It was a historic moment on Monday December 17, 2007 when the award- winning duo of tick Lips and Lenny B officially introduced their long-awaited album ‘Press On Pt 2’ to the media and the general public. The talented duo, whose journey to fame and renown started in 2004 when they won a talent hunt organized by Grafton records, have said that this album tells the story of black Africa, the quest for freedom, and by no small means, an expression of their innermost beings. And they’re blessed to have talented cats like Mtrill (also signed on Grafton records), Ruggedman and international reggae icon Junior Reid on different tracks on the project. It’s their first full-length commercial album and it is expected that this will mark the beginning of greater things for the extremely blessed duo. Extremely? Yes. Or how else do you describe a duo that beat D’Banj and other heavyweights by vote to emerge Best West African act at the last Channel O awards? How do you describe the story of two young, hopeless lads growing up in the dreaded, violent Port Harcourt Riverine settlements where all you’re confronted with is a bleak future; an assurance that help may never come? These days, thanks to their God-given talent and the machinery of the Tonye Ibiama-led team at Grafton records, Tick Lips and Lenny B are building a career for themselves. Having performed in South Africa and in different parts of the UK, they’re already becoming one of the most promising acts out of Africa. And, instead of using their fame and growing success to just re-establish their families and move on with life, they’re canvassing for change, for development of Port Harcourt’s ghettos; and they’re passionate about seeing all the violence that have enveloped the area in recent times stop. ‘That’s why we did the freedom song with Junior Reid’, says Lenny. ‘We usually like our songs to carry a message, to talk to you. Because we know where we’re coming from. We know we’re lucky to be able to get out here and do this. There are lots of other youths trapped in those ghettos, engaging in different vices, with no hope for the future. They believe the government doesn’t care about them, and they make it a point of duty not to care about the government and the entire system too’ Tick Lips adds. ‘Press on pt 2’ is on the Grafton imprint. Grafton is a thriving independent record label with firm roots in Port Harcourt, Lagos and London. The 10-tracked album is marketed in Nigeria by Afrobest.
Archive for December, 2007
These are not the best of times for ex-Plantashun Boiz singer Faze. And it’s ironical, for, with his three new videos topping all the charts, and his songs as popular as the national anthem, the lanky singer should be as happy as ever.
But recent incidents are threatening to puncture a hole in his heart, make him bow his head and cry. And maybe ask himself ‘why me?’
Top on the singer’s recent woes is the widespread statement credited to akon, disclaiming him. Faze had in the past twelve months, paraded himself as a Konvict music act-to-be. For months, he told whoever cared to listen that he had sealed a deal with Akon and that his next album would be on the label. But Akon, speaking to a Nigerian Journalist in Monte Carlo at this year’s World Music awards, denied ever signing Akon. ‘I don’t even plan to (sign him)’, he reportedy said.
A source who lives in FESTAC TOWN (a Lagos estate where faze resides) told me ‘he’s a laughing stock now. Everyone is making a joke out of it. I’m sure he must really hate Akon and the journalist that broke that news’.
At the Nigerian music video awards which held last Sunday, Faze and his brother-manager Ifeanyi refused to exchange greetings with the said journalist. ‘Even if Akon said so, he should have kept it on the low’, his brother was reported to have said.
Then came media reports the truly-talented singer was enmeshed in a debt mess in South Africa. Faze leads the pack of Nigerian acts who are all now heading to South Africa to shoot musical videos. Though he has denied the debt mess, there is no doubt the singer and his managers are wondering why is image is in such tatters at a time when his career appears to be blossoming.
In Port Harcourt last month, an angry fan called him ‘a fool’ to his face, after he refused to perform at a concert following disagreement with the organisers. ‘I’m going to warn all my sisters and friends not to come for your shows or buy your music. And I’m going to destroy your CDs in my house. I’ve been your fan for years, never knew this was how you were’, screamed the angry fan. The singer was left with no choice but to perform at the concert which also featured Jamaican reggae star Junior Reid, Mode 9 and De Indispensables.
Tony Tetuila has become a father for the second time!
The ex-Remedies member who has become a cross-continent star despite questionable talents has made another baby with his fiancée Damilola. Their first issue, a boy, was delivered in July 2006. This time, it’s a baby girl. And Tony who was outside the country for the better part of 2007 was beside Damilola when she put to bed last Sunday. The couple are yet to officially tie the knots but those close to them marvel at their bonding, and many say it will not be surprising if they eventually go ahead to become husband and wife. I could not confirm if they are already living together. ‘Thanks men. I’m so happy’, gushed Tetuila when I contacted him on Wednesday December 12. The 33 year-old singer hosted friends and family on sunday december 16 at his Lagos residence after the official naming ceremony characteristic of the Yorubas. Born Anthony Olanrewaju Awotoye, Tetuila hails from Oro in Kwara State. And it was while studying at Kwara State Polytechnis, ilorin tat he first had his first stint with music – promoting concerts, managing groups, and later hooking up with one Edward Ashiedu Brown (who would later become Eddy Montana). Together with Eddy and Eedris Abdulkareem, Tony formed Remedies – the nineties hip hop/pop group that served as john the Baptist for today’s crop of pop/hip hop apostles.Regarded as a burden and zero talent, Tony soon fell out of favour with Eddy, Eedris and their manager (Gbenga Awe). And, just when many thought he’d go back to school and forget about music, he teamed up with the Plantashun boiz to record ‘Omode meta’n sere’. The song became a monster hit and established him on a path to solo success. Today, nearly ten years after, Tetuila is the most successful member of the Remedies; the only one with a blossoming career (he’s got a MOBO nomination and countless international engagements/awards to show for it). A magazine once called him God’s property. Or, perhaps it’s a case of a rejected stone eventually turning out to be the mainframe!
It’s no longer news that the next edition of Kora all Africa Music awards has been scheduled to hold in Nigeria for the first time. The troubled awards, which has not held since 2005 after the organisers reportedly went bankrupt, is resurrecting, and, in the wisdom of the organiser, the best place to start a new life is Nigeria, a country presently dominating the African continent in terms of music content, quality and revenue. A media launch for the award is already billed to hold in Abuja on December 20. and with the awards proper slated for the first quarter of 2008, industry insiders are already debating what the awards’ coming portend and whether or not Nigerians should embrace it with open arms. Opinions are divided. While most artistes, especially those who have been beneficiaries of the award in times past favour the coming, seeing it as a welcome development, a section of the media and music industry pundits are wary of the intention of the organisers. There are even reports a particular group may be contemplating carrying out an anti-KORA campaign from early next year.Those who favour the award being hosted in Nigeria, including Adewale Ayuba, Folake Umosen, argue the initiative is good for further development of the growing music industry especially as local award organisers will have a lot to learn from KORA. But those who oppose the idea claim KORA is overtly pro-South African; and is only using Nigeria as a last resort because ‘they’re having problems in South Africa’. KORA All Africa Music awards is organised by Kora South Africa Pty; with office in Sandton, SA. The awards was founded by Ernerst Coovi-Adjovi, a Benenoise businessman and music enthusiast. For over a decade, the award beamed the spotlight on music of African origin and was nicknamed Africa’s Grammys after it attracted attendance from Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela in the late nineties. Other high profile international music figures have graced the event since then, especially performers of black descent who are excited about acknowledgement for their work from the ‘motherland’. But there continues to be sceptics like Femi Kuti (the award’s first Nigerian major winner) who believe the award is a fraud. The afrobeat performer has been locked in battle with the organisers since they reportedly failed to give him the cash prize attached to his 1999 best African act award.
The current brouhaha rocking Questionmark records took an ugly, unforeseen dimension when on Friday November 30, members of the police force stormed Kevin Luciano’s Parkview estate, Ikoyi residence for a thorough search, following allegations by Dejo Richards that the questiomark boss had assaulted him with a gun.
According to a reliable source, Kevin had earlier been arrested after Richards made a formal complaint to the police (Zone 2, Onikan, Lagos).
Dejo Richars, until recently the CEO of Questionmark Records alleged, in text messages to journalists and a formal complaint to the police, that Kevin harassed him after a disagreement that got out of hand. ‘he slapped me, and pointed a gun at me’, he said.
In the SMS which is being circulated, Richards writes ‘I fight a just course. Kevin slapped me, punched me and pointed a gun on my face. Maybe because I argued with him over his excesses’.
Dejo Richards was introduced to the media few months back as the new CEO at a press conference where the label washed its hands of Streetmonks following what it termed ‘anti company activities’. The label has been locked in a bitter battle with Streetmonks ever since. The three year-old label owned and run by Luciano also has scores to settle with Asa, Cobhams, Wale Otegbola and Gbenga Shokefun – all of whom had at one time or the other enjoyed a sweet romance with Kevin and his label.
However, despite Richard’s allegations, sources told me that the police found nothing incriminating when they searched the bachelor’s home on Friday November 30.
‘I really don’t want to talk about this. I’m not a controversial person. People think I am, but I’m not’, Kevin said soberly last week. ‘Dejo is my younger brother’s friend. I gave him six month’s probation and when the six months was over and he didn’t live up, we asked him to go…’
She found it difficult to keep her girl-group Emete together. She’s finding it difficult to move units of her debut solo album ‘A piece of me’. She’s finding it difficult to transform into a sexy diva a la Beyonce and Shakira. She’s finding it difficult to admit how lose she is to her label boss Carl Racchah… Really, Michelle Ashionye Ugboh is finding it difficult to do a lot of things. Still, she amazes us all and leaves us mouths agape with the way she achieves the unusual; unexpected – with the way she lands deals that’ll leave the most talented, the most successful of her colleagues in awe of her. First it was her OAP deal with Cool FM. Then she bagged the mouth-watering deal to anchor popular TV game show Lagos Lotto. She even acted briefly (as Mimi) in the MNET show Doctors Quarters. Now, it has been announced that Ashionye will be the face of the new Pepsi light. This will see Ashionye serving as the exclusive brand ambassador for the new product from Pepsi Co. she is expected to feature in all Pepsi Light print commercials, including outdoor. Speaking on the choice of Ashionye, Pepsi marketing manager, Mazen Almasri, said the Orangootan recording act was chosen as the face of Pepsi Light because she shares several attributes with the product, namely sophistication and poise. He described her as a fit, trim, sexy and attractive icon with no extra baggage, but one who is both articulate and expressive, with loads of attitude. The Ex-Emete lead singer is not the first music act to bag such endorsement deal. 2face idibia in 2005, signed a N25 million pact with Guinness Extra smooth. Same for D’banj who is the official brand ambassador for Power fist, an energy drink made by Nutricima. Figures for the Ashionye/Pepsi deal have not been released, nor is the duration it will last. November 5, 2007; Lagos, Nigeria: Delectable singer, songwriter, and actress, Ashionye Michelle Ugboh, better known as ASHIONYE is the face of the new Pepsi light. Ashionye was recently unveiled recently at the media launch of Pepsi Light in Lagos. This means that the sexy and attractive multi-talented star and lead actress (Mimi) in the MNET show ‘Doctors Quarters’ is now the brand ambassador of the newly launched product. In this vein, the Delta state-born artiste will appear in all Pepsi Light print commercials, including outdoor. Speaking during the question and answer session. Speaking on the choice of Ashionye, the Marketing Manager of Pepsi, Mazen Almasri, said Ashionye was chosen as the face of Pepsi Light because she shares several attributes with the product, namely sophistication and poise. Describing the primetime radio personality as a fit, trim, sexy and attractive icon with no extra baggage, but one who is both articulate and expressive, with loads of attitude. These qualities, he said can also be found in the new Pepsi Light, with its attractive PET packaging and exciting and bold communication. The event also witnessed the flag off of the television commercial (TVC) for the new product which was shot in Mexico. The TVC shows three beautiful and high class ladies who had to postpone their shopping on sighting a Pepsi Light dispensing machine. On why the company decided to launch the new product in Nigeria using foreign models, rather than local ones, Mr. Mazen Almasri, Marketing Manager, Pepsi International pointed out that Pepsi is a global brand. The TVC, he disclosed, has been running in other countries where Pepsi Light is sold. He noted that the trend is not peculiar to Pepsi alone, as can be seen in the TVCs of other international brands, adding that it was because of its desire to give it a Nigerian face that the company through Insight Communications, came up with the idea of Ashionye as the face of the brand. In her own reaction, Ashionye said she is excited that she was chosen as the face of Pepsi Light in Nigeria. Ashionye expressed her enthusiasm at being associated with a global brand such as the new Pepsi Light, adding that it is a product she believes in. The delectable singer later treated the guests which included journalists to a rendition of one of her songs. The new face of Pepsi Light will be involved in lots of entertainment and lifestyle activities in association with the brand.
Felix Duke, Freestyle, Muma Gee and Ruggedman no longer call Now Muzik home. The management company, run y Efe Omorogbe and his partner Tony Anifite has parted ways with four of its busiest clients under controversial circumstances. And in what appears ike the company is divesting its interests in talent management, now muzik is now left with Sunny Neji, Niyola, Dat Nigga Raw Obiwon and few other acts. According to reliable information, all, the company parted ways with all four acts for different reasons. But while sources close to the artistes are alleging dissatisfaction as casue for the break up. Now Muzik CEO insists ‘each of these situations were by mutual consent’. Speaking exclusively with AyeniTheGreat, Omorogbe who founded Now Muzik while he was an English undergraduate at University of Lagos, says ‘our contract with Ruggedman ran its course. Either party found something impalatable with the terms and process of extension, so we decided to let it slide. On parting ways with Muma Gee whose contract is yet to run its full course, having only recently joined the label Omorogbe explains ‘our deal with Muma Gee was an experimental one. We had a specific PR re-engineering thrust to the deal and we were losing too much time on te schedule, so it only made sense to part…’ For Felix Duke and Freestyle, Omorogbe maintains ‘we noticed a certain drift in opposite directions. We were beginning to work at cross purposes so we decided to free each other. Although he insists the company still maintains ‘a cordial relationship’ with their ex-clients, I have course to believe the situation is otherwise; especially for rapper Freestyle who sources say is very bitter with the company. There is an SMS in circulation credited to the ex-trybesmmen rapper. The widely-spread sms is a disclaimer on Now Muzik. Interestingly, only two months bak, the label gathered industry heavyweights together for Freestyle’s ‘coronation’ as the current ‘king of rap’ in Nigeria. Meanwhile it is not the first time Now Muzik, a company regarded as Nigeria’s number one artiste management company will be parting way with major clients. In 2005, it eased off connections with its biggest client 2face Idibia under controversial circumstances. the company has also ceased to represent African China and showbiz couple T.W.O.