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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

VIDEO: “IDIAGBON” BY BIG KLEF, DIRECTED BY UNLIMITED L.A

@bigklef @bigklef


America based Nigerian artist, Oghenebruphihor Kenneth Ofigho aka Bigklef, is currently in the country to promote his trending single, titled – “Idiagbon”. He teamed up with one of the most sort after director, Unlimited L.A, to shoot the activity packed video for the song.


The video was recently released on TV stations around the country and according to him, the response has been very impressive.


Born and raised in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria before heading off to the States, Bigklef has shared stages with artists like Sean Kingston, Serani, Ying Yang Twin and many more. He is currently studying Music at Chabot College, Hayward in California.


Bigklef, is the originator of African Hip-hop genre called, Afrotrap. He has collaborated with a good number of Nigerian artistes and performed in various shows alongside Iyanya, P-Square, Flavour, Timaya, Jaywon and many others.


The song, “Idiagbon” was produced by TwanbeatMakers, while the video was shot in Warri and Lagos.


Press play




VIDEO: “IDIAGBON” BY BIG KLEF, DIRECTED BY UNLIMITED L.A

ARTICLE: FELA THE GREATEST!

Fela-Kuti


Like a lot of people, artists inclusive, I never got to meet or see Fela Anikulapo Kuti in person, but I knew his music and to a great extent, I understood what the man stood for. When I started listening to his music as a teenager, I thought he was a good story teller, I didn’t think an artist could expose himself to so much ‘danger’.


From the things that I read about Fela, he didn’t have bodyguards with muscles and ammunitions, like the days of Dokubo Asari, neither did he record and publish his music from the bush like Boko Haram. He was as fearless and daring as the stuffs he talked about. I remember the first time I heard “I.T.T” (International Thief Thief), and the parts where he swore by various deities and so on. I couldn’t sing along on those parts of the song; I just couldn’t.


As I grew older, I began to understand the depth of Fela’s music. He was a man of the people. His education abroad was not for fun. He went on a mission to be educated in the deep sense of it. It was beyond wanting to know how to read and write. He chose to read music instead of Medicine when he left for London in 1958. For the type of person he was, and the mandate he was going to take up later in life, music was the best way to equip himself.


After school, Fela returned with a mission to educate and open the people’s eyes with his music. He was determined. He was on a mission to help Africans – not just Nigerians to see beyond their noses. He wasn’t the first Nigerian to have schooled abroad, but he was the chosen one.


Outside the message(s) behind his music, Fela created Afrobeat out of nothing. His sound could easily have been influenced by the western environment, where he studied, but he didn’t let that happen. He was the only man/musician that made his own kind of music. Sometimes, it sounded weird and scattered, yet the composition was defined. Each percussion blended perfectly with the other. Each rhythm had a meeting point. The sequence of every sound was defined and the people that played with him, were obliged to keep an eye on him, so as to be sure that you’re truly in tune with him. Fela could hear every single instrument that played during rehearsals and performances.


Like I said earlier, I didn’t see Fela alive, so my eventual visit to Kalakuta was just to see where the legend called home, back in the day. I visited the new African shrine in Ikeja, almost immediately it was declared open to the public.


In 2008, I was privileged to be on a 2-day Lagos tour with American Rap/Hip-Hop legend, Talib Kweli. He was hosted by Femi Kuti, who took time to explain activities and spots around the shrine to the entourage of guests. I have also been privileged to chat with Yeni Kuti to hear her talk more about the great Abami Eda.


Apart from Femi and Seun Kuti, it took a while before any artist could dare to talk about corruption, bad leadership and injustice in Nigeria like Fela did. I read about some of the horrible things that Fela went through, yet he’d return to the studio and record even more songs. Fela was fearless.


I remember my days in Auchi Poly, we had an evening event in school and some dude came out to perform Fela’s songs, wearing a white underwear and students cheered as the guy tried to mimic the Afrobeat legend. I actually thought it was a great performance, until I watched a music talent show, where a young boy came out to do something similar. I was educated again after Dede Mabiaku stopped the boy’s performance. According to Dede, Fela never performed in his underwear. It was a misconception, just the same way, Fela was misunderstood.


Fela was a visionary artist. A lot of the things that are happening today were said in his music some decades ago. Nigerians are still scared to die and people are still getting arrested, even on their rights. I must also add that Soldiers are still slapping civilians for the slightest reasons. Fela didn’t preach anarchy like the government chose to put it, rather, he wanted people to be able to question unusual actions and speak up without fear of the unknown.


Fela’s enemies hid behind the shadows of power. They hated his guts, but envied him even more. His action was un-African. They tried to kill him strategically, but somehow he managed to live up to his name – Anikulapo. He was a strong man, who would not give his detractors the pleasure of taking credit for his death. HIV/AIDS is real, yet, we can still say, Fela died a natural death, as any other sickness could have killed him.


Today, a lot of Nigerian artists are beginning to embrace the fact that the outside world have defined our music as Afrobeat. It is also interesting to hear our young artists proclaim the same when they are asked outside. It shows that no matter how hard we try to make R&B, or Pop music, people outside don’t perceive as that. It’s like a born-Nigerian trying to fake a British accent. Some weeks ago, I was chatting with someone who knew Fela very well from way back and he said, Fela told him and his band that they should drop the disco music they were doing at the time. “Fela said we couldn’t copy America’s music and sell it back to them. It won’t work. Instead, tell your own story; make your own music and the Americans will be interested to learn from you.”


There is nothing to say that has not been said about the legend Fela, therefore in the spirit of Felabration, I’ll stop here, to propose a toast to the great Fela Anikulapo Kuti… May his soul continue to rest in peace.



ARTICLE: FELA THE GREATEST!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

JAYWON CELEBRATES WITH NEW KING OF EGBE, KOGI STATE

@JAYWONJUWONLO @JAYWONJUWONLO


Fans of Jaywon were thrilled as the singer showed up at the coronation of the new king – Oba Ayodele Irukera, the Elegbe of Egbe Land, in Kogi State. The singer who just returned from Ogbomosho, where he went to support Abolore Akande (9ice) was specially invited by Senator Smart Adeyemi, who also hosted guests after the coronation ceremony. The event took place on Saturday, October 11 and was described as ‘home coming’ for several indigenes of the State.


Jaywon performed some of his hit songs, including “This Year” and “Madantin”. The singer also got the privilege to entertain the deputy governor of the State, Architect Yomi Awoniyi, and other influential people like billionaire – Otunba Jide Omokore, General Jembewon, and Honourable Karimi.


In a chat Entertainment Rave, Jaywon revealed that it’s the first time he is performing to a crowd in his hometown. In his word, “It feels good to be home, entertaining and relating with my people. I had a good time, and I’m grateful to senator Smart Adeyemi for giving me the privilege to be a part of such an elaborate event.”



JAYWON CELEBRATES WITH NEW KING OF EGBE, KOGI STATE

Friday, October 17, 2014

JARMZONE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: EVAEZI

EVAEZI


EVAEZI started her career, as a singer. Some would refer to her as the artist who was always mixed up with Eva – the rapper. Although her music career is yet to hit the bull’s eye, she is already spreading her tentacles to movies and theatre. In this interview with THE JARMZONE, Evaezi opens up on her artistry and alleged relationship with singer/producer, Zdon Paporella. Enjoy the excerpt.


 


We see you’ve been doing a lot of acting lately. Tell us about it?


Well, acting has always been my dream, since University (UNILAG) days. I took my minor courses from Theatre Arts. It was awesome. When I started my music career under my uncle, Kingsley Ogoro, I always gave him a hint, that when I gain some momentum in music, I would cross over to movies. I used to nag him so much (laugh), but you know how it is. A prophet is never honored in his own town.


In 2011, Charles Novia approached me with a script called ‘Alan Poza’. He wanted me to play a young talent that was discovered by some top shot music executives. I thought I was just going to sing and that would be the end of it, but when I got the script, I saw that I had about five scenes with lines. After that project, I heard about the auditions for MTV SHUGA and went for it. I was later called to play a role. Not long after that, Emem Isong called me for a role in her musical movie “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. It was that movie that launched me into ‘Movie Scoring’. Every song you hear in that movie was done by me. From there, Desmond Elliot gave me a call to score a movie he shot in Sierra Leone. After that, a woman from the UK called through Desmond to score her own movie. Directors and Producers started calling me to take up different roles, including my most recent role on ‘The Wives’, a stage play by the extraordinary duo of Kenneth and Brenda Uphopho of Performing Arts Workshop and Studio (PAWS). Currently I have been commissioned to write a script for a movie which I am about rounding up… What can I say? The world of Movies and plays calls to me.


 


How many movie or drama projects have you worked on so far?


I’ve done about eight so far. They are – ‘Alan Poza’ by Charles Novia, MTV Shuga, ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’ by Emem Isong and Ini Edo, ‘10:10’ and ‘Slipping Through The Crack’ by Gbenga Salu. I was also on ‘President For A Day’ by Afriwood, ‘Easy Access’ by Muyiwa Ojo (Multichoice), ‘Tomorrow is Now’ (a tv series), ‘Reflections’ by Desmond Elliot, and ‘The Wives’ (Stage play produced by PAWS).


 


You seem to have a passion for acting. If you have to choose between acting and music, which would you drop for the other?


(Laughs) That’s like asking a woman to choose between her husband and her children. No way. For me, they work hand in hand to create the brand called EVAEZI. Naturally, I am theatrical. My storytelling, can be very animated. It’s the same thing when I am singing. That is what makes my performances, unique and exciting every time. So you see – EVAEZI cannot do without acting and singing.


 


You changed your stage name from Eva D’ Diva, to Evaezi in 2011, what impacts would you say it has made in your music career?


If I have to be honest, the change of name set me back a whole lot. It was like starting all over again. People kept asking me if I had travelled. I would send my songs to radio DJs and OAPs and they won’t play my music because they didn’t know it was me, till I went there in person. It was really demoralizing and frustrating at first, but the rebrand was a necessary inconvenience. II realized that I would love to take my music beyond the shores of Nigeria and even Africa, and to do that I have to be unique. I also realized that there were so many EVAs out there, including soaps, wines, water, American actresses, and models. One can easily get lost in all that; so, I did what I had to do. I reverted to my real name – EVAEZI (which means ‘A Pure Heart’)


 


You became more vocal, daring and expressive after you rebranded; does it mean that you were holding back as Eva D’Diva?


Well, I guess I was. I was new in the industry and it seemed like everyone had their idea of who they wanted me to be. I was the only one who didn’t have an idea about who I wanted to be. So I sucked it up and just played ball, but when I realized that it was my career, my risks, my success/failure, I took the reins and decided to do things my way. So yeah, when I rebranded to EVAEZI, I felt there was no going back; I told myself – “They may love you, they may hate you, but that’s their problem, not yours. You must make them respect you”.


 


You’ve only released an EP since you rebranded, when are you likely to release an album as Evaezi?


Yes, I released an EP called ‘Whispers: Love and Other Thing’. I got tired of the pressure of needing to do commercial music to ‘blow’ in Nigeria. I wanted to make music that I would love to listen to. So, I put together. A 7-track EP, and indulged Wana Udobang to do two spoken word pieces on it. My intension was to make a statement and I’m just getting started. Concerning my album, I’ll say, my acting career has been quite busy lately, but my team and I have drawn up a schedule, where I start working on my album in November. So it should be out 1st quarter of 2015 by God’s special grace. I am going to really pour myself into every song. People better get ready.


 


I’m sure you will agree that your music does not appeal to listeners across the board; tell us about your target audience and how encouraging has the response been, financially?


O yes, my music really doesn’t appeal to listeners across the board, but then again, these are the same people that listen to John Legend, Sam Smith, Enya, Asa, Alicia Keys… I mean intellectual, alternative music. It is a myth of sorts that a huge chunk of Nigerians don’t listen to, or appreciate alternative music. Just the other day I heard a spare-parts dealer in Ojuelegba singing John legend’s “All of Me”, even with his poor command of English; it was really weird. The truth is, people are willing to listen, and they just need to have access to the music. This is where I was lacking in the past. I gave into that myth about target audience segregation and I allowed it frighten me into not getting my music way out there. So basically, I had been robbing myself. I started noticing that every time I perform, even to ‘across the board’ audience, the feedback, reactions, and the acceptance went through the roof. It’s actually amazing that I would sell my EP for as much as N1500 per CD after my performance and it would sell out. I just realized that one just has to do the work of getting out there. The hustle is real o, this one no be just talent alone. You have to get into the business of the industry and part of it is giving people a chance to see and hear what you’ve got. Times have changed. Financially speaking, it is becoming a whole lot more encouraging.


 


Outside music and movies, who is Evaezi?


Wow! EVAEZI outside music and movie is a simple lady, who doesn’t drink, smoke or go clubbing. She believes in God, Family, the goodness of humanity and true Love. That’s pretty much my life.


 


Is it true that you are an item with Zdon Paporella? Tell us more about your relationship.


(Laughs) Well, Zdon is a great looking man, so it won’t be out of the ordinary if there was a relationship, but you know what? I won’t comment on the ‘ME dating Zdon’ rumor. I will tell you that Zdon is a dear friend and brother. He is the closest friend I have in this music industry and among the extremely few I can trust. He is a deep, highly intellectual and God fearing man. He stood by me at my lowest moments – when I was about giving up on the entertainment industry. He is also my biggest fan and one of my strongest support systems. We know each other reach house. He happens to be one of the talented producers I work with. We hang out a lot, and are really close. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.


 


You’ve been in the entertainment industry for about 6-7 years now if I’m not wrong; what has been the motivating element that has kept you here for that long?


The motivating elements? Hmm… Belief in the many talents God gave me. I can’t just let my talents go to waste. One day, I want to look back on my life and know that I squeezed out every drop of creativity to the benefit of the generations coming after me. They would hear my story and know that nothing in Life is impossible, unless you give it the power to be so. I don’t want to give the amazing people God has surrounded me with, who believe in me, including the fans who support and look up to me an excuse for quitting. That would make me a coward… Oh, and finally, that glorious day when I meet my maker, I will say “I did it Daddy; I put it out there… All of it”. Those are my motivations. (Smiles).



JARMZONE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: EVAEZI

THE ARTIST, THE MUSIC AND THE BRAND

@DONJAZZY @DONJAZZY


Over the years, people have tried to understand and explain how and why some artists have faded off so easily, regardless of how ‘hot’ they may have been at a point in time. While this article may not directly solve the puzzle, it could open your mind to another possibility or align with your perception.


I’m sure we’ll lose count if we try to count the number of adverts or campaigns brands like Coca-Cola, Star, Guinness Stout, Omo, Maclean and CloseUp (to mention a few), have pushed over the years. The key motive of these adverts or campaigns is to sustain the brand/product and its affinity with the consumers. The interesting thing, is that, we may not remember all the songs or jingles these companies have pushed, but we know these brands or products.


What am I saying?


A lot of artists/musicians today, are more desperate to make a hit song, as this is supposed to open the doors to countless shows/concerts and wealth for them. I think the hustle is realer for the fresh entrants, who come into the game with that perception. A chat with some fairly known artists, will clearly tell you that everybody wants to be on that P-Square, 2Face, Banky W, Don Jazzy, D’Banj level. Half of them don’t even have an idea of what it actually takes to be on that level. A lot of them jump from one producer to the other in search of that ‘hit song’. Interestingly, some get the hit song, but, the approximate life span of a ‘hit song’, is between three and six months. It takes time for music to spread and get expected acceptance. You will run around radio stations and be very privileged to get reasonable rotation on one station and it’s another thing, to enjoy equal attention across three to four stations in Lagos alone. Let’s not forget other states in the country. A promotion budget doesn’t even come cheap for established artists, not to talk of the new ones, yet, scoring a hit is not all dependent on frequency of airplay.


It is easy for a lot of people to call an artist like Sound Sultan an underrated artist, yet, his career has spanned over a dozen years and is still flourishing. He has six albums, numerous hit songs, and great music videos. Outside music, he is an actor, public speaker, mentor, as well as a brand and UN Peace ambassador. Sultan may not have that Wizkid crowd, but he has been able to position himself as a brand and force to reckon with.


I dare say, that the “brand” status is not just about being talented, it is also about persistence, consistence, patience, strategy and luck. I mean, there are so many artists that have come and gone. They are probably not gone in that sense, but they have just been relegated to the same list as the upcoming ones. The consolatory term you use for some of them sometimes, is ‘veterans’. It makes them feel good, and that’s fine. However, veterans are old timers. In my opinion, if an artist is less than 40 years of age, and did not make a memorable impact in the mainstream, he or she cannot be labeled – A Veteran. Such artists have or had a dead career.


Artists are like products in the market. Their music or songs are the jingles they play to promote their brand. The songs, just like jingles, regardless of how funny or ‘sweet’ they sound, will fade out after some time. This is why product owners also indulge in event sponsorship to reposition their brands and maintain the love of the consumers.


Don Jazzy for instance, is a great producer, but it doesn’t automatically make him the best in Nigeria, but he has been able to position himself as a brand to affiliate with. Over the years, he has knowingly or unknowingly, built or made himself a human dynamo and his wrapped personality keeps the fans yearning for more. His ability to communicate and interact on various social media platforms has also given him a huge and interesting followership.


If you mention Madonna today, most people may not even remember any of her songs, but she has remained relevant and timely like a true brand that she is. Some rap or Hip-hop heads are probably still waiting for Dr. Dre’s ‘Detox’… well, enjoy the wait. He has even scrapped that title. He’ll probably call it ‘The Billionaire’ or something close… that is, if he desperately wants to release another album.


Product or brand managers look out for artists with good behaviours and characters before they consider them for brand endorsement. It goes beyond fans and followership, you have to be marketable. Nobody wants to be associated with ill-mannered artists/entertainers. Where is actor, Hanks Anuku, by the way?


It is one thing to be a great at what you do, it is another, to be able to translate that into respect, power, wealth and success. An artist needs a business manager to help with the positioning and marketing, especially when he or she starts getting public attention. The hit songs will come and go, but the product should remain relevant. It is not just about getting endorsement deals, it is also about creating an atmosphere for ‘returns.’


According to American rapper, 50 Cents, “Music has shifted to an era where you have to be conscious of brand extension”. Don’t carry all your eggs in one basket, start exploring other areas; that is how you can ensure your pension, when you retire.



THE ARTIST, THE MUSIC AND THE BRAND
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