OAP Bribery. Pettiness & Charlatans are killing Nigerian Music Industry – Mahansa

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In an exclusive chat with eTimes News,  Chukwudi Ugwu, popularly known by his stage name as  Mahansa , laments on the plight of artistes, lack of professionalism, government attitude to entertainment industry  and copyright issues in the Nigerian music scene.He created his own genre of music known as Afrociori an acronym for Africa , Occidental and Oriental music fused into one .

 

Who is Mahansa and what inspired Afrociori genre of music ?

Mahansa is from Enugu State Nigeria, had his Secondary School at Federal Government College Ugwolawo, Kogi State and studied Estate Management in Enugu State University of Science and Technology.
The journey of the AFROCIORI a.k.a Ngwoko genre was inspired by the secondary school experience, which had different tribes and religions all in one location at a time, like a family and bonded.So MAHANSA abhors ethnic and religious bigotry.He believes that anybody who takes life because of faith, or religion is a very ignorant person and should be punished extremely.”It is not in the business and capacity of mortals to defend an Immortal and Almighty GOD!”… Mahansa

 

In terms of entertainment, what  solutions are you offering to Nigeria and African entertainment space? 

First of all I am still of the opinion that we do not have an Entertainment Industry that offers the details of what should obtain but for the purpose of this interview I will say it is an emerging industry.We cannot say we have it when there is no clear cut Division of Labour. The artiste does everything from conceptualizing to marketing.. That is really not right. The creative process should be the concern of the artiste while the talent managers or handlers push the brand to relevant Brand and PR or Events people for the consumption of the brand. Back to the solutions.. Serious review and enforcement of Laws against piracy and intellectual theft of every kind including free downloads.The NCC should come up with regulations and work with the Copyright Society of Nigeria and other relevant bodies to come up with ideas on curtailing free downloads as CDs are getting obsolete.

What role can the government play in this vibrant industry?

Government should treat the emerging arts / entertainment industry as a priority with its overwhelming potentials of absorbing unemployed youths and even creating more opportunities for talented people to express themselves and fulfill their economic dreams.The industry without regulations admits all and sundry and since it has become an all comers affair it is difficult to have order and sanity. Things are done anyhow with reckless abandon. For instance, shows are organized and you know what? who is in the industry don’t even know what is going on. There should be some elements of standardization, the should be a benchmark for the level of shows and what is expected of any show such as the level of performance, choreography even lip syncing. Thesec are few elements that makes a show a world class, which includes lighting, security and audience artistes proximity . But as of today, it is unfortunate, we have dearth of competent skill set in the industry. Improper training of the personnel in the emerging industry. The availability of computers and gadgets makes almost every one a producer. A lot of half measures and wishy washy productions are the norm and it takes a strong will to correct these things. Nigerians are seeing these half measures as norm and it is just wrong.

 

Why do most of Nigerians Music sound alike ?

If you look at the Nigerian music scene, you will see a monotonous trend. Most of the producers or do I say artistes lack idea of musical instruments to understand the basics of sound and that is why they cannot understand that all the beats are the same, embarrassingly monotonous.They have to get the basic training in the industry to make worthwhile content.

AFROCIORI is what you are known for, can we know how you came up with the term?

 

I am the exponent of the genre AFROCIORI which is an acronym of African Occidental and Oriental. A fusion of cultural musical elements from Africa, The West and The East.I have earthed the nomenclature of this music by calling it NGWOKO and MAHANSA called Eze Ngwoko which means the King of Fusion.Attention is coming to Africa, our resources are needed, our people are needed and MAHANSA will be supplying the new Ngwoko music for this rediscovery of Africa.

 

Who are the audience you have in mind and do you sing about love or I have made it and my enemies will see me blow as it is with most Nigerian musicians?

This music addresses every facet of life with the target audience of 6 years to 90 years, making a tremendous commercial potential. A lot of copycats and lack of creativity abound in the a industry with many artists accusing each other , what can you say about this ? It’s pathetic, pliagriasm is the order of the day and MAHANSA has vowed not to join the band wagon. I am bringing a new genre to the table.Just like Fela Anikulapo Kutu brought Afrobeat Sunny Okosun …Ozziddi Majek Fashek…Kpangolo Bright Chimezie..Zigima Victor Uwaifo..Joromi. My generation has to be represented in the roll call of highly creative souls that have walked the earth.

 

Another worrisome trend is the quality of music . A lot of junks are aired today in the name of music . Isn’t this worrisome to stakeholders like you ?

 

Junks as you said that are massively being played on air these days come as a result of MONEY. When people have a lot of money to throw around, and of course want to be seen for egoistic and quick fix commercial reasons, the result is Junk music.Technology made it easy to own a laptop and buy headphones and act like one is some producer, but are they abreast of the basics? NO. Again I like as you called the music junk, it is your opinion, but their target audience who really know the music is junk cannot do anything about them because they are ignorant of other genres and what good/ richer music should sound like. So ignorance on the part of the listeners is also another problem. The excessive promotion and airplay forces the “Junk” down the throats of the gullible target audience who are fixated in pseudo awe as I have personally watched their reactions when they listen to Ngwoko music.They go ” What music is this, can you share it please via blue tooth ?” They need new things to dance to but the acts to supply the music do not have money to promote.

 

 

 

It takes a lot for the average entertainer to “blow ” in Nigeria what does it take ?

Just money.If the average entertainer has money, of course he / she will be known. The secret PROMOTE, PROMOTE & PROMOTE. Payola is wrong but here is a country where an OAP tells you outrightly, give me N50000 to play your music and then I calculate how many OAPs I will give this money in a Radio station multiplied by the same number in other radio stations all through Nigeria.The result, most guys resort to the pirates who will do a better job by pushing it on mix tapes and circulating all through.The OAPs insult artistes without money but very wonderful material. Presently, I challenged one OAP in a radio station in Anambra State who wanted me to pay her money to play my music.She was so inexperienced, she never even listened to know if the material was worth airing, it was an outright..” Give me money to play your music!”I asked her just a question,” Do you play foreign materials !” And she said YES, that was when I lost my calm. How much does R Kelly or Celine Dion pay you to play their music.Before I could say Jack Robinson she disappeared in the radio station. Intellectual property and copyright issues are one thing that discourages investment in the industry . How can this be corrected ? Pirates should be handled by the Government. The government should be reviewing the Laws already made to have optimal effect on the culprits. If the pirates do the right thing there will be money made by everyone involved.

“Well, left for me, the desecrating music videos these days, fortunately I do not watch and do not want to watch tells how we have as artistes conspired with the negative forces to depose the woman in the spiritual realm. Portraying them as prostitutes, debasing their value and yet so many of them do not understand the implications of these.Very few men have regards for women these days as a result of that as they see them as mere sex objects. And the annoying part is that most women who claim to be educated or literate dance to these songs in dumb patronage claiming they just dance to the beats.”

 

A lot of poor musical videos are churned out locally, the few good ones are shot abroad, what is the cause of this ?

Poor musical videos arise from poor concepts, poor music, inexperience and laziness to detail. Lack of professionalism. Nigerians believe in rushing into technology they do not understand.You will see a song that has no direction but the act wants to be known. With an improper concept but because a new camera was just released by Canon or any other brand, they go for it. Whoever told them that it is camera that matters I really do not know. HD is HD and if one does not have a good concept, I wonder what camera can really do other than just one of those wastes caused by desperation to be seen.

Artistes face a lot of challenges in Nigeria , what are the few challenges that you face in the industry ?

Funding and Environmental handicap. New genres require special marketing and attention, and the Events companies want some thing mainstream. Again they miss it big time. Most acts in Nigeria do not really fit into certain category of events. So the funding basically is for the same MASSIVE PROMOTION to get it in the faces of the real events people who understand the relevance and where it will perfectly fit. That’s all.

What is the level of acceptance of your music and who are your audience?

My music is not mainstream in Nigeria but to be honest, with the awards I have received and nominations, it is very internationally appreciated.These awards include Nigeria International Song Festival 2000 as Enugu State Ambassador, The Most Versatile Artiste Award in the South East endorsed by DAAR Communications, 2013 And a Federal Ministry of Culture endorsement upon invitation to represent Nigeria in the World Culture Festival in New Delhi 2016. So it is getting attention in the appropriate quarters. The “042 ‘Song used in the Hollywood movie Director Don Okolo’s Gem of the Rainforest. “We are One “currently getting an International nomination featuring Muthu Kumar a maestro tabla player from Bangalore,India.

What advise do you have for the Upcoming artistes?

Work on detail,keep money by the side.BUT if you do not sincerely have the calling, do music as a hobby. You can know if you have it by trying, delving and seeing your zeal and natural connection to it.

 

A lot of sexual innuendo and sometimes outrightly explicit scenes abound in our music videos, women are made to look like sexual objects. What is your take on this?

 

In the entertainment industry, there is this maxim that goes like this ” sex sells” and in show business, you must show it all. Well, left for me, the desecrating music videos these days, fortunately I do not watch and do not want to watch tells how we have as artistes conspired with the negative forces to depose the woman in the spiritual realm. Portraying them as prostitutes, debasing their value and yet so many of them do not understand the implications of these.Very few men have regards for women these days as a result of that as they see them as mere sex objects. And the annoying part is that most women who claim to be educated or literate dance to these songs in dumb patronage claiming they just dance to the beats.I ask them ,” Do you not listen to what you dance to?” “Your waist, your waist all I want is your waist!” So she does not have brains and even if she has  she is not using it. Most of the videos are debasing to women and I will not be part of that. You can make a good video without sounding debasing, especially to our women. At a time, the young ones will start seeing this as a norm. It is pathetic.

 

I am the exponent of the genre AFROCIORI which is an acronym of African Occidental and Oriental. A fusion of cultural musical elements from Africa, The West and The East.I have earthed the nomenclature of this music by calling it NGWOKO and MAHANSA called Eze Ngwoko which means the King of Fusion.Attention is coming to Africa, our resources are needed, our people are needed and MAHANSA will be supplying the new Ngwoko music for this rediscovery of Africa.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uXkBbu_dMU

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