-We’ve seen the face allover the tvs, heard the voice allover the radio, can we know who illrymz is?
(laughing) I’m pretty much what you see is what you get.
It’s your big homie illie, illrymz a.k.a Bardia Adebola Olowu, half Persian, half Nigerian, that explains all my bleaching sturvs(laughs), from Lagos. Went to ISL, graduated from Kings College, and studied Mass Communications in Unilag.
-How has the media journey been?
I’ve worked in different facets of the industry. Back in the day when I was still good looking I used to be a model. It all started from my love for writing, I’ve always been passionate about music and my brother who used to work in advertising got me to write the copy for a commercial and it was used for a major campaign for a big brand when i was like 16, obviously I didnt get paid. That’s how the company got me writing commercials to make brands more urban, which I sort of resonated with. Then I started working on my first album, also started modelling for a lot of top brands and did fashion modelling like runways. My first professional job was with Mtech and we started working on Vibe Downloads that gave you ringtones back in the day like 7 years ago. I started Vibe Weekly, the first Nigerian online magazine. It was huge and we used to hit about 60,000 subscribers a week. That’s how I got my break in the industry and artists got to know me because I used to be the only young guy doing that.
I got into TV purely by chance. There was a show called Nokia First Chance, and I was trying to get mobile rights from them and in the meeting their producer asked me to host it. I turned it down at first, then I got home and my friends challenged me that I couldn’t do it so I called him, met with him, we got in the studio and that’s how it all started. From there I got a lot of TV offers about same time when I started Uni. I kept doing TVs. I was brand manager and content producer as well as OAP for Nigezie and later Sound City, interviewed Lil Kim, Brick n Lace, Amerie, Ja Rule, Sisqo, Sean Kingston, Chaka Khan, Nas, Mims… that was pretty cool because it was the first international interviews. Then I also got into radio as well and got a lot of shows going on.
-How did music professionally start, when did you decide to go back into music?
I did Mago Mago like 7 years ago, that was the first work I released. Then I did Any How much later, the lyrics was abit raunchy and naughty. and it took everyone by surprise, like really, so Illie can rhyme? I was like there’s a reason for the name.(laughs) Then more recently I did Teacher with the legendary Femi Kuti.
-You are young, fresh and doing good, how do you handle the females?
As you can see i’m always in this room working… (cuts him off) Ask my PA there’s no influx of babes. I’m officially single. I’m just really focussed. I’ve not even touched the base of what I want to do.
-Tell us about “Gbagaun” your new single
Gbagaun is a trip song, a funny record. “Teacher” was serious so we decided to do something light. I recorded it a while ago with Shizi so I called Lynxxx and to put his verse on it and it came out fine. I’m happy with the result so far and I’m grateful.
-When is the video coming out?
That’s a tricky question, I need people to let me know if they want the video because I have madder songs (switches to funny ibo accent) you see i’m a business man, if I have to shoot an expensive video in the overseas, i have to make sure that the fund must return in the account.(laughs) (back to normal accent) I haven’t performed ever, the first time i’m ever going to perform is going to be on Nigerian Idols. It’s also about picking the right time. The video should be coming soon.
Are you working with any female artist for your album?
I’m working on a song with Seyi Shay right now. It’s hip-hop and RNB, it’s a fun song, pretty much a love theme. Tiwa too, we might end up doing something soon.
2013, what are we expecting from Illrymz?
Great stuff. We still have Idols going on, Radio Out Loud is coming back on air, expect two new radio shows and i’m working on my own TV show which might just be Youtube videos, the kind of TV we can just watch for fun, and definitely music, the album would be almost ready, if it doesn’t come out by December then before February next year before summer, hopefully we would have dropped 2 or 3 more videos. The brand should be the level where it should be, hopefully if the fans can keep on supporting us.
You are obviously so busy, How do you relax?
I like to travel. I do my work because I love it. When i’m idle is my worst period. Work is relaxation for me. I like to work, it’s fun. When you see me on stage or hosting an event I’m happy. After work I like to go on holiday.
Interview conducted by Adebanjo James.
At the end of last month, London’s SYNC hosted the 2012 Ghana Music Awards Europe. The ceremony is the celebration of Azonto, Hi-life, Hip-Life, Afro-beats and Gospel music from Ghanaian artists this year. Comedian Eddie Kadi and model Nana Afua Antwi were the hosts for the night and did a good job keeping the crown entertained and laughing.
The event kicked off with some traditional drummers and dancers who reminded us that while African music is now taking over, we can never forget the artists who came before. This appeared to be the theme on the night – bringing together and awarding the old and the new.
Performers included UK Afrobeat star Mr Silva, Kwamz and Flava and the Drama Boyz as well as legends Amakye Dede, George Darko and Charles Amoah. The glamour was turned up for the night with award presenters including the ladies from Miss Ghana and Miss Nigeria as well as Nollywood actress Theodora Ibekwe.
I guess you want to know who picked up awards right? Well peep the list below for some of the winners who included gospel artist Diana Hamilton, Sarkodie, Mr Silva and Kwabena Kwabena. Special recognition went out to Charles Amoah and George Darko as well as the UK’s very own DJ Abrantee for their outstanding achievements in the music industry.
All in all, bar technical difficulties and some timing issues, it was good to see Ghanaian music old and new come together in a night of celebration.
Hopefully next year will be even bigger and better.
Best Male Act
DJ of the Year
New Gospel Act of the Year
Promoters of the Year
Live Band of the Year
Azonto Song of the Year
Artist of the Year
UK Artist of the Year
Written by Michelle Owusu
Lady Gaga aka Mother Monster has been called every name in the book. The American pop singer who is set to perform in Johannesburg on the 30th of November and in Cape Town on December 3 as part of her Born This Way Ball has been recently called a “Satanist” by members of the SA Council Of Churches, while a group of protesters has called her the “Bride of Satan”.
Now animal rights group, Beauty Without Cruelty has also started a protest against Gaga’s support for the fur industry. “Our protest is against Lady Gaga’s support for the fur industry. She wears fur, despite telling [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] that she was against the wearing of fur. We want to tell people what she does and about the horrors of the fur trade”, said the Beauty Without Cruelty spokesperson.
Clearly not everyone loves the idea of being a little monster…
By Innocent Ndlovu
Where else would you see artists from Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola all grace the stage in one night? Africa Unplugged took place in London on 27th August and wowed the crowd with performances from some of Africa’s finest talent. Hosted by Congo-born Eddie Kadi and taking place at the prestigious Wembley Arena, the mixed African crowd were in for a treat. Let’s not forget that Africa Unplugged was all for a cause; it aimed to raise awareness and encourage action to stop the atrocities that occur in the Democratic Republic of Congo on a daily basis. War Child and Save the Congo were the two organisations supported by the festival and it was great to see Africa unite both on the stage and in the crowd for such an important cause.
The African Warriors dance troupe got the party started with some crowd pleasing acrobatics and the way they moved their waists could put some ladies to shame. And a party is exactly what the rest of the night turned out to be!
Nigerian artist Iyanya had the ladies in the crowd going wild while Cabo Snoop from Angola taught everyone some dance moves while performing his single Windeck. UK African artists were also representing with the likes of Young Mo, Noeva and Mista Silva who scored a hit this year with Boom Boom Taah. It was also great to hear the fusion of sounds that African artists do so well, mixing traditional beats with more modern sounds like Make You Dance which was performed by Kenya’s Madtraxx. Now you know when Sarkodie hit the stage and performed You Go Kill Me, there was only going to be one result – yes the whole of Wembley Arena doing the Azonto! South African Afrosoul Queen Zahara mellowed the vibe a little and had the crowd swaying and singing along to hits including Loliwe, while 2Face Idibia brought the hype energy right back up again with crowd favourites One Love – a message of unity which was very fitting for the night.
One of my highlights on the night was South African artist Zakes Bantwini – his African house sound took the party up to another level and had everyone literally dancing down the aisles.
Due to the late start, many artists had their performances cut while others didn’t even get a chance to hit the stage, for example Uganda’s only representative Jose Chameleone, Fally Ipupa, Mic Inity and Nigeria’s Flavour.
It was always going to be an ambitious task to get through the huge line up and unfortunately on the day some were left disappointed.
The crowd left happy and the legendary Femi Kuti rounded up an event which showed how far African music had come and how far it had spread.
Congrats to everyone involved, can’t wait for the next one!
Written by @michelleshanti
London is like a one big party right now, those who are in London know what I am talking about .Walking through the streets of South Kensington yesterday all I could see was one event after the other happening on every corner I turned to. With such an array of events in London its very easy to miss out on some of the interesting ones, because lets face it one can only be at one place at a time.
If there is one place to be this weekend its the Africa Fashion Week, this event could not have come at a better time. With a line up of some of the best African designers the continent has to offer, this is the event you sure don’t want to miss. African fashion has now become the most sought after fashion, with stars like Solange Knowles, Kelis and even Michelle Obama all wearing outfits from African designers. The men will be happy to know that they are not being left out , South African designer Stiaan Louw will be showing off his Olympic inspired Mens collection. There is definitely something for everyone at this years Africa Fashion Week.
Africa Fashion Week takes place from the 3rd- 4th August 2012 at Spitalfields Market London
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Seeing Seun Kuti, Son of the legendary Afrobeat originator Fela Kuti was a monumental moment for me as I never got to see the legend himself before his untimely passing.So there I was on Wednesday 25th July at the Stratford Royal Theatre; I glanced at my wristwatch it was 10:24pm no sign of Seun-Before that the audience had been serenaded by some fantastic music from Asa, Kuku and Dele Sosimi which got the crowd on a high.
A few moments into the wait Mr Lekan Animashaun aka Baba Ani (a long standing member of the Egypt 80 band who also worked with Fela) steps on stage to introduce his fellow band members (The Egypt 80), as they walk on stage the crowd cheer them on , I could feel the air of excitement, most of these band members worked with Fela, so for me this was the closest I was going to get to the ‘real McCoy’. They fine tuned their instruments and began to jam before Seun mounted the stage, suddenly Baba Ani steps back on stage and stops the music, he apologises and informs us that one of the equipments wasn’t working properly, he asks us to bear with them while the sound engineer rectified the problem. From where I sat everything sounded OK, but Baba Ani knows best,he’s been doing it long enough to spot a problem with the sound.As the sound engineer was on stage I sat there thinking to myself this is not a good start, once the problem was rectified the jamming session continued.
Seun Kuti was welcomed on stage with a crescendo applause by the audience, he kick started with one of his fathers classics as a homage to his Dad, he then goes into one of his original materials.Before performing his third track he laments about how he was refused to smoke his ‘herb’ in the green room, he then went on to talk about foreign investments in Nigeria and how Nigeria needs to take care of its own home affairs, before seeking out foreign investors, it was at this stage audience got up and cheered him on, he then started his third performance for the night, while some people sat down to watch his performance others stood and danced to the melodious tunes, it was at this point the security guards stepped into the auditorium, urging people to sit down if they wished to see the rest of the performance, noticing what was going on he chose to address the issue by saying ‘I am here to make my friends dance, if they are not going to be allowed to dance I will not perform’ before he could continue his tirade the sound engineer of the venue cut the microphones on stage and there was a security guard on stage who had the unpleasant job of informing the Artist that the venue did not have the licence that permitted dancing. it was at this stage that there was complete pandemonium and the security guards were ordered to escort the fans off the premises.
There were various ‘schools of thought’ about this debacle, one of them was if they had clearly stated in the small print or as part of the terms and conditions that dancing was not permitted then the audience should have adhered to it. Another thought was why have an event that requires dancing in a venue that does not allow dancing?
Whatever reason it was that made my hope of seeing Seun Kuti come to a sudden end, I am of the opinion that it could have been dealt with better, there really was no need for the show to stop, and personally I do not buy the story of dancing not being permitted in a theatre, lets not forget that the people on stage are part of the theatre also and they were dancing, I mean how much dance can one do with so many seats around. This was an Olympic related event and I see special dispensation being given to businesses just to accommodate some of the diverse cultures that will be in town for the Olympics, so why wasn’t this a ‘special’ circumstance. I think the organisers owe an explanation to those that have paid to see Seun Kuti, as for me I guess its second time lucky for me, but one thing is for sure I have new found respect for Seun Kuti and his music.
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The month of August is nearly upon us-for those of us that reside in the UK that could only mean one thing, a downpour of events, concerts, raves , shows and everything else in between all relating to Afrobeats.That aside, I notice that every time I’m at these events there are certain fashion styles that I come across that I don’t find in any where else.
Here’s a look at some of my favourites ;
The Ankara dresses (see picture above); before I started seeing them at raves the only places I saw these outfits being worn were at traditional African parties, but now the young ladies have become very creative with this material and they are sewing what could only be described as the ultimate glamour dress, the good thing about the ankara dress is that you can get them tailor made which means it will fit you perfectly accentuating your good bits and tucking away the bits you do not wish to display- for those who do not want to go through the trouble of getting their ankara dress tailor made, you can now pick one up from your fashion high street retailer. getting a dress like this made for you will set you back between £80-£100 (including material) which is not so bad.
The slippers has always been part of the gentleman’s attire, but now the young men that attend these events have seen it as a way of separating the ‘Men’ from the ‘Boys’.For a cool £200 you can get your initials engraved on it. if the price tag of £200 sounds a bit steep, visit the traditional English shoe store, Church’s and pick one up for £100.
Accessories are a very important part of a ladies look, so to give that look the ‘Je ne sais quoi?’ effect it is important for you to choose your accessories carefully. For ladies looking for that ideal accessory for that tailor made ankara dress look no further than the ankara clutch bag, that to me is paying attention to detail. These clutch bags can be made using material from your chosen dress, or to add a bit of contrast use another ankara material. Every man loves a woman in high heel shoes, and the shoe of choice for an ankara out fit has to be Christian Louboutin
This look is what I call the ‘Afrobeats gentleman look’ (see left)This ensemble always gets attention from the ladies, its a look of class and sophistication, and in my humble opinion you can never go wrong. For those who like the more casual look can opt for the ankara on denim which has been made popular by younger stars like Davido, Wande Coal and 2Kriss
Follow me on twitter: @deejaygabe
The most anticipated concert of the year “The DavidO O.B.O album” launch concert has finally happened!
On the flyer, the concert stated 7pm as the start time; I expected that Lagosians as usual would turn up much later than that but as at 8pm, the traffic getting to Eko hotel and suites almost seemed like week day rush hour traffic.
As at 8:30pm, almost all the seats were filled, on air personality Freeze hosted the event, he had a co-host Kayla. Comedians Pencil and Elenu started the show serenading the audience with jokes. The concert was attended by over 5,000 people inclusive of Africa’s richest man; Aliko Dangote.
At one point, the hotel staff had to roll in more chairs, and the event organisers actually ran out of tags and had to start running around get more tags. No jokes, O. B. O, sold out!
The opening acts at the event Orezi, DRB, Shay Seyi, Omo Akin, Race, Reminisce, Tilla Man, DPZL, Tunde Ednut, Shank, Special Ed , Muna and Iyanya all gave great performances, but you’ve got to give it to Iyanya though, he managed to get most of the audience on their feet and ‘kukere-ing’.
After the opening acts, there was a choir; May D also came on stage singing praise songs prepping us for DavidO. Hype man; Special Ed gingered up the audience for what was about to come next. I won’t lie, the suspense was too much. All sorts of props were put on the stage including a bath tub and a couch! Then DavidO came on stage with a big bang and fire works!
With every song the young star performed, a scene was set for the song. I loved that, there was good use of the stage space and he had really good dancers. I especially loved the props used and costumes worn when he performed ‘Carolina’ with Sinzu SMG and the carnival themed- setting he performed ‘Back When’ with Naeto C.
David’s performance started off great, but the breaks taken in between songs to set the scene for the next song took time and this made the crowd restless.
In between the stars performance, May D performed, also K Switch performed his new single “sister Caro” which featured D’Banj. As if to tease the crowd, the screen kept flashing D’Banj vs K Switch, but there was no D’Banj. Then like magic, D’Banj was on stage, and the whole hall was on their feet once again. Next thing you know, newlywed Naeto C came on stage as well. D’Banj and Naeto C coming on stage made us forgive the organisers for wasting our time.
All in all, it was a great concert. Best I’ve been to this year. Got to give it to DavidO and the HKN gang. They maybe young but they sure do have a plan and have got a bright future ahead.
Did I mention, I copped me an OBO cap at the concert souvenir stand!
Check out pictures from the concert here!
Princess Irede Abumere