Archive for November, 2007

I DON’T FEEL I’M 50 YET’ – PHIL OSAGIE

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on November 29, 2007 by ayenithegreat

phil-osagie.jpg

Phil Osagie does not grant interviews.

Not that he doesn’t like the media, or he hasn’t got an interesting story to tell. But as a PR practitioner, wisdom has taught him that it’s best to push the clients forward and stay out of the picture.

But when you’re 50; and you’ve grown from a JJC to one of the most successful players in your field; when you’re 50, and you’re so happy you can’t stop thanking God; then it’s likely you begin to relax on some things; you begin to tell your story, serving as inspiration to millions of youngsters who are roaming he streets, confused, hopeless and dejected.

True, there’s so much Osagie plans to do in commemoration of his 50th year on earth- only problem is, a big party, with hundreds of guests is not one of them. ‘Really, my kind of person, I don’t like noise. But I know that 50 is a milestone. Maybe later we will do something on that level. But now, we’ll just go to church and maybe later I’ll take my wife out for dinner’.

And as we sit face to face in JSP Communications’ Plato room, talking about his plans for his 50th, and how far he’s come to be where he’s at, it’s impossible not to see that Osagie is passionate about his calling; passionate about his family; and passionate about God. Remove those three things from his life and he’ll most likely drop dead. But for most business executives determined to stay on top, managing those three aspects has always been an issue. Is Osagie an exception? ‘No, he says. I won’t say it’s not challenging. But I try to plan my time. I don’t take work home from the office; I try to help my kids with their homework – even though I could o more of that. And as kids grow older, you really need to bond with them properly. So I won’t say it hasn’t been challenging…’

And then, it’s also challenging, being a Christian in a field where some of the most foundational ethics are constantly being compromised. ‘When we started, we told ourselves there are some things we won’t do; there are some businesses we won’t take even if you offer us a billion dollars. So once you’ve set that apart, you know what you’re in for. I won’t say it’s not been challenging. For example, we’ve lost some business because we refused to do some things that are not ethical. But I keep two things in mind: God is the most important factor in al that we do; and then for the kind of clients that we service, I know that what’s important to them is to get results. They want a partner that can help them achieve their goals. If we can make ourselves be that partner, then all is good. And so far, I think we’re constantly scoring high. And to score high means that we have to do magic a times. Because those we work for have very high standards. I’m talking of Microsoft, Notore and Naca, coca cola, PZ Cussons… and we’re affiliated to one of the biggest PR companies in the world – Hill and Knowton. So all these mean we have to constantly up the standards’.

As we continue to chat passionately about the things that matter to him, business at JSP is going on. His phones are not ringing, no aides barging in, requesting for this and that; and he’s not excusing himself intermittently to sort out one or two things. Just like a normal high profile company, the structure at JSP is fool-proof. That’s why the boss doesn’t have to take work home; why he can take time out and play golf with friends. Phil Osagie is not bothered by the little issues that make many executives spend more time in the hospital than in their offices.

And he’s been lucky to learn with the best. First time a young man named Phillip came to Lagos , he had an encounter that has changed the course of his life for good. ‘I can’t remember what year it is now’ he reminisces. ‘I just came to Lagos looking for a job in an ad agency or a newspaper. I’ll say I just literally walked into a job at Insight Communications. I walked into the room, I liked the place, I liked the environment, I liked the people, they looked serious minded and purposeful. I just liked the place. So I saw the MD Mr Biodun Shobanjo and he agreed to have an audience with me. At that point, I guess he liked what he saw and he hired me. It was supposed to be an advertising job, but I had to do a lot of public relations’

Osagie in Benin literally translates to ‘God sent’. And Shobanjo and Insight were God-sent to Phillip. For, it was while at Insight, that he fine-tuned and sharpened communication and PR skills hitherto latent. It was there he continued to nurture an art he had discovered while working as a young school-leaving searching for a definite career direction. And so gifted was he that when The Quadrant company was founded years later, he was the pioneer general manager. ‘I have always had a strong desire for marketing and communication. I have always had that desire, even when I worked as a journalist, I was in charge of interviewing people the interest has always been there. I think I was just looking for the opportunity or environment to realise that goal that I had. It was a constructive approach: communication and PR in a structured manner’.

Today, as he looks back, if he looks out of the window of his little meeting room nicknamed Plato, he’ll look out at the Greenland around, at the clean-clear sky and say a silent prayer to God. No. the prayer won’t have a single request. Instead, the 50 year-old slim-fit PR expert will be thanking God for seeing him through the path of his dream; for surrounding him with people who have made his dream come true. He’ll be thanking God for having a privileged background. Now, don’t get it wrong, Osage was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Infact, looked in that manner, he may have been born with no spoon at all. Yet, he insists he had a ‘very privileged background’. ‘I had a privileged background, but in a different way. My parents were not wealthy. My father was a school administrator and my mother, a trader. But I feel very privileged because they passed unto us some life-changing and long-lasting values which money can not buy. They taught us to be confident of whom you are. Trust God that he is above everybody. They taught us that it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from. It’s where you’re going to that matters. Such fundamental principles. My mother doesn’t even have a university degree. In fact she doesn’t have any formal education but she still passed those values to us right from when we were very young. So when I was going abroad, by normal circumstances, I shouldn’t even be going abroad. Of course, my parent s couldn’t afford to send me abroad. It was difficult; I wasn’t getting admission into Nigerian university after I had tried severally. So I just used faith, and applied to school abroad. I got admitted both in the US and the UK . And, it would have been impossible to go because I didn’t have a scholarship and my parents couldn’t afford the fees. My father had to sell his car; a second-hand Peugeot car to pay my school fees. We were lucky that the exchange rate then was better than now. The naira was still strong then, so it wasn’t too exorbitant. So in a way, I’ll say I was privileged. All my friends, all the people that were in my class, all my friends were from wealthy background. But I was even living better because I had a lot of wisdom… I was shopping when things were cheaper; I’ll buy things nobody else has; I won’t party during the week, or after classes; and I must stay at home at least five hours to study everyday. It was a very lovely experience…’

Talking about his parents, Osagie can go on and on. He beams and lights up the room when he talks about his mother; same way he does when the subject is his wife, Stella. In the gospel according to Phillip Osagie, women are all-important and invaluable. And he has cause to say so. A particular experience will continue to linger in his memory. ‘After I finished school, I came back home to do my NYSC, I was supposed to go back for my postgraduate but my parents couldn’t afford it. So it thought it was best to work for a while to raise money and then go back for my postgraduate. My father was OK with the idea. But my mom had a contrary opinion. She was like, if I had the ambition to go back for my Post graduate, why waste time? You know what she did? She closed down her business. She had this shop where she sold drinks and all that. She sold everything and that’s how I was able to go back for my PG’ Little wonder he believes that next to God,  the most important person in a man’s life is his mother. ‘If you’re not married, your mother should be the most important person in your life. But once you get married, then it’s your wife’, he says convincingly. ‘I call my wife my angel. She has helped me become everything I want in life. She doesn’t add to my stress level. She helps me to think, gets me organised. That’s why in all I do, I do my best to make her happy.  I believe every man should wear their wedding rings…’ Interestingly, when he met his wife, marriage was not one of the options. ‘I had known my wife since she was very young. She was someone I’ve known since childhood. She was my sister’s best friend so she used to come to the house a lot. So after I came back from school, I noticed that I liked her values, I liked her looks. And I asked her out. It was just a normal relationship. And after a few years, we lost contact. We met accidentally years later and I discovered she hadn’t lost any of those things that endeared me to her. And when I saw her mother, I told myself this is how I’ll want my wife to look when she’s old…’

Today, they’re not just happily married, they’re blessed with three boys: Jordan (18), Judah (15) and Josiah (14). And, on Sunday November 25, as Osagie clocks 50, they’ll be walking hand-in-hand – not to the alter again, but to a private restaurant where a table-for-two will be waiting for them. Not the typical way a 50 year-old would mark the achievement, right? But what do you expect of a 50 year-old who’s yet to grow a pot-belly? A 50 year-old who’s still in love with chocolates? A 50 year-old who still plays basketball! ‘I don’t feel 50’. He confesses. ‘it’s just like that much talked about age of 40 or 50.fine, one begins to have a bit of consciousness but for me, as they say, age is in the mind. So you’re as young or old as you think you are. Although reality has its own place, you really can’t change the fact of life, but you can change the way you think. But I’m not yet feeling the pangs and the sentiments people who are 50 feel. I just feel it’s a great thing that God has done’.

 

Advertisements

KEKE AND D-ONE: STILL THE GODFATHERS

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on November 23, 2007 by ayenithegreat

godfathers still? It’s over three years now since they bought the hummer jeeps that shook the entire showbiz industry to its foundations. Isn’t it high time the duo of Keke Ogungbe and D-One upped the ante? That’s exactly what the long-time buddies and partners have done. The Primetime duo showed that they’re still leaders by kilometres; still the godfathers of the game of make-believe when last week, they took delivery of Four Range rover sport vehicles believed to have been shipped in from the United States. The jeeps have already found their ways into the individual garages of Keke, D-one, ID and 2face Idibia. And as if to compensate their wives for their constant absence from home, Keke and D-One also resented the rave-of-the-moment Armanda jeeps to their wives. All the automobiles have customized number plates.  Since their days at Daar communications, Keke and D-one had mastered the art of flambouyance. And, as the years have passed by, they have, obviously, not stopped nurturing the art that make fans, admirers and even haters weak in the knees. And, whatever is said, it must not be forgotten that whatever value the showbiz industry has in Nigeria today, what ever respect; practitioners owe it to the tireless, fearless duo who stuck to the game even when it was unfashionable to do so. Okay, so they’ve made money for themselves and bettered their lot? They’ve turned hitherto impoverished acts into money-spinners too. And guess what? They provided a flash of hope in an industry where majority of practitioners where busy searching for the exit doors.  Now, with a radio and TV licence in view. With a total overhaul of Kennis music. And with a branching out into sports, it’s easy to see that, age might be calling, the grey hair might be showing up on their foreheads, but Keke and D-One are not about slowing down.  Only problem is, now that they’ve got some of the best cars money can buy in their garages…. Now that they’ve patronised some of the most exclusive designers on planet earth…. Now that they’ve attended all of the biggest awards in the world and produced Africa’s most iconic pop stars this day… it may be very challenging for the hardworking (and fun loving!) duo to surpass their own feats. Except well, they show up in the sky around their Dolphin Estate (Ikoyi, Lagos) office sitting comfortably in their own choppers; having flown in from Los Angeles in their own Private jet. And guess what? It’s not likely anyone will be surprised!

I HAVE NO DEAL WITH FAZE – AKON

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on November 21, 2007 by ayenithegreat

DEAL OR NO DEAL?akon.jpg Senegalese-born superstar Akon has reportedly denied signing Nigerian singer Faze on his Convikt Records imprint.  The rave singer, who has performed in Nigeria twice, and has admitted to being fascinated by Nigerian stars Faze, D’Banj and 2face, spoke exclusively with a Nigerian music TV show at the world music awards early this month. According to a transcript, obtained by AyeniTheGreat, the singer explained that he ‘never signed’ nor has the ‘intention of signing’ Faze.  It was the firs time, Akon would be talking about his relationship with the Nigerian star who, at different interviews, had told of his deal with Akon. With Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi of Cool FM on December 15 2006, Faze narrated how he met Akon in Nigeria, and how they have been in touch. He told his host and the audience his next album would be released on Akon’s Convikct reords.  Weeks later, he played this reporter a DVD recording. The brief clip shows Faze and Akon emerging from a car, surrounded by aides and guards then Akon looks at the camera and gives props to Faze, saying ‘this is my homeboy Faze. We’re in Ghana right now…’ Although Faze (real names Chibuzor Orji) claims he used the opportunity o record a song with Akon, as well as reach an understanding for a recording deal, it appears it has all come to naught, with Akon’s recent revelation. Faze, who used to be with Westside records, is presently unsigned. He started his singing career bearing the name Lyrical Urge; performing at night clubs and hoping to make it big one day. He got an initial break in 1998 after he was co-opted into the Plantashun Boiz. But since members went solo in 2004, he has recorded a blossoming solo career, strutting behind 2face as  hit maker to reckon with.

STAR MEGAJAM DUMPS DADDY SHOWKEY AND MUMA GEE

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on November 21, 2007 by ayenithegreat

GHETTO SOLIDIER…mumma-g.jpgAfter the usual long wait, Nigerian Breweries PLC has finally announced the headlining acts for this year’s edition of Star Megajam.       At a well-attended media briefing on Wednesday November 14 at its Iganmu-Lagos headquarters, the brewery giants disclosed that rapper Kanye West who only last week lost his mom, will be the official headlining act for this year’s concert.
The best-selling rapper is to be joined by T-Paine and other international acts.
And as has become customary, a league of Nigerian music stars will join the visiting acts on stage. Weird MC, Tony Tetuila, Psquare and Faze top the list which also has fuji star Obesere, lyricist Mode 9 and pop star D’Banj. Sunny Neji will also be hitting the megajam stage for the first time.
But there are indications the organisers may have dumped long-time regulars Daddy Showkey, Rasquie and Muma Gee. All three acts, usually favoured for NB’s year-round concerts will not be performing at the 2007 edition of Star Megajam. It will be the first time in almost ten years that Showkey, a ghetto-bred star who’s battling a troubled career, will not make the line up. Before now, Muma Gee had also been part of the annual concerts for over five years. Both Showkey and Muma Gee were actively involved in this year’s edition of Star trek- a nationwide tour organised by NB PLC.
Though it is uncertain why these acts were dropped, it may not be unconnected with popular opinion. Their continued use had in times past, generated heavy criticisms from the media and pundits.
However, another ‘old-timer’ Tony One Week remains on the bill.
Speaking on the development, Nigerian Breweries’ media relations manager Edem Vindah says ‘we have no problems with the artistes we are not using  this time. We can’t use everybody. And we’re always giving room for new acts and reigning ones. But there’s absolutely no problem’.
Presented as ‘the biggest and brightest concert’ around, the star megajam has been on for over a decade; establishing a legacy of continuity where many brands had failed. And some of the biggest music stars on planet earth have touched Nigerian soil, thanks to the multi-city concerts. From Magic System to Usher Raymond and Shaggy; to Jarule, Kevin Little, LL Cool J Akon and the G-Unit crew.
Not without its share of controversies, the concert was cancelled abruptly in 2004 after the Abuja and Lagos gigs, following an airport altercation between Nigeria ’s Eedris Abdulkareem and G-Unit bodyguards. It was the last time Eedris, hitherto a Nigerian breweries’ favourite, got a spot on the concert.
Star megajam 2007 is billed to hold in Lagos and Abuja on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 December respectively.

2FACE HOLIDAYS IN AMERICA

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on November 11, 2007 by ayenithegreat

2face-idibia.jpgNigeria’s iconic pop star 2face Idibia has made his first trip abroad since he was shot on Thursday October 4, shortly after returning from England where he was named MOBO best African act for 2007.   The 32 year-old singer left the country last week for the United States where he’s expected to take a deserved vacation, record fresh materials and honour a few engagements.
His manager Joice Ize-Iyamu is also holidaying in England .
She confirmed 2face’s trip, but declined providing specific details. She however insisted the trip is in no way connected with medical treatment.
There had been speculations Idibia would be flown abroad for further treatment. But the singer was already walking properly, and he had resumed his normal day-to-day life. He even visited his parents in Abuja shortly before leaving the country.

MAMA COMING FROM MTV

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on November 11, 2007 by ayenithegreat

Two years after it debuted with MTV base,  its 100th channel worldwide, urbane lifestyle network MTV is now planning to host an annual award show exclusively for Africa .       According to reliable information, the music driven network is amazed at the early success of its African channel MTV base, and the immense content and revenue available on the African continent, and is ‘seriously’ planning to consolidate its hold on the market.
In 2008, according to reliable sources, MTV will begin the annual MTV Africa Music Awards, to be called MAMA. It will be the channel’s first awards dedicated wholly to the African continent.
At present, the continent is recognised in only one category at the annual MTV Europe Music Awards – and the category was only initiated in 2005 after MTV base made its debut in Africa . 2face Idibia, FreshlyGround and D’banj have won the award from 2005 till date.
Meanwhile, earlier speculations that MAMA may have its debut in Lagos Nigeria , are beginning to wobble. MTV recently moved its African head office from London to South Africa , a country with far more sophisticated infrastructure than Nigeria .
Meanwhile, the continent’s legion of artistes will be the beneficiaries as MTV locks Channel O, another music network, in a fierce battle for supremacy. Channel O organises the only surviving cross-country music award presently. It’s annual Channel O Spirit Of Africa music video awards is highly cherished by artistes from all over Africa . The other award, that should have been up for competition, KORA, with headquarters also in South Africa ,  has not been organised since 2005. No date has been fixed for the award.

NEW AUTO MACHINE FOR MR OLU

Posted in MUSIC NEWS FROM AFRICA on November 11, 2007 by ayenithegreat

call me a device…i’m not a car!i love my chicks…big boy

 

After about three years of lull and financial handicap, Olumide Adegbulu a.k.a. Olu Maintain has finally shown obscurity and hard times the exit door.  The ex-Maintain act, who’s now a prized act with Kennis Music, is having it good – meeting presidents, signing autographs, moving units of his album,  and getting paid in full.
Since the success of his first solo album ‘Maintain reloaded’, propelled by the lead single ‘Yahoozeey’, Olu has re-establish himself as a hit maker, and an act who knows the recipe for a good song; one who understands the pulse of the streets.
And, just as he has predicted in his song Yahoozeey, the Lagos-based singer is now living the good life – expensive drinks, everyday parties, and flambouyant automobiles. Last week, one of his cars , a Chrysler, was delivered to his residence. The black auto, with customized number plate Mr Olu 2, is believed to be the first of the singer’s many automobiles. Sources close to him confirmed to Glitterati beats he has also ordered for a Hummer Jeep from the US.
Olu’s Chrysler, is believed to have gulped over N5 million, though some of his confidants insist the cost is more, considering the extra accessories and fittings.
The Ondo born singer is now living life like never before, having achieved a feat even his ex-Maintain buddies would envy. And, to think that many had written him off! His earlier pre-Yahoozeey songs were considered unfit for a re-launch, and many were not surprised when he sold his only car – a Mercedes Benz V-boot and was taken for broke. 
Just about a year after, he’s now strolling up the ladder of success, looking down on cynics, and hugging every attention that comes his way. He’s now even contemplating marriage, as sources have told!