MY FIRST SHOW WAS A FLOP – HOWIE T
On Wednesday April 18, 2007, a few days after returning from London, Howie T – DJ, promoter, and talent manager was on his way to Gabon. Looking tired but not worn out, he exchanged banters with his associates as they waited at the Murtala Mohammed international airport for the flight that’ll convey them to their destination. Howie, as he’s fondly called is travelling with rave pop twins Psquare for an exclusive concert in Gabon, a small west-central African country with a population of 1.4 million. ‘It’s a very big event, and I won’t be surprised if the whole country shows up’, he tells someone in a funny-serious manner. Psquare, now bestselling acts with an incredible fan base may be touring the world and recruiting fans by the day, but it’ll be difficult to forget that Howie T gave them their first break. Not just because he managed the talent hunt where they emerged winners in 2001, but, as they rightly documented in their song Timbuku records, led by howie, came to their rescue, releasing their debut album ‘last nite’ after they had searched endlessly for a label. As the party boarded the aircraft, Peter and Paul, obviously the center of attraction must have been thinking and saying in their minds: thank you God. Thank you Howie T. But Howie, the bulky showbiz impresario had something entirely different on his own mind. A few hours away and he’ll be 40. he must have been busy thinking. ’40 years gone down the drain. Have I used my time wisely, or have a squandered it all like a prodigal son? Fortunately, everyone who knows the ‘hardworking man in the background’ knows he’s achieved far more than he would ever realise. From his days as full time disc jockey, rocking fun-lovers at Enter the dragon(western house, Lagos), sunrise nite club( Victoria island, Lagos), club Towers (Victoria island, Lagos) to when he became general manager at Ibinabo Fiberesima’s Pyramid nite club, he was convinced entertainment was is calling. And he gave it his best, moving from being an artiste, to being a manager, first, of people and clubs, then later, of events, and now, of an outfit that’s Nigeria’s fastest growing events solutions company. Looking back at all he’s been involved with, it’s easy to know that if he was a boxer be an heavy, he’d most probably be an heavyweight champion by now. But then, who would believe his first show was a flop?
Brimming with nostalgia, and happy that fate has dealt him a good luck, he tells us without any regrets: ‘my first show was a flop. It was in 1985 when I was just 18. I had only 7 people in attendance. DJ Jimmy Jatt was the DJ. But I kept going on because of the love of entertainment. I’m happy it paid of eventually’. Of course it’s paid off. With a brand new range Rover to call his won, occasionally having breakfast in Lagos, lunch in the air, and dinner in London, it’s easy to see that Howie’s venture has paid off. Now, he sits atop KISS events, his two year old baby which he co-founded with partner Dipo Abdul.
Because it’s his 4oth, and, unbelievably, his fourth wedding anniversary (he got married on April 26, 2003) it’s difficult to conceal his excitement. And, especially, he’s willing to go down memory lane, tracing the early days of his foray into showbiz, and chronicling the careers he’s helped shape. ‘In 1988 had the first ever talent hunt show called Rap Attack and on my Panel was Lanre Ijaola,Edi Lawani,and some guys from Classique Magazine. Then in 1991 I was the DJ for the Children of Africa Concert in Lagos… In 1992 myself, Jimmy Jatt and GMG went to Togo for Africa DJ Championships. Then 1993 i was the first Promoter to take a Hip Hop Group to Togo on Tour and it was a huge success. The group was called Solid Grove. The members were Ernest Asuzu and two other guys called Tokunbo,and Micheal. . Then over the years I’ve discovered dozens of acts, from sound sultan to Psquare, Faze, Black solo, Elizabeth Deega and several others. My Story has always been around up & Coming and i think that’s my calling. What we’re doing with Rhythm council will even be bigger. It’s a great source of fulfilment for me…’
Interestingly, he belongs to the class of folks who have found favour with their careers as well as their private lives. Getting married very late (at 37), he must have been quite sceptical about marriage. But so far, despite not having children yet, it’s been ‘a smooth ride’. ‘it’s good to marry a prayerful and supportive wife’, he says, confessing that he constantly banks on the support and understanding of his wife, (who’s with Chevron) especially when he has to make long trips or sacrifice family time or resources for projects that may not necessarily bring immediate returns. He seems to be saying: ‘I’ve had it good. I’m doing what I love to do. I’m getting paid for it. I’m working and partying together. I don’t have to knot ties and sit in offices from nine to five. And then, I have a wife who knows she married to an itinerant husband, and she’s not complaining’. What more does a man pray for?
So when the Gabon trip is over, Howie (oh, sorry, he was born Adebayo Olayiwola Odusami) will be doing a few things; he’;; be unveiling the new equipments for KISS studios. He’ll be preparing for the finals of rhythm Council talent hunt. But most importantly, He’ll be hosting friends, family and all to a double dose of celebrations: a lavish 40th birthday gig. And a wedding anniversary. For one who has spent the better part of 40 years putting events together; from parlour parties to club raves and mega concerts, who’ll be surprised if he invites us all to the moon for a once-in-a-lifetime gig?
He’s already confided in us ‘I might do something. But not very elaborate. I just want to return home first and then make proper plans’.