.

Did Bill ever talk about what he wanted to do or be when he grew up?

As part of a homework assignment in fifth grade, Bill had to fill out a form about what he wanted to be when he grew up. The form included a list of occupations – things like doctor, fireman and cowboy – with check boxes next to each. The expectation was that the student would pick one from the existing list. Although Bill did check the box for “astronaut,” he also drew in an additional box, checked it and wrote “scientist.” Growing up, he was very curious to know how the world worked, and he had his own thoughtful ideas about business, life, international affairs, and what the future might hold. At the time, it would have been hard for me to believe that the frequently argumentative boy across the dinner table would one day be my boss, but here we are.

When did he first get interested in computers?

Very early on. An opportunity came at his school when the mothers raised money to pay for a device that connected to a computer over the phone line. The intention was that the teachers would use it, but they made a few mistakes and got scared of it. Bill was part of a group of math students who were invited to use the system and learn how it worked. By about 13 years old he was hooked.

Did he have jobs before college?

When he was a senior in high school, Bill took a break from classes to do programming at a power plant in North Bonneville, Wash. Bill’s mother and I spoke to his high school headmaster, and we were all in agreement that the job would be a practical way to apply his skills and interests. I recall Bill telling me that he and Paul Allen, who worked there with him, would stay up working on code for the electrical grid management system.

Bill Gates at age six with his father, Bill Gates Sr.

Bill Gates at age six with his father, Bill Gates Sr.

How did you feel when Bill told you he was going to drop out of Harvard?

I can’t say I wasn’t worried. But by then I wasn’t much of a factor in those decisions. He had his own ideas about how he wanted to achieve his goals–plus the computer business he had started with Paul Allen had become very demanding. Being a college dropout wasn’t precisely what my wife and I had envisioned for any of our children, but Bill seemed to know what he was doing.

You have played a very key role in Bill’s philanthropy. Can you talk about how that developed?

My late wife Mary was a firm believer in an idea from the Book of Luke: “To whom much is given, much is expected.” From the beginning, she instilled it as an important value in our family.

As their wealth grew from Microsoft, Bill and Melinda started receiving lots of letters from nonprofits in the Seattle area asking for charitable contributions. But in those days, it was hard for them to give the time to that sort of thing because raising their family and running Microsoft was very full-time, and having a private family foundation is not a simple operation. Bill and Melinda’s plan was to get serious about philanthropy after Bill retired from Microsoft. That changed after Mary became quite ill with cancer and passed away in 1994, and I retired from my law practice.

Some months later, while we were waiting in line for a movie, I suggested to Bill and Melinda that with my changed condition in life maybe I could help with their charitable activities. I thought it would be a fun retirement job for me and a benefit for them if I reviewed requests for money and gave some away. I called Bill about a week later to follow up and he said, “Well, Dad, we’ve decided that we’re going to establish a foundation with $100 million.” I was stunned and delighted. Not long after that, I wrote the first check: $80,000 for a local cancer program.

Source: Forbes.com

I Don’t Worry About Who’s Going To Like My Music Or Not – Zeal


Written by HF Magazine Staff  | 


Zeal - Exclusive interview with HF magazine

Elizabeth Abidemi Akinlabi a.k.a Zeal left the music scene after she became pregnant in 2008. Fans thought she would return right after she put to bed, but she did not, until recently. She just released two new songs, which is why we invited her for a chat. In this interview, she talks about why she’s been away and other stuffs she’s been up to.

Zeal

Zeal Chatting with James Silas of HF Magazine

HF: We see you have a new song out; tell us about it

Zeal: Actually, I just released two songs; one of them is titled, “Dance For Africa” and it was borne from my concern for the future of Africa. I think Africa and the world at large are in a need of a positive tune; I mean, I have a child and I think of the future of Africa and it has promise, and so I wrote this song called, “Dance of Africa”, which I hope it can inspire others positively of who we can become and what we can become as a continent and how great we can be. The song is really personal, I’m saying ‘shine like the sun’, never believe that impossible is all that there is. It is a wake-up call; you can tell yourself to arise and shine every day. That’s what I am, I am an artiste and I am speaking about the times and feelings that people can relate to. I want to be relatable on such matters.

 

The last time we heard from you was in 2008; what happened?

Well, I had my daughter, the best thing that happened to me and I couldn’t drag myself away from her. I love being a mom and I needed her to be able to have conversations with me, before I start working again. I actually did other things during that time. I also went back to school to improve my knowledge in fashion; I studied fashion and next year, I will start my masters in Fashion retail and Luxury Brand Management. They tie together, artistry, fashion, cooking – they’re all forms of expression.

 

So what’s your plan; where are you heading with the songs you’ve released now?

First the songs are doing pretty good. I made the video, and we’re getting a lot of attention, which is phenomenal, because we only released it some weeks ago. People from all over the world are tweeting and asking where I’m from and some are surprised that I’m from Nigeria. It’s generally been encouraging. I will also be doing some acting soon, and ambassadorial duties for young girls, who need role models and need to know that there are people there to support them.

 

So what are you bringing to the table with this comeback?

You know, before back then, I was younger, I can’t particularly say I had a game plan, I was just doing me and having fun while doing it. Now I’m much older and wiser, I’m a mother and a proper nurturer. I understand that this is work and about building a brand, so I am not going anywhere – I am ready to do this like a business.

Zeal

Zeal

So what plans do you have on ground, because it’s different from what you used to know?

First of all, I always believe in the individual – the artistry, because I think that’s what carries you first, then the brand and then consistency and I think social media will be an advantage for me. My comeback is to do me, but on a proper or professional level. It’s about churning out good work for people to appreciate. I think that’s what I need to do as a comeback.

 

You were very close to the late Goldie years before she became big, but you were not really seen together till she passed on; why was that?

Yes, I was very close to Goldie, but life happened. I had a baby and priority changed. The person I used to be died and I was reborn in a certain way, because of motherhood. I refocused; it’s like taking a long break to ask myself ‘who am I and why am I here’. I left the scene for a while, Goldie and I were in touch, and she saw my baby… I remember her every time, I think of her – we were like family. It doesn’t feel like she is really gone to me.

 

While you were away, we’ve had the likes of Waje, Omawumi, Tiwa Savage and so on; what thoughts do they bring to you?

I found the works out there quite interesting. I am an Omawumi, Waje fan; they are soul queens, so I’ll definitely be interested in their style of music, but I’m alternative and my sound is quite different. I am not trying to sound like anybody else or put myself in a box. I have always been comfortable in my own skin and I think it’s more apparent now, that I am more confident about who I am. I have never thought my music was their music or anybody’s music. I make my own music, but I appreciate the works that has been done so far. As an industry, women have risen up as artistes and are doing really great – performances are amazing, red carpets are beautiful; I think it’s a great time to be back. I mean, we’ve done some work; we started it, they continued and now it’s a great time to be back to work.

Zeal Interview with HF Magazine

Let’s talk about your kind of music – Alternative. Educate me about the size of the market you cater to

Variety is the spice of life. I think monotony bores you; the same sound gets boring and alternative music doesn’t do that. Alternative music is always evolving and that’s my sound; it’s never in one box. I go with my fans. I believe great artistes create and send out to the universe. I don’t worry about who’s going to like my music or not, I want to focus on creating good art. Picasa never asked anybody before he painted. He paints and let’s whoever accepted accept it.

 

Why are you back in this music business?

Because that’s who I am. You cannot stop who you are. I remember, I met Modenine one day and he said “why did you stop singing?” and I said because I am pregnant and he said, “But you don’t sing with your stomach, you sing with your throat” and I started laughing. It stayed with me though. Pregnancy was hard for me, but I never really talked about it. I was hospitalized in the better part of my pregnancy. It was really dramatic and at a point, we were scared that I was going to lose my baby. I went through somethings that made me a different person and like I told Modenine, I can never stop being who I am. It’s natural; even if I don’t sing on TV, I’ll sing at home. You can never stop being that individual as long as you read. That’s how I feel about it.

 

Nigeria’s music industry has loads of producers; which ones do you have plans to work with?

I have been working with John Black, who has a degree in Sound Production from Middlesex University. I think he’s better and as my brother, he understands my music. I am also talking to Kraft because I respect him and he understands where I am coming from. I am also talking to some international producers.

 

Should we be expecting a video for any of your new songs?

Yes, I already have a video for “Dance For Africa”, it was shot by my brother in Canada, Iconomy, but the next single I will be releasing is titled, “Baby” and we will also be making a stop motion video for it. It will be interesting. We intend to release the songs and see how they do and grow with each single that comes out.

 

Let’s look at the society in general; what is that issue that you’d like to address, if you have the opportunity?

I’ve always been about female empowerment. I believe, if you educate a woman, you’d educate a village. It’s one of the causes I would love to be a part of and I am having talks to be a pioneer or an ambassador for. I have a daughter, I understand what it is to be a woman; I understand what it means to be educated, to be financially independent and to be liberated enough to make your own choices. That’s something I would love to give other women and you can pass it on. It’s a major cause for me and as I’m making the journey, I’m taking that along with me; it’s dear to my heart.

 

You’ve talked about your daughter; what about her dad, do you still have a relationship with him?

We’re really good friends, but we’re not together, we’re just good friends. We raised a very healthy baby Tammy-Skyler. She is as beautiful as her dad and her mom; she’s doing really well at school and overall, she developed quite well. It takes two individuals who accompany each other, who understand what’s at stake – that’s a life to make sure the child is well rounded and doing really well. We have a good relationship, we are okay.

 

So, is your daughter showing any sign of artistry?

She’s a diva already and I’m so scared for her, but hopefully, she won’t won’t have to go through anything that I had to go through to get to be here. From the empowerment, like I said, I’m going to nurture her, because she’s painting, dancing, performing, acting, she’s so alive.

Zeal

Tell us about your fashion line.

My fashion line is called Urban-Demi; it’s an urban line for the African woman, because let’s face it – we are not traditionalists anymore; we are ‘Africa-meets-the-western world, and that’s who we are. I think our fashion should portray that. I like elements of ethnicity around me at all time, so my line will portray loving and accepting yourself as an African woman. You can wear six inches with your Kente, Ankara, Adire, styled in a very urban way. I know we do have a lot of African fashion out there, but I’m pretty urban and I go day to day on the run; I won’t be able to wear African fashion on the run. So, I’m going to cater to that market of women who appreciate fashion that speak to them in that way. We’ll launch properly in November and I guess you’ll be the judge of what we have to offer the world.

 

What is your philosophy of life?

I have a ton of philosophies, but for me it’s even if you fall, you can always get up. Life is one day at a time. Do you and nothing is promised; also know that you were born for a reason, don’t anybody tell you that you can’t make it.

Zeal

Zeal Chats with HF Magazine

Jesse Jagz Talks About His Return To Chocolate City And ‘Odysseus’


Written by HF Magazine Staff  | 


Jesse Jagz

Jesse Jagz, real name – Jesse Garba Abaga, is back to Chocolate City Music after two years of running his business himself. In a chat with HF Magazine, the rapper/producer, opens up on everything from his experience working alone and what fans should expect on his next album titled – Odysseus. Enjoy the read.

Jesse Jagz Interview

Jesse Jagz

HF: What is that thing that motivated you to return back to Chocolate City?

Jesse Jagz: I guess it’s the friendship between M.I and I, as well as Ice Prince and Audu over time that made it happen. The business was totally different from the relationship that we had as friends and I guess the longer that lasted, the more the discussions we had that shaped my return to the label.

HF: Tell us about your experience after you left Chocolate City and the fact that you released two albums on your own.

Jesse Jagz: I think that was one of the most exciting times of my life, where I had to just make it happen by myself. ‘Thy Nation Come’ album was a totally ridiculous project on its own. At the hindsight, it was just blind; I mean – everybody would just come and listen to it and say, ‘this is fantastic, but Nigerians don’t like good music’ and I’m like no, that’s not true. It was amazing and enough for me to just see the same people walking around and hyping the album when it came out. That time I was on my own; I can say I was probably my own manager, and literally made all the decisions myself. Everything we made went back into the project, so that we can keep it rolling. One of the greatest things that I learnt from that experience was responsibility; it had always been a safe zone to have M.I, Ice Prince and Audu, but I stumbled into a ‘do-it-yourself boat’.

Jesse Jagz interview

Thy Nation Come Album by Jesse Jagz

HF: Now you’re back to Chocolate City, what are you taking back to the label?

Jesse Jagz: Yeah, that experience has made me a more rounded artiste, I will say, because I have seen it from two different sides. I have eaten from the two ends and I believe I’m in a better position to advise other artistes on what to do, what not to do and how to do it.

HF: So during that period, did you feel that pinch of regret that also made you feel like you shouldn’t have left in the first place?

Jesse Jagz: Honestly, no, but let me say it’s a yes and no answer. There were times when I felt like that, but it was a decision that I made on my own. So, I was determined to deal make it happen.

HF: Brymo left Chocolate City about three months after you. Did you both talk about it thereafter?

Jesse Jagz: Yeah we left around the same time, but no, we didn’t talk about it and that’s how I’ve always been. Even the whole time we left, it was his burden to bear; he got signed separately. He and I are friends outside of Chocolate City. That would not be a determinant for me to beef. We left for totally different reason. I think a lot of it was the sentiment of the story, but at the end of the day, it was his decision. I don’t even know the semantics of his decision. I didn’t know the ‘but’ and ‘why’ he left.

HF: Considering the time you’ve spent in the industry, we can’t really say you’ve done a lot of collaborations compared to your colleagues; why’s that?

Jesse Jagz: I think it’s because we are different. I am of the opinion that I’ll only do features that will be beneficial to me. It has to be on my terms and my cut. I’m very protective of my music and my creative space. So, for me to work with an artiste means, you’re definitely going to bring something to the song. To me, music is like art – before Picasso would have ever asked maybe a Basquiat that they should paint together, then you know that would be epic. So, till then, you do your thing, I’ll do mine (laughs).

HF: Aren’t you being too proud?

Jesse Jagz: I don’t even think I’m proud; I think I’m hard working. So, it’s not a pride – it’s like being in class and when they mark everybody, we all score 60%; I’m the person trying to say, just because it’s 60 doesn’t mean it’s great; can we do 80, or 85%?; can we have real artistes and musicians that care about the arts itself, which is where I think the awards come from and the direction.

HF: Going back to the albums you put out right after you left Chocolate City, why does it feel like people misunderstood you and the direction of your music at the time?

Jesse Jagz: Yeah, I know where that came from. Let me say this with all humility – I am the first artiste in a long while that has made Reggae real to the people. I made people feel like ‘this guy actually knows what he’s doing and talking about’. It’s not just surface Reggaeton, it was deep. You need to know the culture of the Rastafarian and where Reggae came from, to understand it. Reggae is big genre, but there’s a disconnection between the sort of Reggae Majek used to do, from what we call Reggae right now. “Redemption” that I smoked in, brought all the marijuana stories and all that negativity, but to me, I felt like doing that would be cool for the people that understand it within the context of what I was trying to say, but I guess lots of the messages I wanted to pass just got lost in the marijuana; which is, you take everything else I’ve said on this song and throw it away and focus on the marijuana. At the end of the day, I have no song that glorifies marijuana, but if you put on the radio, you’ll hear people talking about marijuana with nothing else attached. I think it’s very dangerous, especially when they talk about it like it’s a recreational thing. No it’s not. For me it was about the seriousness of what I was trying to say – the sociopolitical topics that I was trying to talk about and I guess some people are scared of things like that.

Jesse Jagz

Jesse Jagz on the set of Redemption Video shoot off Thy Nation Come album

HF: You’re back to Chocolate City, what are you working on right now?

Jesse Jagz: I am working on dropping two albums this year. I have been recording and working… hopefully by July or August, my first album will drop and before December, the second album will be out. I being signed, is totally because the business module of what Chocolate City is now, can accommodate an artiste just being there and being separate and single out from the others. You are allowed to use your business module and reach your fans and everybody the way you want.

HF: You’ve not released any single from the coming album; don’t you intend to?

Jesse Jagz: Definitely, I will.

HF: But you’re looking at releasing the album in July and it’s around the corner

Jesse Jagz: Yeah, I have been recording and I’ve done meetings with the record label and we’re listening to stuffs, but I’m just looking for something. Like “Redemption” was the last song I recorded on ‘Thy Nation Come’, but it was the first song I put out. I’m the sort of person that want to be done with the plan, and hand it over to the label; then we’ll start putting them out one after the other.

HF: People will be looking out for what you really have to say this time around

Jesse Jagz: Yeah, I think people need to understand where I am and the place in my life right now. Music is a reflection of what an artiste is. When I did ‘Thy Nation Come’, it was a very rebellious album in nature and in spirit. It was my own internal story too. Now, I’m in a smarter place, a more happier place I must say, but I’m still in that mind set of ‘I get it that business must still go on, but I’m still the guy that pushes the art to the limit.

Jesse Jagz

Jagz

HF: Does that mean we are going to get more of that Choc Boys music?

Jesse Jagz: Definitely, Choc boys are working. CBN album is still coming out, which is the original Choc Boys album. I guess it’s just between M.I, Ice and I. We have become pillars on our own, but the timing is something we’re still trying to figure out. There’s a lot individually that everybody wants to achieve. People are probably going to be shocked if we go into the studio to do an album, because there’s a lot of art that M.I, Ice and I have not even started touching.

HF: I noticed that you don’t really work with a lot of producers, why’s that?

Jesse Jagz: I think I work with a lot of producers, it’s just that my own sort of work is… like Don Jazzy listens to all of albums before I put it out. I make sure he sits down and listen before I put them out. Like when I did ‘Thy Nation Come’ he listened to it and said I should go on and do it, not minding what anybody is going to say. After that, every rapper Nigeria is doing some sort of Raga or Reggae now. I see them from afar and I watch them from the sidelines (laughs).

HF: Are you going back to Don Jazzy with your next set of works?

Jesse Jagz: Definitely, because I am very competitive, so if I go to a Don Jazzy and I hear something, and of course Don Jazzy and I are going to work one day, but there’s so much work that go into him, listening to the record and sharing his opinion about it. So, he listens to it and I take it to M.I, who also listens to everything before I put it out. M.I listens and asks me about the direction and angles I’m taking on the songs. Away from all that, I am very supreme with my production. I feel like a lot of these things are just beats, not production. Do you know what it means to produce a song that will last 10 years? I mean, people need to bring their ‘A Game’, I’m not impressed (laughs).

HF: So with what you’ve heard so far in the industry, which producers would you want to work with?

Jesse Jagz: Definitely Don Jazzy; he’s hot. Cobhams is a god; he gives me nightmares at night, because he’s at the level of production that you dream about. He’s inspiring to me. Femi Kuti is a producer in his own right; I mean he writes his production from drums to the bass guitar, sax and arranges everything before he records it. If you sit down and watch an Asa… there are very few people that are serious with their art and at the end of the day, that’s who the world will celebrate, that how to be nominated for a Grammy. I am not just easily impressed, but I like Cobhams, Jeremiah Gyang and M.I. A lot of people don’t know that M.I can produce.

J - Jagz

J – Jagz

HF: When we talk about the quality of music on the local scene, it looks like the fans are to be blamed for their choice of music. What do you think?

Jesse Jagz: I don’t even want to go deep into this discussion, because I might start taking shots at people. I think this thing started from just us, as Nigerians being mediocre. Our soccer is mediocre. There was a time our squad was internationally celebrated; we had about seven of our players, who were internationally respected, but now, it’s just mediocrity. People celebrate somebody that is bringing 4o%, because every other person is bringing 20% and then after two years they are just done! The fans don’t really know what they want to hear and I’m going to say this – I don’t think a lot of Nigerian musicians have fans, they have sycophants. There’s a big difference between a fan of your music that has followed you, knows your story and know why you write the music. A lot of what you see online are sycophants; let’s not confuse the two. I feel like when I did ‘JAGZ OF ALL TRADE’, it was put out on a platform so I had a lot of sycophants, but when I did ‘Thy Nation Come’, then I got fans.

HF: Let’s talk about your coming album. What story are you telling with it?

Jesse Jagz: I think the story I’m bringing right now is the story of a journey, which is why I’m naming my next album – ODYSSEUS. It’s a reinvention album for me. I just entered my 30s, and I’m still as good, so nobody can stop me. I feel brand new right now, everything has just been sparing and testing; I’ve tested this way and outside the rain, but now I’m ready. I guess it’s the story of determining what you’ll become at the end of the day. It’s going to be different, because I’m in a different place with a different mindset. It’s going to be my most different album ever.

HF: Thanks for giving us your time.

Jesse Jagz: Thanks for having me.

DJ Mix Master Brown – Veteran DJ Speaks On Why Corporate Bodies Are Not Supporting Nigerian DJs


Written by HF Magazine Staff  | 


DJ Mix Master Brown performing at Calabar Stadium

Ekpenyong Otu also known as DJ MIX MASTER BROWN or ‘Calabar Boy’ has been in the DJ business for over 25 years. He is a multiple award winning DJ and the current chairman of DJs Association of Nigeria in USA. HF Magazine connected with him recently, and he talked about art of Deejaying, Nigerian music industry and why corporate bodies are not really supporting Nigerian DJs.

HF – Give us an insight of your background

DJ Mix Master Brown – I am a Niger Delta Boy; partly Cross River, hence the nickname ‘Calabarboy’ and the rest of me from Delta State (Agbor). I was born in Surulere, Lagos State; married to my best friend, and we have produced two great boys. I started my school days in Day By Day Nursery School to Baptist Primary School, Surulere, then moved to Edo State, (used to be Bendel State), for Boarding school and back to Ekimogun Primary, Surulere. We moved again to Kaduna, then moved back to Lagos to complete my Secondary school at Aguda Grammar School, Surulere. I have a Diploma in Law and B.Sc in Political Science from the University Of Jos. Now I’m based in Houston.

HF – What sparked your decision to become a DJ and how long have you been in the business?

DJ Mix Master Brown – I found myself in the dj business at an early stage in life because my family have always loved music. My mum was a music person who belonged to a cultural music group. So I guess I was born to be a DJ (laughs). I became a professional deejay in 1989. That makes it 24 years now.

HF – Where do you see Nigerian DJs in terms of brand affiliation and ‘monetization’ of the art?

DJ Mix Master Brown – Only a handful DJs have been able to create a brand and image for themselves. Which is a good thing; and I think most DJs and or aspiring DJs should work on this too. It’s not all about playing music. In other to succeed in any business that involves human interaction, you must have an understanding of human relations. Starting from your appearance, to the way you interact with clients, on and off the job. The word we are looking for is “professionalism”. If most or all DJs can be professional in how they execute and carry out the job, I think it will be better for us all. I really do have a lot to say about this because I have been talking about this for a while now.

DJ Mix Master Brown

DJ Mix Master Brown

HF – As a veteran in the game, what are you doing to pass your legacy to the next generation?

DJ Mix Master Brown – Most of the things I do today, is for those behind or coming after me. I am the only Nigerian or African DJ who has launched or created a strictly DJ pool and DJ community for African and Nigerian DJs. I created a site about 4-years ago and we have almost all the computer or internet savvy DJs registered with it. The site was created for DJs to interact, get to know each other across international boundaries, share ideas and music, learn techniques and so on. I have been doing this myself and have written to a couple of the big companies to come in and support but I guess they don’t think the DJs need that much support. The site is called Dj2download and can be accessed at http://dj2download.com. I also have the biggest DJ event in Africa which is supported by Cross River State Government ‘Mixmasterbrown’s Night of DJs’. It is witnessed by over 10,000 spectators. Nigerian Deejays from all over the world are assembled in Calabar every December for a showdown. This started in 2009. So in future, I think these would be very important references when you talk about deejaying in Nigeria.

HF – What is your relationship with other DJs in Nigeria?

DJ Mix Master Brown – I have a wonderful relationship with DJs back in Nigeria. We stay in touch as I am currently the Chairman for U.S.A Deejays Association of Nigeria.

HF – Is there really a classification when it comes to Deejaying, and where do you fall into?

DJ Mix Master Brown – To some extent, I would want to say “yes” there is some sort of classification but it depends on the individual DJs to know what their strength is event though they might want to claim full versatility. For me, I have done it all. Clubs, radio, events. But my strength lies in Clubs and Events

HF – What do you think Nigeria is missing in the art and business of Deejaying?

DJ Mix Master Brown – Let me start by saying that some Nigerian deejays are missing out of the global music pie. There are a lot of issues I can attribute to why the Nigerian DJ scene is lacking behind but I will point out a few key ones. Bear in mind that some are really doing well. First, they box themselves into strictly “Nigerian Identity”; don’t get me wrong. I love our music and culture but at the same time, don’t shut yourself out of the global music explosion. There’s also the lack of cordial working relationship; there’s even some sort of cold war amongst DJs. From the general perspective, there’s lack of a properly sponsored official music concert for DJs in Nigeria. Other DJs in Europe, Asia and the USA are having sold out events and making millions of Dollars from such events. Nigerian music is currently doing well in Africa, abroad and I personally know we have what it takes to make it work. Djs like Carl Cox of Britain, Dutch Dj Tiesto, Calvin Harris, Skrillex, Afrojack, David Guetta etc. are worth millions of Dollars. The DJ profession is really suffering in Nigeria. And one of the reasons is that most corporate companies do not see it worthy of sponsorship.

HF – In the same line, what would you say about the music industry?

DJ Mix Master Brown – Nigerian music on the other hand, is doing better than the DJs who are the key apostles of music. Billions have been pumped into the industry and still counting. Although there are just a few more tweaks needed to perfect the Nigerian music industry. I have come to realize that some artists confuse distribution and marketing. Distribution is how music gets into shops, while marketing is much broader but can be termed as everything you and your music already are. Marketing also involves promotions, branding, advertising, pricing and distribution channels. Only very few record companies understand the difference. And when you take a look at their artists, you find them to be extremely successful. The talent is there, although we still have a few mediocre which is normal in every society. So basically, the Nigeria’s music industry needs to beef up distribution channels and improve its marketing strategy.

HF – We don’t see an impressive number of Nigerian DJs getting products or brand endorsements, from your point of view, what’s responsible for this?

DJ Mix Master Brown – This is still a mystery to me. It sure looks like a conspiracy. The DJs are probably the most instrumental in the industry, yet they get the less or no endorsement. I think it’s bad. Having said that, I think we the DJs are not as united as we should – that seems to be working against us. Fact! Until this issue is addressed, we might never see this endorsement.

HF –  What else do you do, asides Deejaying?

DJ Mix Master Brown – I have a record and management outfit. I currently have one artist signed by the name, Salma Sky. She’s a multiple award winning artist from Zambia. You can look her up online. I also develop and administer to websites; matter of fact, I run one of the oldest music website called Afrijamz – http://afrijamz.com. This might come as a surprise to a lot of folks out there, yes I own, developed and run the site. I also spend time monitoring my online radio http://afrijamzradio.com. I do some events planning and management. I also do a lot of online promotions and advertisement.

HF – How do you juggle between family and work?

DJ Mix Master Brown – Real easy. I married an understanding wife. She handles affairs pretty well, with or without my input. This gives me more room to run the business.

HF –  If you were to address Nigerians about Deejaying, what would you really want them to know about DJs and art?

DJ Mix Master Brown – I know respect is earned so asking Nigerians to respect DJs would be out of place, but I want Nigerians to know that deejays are hard workers and are very instrumental to the success of most of their successful acts including P-Square, 2Face, D’banj, Iceprince, Wizkid, Davido etc. They should also know that deejaying is a tough but fun profession. To get the folks grooving, the DJ needs to enter their heads and minds to know what will get them up to get down. Deejays need recognition and endorsement too.

Watch M.I as he hype’s DJ Mix Master Brown as a Legend during one of his performances below

Provabs – People In The Church Are Myopic And Too Religious!


Written by HF Magazine Staff  | 


Provabs

PROVABS is an acronym for Prophetic Rhymes Offering Access, Blunt Truth and Salvation, but his real names are AINA OLASUBOMI ANTHONY. He is a rapper and gospel artiste, who has worked with the likes of M.I. Adekunle Fuji, Nosa, Onyeka Onwenu, Praiz, Jedi, Infiniti to mention a few. He stopped by HF Magazine recently to discuss music from the perspective of a gospel artiste.

Provabs

Provabs

Your last album, ‘Mind the G.A.P with Provabs’ was released in 2006 and this is 2015; what have you been up to?

Well the challenge of releasing albums in Nigeria is that people don’t have a buying culture. We also found out that in our society, we thrive more on singles compared to albums work itself. More people patronize the albums outside the country; because of they can buy online via iTunes and other online stores. In the country, there very few people, who buy albums; it’s either they are getting your album for free or they’ll download your songs online and through someone else’s phone. So, I decided to use that time to build a profile, in such a way that you can endear yourself into the hearts of people through my singles. I am able to use that time to carry out individual projects; it still feels like an album project, but the songs are coming as singles, and when it gets to a substantial point where I know that the demand is very high, I can put the singles together and add some new ones to make a full album.

Selling Rap music is not as easy as Pop music on the mainstream; how profitable is it in the Gospel world?

Rap is a hard sell on its own, and it’s twice as hard and anti-culture when it comes to the church, but I found a secret which has actually worked for me – that was one of the projects which I did with M.I titled, “Heaven Knows”. Before then, I had released a song titled “Hope”. It addresses life issues than the religious aspect of things and I found out that it was endeared in people more, because they could relate to their everyday life trial and troubles. So the song hope gave them a reason to take the next step forward. For me, rap is speaking, instead of singing on a beat and at that process, you are able to say much more than a singer would say. I also believe that when you talk much more, you are able to connect with the needs and fears of the people and be able to use music to give clues or ideas of how to get out of it. “Heaven Knows” was two emcees having their fears from two different points of views. People see M.I as a circular artiste and they see me as a religious artiste. We decided to discuss our fears and how we handled them, such that it brought a balance. It has close to two million downloads, which could have been cool money – value wise, but unfortunately there isn’t any structure to bring that process back to us. I think that we should work on the structure that ensures that royalties are being paid. Most of the artistes people see out there today, are thriving on endorsements and on shows. The stage is not big enough for everybody, because you can have only as much as 20 artistes at a time and it gets boring after some time. So, to be there you have to put out more easy, acceptable music and more accessible music, where people can get your music. That’s why you see a lot of artistes giving out their music for free instead of selling to get the attention of multinational companies, who may be interested in tapping into their fans base by endorsing them. I’ll say we are getting there, but I also believe it takes one step after the other. It may or may not happen in my time, but it will be a preparation for the next generation to come.

What are you doing to push your music more to the mainstream like Rooftop MCs, Bouqui, Lara George, Infiniti did in the past?

I think the outstanding thing about these guys was their team. Their vessel is the same, but the medium that they worked with was unbiased. Rooftop MCs, Bouqui and all were Christians, but they worked with people that had business mindset, not restricted to the church. Most times, people in the church are myopic and too religious about business. So, what they worked with was a team that was very viable; that could put them out there without restrictions, dealing with business as business. That was why they were being heard on various platforms and were accepted. I am working on my team and I am putting a team together, with One Management, which is the first step and the first platform. We will be collaborating with other people, based on the company’s connections; we will try to see how this music can be put out on much more general platforms. For example, the video for the song I did with Eve L (I Surrender) was shot in South Africa over a year ago and when it came out, it enjoyed rotation on major stations like Soundcity, Trace and the likes; it was also on other terrestrial stations, because the quality was good. So, if excellence is not being compromised, they will see you for your hard work.

What are you working on at the moment?

I actually took some time off to refresh after my song with M.I and I came back with a new single, titled, “ME”, featuring Eve L, winner of Nigerian Idol 2014 and produced by Eminiezy. The song was released on my birthday, April 18 and the response to it has been beautiful. The song is just to let people understand that regardless of the hardship in this race, I feel I have been called to this and I will not let them down. It brings listeners closer to the kind of person I am and what to expect from me in the nearest future. I should be releasing another single very soon titled, “Believe”. I am dealing with topics that are general; topics that will put people on a balance, because whether you are in or outside the world, everybody goes out each day believing to make their daily bread and take care of their family. So, “Believe” will be coming out soon and we are working on videos to follow the singles, and then the album should drop.

Describe your work relationship with One Management

Working with One Management has been enlightening; I bless God the day I took that decision, because the moment I said, ‘Yes’, it broke me from the walls of the church. It created a different platform for me and made me see the entertainment as an industry – not just as a church store or a religious point of view. They showed me how music business has to be handled. One management has connected me to a lot of people, and based on their platform, I was nominated for the African Gospel Music Awards in London and the Nigerian Entertainment Awards in New York. I have been nominated for countless awards; it has gotten to a point where I don’t even try putting in for Gospel Awards, based on the fact that we are working right. It’s not even about the accolades; it’s about the impact in life. So hearts and people are my desire right now; most especially the young people, because if we can get our young right, the next generation or those who will get into power, the less trouble we will have in moving Nigeria forward.

So apart from your music, what kind of music do you listen to?

I listen to a lot of songs; for example, David Guetta’s album, ‘Listen’ was very impactful in my life, because I could see it from a DJ’s point of view, but not only that; he worked with so many people and the message was the same. I listen to a lot of Asa’s music, especially her new album, ‘Bed of Stones’. I found out that she doesn’t deny her faith and I found out that you don’t need to change or try to beat people down in the course of passing your message across. There likes of other people on my playlist that I can’t really remember. That being said, I also found out that the Christian hip-hop industry in the US has gotten very big. We have the likes of Lecrae, KB, Andy Mineo, Da’ T.R.U.T.H and these are guys that are churning out music, that are beginning to pick up Grammy Awards and be recognized and heard.

What else do you do apart from making music?

I work on a radio station called Praise World Radio, and I host a hip-hop segment with my friend, Gameman and it has opened our eyes to see a lot more and how music can be put together for this generation. It also does not abuse the fact that a lot of wisdom and knowledge can be drawn from the past, because majority of the like of Ebenezar Obey, King Sunny Ade have rich content that can be remixed or refurbished to ensure that it fits into our society of today. There are people out there that have the links, but don’t do it unauthorized, I am sure they will be eager to work with new artistes, because they also want to sound fresh for this day and time.

Tell us about your experience on radio, from an artiste’s perspective

I found out first of all, that the amount of music that is released daily in Nigeria is nothing less than 3, 000. I mean, people are releasing fresh music content every day. Praise World Radio is a Christian content radio that provides entertainment and lifestyle content for young people and ministries or companies that into religious activities. We will be turning one year on June 17 and it’s been an explosive experience. I have learnt to produce and host shows. I found out that presenting is not easy; you have to learn the phonetics, you have to be informed, you must know some historical fact and how you can use these things to be of information to your listeners. I have also found out that you cannot play all the music that come out in one day; and now, I understand from an artiste point of view why some presenters can’t play your song that easily. It has to go through a process; it has to go through a librarian, who has to ensure that the song is up to date. I intend going to take more courses on production and presentation, so that I can up my game in that area. It is also a means of livelihood and I would like to advice that if you’re doing music, try to see something you can do on the side to put food on the table, just in case music is not going as fresh as you expect it to go. Also after you come to a point where you have walked the walk, ensure that you invest in some upcoming life, so that even if you are not there, there will always be an Eminem after a Dre and a 50 Cents after an Eminem; now I used those names because those are names people can resonate with and if I didn’t do my research, I wouldn’t have known about them.

Provabs

Provabs

Jenny O – The Broadcaster And The Musician


Written by HF Magazine Staff  | 


Jenny O

Jennifer Ifeoma Fab-Obi aka JENNY O is presently making waves with her song, “Shomara” featuring Oritsefemi. She is from Imo State and the only girl amongst four brothers, one of whom is a music video director by the name Jude Fab-obi. She has lost both of her parents, but it has not been an excuse to give up on her dreams. The fair complexion beauty is also has a charming and endearing personality. She was always referred to by veteran broadcaster, Bisi Olatilo as the Golden voice on the widely acclaimed magazine show, the Bisi Olatilo show. She is many things rolled into one, a singer, dancer, writer, reporter, OAP, TV presenter and newscaster. Jenny spoke with HF Magazine Online and didn’t hold back on anything.

Tell us about Jennifer the broadcaster and the musician
Hmm… Jennifer the broadcaster isn’t any different from Jennifer the singer, but I like to think I get hyper active when I’m on stage to perform, but I’m a lot calmer as a broadcaster. However, music tends to bring out a different side to you.

Tell us about your journey into music
I began my sojourn into the music industry professionally in 2007, and released my first single, “Yepirapira”. It started with hearing beats and developing an interest for music. I never knew for once I was going to ever take music seriously; I thought it was going to just be about singing in church and all, but I took the decision upon myself to hit the studio to try something out. That was what birthed my first single – “Yepirapira”.

Give us an insight into your background
My full name is Jennifer Ifeoma Fab-obi, I hail from Imo state; the only girl with four amazing brothers one is a music video director Jude Fab-obi. My parents are late and let me see… I’m a TV host, OAP, voiceover Artiste, newscaster, writer and singer. I began my journey into broadcasting almost the same year I started out singing professionally (2007) and took a break to harness my skill as a broadcaster. I released the video to my single “Follow You Go”, which starred cameo appearances from some of my friends, such as Sunny Neji, Dede Mabiaku, Felix Duke, K9, IK Osakioduwa, Buchi, Owen G, and Funny Bone. The video was directed by my brother Jude FAb-obi.

Tell us about your growing up?
Growing up was fun for me. I had everything a little girl could ever desire for and I had a loving father who dotted on me seeing I was the only girl. I would say I was born with a silver spoon, but lost it when my parents passed away and I knew the time to ride on the back of survival had come and resorted not to be looked at with pity hence began my pursuit for success. I never lacked anything, but as loving as my dad was he was also very protective and as a young girl, my movements were restricted to certain hours. I was also a tom boy. My four brothers had their strong influence on me, but it wore off after some years even though sometimes I still find myself dressed as a boy.

What, from your point of view are the determinants that can make an artiste successful in Nigeria?
First, your approach to people. Some artistes care little how they relate with people and tend to come off very annoying and rude. Well, it’s not a good idea if you wish to stay relevant and successful in the music industry. Another factor that should be considered is also what you’re putting out – I mean, the music and video. Ensure it is something the audience would find appealing. Having faith and trusting God goes a long way too.

Tell us about your latest song, “Shomara” and working with Oritsefemi
“ShoMara” means – “Are You Mad?” Do not accept, when someone tells you are not going to make it in life; instead you reply the person – “Are you Mad?” because you know you’re going to make it. Working with Oritsefemi was a great experience for me and he delivered impeccably well on the song. Oritsefemi is a good example of one who resorted to succeed despite the obstacles that confronted him. When I was in the studio with Fliptyce; after I had recorded my verse, we sat there thinking of who would fit perfectly into the song and then Oritsefemi came to my mind. I called him and we hit the studio and in no time, he was done with his verse.

You seem to have access to most of the artistes in Nigeria’s entertainment industry; how many artistes do you have on your book of future collaborations?
Well, I just have a few – 2Face, Olamide, Cynthia Morgan, Davido, Phyno, General Pype and Patoranking.

What did working with Dede Mabiaku teach you?
I learnt a whole lot, but mostly, how to perform with a live band.

Should we expect a collaboration with Dede anytime soon?
Yea, that is so possible.

Do you see yourself quitting your TV job when music starts demanding for more time?
I don’t see myself quitting my TV job. I just wouldn’t work with anyone, but start up my own TV show where I would have my time to produce and present my programme at whatever time I find suitable.

For someone who works with one of the busiest entertainment platforms, how are you able to make out time for the studio?
It is tasking. Sometimes, I break down, but I just don’t know how to stop. I find a way of planning and managing my time, so none clashes with the other.

Outside entertainment, what else do you do?
I guess entertainment is all I do. It’s a lot already; I’m a TV host, writer, MC, voiceover artiste, singer, radio presenter… I actually plan on opening a beauty/fashion house in the near future.

Are you signed to any record label? If not, how are you able to handle your music promotion?
I am not signed to any label at the moment; I’ve just been pushing myself. It’s not been easy, but I guess the onus falls on me as I hope for a prospective management deal or label to come.

Were your parents in support of your music career when they were alive?
My dad wasn’t alive to see it, but for my mom at the initial stage, was skeptical until much later when she started to support me till she passed on.

Describe your ideal man
God fearing, industrious, handsome, hardworking, caring, compassionate, self-confident, honest, faithful, loyal, Intelligent, mature, and I like a guy, who dresses well and has a positive attitude.

So, would you marry an entertainer like you if one proposes?
No way! I don’t know if I can deal with having a husband who is an entertainer; there’s a whole lot that comes with this our job. It would be too much for the kids. I’d rather he’s just not in the public glare; it saves you a lot of public drama.

What is your personal philosophy of life?
Believe in yourself, don’t wait for people to believe in you, because the moment you start believing in yourself, people would start believing in you… and also start with what you have, don’t wait because of what you don’t have.

So asides your looks, what do you consider your unique feature as an artiste?
Asides my looks I think it’s my personality and my voice.

So if I take your handbag right now, what items would I find in it?
You will definitely find my makeup bag, my iPad, my iPhone, my wallet, cash, my hair brush, moisturizer, bank cards, business cards, sunglasses, hand sanitizer, a mirror, keys, gum, and my perfume.

Apart from Fliptyce, which other producers have you worked with?
I have also worked with Ex-O, Geamat, Kaka Igbokwe, Shogon and Young John (the wicked producer).

As one who has hosted a Fashion show, describe your fashion style?
I like to look trendy and comfy. I also believe as much as one would love to appear hot and sexy, it’s good to feel comfortable with what you’re wearing.

Jenny O

Jenny O

#AFROHITSONBANG – Watch Falz’s Interview On Bang Radio


Written by HF Magazine Staff  | 


2016 BET Awards

#AFROHITSONBANG was the hashtag used to promote the popular radio show Afro hits on Bang, when they hosted Falz aka ‘Falz the bahd guy’, who was in the UK recently. He stopped by for a chat with the Afrohits crew on Bang Radio, London 103.6Fm.

The Nigerian rapper, spoke with Mc Timmy, Shopsydoo (Adesope) and DJ Yung Milli and talked about everything from his family, education, his funny accent, his first album, hit song – “Marry Me” ft Yemi Alade to his viral skits “ello Bae” and other activities around his fast growing career.

Falz, an extremely funny, yet calm musician, spoke candidly about his background in Law and how the family took his decision to be a professional musician. The rapper also took on the ‘Afrohits5’ segment, answering five questions from the radio hosts.

Responding to one of the questions on his preference for girls, Falz said, “I don’t encourage anybody to use bleaching cream, but I generally have preference for light skinned girls”.

Falz was born, Folarin Falana; he is the son of renowned Lagos Lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana. As a musician, he wasn’t very popular when he released his first album, but went ahead to push himself to popularity especially when he started releasing funny skits on social media platform, Instagram. Most fans and followers on Instagram would agree if we call him ‘Falz the ‘funny guy’.

Watch and enjoy the incredibly funny and entertaining interview with Falz below.

SOLIDSTAR – THE PRODUCT OF A PROPHECY


Written by HF Magazine Staff  | 


Solidstar Interview

Joshua Iniyezo, popularly known as Solidstar has remained consistent in Nigeria’s entertainment circle since he released his first single, “One In A Million” featuring 2Face Idibia in 2009. The singer stopped by at our Lekki office recently to have a chat with our editorial team. Enjoy the excerpt.

Solidstar

Solidstar

Tell us about growing up

Growing up was tough and ok at the same time. I was born and brought up in Ajegunle, the toughest part of Lagos. I didn’t grow up with my parents; I grew up with my grandmother till I was 18, before I left to hustle on my own. I did all sort of things to survive. I wanted to play football, because I know how play very well. So, I consulted my friends to help me decide, and they insisted that I do music, especially because people had started coming that they want to work with me. I started doing music alone at first, before Achievas Music came, saw my talent and signed me. I have been working with Achievas Music since 2008, till date. Whenever I look at my past, I give glory to God, Achievas Music made me whom I am today.

Your first single, “One in A Million” featured 2Face Idibia, how easy was it to get him on a song as a new artiste at that time?

It wasn’t that easy, but my CEO (Achievas Music) made it possible, because both of them were friends. When my boss moved me from AJ City to Festac Town, I started rolling with new people and making new friends to change my mentality. He introduced me to 2Face’s friends and one day, I met 2Face in person with him. I couldn’t utter a word on the day I met 2Face, because I was overwhelmed. I mean, this is someone, who was my mentor even before this particular day I met him in person. I was speechless. My confidence with him grew over time, then I got an opportunity to play him the song I wished to do with him. He liked it and then invited me to his house to record his part and that was it.

How did you come about the name – Solidstar?

It’s a long story, but the short part of it is that I was born and brought up in the church and my late grandmother was a prophetess. One day, she called me and told me that I should do whatever I choose to do, because there’s a star that will shine on me very soon. So when I decided to do music as a career, so many positive things started happening to me; a lot of people wanted to work with me, so I thought this must be a ‘solid star’ and it became my name till date.

How is it that you have dreadlocks but don’t do reggae music?

I was actually born with dreadlocks. My parents cut my hair when I was six years old, but it grew again as locks. It was after my secondary education that I left the hair till now.

You talked about your grandma being a prophetess; were you born in Celestial Church?

I was born into Cherubim and Seraphim. I was actually the lead drummer in my Church. I play the drums very well and I was playing on stage and supporting the choir. That is the root of my music making.

So apart from listening to 2Face’s music; what kind of music did you grow up listening to?

I grew up listening to reggae and highlife music. The kind of music we played in church was part of my influence. The streets of AJ city also inspired me musically.

How would you define your music?

I really don’t know how to classify my sound; I’ll just say I make my sound – ‘solid sound’. I am very versatile, I can make any type of song, based on what inspires it. I can do Gospel, and I also enjoy making Afro-pop, but I’ll define my music as Solid sound.

Your videos have always been topnotch; how do you come up with the concept?

It’s a two way thing. The director sends his own treatment and if we like it, we adopt it, but if it doesn’t cut in the way we want, we’ll just suggest a few things and proceed. Clarence is a very brilliant director and I enjoy working with him.

Which of your songs do you consider as your biggest song so far?

I’ll say it’s “Skibo”. I made a lot of money from that song; I’ll say it put me out there – beyond Nigeria. I played in London, America and some African countries. Then “Oluchi” did very well and “My Body” featuring Timaya.

We can see that you have a couple of new songs in rotation; should we be expecting a new album soon?

Yeah I am working on my third album. Already, I have released “Negotiate”, “”My Body” and “Baby Jollof” featuring Tiwa Savage.

I grew up listening to reggae and highlife music. The kind of music we played in church was part of my influence

“I grew up listening to reggae and highlife music. The kind of music we played in church was part of my influence” – Solidstar

So what is it about Achievas Music that has kept your work relationship smooth?

It has to be their patience. First of all, I started working with them when I had nothing. They spent a lot of money on me, even when my music wasn’t paying, yet, they didn’t give up on me. As time went on, things started picking up, and my music career started taking shape. They were determined to make sure I made it to where I am today. This is one of the reasons why I will keep working with them. I really appreciate them. I have been with Achievas Music for about 10years now and I will remain here for as long as possible. They made me the Solidstar that I am today.

At what point did you realize that Solidstar has a true fan base?

You know if you don’t go out there, you won’t know how big you are. I used to feel laid back, but when I started climbing some big stages, I began to realize that people are really feeling my song. Sometimes, I like to go to the club; not because I just want to go and enjoy myself, but because I love to see how people react to music generally and my music in the club. It is good for self-evaluation.

How would you describe the level of patronage when it comes to fans or music lovers buying your music?

It has been encouraging, but even at that, we do not make money from album sales as such. I don’t wish to drop an album this year, because we do not really make money from album sales. A single song pays more than an album in Nigeria today. If the song is nice, we promote it very well and make a lot of money with it, compared to just releasing an album. Releasing an album is just to show your fans know that you have more to offer. It gives you room to show how versatile you are as an artiste, but that doesn’t translate to money as such.

What would you say an artiste needs to be successful in this music business?

First of all, I believe you have to be talented. It goes beyond knowing how to write a song. You need to know how to sing and people can write for you, that’s not even a problem. You also need to have the look and charisma to represent what you do. It is important to be humble, hard-working, persistence and prayers is very important.

Do you have a title for your third album yet?

No, I don’t have a title yet. I have dropped like 3 singles already, but I don’t want to continue releasing more singles before ‘Alaba’ packages an album on my behalf. So, I’m thinking of putting out something with about 12 or 14 tracks, but it won’t be an album by definition. I am not going to give it to any marketer; we will push it my way.

At the moment, how often do you get paid shows?

You know the interesting thing is that people don’t know that some many artistes don’t get shows like that. We don’t really have a lot of shows in Lagos, but we get a lot outside Lagos. If I don’t get a lot of gigs in a month, I still do nothing less than four shows in a month and I believe that’s impressive compared to a lot of artistes out there. It encourages me to put in more work, so I can be better than my last performance.

So how does it feel to Solidstar?

To be a successful musician, you have to be humble. First impression matters a lot, so I try to be as simple as possible. I understand that I must be level headed and that is who I am. I also try to emulate my mentor, 2Face, who is very down to earth. Humility goes a long way.

Solidstar Interview

“I am working on my third album”

You talked about your grandmother raising you up; what about your parents?

My dad is late, but my mom is alive. My dad had three wives and my mom was the third. My grandma just picked me that she would take care of me herself. My parents used to come visit me at my grandmother’s place and I visited them as well, but my grandmother insisted to have me around her. She passed on before I finished my secondary education.

As Solidstar, what would you change in Nigeria’s music industry, if you had the power to do so?

I admit that we the musicians go to Alaba to work with music marketers, but the problem we are having with them is that, if you are releasing an album to sign up with a marketer, then next thing you’ll see is that some other marketers that you don’t know will go behind to reproduce the same album and give it a different album cover and start selling. So, if I have my way, I will ensure to stop that from happening. Like I said, I admit that we musicians actually go to them with our singles and money for them to promote our works, but if I don’t give you my song to push, don’t take my song to go create a fake album and start selling behind me.

Which artistes have you worked with that is yet to be released?

Oh that will be Davido. I have song with him, but I’m yet to release it. I am also hoping to do some international collaborations soon. I will be traveling to America to see if I can work with either Future or Jhene Aiko.

So what should fans expect from your next album?

First I started my music with Reggae/R&B, but I switched, because a musician must change along with the music, so that you can stay relevant. So on my next album, you will hear the real Solidstar with a touch of everything. It will show me in my versatile mode.

You have worked with almost all the biggest names in Nigeria’s music industry, who else do you look forward to working with?

On production it will be Legendury Beat, but for artistes, it will be Wizkid. He is very gifted; it will be nice to work with him.

What’s that one thing you need your fans to know outside the things we’ve asked you today?

Oh yeah, I need my fans to know to I have an indie-label called, Badass Music and it’s under Achievas Music. I have a signed artiste called, Jojo, whom I will introduce when the time is right. My label supports me, because they know I will need to stand on my own someday, but for now, I am fully with Achievas Music. Thank you.

"First I started my music with Reggae/R&B, but I switched, because a musician must change along with the music, so that you can stay relevant."

“First I started my music with Reggae/R&B, but I switched, because a musician must change along with the music, so that you can stay relevant.”

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