Baba Ojonugwa popularly known as JFO, is a households name in the music industry in Kogi State and beyond. He has a degree in Music and he has trained lots of talents for the Kogi state Arts and Cultural Troupe.
In this earth shaking interview, Baba Ononugwa talked about the new generation musics, his decision to stay put in Kogi State and not move to Lagos, the headquarters of show business industry and concluded that “Every generation deserves the kind of Music they get, these and many entertainment issues.
You have just released a new Album, what is it all about.
JFO . The Album is titled Agabaidu’ and it is an experiment. Since 2012 , I have not dropped any Album, because when you release an Album, you will be amazed that marketers, would sell the CD as low as #100. And when you produce an Album, nobody is talking of paying the instrumentalists, the Sound Engineers, backup personnel and so on . If you mark off the net cost from the marketer”s offering of #100 per CD you are not making profit and every business person want to make profit.
I have not dropped an Album since 2012 because we are researching into new methods of marketing our labels. The world is changing, so we look into online marketing. However, plethora of online platforms are not really better than the mainstream marketers. Unfortunately, some of these platforms will hand over to you as low as #2000, #3000 as sales after two or three years. I decided that we can do something to help the show business industry.
So, I Assembled some Information Communications IT experts and we came up with an idea of partnering with Paystac . It is an online payment platform , an online marketing outfit to handle our works. The Album is being sold at #1000 instead of the usual #100.
With the Paystac, you are not dropping a CD. Once the payment is made and an alert is received, we then send the album directly to your emails or WhatsApp. It normally comes with messages as “Donot share. This message is to warn you against piracy. It is to safeguard copy rights infringement. So far, the response from the platform have been huge.
With this experiment, I have realised that the industry is a money spinning. We are thinking about enlisting more artists on the platform.
It is pathetic to release an album and not making the money, despite huge resources commited to its production. Making money should not necessarily be when you stage shows. Albums should be able to pay for itself.
The Agabaidu’ has eight tracks. We have created dance challenge on the platform with prize tag of #50,000 . If you dance to” Woluojile” for a minute, you win the money and this has attracted dancers from all over the world . From UK , France, Africa, Us. You will be surprised , the enthusiasm with which the Whites are now dancing to our music. We have been doing music with out getting much attention, but new idea we developed has changed all the bottle neck. With this innovation, the world is aware of our exploits in music and our products are standing tall in the global music fare.
What type of music do you Play.
JFO . I play what I call Afro, bias contemporary music. I play Reggae. It is bias towards Africanistion. We play with talking drums, gongs, It is rooted in Africa music.
I studied Music and so, I don’t have to tie my music to a particular style or brand. I can play juju today, Jazz tomorrow, but it has to be African biased.
Your new market strategy, no doubt has helped to curtail the menace of piracy, are you ready to enlist your colleagues on the platform.
JFO . Frankly speaking, I have opened the door for all the artists from kogi state who are interested in making headway in their music career. This experiment is two weeks old . We are sure of breaking even. And with the fabulous results, others would soon be enlisted.
It is assumed that the new generation of artists are singing without meaning. The lyrics worthless and the people are jamming their heads for it. What do you think is responsible for this.
JFO. Although, music is for entertainment, yet , they should be some meanings in the lyrics that will entice the people to listen to the music.
However, every generation get the type of music they deserved. Sociologically, when the society deviates from the right tastes, Music also follow their steps. There was a time James Brown came with his style of music.” *What is the man saying” kind of Music in the 70s . ” I feel good” to us there were nonsense but it was the hits at that time. Every season or generation we have people like that. Today, there is a Naira Marley, and when they say he sings nonsense, but its rythm is beautiful, but we have an Adekunle Gold who sings good lyrics . We have Simi who sings good Lyrics .We have Falz , we have Baba Ojonugwa and Tuface who sing good lyrics.
So when you look at now and justapose the music to the past, the scenario is the same, unfortunately, some people tend to go towards the dirty lyrics and rythms because , may be , there is so much crises in the country which they needed anything to occupy them. The people just want to dance and forget their sorrows irrespective of the lyrics.
It has been observed that Music, infact show business generally, people from this part of the country seldom make it in quote unless they move to Lagos or Abuja, Why have you not move to Lagos like some of your contemporaries.
JFO . When people say , some of your contemporaries have gone to Lagos and are now making it big, but in actual sense only Tuface Idibia has been greatly rewarded.We are like more than a thousand that began the journey and out of these numbers, at least , when four names are mentioned, Baba Ononugwa will feature. I’m still in Lokoja and I’m not hungry. I have modest blessings of God. It is like , when you are in Lagos and people don’t see you often , they tend to develop larger than life image about you than he that they see everyday. For instance, if you have to climb Okada because of the rush , like I did now, I just left the car in the office to be here, to catch up with the event, they will think you are not moving up the ladder.
But if I needed to stage a show and I come here with retinue of Security personnel, then, they now say , you are successful. In reality we are all not doing badly. The basic thing is to take care of your family and take care of yourself.
Each time, I go to Lagos and they will say something like , bros , we dey hungry oo., I laughed. Must you go to Lagos. yes, Lagos is the show business headquarters of Africa, but you know we can’t all be in Lagos. If we all moved to Lagos, who will be here and like I tells people, God has given me assignment in kogi state and I’m sure I will not die empty.
How about sponsors.
JFO. I have not done a song without sponsors. Although, I have not had big time sponsors, but in this industry, lots of people have supported me. Like the three albums I ‘ ve done , people are buying and even buy for groups. Somebody would say give hundred, fifty copies to so and so groups. For instance, there is an event coming up at Abuja on the 27/2/2021 and somebody has already paid for a CD for every participant. The kind of music I play, I have a target audience in mind. I’m not really hoping to be like Michael Jackson, but if you listen critically to my music , you will discover this is a bigger Michael Jackson.
Finally, wouldn’t you think of venturing into politics now or in the future.
JFO. In the last Election, I contested for the House of Representatives for Ankpa, Olamaboro and Omala federal Constituency. I’m in politics and will continue to be in politics.