Archive for the ‘Feature story’ Category

Tuface still on top

Posted: October 5, 2010 in Feature story

... aka 2baba (Photo courtesy vive-extra.blogspot.com)

His stage performance has always being lack-lustre as its typical for most Nigerian musicians who simply mime their songs anytime they have the chance to grab the mike on stage but Innocent Idibia recently made another indelible mark in his foot track as one of Africa’s finest performer on and off the stage with the Tuface in concert with a live band earlier in the week.

Introduced by Dbanj via short recorded intro as “the Adam” to symbolise the number of first Tuface bears for the Nigeria’s music scene, a number of other Nigerian and international act were full of great words for him in the intro as he gets set to rock the night. Amongst the first accolades that Mr Idibia has harnessed which the compeer-duo of MI and Banky W revealed included, the first Nigerian artist to win both MTV and MOBO awards just as he was also identified as the first to “raise the minimum wage of CD’s from N150 to N1500and the first to sell the same album twice (locally and internationally).

A short documentary followed, in which the personality of Tuface was analysed via the richness of his lyrical contents and rhythms he’s recorded. Described as a prankster, lover boy, poet, crusader, frank commentator, ‘pass animal’ amongst many others, from the contents of some of his ever-green songs, the crowded expo hall was set in top gear for a remarkable night.

Subsequently a chaotic scene occurred on the stage as a group of dancers invaded the stage in a very frenzied act with some stunning choreography, then came in the eagle (Tuface) in long chains held by high-heeled models (his captors) as he rendered the hit track ‘Odi ya’ from his first album ‘Face 2 Face’. The idea behind the performance was a campaign for peace. The excellent use of the stage by the artist and his brilliant choreographers was very impressive as he finally set himself and was engulf by the dancers which later unveiled Tuface in another outfit. His strong vocals were warming as he transcends from one track to the other with an excellent band to support him (beauty of a stage performance) in a very sublime and entertaining style.

Making true its pseudonym as a campaigner for peace, his first round of performance were tracks that preached peace and freedom. The flow from ‘Ala wa yi yee’ to ‘Free like a bird’ to ‘One love’ and ‘I wanna be free’ to ‘O di a yee’ was rendered back to back in a very energetic delivery.

The energy displayed by Tuface while performing ‘You no holy pass’ was incredible as the performance had a Carlos Santana like guitarist whose playing of the guitar was highly electrifying. Tuface tried to steal the guitarist shine by struggling to outdo the sound by backing and pushing the guitarist but the mild drama went on and the exhilarating sounds of the guitar earned a massive applause from the crowd.

Then came the classical and much demanded by the crowd “Only you” from his latest album “Unstoppable” and this got the hundreds of fans on their feet as those on the exclusive/VIP tickets ditched their exclusivity and climbed on their chairs as everyone tried to outdo each other’s dance step.

“Sex” on stage

Simulated show (Photo courtsey lindaikeji.blogspot.com)

One of the several high points of the concert was the performance of ‘Flex’ where Tuface took, stage performance in Nigeria to new heights by performed a pseudo-sex scene with nollywood actress; Tonto Dike on the stage as she played a stripper. The female seemed nude by wearing a skin-tight gold coloured body suit and after the initially foreplay, where Tuface showed the skills he uses in louring the mothers of his broods, the duo proceeded to the back of a transparent wall in the darkened hall with a beaming red light behind the wall. The ‘pseudo’-sexual exploits then continued with their cloths being pulled off and thrown and some form of oral sex beamed out by their silhouettes movements and gesture to the admiration of the cheering crowd who chants that this will be the next mother of Tuface’s kid (referring to his recent profligacy with women and a number of child-births.) It was a very entertaining saga that earned Ms Dike a standing ovation after her introduction.

The slow reggae tune of the ‘Flex’ was afterwards mixed with the dexterity of the live band’s Igbo dance tunes with the traditional white handkerchiefs waving as Tuface called on the audience to join him in the waving the handkerchiefs as he sublimely transcends to ‘No be small thing o.’

Without a doubt, Tuface is not a good dancer but he was seen regularly using his signature jogging steps and at some point made reference to the gunshot wound he got from the attack in 2007 as the reason for his inadequate but fairly impressive dance steps which were aptly compensated for the his very rich vocals.

The slow melody continued with ‘Outside living in paradise’, ‘Keep the fire burning’ and then the ultimate award-winning ‘African queen’ which had an array of ‘queens’ of different shapes and sizes line up the stage. From the very skinny to flat-tummy and plus-size (real African queens), Tuface kept the mesmerisation to a pulp which culminated in a pretty little (not shy of the stage) girl sitting on the throne with her crown. Tuface introduced her after a peck on his cheek as “little Miss Ene Idibia.” The stage got heavenly for the track ‘Thank you Lord’ again from his first album as kids of different age grades and heights straddled the stage in white robes and angelic wings, holding a lighted candle for the praise song. The magical feel to the song was well complemented with the superb lightning effect of the Expo hall.

Featured acts

Tuface has had some of the greatest collaborations with diverse musicians and we just couldn’t leave without a feel of them. He kicked of the collabo acts with ‘One in a million’ with his prodigy on his Hypertek record label and this was followed by the very classical ‘Street credibility’ with 9ice. The entire audience went wild with the coming on stage of 9ice and then ‘Stylee’ which had DJ Jimmy Jatt and Elajoe. Sadly Mode Nine who was also featured on the track was absent. ‘Seep easy’ with Freestyle and ‘Enter the place’ with Sound Sultan was very electrifying as the Expo hall transformed into a party scene with everyone dancing wild. Timaya and Madman-Terry G could not hold back their excitement as they ran up the stage to relish the excitement as well and join the acts with the alanta dance steps. He also gave the audience a chip of the old block with the performance of ‘Baby don’t you know’ and ‘Knock you off’ with his starting group the Plantashun Boiz which had just Faze present with Blackface absent. The morning was rounded off with much demanded ‘Implication’ and the hit party track ‘Keep on rocking’ that sent the entire audience into a frenzy mood and his colleagues all joining on the stage and raised the African legend shoulder high.

‘After the show is the party’ states the lyrics of ‘Keep on rocking’ and everyone couldn’t help but agree that for this night Tuface gave the party right within the show. But for the late kick-off of the event (as is usual of most events) and the scheduling the concert for a Sunday night which will affect people’s waking-up for work on Monday morning with the Lagos traffic, Tuface in concert as admitted by most present was one of the best the city has seen in a long while.

Ayo Okulaja

In celebration of October Ist, we present you with top 5 songs (and two other worthy of mention) dedicated to our beloved country by patriotic musicians over the years.

No 1: Nigeria Go Survive

This song came with a lovely video that featured and popularised Andrew (Enebeli Elebuwa) and also the phrase, “I am checking out”. It was sang by Veno Marioghae and was released on LP from Tabansi Records in 1984.

At some point it became a sort of rallying call for patriotism to our fatherland in spite of its many problems (our leaders being chief among them).

If them chop the oil o!
Even if them drink the oil o!

Did someone say, “Evergreen”?

No 2: Nigeria, my beloved country

Now this was the classic October 1st song.  Every Independence day in during the nineties, TV stations would overplay this song. It was sang by a choir of kids led by Funmi Adams. In the video the kids all wore gloves and performed a choreography that portrayed their love for “my beloved country”. Watching them we would,dance and sing along and imagine ourselves truly in love with Nigeria.

A question though, “Where is Funmi Adams these days?


Nigeria Yi Ti Gbo Gbo Wa Ni

This was Nigeria’s own “We are the world”. Filled with a lot of music stars from diverse genres, the video of the song was always something to watch.There was the rich baritone of Orlando Owo, Charlie Boy contributed some lines in Igbo and there was Alarm Blow (one of Charlie Boy’s proteges) who came into the dance arena where KSA sat enthroned with three women dressed in traditional Bini garb. (In my child mind eye and for some weird reason, I actually thought those women were Sunny Ade’s wives.)

King Sunny Ade brought together “everybody” that was “somebody” in the music industry at that time. The various blends of voices and indeginous languages made the song truly rich and almost totally Nigerian (not all the languages were represented for obvious reasons. imagine listening to a song sang in over 250 languages on one recording. We probably would still be listening to it today).

Which way Nigeria?

Which Way Nigeria

This song is saaaad! Each time I heard it then I would be moved to tears and not just because Sunny Okosun sang it in a really teary voice. The video was filled with hungry little children and frustrated-looking adults…

The saddest thing about this song is that it still reflects the conditions in the country today.

Many years after Independence we still find it hard to start
How long shall we be patient before we reach the promised land
Let’s save Nigeria so Nigeria won’t die

Which way Nigeria?
Which way to go?
I love my fatherland I want to know
Which way Nigeria is heading to.


Let’s save Nigeria

Actually this was the first “We are the Worldish” song. It featured a group of musicians that arranged thenselves like the We Are The World “choir”. I was at that stage just between baby and toddler when the song was released so I can barely remember the faces in the video and the actual musicians. If you have some idea please supply some more info

The song had this sweet melody and the chorus went something like this:

Let’s save Nigeria
Let’s save Africa
Let’s save our (nation)
And live in harmony

(Update: on this song, see Comb and Razor’s comment.)


Gbao!

Okay, the title of this song does not have Nigeria in it but remember the first line in JJC/Mr. Skillz’s rap: Nigeria is the best land. GBAO!
“Nuff said!

Okay not enough. The song also featured the National Anthem sang in a rather cheesy way. Not gbao at all. SMH.

Me I like my country

Okay, this one too is a way off. It was not a real “song” but a very popular jingle whichwas aimed at mobilising the populace towards a strong sense of patriotism and was sponsored by MAMSER. Remember MAMSER? I bet you have forgotten what it stands for, acronym and iseology-wise. Click on this link to refresh your memory.

Anyway the MAMSER song was so popular it inspired some very clever remixes like this one:

Me I like Ewedu
I like am pass egusi
Okro soup e dey for my stomach
Make we join hands to make ogbono better


Do you know of any other “Nigeria” song? Please add to the list via your comments.

PS: Notice how there seems to be a scarcity of songs dedicated totally to our conuntry from this generation of musicians? If I am wrong tell me by pointing out one.

Onyinye Muomah

It could be argued that Julius Agwu aka The Genius brought style to comedy. Undoubtedly one of the most stylish men in entertainment, Julius is our cover on the X2 page in today’s paper.

(Read: Music, comedy, and a man called ‘Genius’).

Here, we take a look at the fashion sense of the self-styled genius.

Julius always look good in suits. Like a true “fashionisto” is choices goes beyond the conventional. And he is not above pairing his suits or blazers with a t-shirt.

Speaking of T-shirts, Julius loves them too, preferring the ones with zany prints emblazoned on them and often pairing them with hats.

Special: One of his best outfits would be the yellow themed outfit he wore to the 2009 HHWA . The jacket on its own was exceptional.

* Click pix for full sizes.

** All pictures courtesy artist.


Onyinye Muomah

Today is Michael Jackson day- at least, his death-day! (How macabre!)

X2 pullout in today’s NEXT Daily is dedicated to… (yeah, you got it!) the KING OF POP!

Rewind 365 days and you had Facebook profile pictures, ring-tones, even car plates being dedicated to the KING! Today is not even “almost” equivalent. For a remembrance of the one and only Wacko Jacko, it is more or less quiet. Fewer people give a damn this year than last year.

No matter… because the people that matter do. Like his Mom, Katherine Jackson, who just published a “coffee table” book of pictures about the life and times of her dear son amidst some controversies.

For more on Michael Jackson: One Year Later, visit the X2 page on 234next.com.

The story on our website (and Friday paper) starts like this:

The Toni Payne and 9ice divorce saga is apparently far from over. With rumours spreading that a mutual acquaintance of the couple, Ruggedman played a role in the break up, the tale takes a brand new twist.

Sounds familiar?

Flash back: Femi and Funke Kuti.

According to several soft sell magazines at that time, the breakup was caused by Funke’s affairs with “several men” including two celebrities , Eddie Remedy (now ex-hubby of Kenny St. Brown) and Gbenga Adeyinka the 1st. Some magazines even went as far as printing excerpts from text messages sent to Funke’s phone by some of her “boyfriends”.

Flashback II: Taribo and Atinuke West.

Fellow footballer Sunday Oliseh, was implicated in the break-up of the couple’s short-lived marriage.

And now, “the Toni Payne/9ice saga”.

Some of the wind that seems to be fanning the flames stems from 9ice’s song “Once bitten Twice Shy” from his latest album. Even though the couple did not give an actual reason for their breakup, there are some who believe the song is more or less a tell-all without names.

Toni Payne has denied the rumours that she is the person her ex-husband is referring to in the song even going as far to make a plea on her facebook status that the person who sang the song should please state precisely the persons he is singing about.

To make matters worse a face has been put on the so-called friend amidst more denials. The man with the unfortunate face Ruggedy Baba, like Toni Payne, is not taking the recent insinuations lying down. According to recent reports, there has been  a leak of a phone call he made to 9ice asking him to come out and stop the rumours.

So far the only one who does not seem bothered by the rabid rumours surrounding the  previously unceremonious breakup of his marriage is the man with two pockets.

Hey, every publicity is good publicity and if it helps album sales why put an end to a good thing, hein?

We understand you, Adigun but wethinks it’s about time you consider other reputations too and come out straight on the nodder and the noddee.  After all, if you could release official press-statement over your separation and divorce to avoid ill-rumours  (according to your publicist) you can also do same for the cause of both and for the same reason.

And if indeed the rumours are true, it would be sort of crass and cruel of 9ice to turn such a “private” matter into a hit song.

Advice to Payne: Rumours not-with-standing Funke Kuti went ahead to make a great life for herself post-Femi. You could do the same. Don’t dwell on what’s not true… if it’s not. Remember the phrase: Stick and Stones may break my bones…

As  for Ruggedman: Some were not even aware of the rumours till the recording of the call was made  public. So is this some pubilicity gimmick? Like your biff with Eedris…

Trust celebrities when they run out of ways to entertain us, they just throw out some dirty laundry and opt to do them in public. What some fail to remember is that sometimes dirty laundry gets blown away by the wind (by this we mean, self-peddled rumours soon get out of hand.)

If anybody (Tuface, for example) ever advised you on a good image, they probably told you (all of you)  that it can’t be bought. It is earned.  Please maintain it. No one ever really wants to know what they don’t need to know.

Give us some good old entertainment and keep your nasty sides to yourselves. This is Nigeria where bad publicity is bad publicity! Once again, ask Tuface.

Onyinye Muomah

Tayo Aiyejumoh

 

IMG_1564

The Future in Enugu!

After visiting Abuja, Yola and Kaduna, Nigeria’s biggest youth event, The Future Awards (under the umbrella The Future Project), continued its national tour of the six geo-political zones of the country, taking its youth town hall meetings to Enugu, Port Harcourt and the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

On these visits, we have tried to see that we can reach individual young people directly and practically. We don’t just want these crowds of people, we want to ensure that message goes through to the attendees – we had them, not just talk about Nigeria and then know how to nominate outstanding young people, but also to make them ambassadors in their communities for the values we hold dear – entrepreneurship and value creation,” Chude Jideonwo, the Creative Director, said.

The Port Harcourt Town Hall meeting had the awards’ Business Owner of the Year speaking to the youth, while Enugu had finalist for On-Air Personality of the Year (Radio), the popular Chuks d Spaceman of Cosmo FM. “Courtesy of support from HiTV for these town hall meetings,” Jideonwo, who was also in Enugu, said, “not only do we have our own events, we also visit youth events, clubs and gatherings of young people in those areas to spread our message of hope and change.”

The Ghana Town Hall meeting was the first of the international town hall meetings for this year, where The Future Awards engages with communities of young Nigerians in different countries. It was held in conjunction with the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana. The High Commissioner, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, sent a representative. The event held at the Shangrila Hotel, with an overflowing hall of young Nigerians living, working and schooling in Ghana, as well as a mix of Ghanaian youth. Also present was Screen Producer of the Year winner, Onye Ubanatu.

Performers included Ghanaian comedian Peter Wincousyn, Nigerian keyboardist Yemi (who reminded guests of Cobhams), Sammy and Bizkit. The event hosts were daughter of ace Nigerian producer, Daphne Akatugha (who is also one of the coordinators of the International Students Association) and Ghanaian writer Robert.

 

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...and in Ghana!

“We didn’t have any town hall meeting in Lagos because we had the launch event here, and we have also been on a breathless round of events, campuses across the entirte state talking to hundreds of young people,” Jideonwo explained. “But we finally decided to do another event in Lagos, partnering with the popular event Taruwa. The conversation about Nigeria and what young people can practically do to empower themselves and to add value to the country can after all never end.”

Nominations are still for the awards in the 20 different categories, and one of the main objectives of the tour is to get nominees from across the country and outside. According to Jideonwo, nominees are especially wanted in the Best Use of Science and Excellence in Public Service categories. Anyone can nominated any young Nigerian between the ages of 18 and 31 via the website http://www.thefuturenigeria.com.

Next on the schedule are Benin, Ile-Ife, Calabar, London holding at the University of East London, and Johannesburg, which will be the last town hall meeting, held in conjunction with naijaborn.com, on the 28th of November.

Danny Glover, in Lagos, earlier this year (PHOTO by Queen Martins)

Danny Glover, in Lagos, earlier this year (PHOTO by Queen Martins)

Michaela Moye

Danny Glover is passionate about Africa and her people. One only has to prompt a discussion about the continent and the veteran actor-activist will not hesitate to launch into a discourse on his enthusiasms and optimism for Africa.

Born to parents who were active members of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), Glover has won the association’s Image Award five times.

His impressive resume includes serving as the current board chairman for TransAfrica Forum, a non-profit organization that focuses on conditions in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

He has been an ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 1998.

In 1994 Glover took an 8-day tour of South Africa alongside fellow actors, Alfre Woodard, Angela Bassett and Delroy Lindo, urging blacks to vote in that country’s first fully democratic national elections.

In an exclusive interview with NEXT, at Ikeja, Lagos, the actor spoke about his passion for the continent:

On his passion

“The first time I came [to Nigeria] I was 25. Since then, a lot of things have happened for me. There’s a degree of optimism [and] pragmatism that comes with wisdom and age. There’s also a diminishing of the romanticism we often have about the continent. The real issues need to addressed [and] talked about.

I was in Ethiopia in 2005 at a conference sponsored by the African Union, UNICEF and the Bob & Rita Marley Foundation – a symposium that brought young people together from all over Africa to talk about how they see the continent, what the future of the continent is and the roles they need to play in the future of the continent.

On Africa’s youth

“I’m always enamored with the fact that when we talk about this extraordinary continent of 54 nations, that it’s young people who’ve always led the march for change. It was young men and women who led the march for decolonization. It’s these people who have stood for the idea that they are the architects of their own future. In that sense, I’m always enamored with the renewal of ideas, passion … commitment. Young people realize that it’s their time to really provide us with another way of looking at the world.

The issues are monumental. If you go to most countries, including in Africa, majority of their population are young below the age of 20 years old. [We] have that reality hitting us right in the face on a planet with diminishing resources. How do we begin to conserve our energy, our resources? How do we begin to protect this fragile planet, Mother Earth?

All of these things are on the table of, not only those of us that are mature, but at the forefront, apex, of young people’s ideas as well.

On service and unity

“How do we talk about service? How do we talk about a new kind of love? Dr. [Martin Luther] King always referred to the idea of agape love. How do we transform our societies into life-affirming nations and communities of love where we are able to sit at table, break bread and carry on the discourse about peace?

Peace, as King would say, is not simply the absence of conflict but the presence of justice.

Ringtones

By Abidemi Dairo & Segun Balogun

The Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) has again accused telecommunication companies in the country of Copyright violation by using Nigerian music as ringtones for their subscribers without paying the required royalties.

And on June 1, the Deputy Governor of PMAN (Lagos chapter), Bvoo, led a group of representatives to MTN’s head office at Golden Plaza in South-West Ikoyi, to protest the use of members music as ringtones without compensation.

Bvoo said: “These telecommunication companies are stealing from artists. They are not encouraging us, instead they are giving us bulls…t. They make use of our works without payment.

“If you check phones, you’ll discover that 80 percent of these ringtones are homemade. These are works made from the sweat of hardworking Nigerian artists. They refuse to pay for the usage of these works either by paying the artist directly or paying the body acting on behalf of these artists,” he said.

He also stressed that PMAN is ready to do everything legal to protect the interest of its members. “We have woken up, and we are ready to take the bull by the horn. We need to be paid,” he said.

Andrew Okereke, the Public Relations Manager for MTN, however, countered that PMAN is just presenting a new proposal to his organisation.

“The truth of the matter is that on Monday (June 1) they came and after our discussions they apologised. We have been dealing with them via a third party initially but they are now requesting that we make arrangements to deal with them directly.

They are asking us for a new partnership and to that, we have asked that they write us officially. We are still waiting for their letter,” Mr. Okereke said.

The Truth about Royalties

“We have never dealt with them in person,” Mr. Okereke said. “There has always been a third party. We will just look into it and see if we can work in partnership with them.”

PMAN’s national president, Tee Mac also confirmed the action taken against the telecommunication companies.

“Yes we decided to seek legal action against these telecommunication companies. We believe that as a union and with the assistance of the law, we can get them to pay these royalties,” he said.

He also confirmed that this was the first time PMAN was asking to be paid royalties directly.

“Initially, they (telecommunication companies) made arrangements which they refused to honour with the Music Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN), which is the body designated to collect these royalties.

The body now has cases against these companies for refusing to pay for the use of these artists’ works,” he said.

The Third Party

The chief executive of MCSN, Imayo Ayilaran, stressed that the organisation is also involved in legal battles with the telecommunication companies.

“As of today (June 4), the Federal High Court has just ruled in our (MCSN) favour for Zain to pay ₦100 million for copyright infringement,” he revealed.

He confirmed that the body initially had an agreement with the companies but has backed out because the companies refused to commit to their own end of the agreement.

“Initially, we had an agreement which we thought was a good faith gesture but it was actually bait from these telecommunication companies. They first promised to settle through their content providers who will determine how much was owed but they have never honoured it,” he said.

When NEXT contacted Zain, a public relations official declined to comment on the issue.

“MCSN is not a representative of local artists alone,” Mr. Ayilaran revealed. “We represent a global protection of music rights. Although we are not a member of PMAN, they will have our support and encouragement if they are fighting against copyright infringement.”

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Vive la Renaissance!

One thing to be said about entertainment in the past decade is that there has emerged a deeper sense of national pride.

From the ubiquitous Proudly Naija symbol to the hilarious viral antics of those ‘Naija Boyz’, Nigerian youth culture appears to have embraced its heritage. The internet is liberally sprinkled with web- and blog-sites like nairaland.com, bellanaija and sturves.com.

To quote Storm Records boss, Obi Asika (storm360degrees.com), “there’s been a reawakening of the Nigerian identity.”

With artists like Ruggedman insisting on rapping in pidgin and the immense popularity of Funke Akindele’s ‘Jenifa’, it is obvious that there has been a nationwide renaissance. In an interview with NEXT, Abuja based artist, 6Foot+ said that there’s “been a shift in focus. We are accepting what we are.  This reorientation happened before the country decided to rebrand. It’s multi-faceted – some think there’s nothing to celebrate, while some people might be doing this because it’s fashionable.”

Bayo Omisore, editor Blast magazine, comments on the ‘Proudly Naija’ renaissance sweeping through the entertainment industry:

“There used to be a time in Nigeria when everything good was foreign and everything Nigerian was bad. Those were the SAP days when things were very hard for Nigerians. Being a third world country with no manufacturing industry did not help matters. We resorted to importing everything – Food items, domestic utensils; even our music. (Of course I’m only being dramatic. It’s for effect!)

Because of the hard times, piracy grew and legitimate music business practitioners quit for greener pastures. The times precipitated a natural death of thoroughbred musicians. Suffice to say, the phonies took over.

Fast forward to 2009 and we can truly say we’re proudly Nigerian, many thanks to the pioneers Remedies and the forefathers Kennis Music for taking a chance. Ab initio, music lovers were content with hearing songs that sounded familiar but had Nigerian content. It didn’t matter that most of the songs lacked intelligent content. The fact that they were made by Nigerians was enough to excite music lovers. However, Ruggedman changed all that with his ‘Ehen Pt. 1’ which ensured that artistes paid attention to the lyrics that went into their music.

So, whereas in the late 90s and early 2000s, it was an almost impossible feat to hear Naija music back-to-back at a party, these days, a foreign song that gets spun must be a certified hit.”

Did government get it right?

It goes without saying, that democracy has played a role in these developments – what with changes in attitude, some subliminal and some less subtle. Says CNE boss (and My Rhythm Band patron) Chuks Ezeilo: “During the repressive military era, freedom of expression went out of the window. The most prominent example of this was the case of Fela Kuti. His music was banned from the airwaves a lot of the time.A close look at Fela’s lyrical content shows that he was merely identifying the cracks in the Nigerian moral order, long before they became obvious.

Before the advent of democracy, most imports, including musical instruments were banned, thus denying a whole generation of Nigerians access to proper musical training, and the effects can be seen today.

The coming of democracy, though it may still be in its infancy, has opened lots of doors. Now that people don’t get locked up for saying things against the government, entertainers, especially comedians, have found a niche market for their art. We now have comedians who can not only survive, but make a decent living from doing their shows uninhibited.

The press freedom that has come along with the democratic landscape is another milestone. The press is very important in the making or breaking of an entertainer’s career. Nowadays, there are so many entertainment magazines, and columns in newspapers that write creatively without fear of having their office sealed.

The Nigeria entertainment industry still has a long way to go in matching international standards but its stakeholders are optimistic. To quote rapper Ikechukwu, “what I am doing is championing Nigeria.”

Born Chike Nosa Agada, R&B singer/songwriter Chykay can claim to be making waves – not tsunami height, but waves nonetheless – over the Internet.

His music is gaining recognition on both Nigerian and UK radio stations and three of his tracks (‘Smile’ featuring Falz, ‘I Just Wanna’ and ‘Mo Fe Soro’) are amongst the more popular songs on music website sturves.com. He has also worked alongside artists like Beazy, L (a.k.a. T.J. Stattz), Playbach, Falz, 2Slick and Uzzy.

Chykay!

X2 came across Chykay’s ‘What Are You?’ while randomly surfing Facebook (thank goodness for FB).

This is our email interview:

Q: Describe yourself in three words.

A: Versatile, unique , creative.

Q: Have you always wanted to be a music artist?

A: Well I was brought up around music. My dad happens to be Harry Mosco … the king of Afro funk. He’s known for hits like ‘Country Boy’, ‘Sugar Cane Baby’ and many more. He also opened the first digital studio in Nigeria, so we had likes of Onyeka Owenu, Sir Shina Peters, King Sunny Ade and Lagbaja stroll in and out the studio. [It] was set up in our garage (LOL). It was and still is state of the art, so I guess it contributed to my love for music. I have passion for what I do.

Q: What is the creative process like?

A: Well, I really like writing about personal situations in my life so it’s always a while before I enter the studio. Like my father, I too, am a perfectionist. I like to sing from the heart so listeners feel what I feel. Once I get inspiration a good instrumental would do the song justice.

Q: Any pre-performance rituals?

A: (LOL) Well, I simply do the sign of the cross, and start telling myself “you’re a star, you’re the man, you’re the man. Now rock this stage! (LOL)

Q: How would you rate the Nigerian entertainment industry?

A: Well, I must say I am so impressed with the industry today. Things have definitely moved      forward.  There’s so much talent in our beloved Nigeria. Recently I was watching CNN and I saw Asa. I was so happy I started bragging to the people around me – “You see she’s Nigerian.” (LOL). I am so impressed but we still have one major problem – PIRACY.  Yeah, artists have found a way to make money off shows but to make the maximum of what we have we have to fight PIRACY. I am well aware we have a musician body called PMAN. I hope they tackle this problem now that the whole world is watching us.

Q: Any plans to work in Nigeria?

A: Definitely. I was in Nigeria for about 3 months last year… spent most of my time in the studio. We created tracks like ‘Mo fe soro’ and ‘Steeze and Cruise’.  I plan to officially release them [in Nigeria] this summer. A couple of my songs are on the internet and are receiving good feedback.  

Q: What type of audience do you have in the UAE?

A: Well, really, I don’t have an audience in the UAE. I was in England before I came to Dubai. I had been doing my music officially since 2003 in England. I left England by 2008 for Nigeria. I had finished my bachelor’s degree in England and then I left for Dubai in January 2009 to do a master’s programme. I chose Dubai just to extend my knowledge of culture being that I have never been in the Arab world. I guess my audience is pretty much mixed thanks to the internet.

Q:  Are you following any of the Nigerian music awards?

A:  Yes I am. I was just telling my manager that we should work harder and by God’s grace  we could be nominated for the next Hip Hop Awards – he screamed AMEN!!!

Q: Which Nigeria-based performer would you like to work with most?

A: Well, I am into different types of music. I love anything that sounds good, so I’d love to work with anybody. Asa and Cobhams would just make my year!