Saturday, 9 January 2010

The next big things!

Presenting two young Nigerians doing things that will equip young Nigerians in practical ways...

Bolanle Osoba
What’s Bolanle Osoba about?
I’m the CEO of T.I. Events Limited. I graduated from the University of Lagos with a B.Sc in Philosophy. I am from Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, to be precise.

What is your project all about?
Icons protégé is a reality television show aimed at providing a platform where young aspiring entrepreneurs will get the opportunity to work with established entrepreneurs who have attained iconic or legendary status live on television, so that those at home to can learn from the show and not fill left out.

Experiences as a youth advocate
It was challenging because at that time, every young person wanted to be a youth advocate because of the success of people such as Fela Durotoye, Niyi Adesanya, among others, and the fact that corporate organisations identified with it. So when you are sourcing for funds, you are sometimes seen as someone who is just looking for money, which made it difficult to raise funds. I had to use my own money to organize events.

Did you recognise a need for the skills you are teaching in your programme?
Yes, because I found out from my research that most legends die with their knowledge without someone capable to carry on and maintain the standard set by their predecessor such as Fela Kuti in music, Pastor Bimbo Odukoya, Yinka Craig, among others.

What do you intend to achieve by this movement?
To promote entrepreneurship, reduce the pressure on the labour market, to change the orientation of young Nigerians always waiting to inherit an already finished product, for them to take the bull by horn and take their future into their hands.

What other projects are you involved in?
I’m involved in Tosin Igho’s show, which is coming up next year; it is about helping young aspiring musicians.

How has the response been so far to the programme?
It has been impressive I had receive calls all parts of the country signifying their interest not minding the show will be held in Lagos.

What challenges do you face in you work as a youth advocate?
Capital, the credibility challenge of being a young person and the lack of confidence that the older generation has in young people.

What facilities do you think would have made your job easier?
Capital, increase in manpower.

Do you think our country’s particular problems have contributed to your development or not?
It means am strong and I have the Nigerian spirit of never give up on a better tomorrow.

What does being young and Nigerian mean to you?
Yes it has contribute to my doggedness, my determination, strength and passion

If you could, what changes would you implement in Nigeria now?
A solution to the power supply problem and the over dependence on crude oil.

What else do you do apart from this program you run?
I also into marketing, exportation of Nigerian fabrics to the US.

How do you juggle personal life an your own education with work?
Having a well-structured daily schedule and working on a scale of preference.

Fredrick Usikpedo
MY name is Fredrick Emamoke Usikpedo (A.K.A. UX2). I am a sound engineer music producer and a music artist.

How do you combine your job as a sound engineer and an artist?
None of what I do suffers for the other because they are in line with each other. All that matters is timing; so I try to schedule my time.

What’s your kind of music and what message do you intend to pass across to listeners?
I do dance hall and hip-hop. I encourage people by singing from the heart; influenced by my experience in life. I like to express what I can relate to in my songs be it love, spiritual, societal, etc.

Where do you get your inspiration from, would you say there was someone that made you aspire into being an artist?
Lots of things inspire me. I could be listening to an instrument and looking around me, a song will just pop up. Also, listening to a message in church, a motivational speaker or even another artiste gets me thinking of doing a song.

Do you have any plans of going into music full time and abandoning your other job as a sound engineer?
That’s totally impossible. I produce myself and doing things professionally is key to me. A song has to be done in the studio so, if my song would pass through that stage, I’ll have to still be in the studio. So, doing music full time will still incorporate my being an engineer. They go together.

How do you unwind Because I see you are always busy in the studio or on the road?
As far as work is concerned for me, there is actually no time to rest. But I try to make out time to see movies at the cinemas, swim and also I love to hang out.

As a sound engineer, how would you rate the Nigerian music industry?
I strongly believe we are trying, but if this were to be a score card, I will rate us 50 per cent. Why? Because the way songs are mixed in the country, there is no professionalism in it. I have heard a producer say, ‘if you want to hit the market, you should not go professional.’ That is wrong, because Nigerian music isn’t meant for our market only.

Some artistes do bad or ‘wack’ songs but blame record labels and media houses for not giving them a chance. What is your take on this?
In well-established music industries, there are songwriters and song performers. So you don’t say because you can write songs then, you must sing. No, if you can’t sing, then get Artistes who can to do the song for you. People also believe that the music industry in Nigeria now is a goldmine, so they jump into the studio and sing anything that comes out of their mouth. The record labels too make the mistake of signing the wrong artiste on sentimental basis.

What are the challenges upcoming artists face in our society?
Sponsorship is a major challenge. You have an artiste do a song and when he gets to a radio station, the DJ tells him to bring money before he plays his song. Even in Alaba, the marketer asks you pay for your song to enter a compilation. This is not encouraging.

What advice do you have for other young aspiring artists?
First is to discover your talent, then be focused and do not allow anyone to kill your dream because, the dream killer is you and yourself alone. Your dream begins to die once you start underestimating your potentials.

What’s your idea of a true Nigerian?
A true Nigerian should stand for the right things, acting and conducting business legitimately, thereby representing the country well both local and internationally. That’s why I would focus on my career as an entertainer rather than do yahoo or other forms of illegitimate business, which is against the law of the land.

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