”My plans to lift the face of entertainment industry in Delta State” – Ugbaja Emeka Augustine
Ugbaja Emeka Augustine, also known as Dr Whyte, a music executive and the CEO of California based music enterprise; Southnice Records.
He shares with Allure Vanguard his plans to discover and promote raw talents in Nigeria, specifically those in Delta State.
How has the western culture influenced your perspective as a music business expert?
America is a very professional country, everything here is done with excellence. There is a unique structure in the entertainment business here. There is no specialization in the entertainment industry in Nigeria that is why we are still struggling. There are people who are specialized in sound engineering, audio engineering, voice training and music promotion. Everything done in America is through a division of labor. Everyone knows their area of specialization and they don’t try to do everything. This is what I have been exposed to and I have come to realize that this is why our system is failing because everyone is trying to do everything that they are not trained to do.
What do you think is killing the entertainment industry in Nigeria especially Delta State?
Lack of structure, inadequate training and lack of funds and support from the government. The government should design and implement ministries that would help harness the pool of talents we have in the state.
What are your big plans for the media and entertainment industry in Delta state?
I intend to invest into talent development for young people who are gifted in music and entertainment to have a reason to live their dreams. I have already started this by setting up a record label Southnice Records and we currently have one artiste Beevlingz who happens to be Ubulu Ukwu in Delta state. In 2020 we are planning on a big talent audition in delta state to find talented people we intend to sponsor.
Delta state has a pool of talents who are not given an opportunity out there, how do you plan on harnessing these talents?
Yes, my team and I are already making big plans to develop a talent and skills development center in the heart beat of the state.
What are Southnice Records plans to put Delta State in the big light?
We are making plans to promote more talents from Delta state. This will help put Delta on the entertainment map. The more talents we have like Erigga, Igodye, Ali Baba, Realwarripikin, Victor Ad and the likes, the more the world begin to pay attention to people from Delta State. At this point a lot of talents from Delta State are being overlooked so our goal is to change the narrative.
Do you have intentions of signing artistes from Delta State into the label?
Yes, we have plans on signing two more artistes in the second half of 2020. We are still looking out for not just talented people but hard working talents who are ready to put in the work with a committed discipline for success.
A lot of artistes leave their label before the contract expires, who is to blame for any bridge in contract?
Whenever there is a bridge in music contract the artiste is always the first to blame because they never take their time to understand what was stated in the contract before signing their life away. So whatever terms the label throws at them irrespective of the outcomes they jump on it without thinking 5 years ahead. So this is the major reason why there is always a bridge in contract. Anyone who creates a contract will always try to put terms and conditions that favors them more and if you as an artiste doesn’t know the terms and conditions including the consequences you are doomed to have issues in future if your brand becomes bigger than the terms offered you.
It seems the days of record labels are gradually coming to an end, what do you have to say about this?
You are right about record labels going into extinction. This owes to the fact that they are no more breaking new artistes which is the sole reasons why record companies were created in the first place. A label during the times of Hip Hop was formed to build superstars from the scratch. Labels are supposed to keep finding fresh new talents and developing them into global super stars. These days what labels do is to put money into promoting artistes who are already gaining massive audiences. This is solely because most artistes these days don’t have the patience to transform into becoming a global artiste which involves hard work, consistency and patience.
What does it take to break an artiste today?
It takes a lot of trust and finance to break a new artiste in this 21st century. This is the era of social media and online streaming. To break a new artiste lately, it all depends on a game of numbers and influencing power. When you find the right type of artiste the audience is looking for and with the right type of song the results will be commercial success.
Do you have any fears investing in the music industry today?
Sure, just like every business man there are always fears while investing in an artiste or entertainment business. Most of the fears always come from will these investments be worth it, will the artiste put in the necessary amount of work to make this money back. It takes a very hardworking artiste to compensate for every penny spent.
What are your advice for new labels and upcoming artistes today?
My advice for new emerging artistes is stay consistent, be smart and keeps working on improving your craft every day. Your next song should be better than your last song. Stay hungry for more!