Nwadike Chike is a graduate of Petroleum Engineering from the University of Lagos. However, he is currently running an online course with Berklee College of Music in the United States of America. His dream is to manage big artistes like Don Jazzy, Banky W and the rest. In this interview, he talks about his new record label, the challenges artistes face and much more.
How long have you been in the industry and how many artistes have you worked with?
Personally, I love music so much and this is more of taking a step to create something, leaving a footprint. Something that people will look behind and marvel at and see my impact. A lot of people do not know that I have been in the music industry for close to three years now, behind the scene. I have worked with Kenny Black, the comedian and other up and coming artistes. That wasn’t what I wanted so I had to pull out to have my own record label, Singa Empire, which has signed two artistes, Ceezy and Leomi.
Within the next three months what should we be expecting from your label?
Within the next three months, we are basically going to be dropping a lot of singles and videos. We are trying to get a very huge fan base for these artistes. Only last November, Ceezy dropped two singles, Hot Hot and Nah You while Leomi has also dropped two singles, Mr. Lover and Busy Love and they are available on all digital music stores.
How has the reception of these singles been so far?
It has been pretty good. We have been doing a couple of radio tours. We have toured about five radio stations so far. We have like 12 stations that we want to do.
When it comes to artiste management and record labels, we have some big names already. What are you doing differently to compete with them?
We are bringing in diversified sound and it is going to be African. Anywhere in the world where you listen to it, you will know that it is an African brand. And what we are doing differently is that we are doing everything in-house ourselves. We are trying to tell people that you don’t have to go out to pay all the money in the world for the big names to work on your project. You can actually do something yourself and it would come out as what the A-list stars are doing.
I am business minded, more than just the regular artiste manager. I try to let my artistes know that music goes beyond just producing music. You have to have the business mindset on how to generate money. It is not just about producing a good record, and at the end of the day, people will start looking at you like someone who is not doing well. You have to think of how to diversify.
There is this thinking that you have to be affiliated to big names like Don Jazzy before you can have a smooth sail in the industry. What is your opinion?
Breaking through, you don’t necessarily need big names. They will come along if you are doing something good. One way or the other, you would link up with them but for us at the Empire and for other up and coming acts, all you need to do is to keep doing what you are doing, keep perfecting your art and it will come to you. I am sure when Don Jazzy and others came out, there was somebody people felt they had to know to make it, but they have their own names now.
What are some of the challenges you encountered?
In life, everything is a challenge but it’s better when you stop looking at them as a challenge. For me, sufferings are lessons; I don’t look at them as challenges. But the biggest challenge the industry is facing is piracy. It is something that has eaten deep into the system. Apart from piracy, I also think the entertainment world basically makes it difficult for an artiste or a brand to break through. You see a lot of artistes and brands spending a lot of money trying to push their brands but don’t really have returns on investments in the first couple of years, and when the artiste is big, you see them having a lot of issues with their labels, going back and forth. The challenges are there but you just have to overcome them.
Why do you think artistes dump their record labels?
What we have in Nigeria are independent record labels. We don’t have proper and standard record labels. So, I think the structures are not there fully. Therefore, there is imbalance. Probably there is a contract and the terms of that contract are not being met completely and this causes dissatisfaction for both parties and you see them having disagreements. Music is an invincible investment, you can actually be putting in work and it is not showing. It is not like real estate where you see what you are building. So, the label may be putting in enormous work and the artiste feels like they are not doing enough, and wants to leave. Then, another thing is if the contract ends and the artiste don’t want to extend it. You cannot force anyone to extend a contract. So, both parties have to go their different ways.
Your advice for up and coming artiste wanting to sign a contract?
First, have the passion and always motivate yourself. You have to understand that you cannot do it alone. You see a lot of artistes, in two years to their contracts, they move out of their record labels and want to do it alone. You see them going up and down for like another three years before they balance. You need all the different components. Only you as an artiste can’t create a superstar. So, patience, passion and motivation are the keys. And finally, before you sign a contract, have somebody that has experience or have a lawyer to go through what you are signing.