Thursday, 20 July 2017

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Entertainment (124)

Filming of the sequel to Nollywood’s highest-grossing movie, The Wedding Party, in Dubai has ended and the movie is now in post-production. This was revealed by producers of the film in an email.

The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai, will have its Lagos premiere on December 10, with cinema release in time for the Christmas holidays.

“It has been a remarkable opportunity to film in Dubai,” said director of the movie, Niyi Akinmolayan.

“It was magical and the team was awesome. We are thrilled to create something special for viewers and we are sure that they will be impressed with the movie.”

What is left now is editing the footage, sound and special effects, before the film can be screened at its first festival.

Thanks to Dubai Tourism and a host of local partners, The Wedding Party 2 promises a visual delight of exotic locations of the ‘Jewel of the East.’

With the cast and crew at attractions, such as IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai Mall and desert-based restaurant Qasr Al Sultan, Atlantis The Palm, Palazzo Versace, Armani and Ghaya Grand hotels, Mo Abudu, Executive Producer for EbonyLife Films, was also delighted about being in Dubai.

“We had a really tough schedule, but we are happy to be moving to the next phase,” said Abudu.

“We are really grateful for the support we received from Dubai Tourism and everyone else in the destination who worked so hard to make it possible.”

The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai is a production of The ELFIKE Collective (EbonyLife Films, FilmOne Distribution, Inkblot Productions and Koga Studios).`

Posted On Wednesday, 14 June 2017 11:46 Written by
 

LAGOS, Nigeria — Forcing a smile, Seyi Shay, a music star in Nigeria, stood for hours under the hot lights of a film studio to record a video. Three changes of clothes, two wigs and multiple touch-ups later, she was still at it, singing snippets of the song over and over.

“More energy,” a producer called out from behind a camera inches from her face.

“How am I supposed to be happy? It’s not a happy song,” Ms. Shay sighed into the lens.

“A little more attitude,” the producer said.

“Attitude?” Ms. Shay asked.

“Yes. Sassy, sexy, all that.”

Photo
Ola Mide, center, a vendor in the Computer Village market in Lagos, Nigeria. He sells music that he downloads from the internet. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Across town, her painstaking efforts to build a following over the years were paying off — for someone else.

At a sewer-side market, dozens of customers lined up with their smartphones and flash drives, eagerly handing over cash to pirates with laptops to load up on Ms. Shay’s songs. She earned nothing from the sales.

“Out here, nobody cares about the rules,” Ms. Shay said. “Everything is kind of cowboy.”

Artists across the world battle illegal sales of their work. But Nigeria’s piracy problem is so ingrained that music thieves worry about rip-offs of their rip-offs, slapping warning labels on pirated CDs to insist that “lending is not allowed.”

In Lagos, Africa’s biggest city, legitimate music stores are rare, streaming services haven’t caught on and fans are flocking to markets like Computer Village, with its rows of yellow umbrellas shading young men selling illegal downloads. Throughout the city, thousands of pirated CDs are churned out each day, and some artists even pay to appear on them, hoping the exposure will somehow be worth it.

Photo
Bootlegged Nigerian music and thousands of other counterfeit CDs are sold at the popular Alaba International Market in Lagos. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

But now, members of the country’s music industry are trying to put a stop to all the pilfering, hoping they can finally turn the growing popularity of Nigerian music to their advantage.

Nigerian music — Afrobeat in particular — is having a moment. It blares in hotel lobbies, airport lounges, nightclubs and the dozens of bedroom recording studios where young men and women dream of stardom in this clogged, overheated city.

While many countries have courts or jurists focused on intellectual property cases, artists in Nigeria have only in recent years begun to pursue copyright protection. They complain that laws to protect them are so seldom invoked that some judges don’t even know they exist.

Recording artists are pressing cellphone companies for more money to use their songs, the Nigerian government recently announced a new push to protect intellectual property, and the national copyright commission created an institute to train musicians, and judges, about artists’ rights.

“We’re trying to change people’s perception about the use of music,” said Chinedu Chukwuji, chief executive of the Copyright Society of Nigeria. “Music is everywhere, but they don’t know it’s proprietary.”

 

Industry executives are trying to use Nigeria’s economic malaise as a rallying cry, arguing that legitimate sales not only benefit musicians, but could also help an economy that has plunged into recession amid low oil prices.

“We’re no longer getting revenue from oil, so we’re arguing that content is the new crude,” said Aibee Abidoye, general manager at Chocolate City Group and 5ive Music, which seeks royalties on behalf of three Lagos-based record labels.

In recent decades, music from abroad — mainly American and British hip-hop and R&B — often dominated the Nigerian scene. Yet international music distributors largely ignored the nation and its nascent middle class as a potential market. With few ways of buying the overseas music that was so popular here, illegal sales flourished.

Photo
Sam Seyi, center left, a singer and songwriter whose stage name is SamSeyi Yango, during a performance at an Episcopal church in Lagos. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

“American artists would come here to do a show and were stunned to find thousands of people singing their songs back to them,” said Efe Omorogbe, owner of Now Muzik, a local label.

The open piracy, and few meaningful efforts to stop it, left little incentive for anyone to set up legitimate music sales or invest in streaming services. Local musicians, struggling to be heard above the international competition, often gave away their work.

“The music industry has been its own biggest enemy,” said Mr. Omorogbe, a business partner of the musician 2face Idibia. “It’s descended to a point where people who use your material almost feel like you should celebrate them. They’re doing you a favor.”

The appetite for Nigerian music is clear. International labels such as Sony Music Entertainment are setting up shop in Lagos. Musicians like Ms. Shay, who spent much of her childhood in Britain with her Nigerian parents, are being lured back.

Last year, Wizkid, one of Nigeria’s most popular artists, reached the top of the American singles chart for an Afrobeat collaboration with the Canadian rapper Drake. They released another track this year.

But for many artists, the more popular they become, the more their music is stolen. Bootlegged Nigerian music is stacked alongside the thousands of other counterfeit CDs at the Alaba International Market in Lagos.

Photo
Mr. Seyi, right, and Robin Emmanuel, left, his manager and producer, en route to a recording studio on Snake Island in Lagos. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

“There isn’t exactly a proper structure for us to make money,” said Falz, a Nigerian rapper and songwriter.

Apple Music offers streaming in Nigeria, but the service has been plagued with problems because of the nation’s currency crisis. Even concerts, profitable for artists anywhere, are being pared back here as corporate sponsors feel the pinch of the souring economy.

In Nigeria, musicians have rarely sought royalty payments. Artists complain that even the nation’s Nollywood film industry routinely uses songs in movies without permission or payment.

“When you create your content and put it out, it’s scattered,” said Harrysong, a Nigerian singer known for his hit, “Mandela.”

Many musicians pay to have their music heard. Popular music blogs collect as much as $120 from unknown musicians to promote a single song. Budding musicians also pay to have their songs featured on “latest mix” CDs hawked on the streets. A collection called “Mega Mix” contained new pirated songs from well-known musicians like Davido and Wizkid, along with songs from 43 less-known singers.

The sellers of pirated music know the artists receive nothing.

“To get the songs off the internet, it’s free,” said Ola Mide, who stared into his laptop at Computer Village as customers lined up behind him for songs from local artists like Tiwa Savage, D’Banj and Ms. Shay. “Then people come to me and give me money for them.”

 
Photo
Equipment being delivered to a makeshift recording studio on Snake Island. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Henry Onunary, another vendor of illegally downloaded music, explained how the musicians might benefit, if at all. “What they get from us,” he said, “is popularity.”

The Copyright Society of Nigeria has filed lawsuits, staged protests, hosted conferences and handed out fliers to businesses explaining copyright law. Its leader, Mr. Chukwuji, said the group was currently battling the nation’s major mobile phone company, MTN, which pays artists to use snippets of their songs.

Mobile phone use in Nigeria has exploded in recent years, and ringback tunes — the few bars of music paid for by customers that play while a call is being connected — are hugely popular. As a result, MTN, with its skyscraper headquarters in Lagos, has become one of the biggest sources of revenue for Nigerian artists. In fact, Nigerian ringback tunes like Harrysong’s “Mandela” are more popular than songs by Snoop Dogg or other American artists, according to MTN.

“Music has always been part of the fabric of Lagos. What has changed is the ability to monetize it,” said Richard Iweanoge, general manager of consumer marketing at MTN, considered the largest distributor of online music in Nigeria. “It’s a privilege for us as a Nigerian company to support local artists.”

But the copyright society has accused MTN of not giving artists a fair cut from the sales. MTN officials acknowledged that the company recently renegotiated ringback deals to better favor the artists.

“Things change,” Mr. Iweanoge said. “It’s always in our interest to make sure the artist gets a fair share.”

Photo
Mr. Seyi, second from left, preparing to record a track at his manager’s studio. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Plenty of musicians in Lagos are still willing to sacrifice money to get noticed. Across a polluted channel from the Lagos mainland, past a sugar refinery belching smoke, is Snake Island, a serpent-shaped piece of land dotted by tilting tin huts.

Inside one of them, Sam Seyi, 24, was dreaming of stardom, sitting on a bed with Winnie the Pooh sheets as he sang into a microphone. Friends filed into his generator-powered bedroom studio as babies screamed and chickens clucked just outside the open window.

“You’ve got to believe in yourself,” he sang, eyes closed and arms pumping. “This is my time to make it.”

Mr. Seyi, whose stage name is SamSeyi Yango, has paid music blogs to feature his songs, and spent $16 this year to be allowed onstage to perform before a small audience.

“I’m paying my dues,” he said. “You can’t expect them to pay you a million dollars when you’re not a superstar.”

Photo
Nigeria’s huge appetite for music has lured artists like Ms. Shay, who spent much of her childhood in Britain with her Nigerian parents. She packed recently for an overnight trip to Abuja for a show. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Across the water, on Lagos’s affluent Victoria Island, already famous artists were getting ready to perform in a chandeliered banquet hall at the luxury Eko Hotel. Some of Nigeria’s biggest music stars gathered in the green room: Harrysong, Falz, Lil Kesh, Vector and the hip-hop duo Skuki.

None of them were being paid, even though the audience included hundreds of paying fans. The local comedians onstage were the big draw, and the musicians agreed to perform for free, hoping to be exposed to a new market.

Upstairs in a hotel room, a makeup artist was layering foundation on Ms. Shay, the room a mess of glittery blue eye shadow, shimmery lotion, fake eyelashes and a pair of Oscar de la Renta flowery high-heeled shoes carefully positioned on a shelf. She sneezed inside a tiny cloud of powdered makeup.

Even Ms. Shay has paid to be heard, forking over cash to various music blogs. She once allowed her song to be used for free as the soundtrack for a popular video game.

Photo
Ms. Shay taking a selfie at the Eko Hotel before a performance, the lights of Lagos in the reflection. CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

But now fans fawn over Ms. Shay when she walks into a nightclub, taking selfies and cooing over her. She lives in an apartment in a gated community, and a driver ferries her around town.

Her entourage includes a personal assistant who calls himself a “body man” and a wig stylist. She recently flew to South Africa for performances and has scored an endorsement deal with a Chinese telecom company. Her face has been on Pepsi billboards along main roads in Lagos. Not long ago, she was signed to the British-American label Island Records.

Trying to relax at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Lagos after a recent show, Ms. Shay was sipping a margarita when a bartender interrupted repeatedly to ask how his music could get noticed. She told him to email her a demo.

“You have to put in the work,” she advised. “Nobody is going to do it for you.”

 
 
Posted On Sunday, 04 June 2017 20:40 Written by

Nigerian entertainment musician Wizkid is billed to perform during BET Awards weekend for the BET Experience taking place between June 22 – 25.

The starboy announced this in a video posted on BET’s Twitter handle. Other performers include Wiz Khalifa, DJ Khaled, Snoop Dogg, Kid Cudi, Gucci Mane, Jhene Aiko, and a host of others.

 
 
Posted On Saturday, 03 June 2017 19:37 Written by

Nigerian singer Dammy Krane (Oyindamola Emmanuel), has been allegedly arrested in Miami, U.S for credit card fraud.

According to online reports, the singer who is currently based in the U.S, was booked on Friday.

He is currently behind bars pending when he meets up with the bail requirements.

According to details on his mugshot from online reports, the singer was arrested for card fraud, identity fraud (named as Johnson Hunga) and theft (armed and conspiracy)

Krane signed under Hypertek music has a number of hits to his credit and has enjoyed fame in the industry.

There has been no official statement from his music label

Posted On Saturday, 03 June 2017 02:36 Written by

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Date: Sunday July 23, 2017
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Music artists: Brown Wayne, U2Carlie, Hope Best & more!

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Posted On Friday, 31 March 2017 10:50 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Popular  Nollywood actor and former President of Scriptwriters  Guild of Nigeria, SGN, Chike Bryan  is dead. Bryan died  three years after he survived a kidney transplant in India, and less than two  weeks after the industry lost another veteran actor, Prince James Uche to the cold hands of death.

he actor was said to have been rushed to the Lagos State University  Teaching Hospital, LASUTH,  last Friday evening, after he had an attack. But unfortunately, he did not survive it.

A source close to the family said, the actor was confirmed dead on arrival by the doctors at LASUTH. Meanwhile, some notable stakeholders in the industry, including former  President of Association of Movie Producers,AMP, Zik Zullu Okafor, Fidelis Duker, Lancelot Imasuen, Sani Mu’azu among others weekend, paid tribute to their departed colleague.

According to Zik Zulu, Byran was an important stakeholder in Nollywood who will be missed forever. “He was a solid activist, writers’ director and an administrator. He will be missed in Nollywood,” Zik Zulu said. For Fidelis Duker, late Byran was not only a brilliant scriptwriter, but also,  a man of no consequence. “ He was a good man to me,” said Duker. Describing the late Byran as a perfect gentleman who traversed every  area of Nollywood, Lancelot Imasuen recalled how he worked with the late actor as his campaign manager during the last Directors Guild of Nigeria, general election which held in Asaba, the Delta State capital.

According to Sani Mu’azu, “It is shocking to learn about Chike Bryan’s departure today. He was a friend and one of the consistent faces since we began. The film industry had lost a great person, a fine gentleman and a good script writer. We are however consoled that he came, saw and conquered. Death is inevitable end for all.” It would be recalled that in 2014,former President Goodluck Jonathan donated the sum of N10 million for Bryan’s kidney transplant in India and he returned after a successful surgery.


Posted On Monday, 27 March 2017 01:00 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Hollywood actress Tonto Dikeh in this emotional video bears her mind on issues concerning her life, her son and her ex husband. She said she was and is still a born agin Christian and that she attends Mountain of Fire Ministry.

Tonto speaking on her marriage said ‘It’s a bitter experience for me to talk about. I am here because I will be helping someone somewhere.” ‘I don’t want to say things to bring down my husband I am praying for strength.’

She said that see loved her husband ‘with all of her heart’ and that she did not want to give up on the marriage even though she was abused but … She questioned that if her husband was ashamed of what he was doing why then does he do them.?


Posted On Thursday, 09 March 2017 02:43 Written by

SPONSORED BY HIRING234.COM: Afropop sensation and winner of the 2010 edition of MTN Project Fame; Chidinma Ekile has released a new single for her fans. In this economic recession, the lyrics of Plenty Melody; a hopeful, inspirational song about achieving success and wealth will resonate with a lot of Nigerians.

Produced by Mystro, the beat, lyrics and Chidinma’s vocals blend well together to produce a feel good song with an infectious rhythm that is sure to be a fan favourite.

Following her amazing performance at the 2010 edition of MTN Project Fame, the beautiful singer emerged winner and promptly began her music career signed to Illbliss management company, Goretti Company.

Posted On Saturday, 18 February 2017 15:37 Written by

Track: Range Rover
Produced By: Akwandor
Mixed By: Rufilio
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Posted On Friday, 17 February 2017 19:48 Written by

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: Veteran Nigerian musician Daddy Showkey has just revealed one of his biggest regrets in life.

In a recent interview with ThePointNg, Daddy Showkey said not having education is one major thing he regrets.

In his words, ”It is education. When I see musicians who are graduates, I am proud of them. I like to have PhD too.

”Though my mother was a teacher, she still gave me the freedom to do what I wanted to do. But given another chance, I would like to take education seriously. I would have finished my secondary and university education before going into music’.

When asked, ‘what stops you from going back to school now? He responded saying, ”I have so many people depending on me at the moment.

”Helen Paul and I even talked about it recently and she encouraged me to go back to school. But the truth is that I feel my children will continue from where I stopped”.

Posted On Sunday, 15 January 2017 01:47 Written by
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