Smade is the UK’s NO 1 Afrobeat promoter as well as event organiser and we have him here today on an exclusive interview
1. Use three words to describe yourself.
Well, I would say, Focused, Determined and Ambitious. These are things that I am always trying to make principles that I use to lead my daily life.
2. What have been some of the challenges of promoting afrobeat, a purely African sound in English territory?
The challenges in the beginning were finding the right chances to expose people to the sound because it’s not about convincing them it’s good; but giving them an opportunity to hear it and I figured a concert setting was perfect. As our genre develops and becomes more popular, the challenges have changed and now it’s about focusing on being consistent with the events whilst expanding the business.
3. Does your work sometimes interfere with your marriage and marital duties? If yes, how do you manage it in times like this?
My family is my priority, I’m raising three kids with an amazing wife and that’s something I am always grateful for. Over time I have learnt to prioritise which means I make it a habit to spend enough quality time with my family and at the same time my business doesn’t get neglected. So, making a conscious effort to make time for both work and family ensures that they don’t clash often.
4. Why was the move to England made? Was Nigeria not conducive for your kind of work?
I actually moved here when I was young to study a Marketing degree and that’s when I started doing events, things were going well so I decided to stay in London permanently. It was never about where the business could thrive because I think this same business model works in Nigeria. I stay connected to Nigeria anyways because that’s home and that’s where the Afrobeat movement is rooted and we even have SMADE LAGOS running there.
5. What has been your biggest achievement in the promotions industry?
There have been so many good moments during the last 10 years that we’ve been around but when I reflect; I think getting to a point where we can bring so many African artists to the UK and get a good crowd is something that I’m proud of.
6. Everyone has bad work days. What experience has been your worst?
Well in the beginning it was about focusing on building for the future, so I had to make sacrifices in terms of either breaking even on some shows or even making a loss because I was looking at the bigger picture. Those were bad work days! Although they have been fruitful long term.
7. Being in the music industry attracts a lot of attention from women. How do you handle the pressure?
*laughs* It attracts everyone’s attention, including women, haters, competitors but also loyal supporters. I just stay focused on the business and keep thinking of new ideas to convert the attention into sales.
8. What new developments do you intend on bringing into the promotions industry that would help upcoming artistes and promoters alike?
Well I can’t give all my secrets away, but the main aim is to expand worldwide. The industry is always changing so I make it point to stay creative and surround myself with creative people.
9. What made you go into music promotion and event organising?
It started back when I came to London for University, I just one day decided with a couple of friends to start throwing parties for students and it went better than expected. It wasn’t popular back then but it was a snap decision that paid off, so I decided to continue doing it. Over time this then evolved into club tours with artists around the UK and then concerts.
10. What has been your most successful event so far?
There have been so many at different defining moments during my journey. For example, the first ever Wizkid convert we ever did was major or the IcePrince UK Tour we did back in 2014 helped me to make connections across the UK and this year we shut down O2 Brixton with Davido and The O2 with Wizkid. So, each event has been successful because it contributed something to the growth of the company.
11. In your opinion, how can these underground and sound cloud artistes get their sound out to the world?
I think consistency and networking are both key because you need to be on your grind and on point with releasing content; but you also need to meet people who can connect you with the right people and send you in right direction for your career.
12. What advise do you have for upcoming artistes & promoters out there?
Just be original, these days everybody looks, sounds the same and does the same thing. So, you have to separate yourself from the crowd and focus on making yourself unique.