DJ Cuppy has stolen my heart — Afrobeat Artiste, Akeju – Vanguard News

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Budding star of Afro-music, a genre previously unknown to music fans in the United States, is a fast-rising Nigerian songwriter, a record producer known as Akeju. Akeju’s name is fast evolving into a household item in New York City, the city that never sleeps. He is so popular and influential, especially on the entertainment scene, that the entire city had to look forward to the unveiling of his latest single, Akeju, that was released earlier this year. The song has been on top charts since its release. A native of Kwara State, Akeju has lived in New York City for over a decade. He is an artist in every sense of the word. Not just a musical artist but an artist because he is all about expression, from his sense of style to his genre of music even down to working succinctly as an actor and movie producer. The artiste, in this interview, revealed his plans to collaborate with more A-list artists in Africa and more surprisingly his favourite woman crush.

Tell us about your background

My name is A. M Akeju, I was born in Ghana to Nigerian parents. My mom is from Ilorin and my dad is from Abeokuta.

Have you always wanted to be a musician?

Yes. I started out writing songs and listening to a variety of aristes as a child; Nate King Cole, Bob Marley, Fela Kuti to mention but a few.

How did you discover your talent in music?

Some people actually go through life trying to figure out which path they want to take but for me, Music has always been a part of me. I remember growing up, I was influenced by popular singers like Fela Kuti, Nate King Cole, Bob Marley among others. I  have always believed that someday I would do music too.

READ ALSO: Let’s see music as a spiritual exercise – Erelu Dosumu Abiola

What inspires your songs?

Many things inspire my songs. Experiences of friends, family, and myself; what is going on at the time in many communities. Many times I want my songs to make people feel good; sometimes people go through so much in their life.

Who are those top artistes you would want to have a collaboration with and why?

There are several, Seal, Youssou Ndour, 2Face Idibia, Nas, Shaggy, Sade, Sting, to name a few. I admire them and I remain true to my philosophy creating a bridge between African culture and other cultures.

Unforgettable performance and why?

My unforgettable performances would be Save Africa Foundation concert with the wonderful Winnie Mandela in the audience and Black Panther under the Stars. I have other unforgettable performances.

Other hobbies aside singing?

Other hobbies are soccer, swimming, and just getting away from time to time. It helps me rejuvenate, get me fired up to record more songs for my fans.

What is the greatest price you have paid for your career?

The greatest price I have paid, I don’t really have one. What I would say is the greatest lesson, having a tight inner circle you trust is important.

What project are you working on at the moment?

I have a few projects, I like to keep those details close and then surprise my fans. My EP “Akeju the EP ft Beenie Man and Lil scrappy (love and hip – hop) ” and also my mixtape with Dj Kaywise was recently released. Outside of music I am in corporate America working on several projects. I am the CEO and President of Aflik TV, an admin for international content at Amazon prime and I also provide content for several platforms, Netflix, Hulu, Best Buy, Walmart, Barnes & Nobles to name a few.

What is your relationship status now?

I am single and available.

You are single and available, so how do you handle your female fans?

I just appreciate them; they are fantastic; you can’t get too caught up. You can’t let it get into your head. You can’t indulge in a lifestyle where you start to slip up because you are single. But I do appreciate them and try to live up to everybody’s expectations.

Who is your female crush and why?

Well to put this straight, every woman out there deserves the best. One woman that has stolen my heart secretly is Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola (Dj Cuppy). I really love what she’s doing and how she has successfully carved a niche for herself in the industry. Hopefully one day we will go out on a date and have more Gelato..

Looking back, any regret so far?

I have no regrets. Before making any decision, I always pray and fast for divine directions. So far, God has really been faithful to me.

Any word for your fans out there?

Be loyal and true to yourself. If you have a dream, stay focused on it. Things don’t happen overnight, remain persistent and keep pushing. Bless up!!!

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Afrobeat can never die like reggae or makossa – Godfrey Eguakun

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By Ayo Onikoyi

The big boss at Monkey Media House Records, popularly known as MMH Records and TRONIQ Incorporation, Godfrey Eguakun has given an insight on the future of Afrobeat genre of music, stating emphatically that the genre cannot suffer the same fate as reggae or Makossa which had a long spell of reign then died out.All

“Reggae music was from the 60s, got really big in the 70s and 80s, which was before me or when I was a toddler. What I do know about it is the fact that it was a sound widely perceived as the voice of the oppressed, addressing social and economic injustice. At the time, there’s some sort of musicianship needed as a reggae artist/musician.

They can actually hold keys and sing, maybe play instruments… today, all that has been replaced with technology. Makossa on the other hand was a great feel good music but was arguably one dimensional. Afrobeat, Afropop, Afrofusion, Afro-soul or whatever we want to call it is relatively new and we don’t quite know it in its entirety, so I think it is too early to ask if afrobeats will die or not, but one thing we have learnt about afrobeats so far is its ability to adapt to other genres of music and create something novel, create genres that in fact don’t exist as far as our prior knowledge of music goes.

We have seen this play out in several cross continental collaborations of some of the biggest afrobeat artists. So, the question I think should be if afrobeat will evolve into unknown and novel genre, and how soon this transition, or this evolution will take. But in the sense of “dying”, that is not happening anytime soon,” he said when asked about the future of Afrobeat in a chat with Potpourri.

Eguakun who has two notable artistes, Akaycentric and Kreatunez signed to his MMH and Oxlade to the TRONIQ label also took a look at the music industry, identifying the legal framework of the country as the major impediment to its growth.

Geofrey Eduakun is an Edo State indigene, born in Osogbo and currently lives in the United States. He’s a Mechanical Engineer by day working on jet engine designs and manufacturing and a businessman by night, managing and running multiple businesses.

His Monkey Media House Records is an indie Record Label founded in 2017. Outside making and selling records, he does Talent Development, Talent Management, Artiste Promotions/Media Management and digital music distribution. His TRONIQ Inc on the other hand was founded in mid 2019, it’s a digital indie recording company, shaped around traditional models.

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YouTube partners with Merchbar to sell music artists swag underneath videos

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YouTube is partnering with Merchbar on a new integration that will allow artists to sell their official merchandise to their worldwide fans from a shelf just below the video.  The addition is the latest deal focused on helping video creators make more money from their videos, beyond the revenue brought in through advertisements and subscriptions.

Last year, YouTube announced a series of enhancements to the platform which focused on revenue generation, including channel memberships, premieres, merchandise, and more.

The merchandise feature was one of the more notable additions, as it lets creators put a shelf beneath their video where they can sell directly to fans. For example, they could sell their branded apparel like shirts and hats and other items.

At launch, YouTube had partnered with custom t-shirt maker Teespring on the effort. Earlier this year, the Merch shelf gained several more partners, including CrowdmadeDFTBAFanjoyRepresent and Rooster Teeth.

The company claimed at the time that “thousands” of channels had more than doubled their revenue as a result of Merch shelf and other integrations, like Super Chat and Channel Memberships.

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With this new Merchbar partnership, YouTube is now focused on serving its artist community.

Merchbar today carries over 1 million items from 35,000 artists, making it one of the largest music merchandise aggregators worldwide. Now, YouTube artists who have an Official Artist Channel on the platform will be able to promote their merchandise right beneath their music videos. (Marshmello, never one to shy away from a marketing opportunity, made a soccer jersey exclusively for Merchbar and YouTube.)

As with prior merchandise integrations, the new Merchbar shelf will sit directly under videos on both desktop and web. Users can also click through from the shelf to the artist’s Merchbar website. In prior merchandise partnerships, YouTube took a small cut of transactions on items sold through its site. It didn’t say what sort of deal it has with Merchbar, however.

The launch comes at a time when Google is more heavily invested in its YouTube Music service, a Spotify and Apple Music rival designed to offer both music and videos, including content not found elsewhere like live performances or remixes. The company recently made the YouTube Music app the default music app on Android, which should boost its adoption.

Eligible artists who have a Merchbar store offering U.S. fulfillment can sign up for the new merch shelf from YouTube Studio.

The feature is launching first in the U.S., and will later expand internationally.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com

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Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger among musicians paying tribute to Cream drummer Ginger Baker

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(CNN)Rock legends Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger were just a few of the artists to pay tribute on social media to Cream drummer Ginger Baker, who died Sunday.

Baker was 80 when he died in the England.
Other tributes to Baker came from Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and Flea, the bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
    “Sad news hearing that Ginger Baker has died, I remember playing with him very early on in Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. He was a fiery but extremely talented and innovative drummer,” Jagger tweeted.
    In his tribute, McCartney highlighted that the 1973 “Band on the Run” album his band Paul McCartney and Wings was recorded in Baker’s ARC Studio in Lagos, Nigeria. “Sad to hear that he died but the memories never will. X Paul,” McCartney tweeted.
    McCartney’s fellow Beatle, drummer Ringo Starr, called Baker an “incredible musician” and a wild and inventive drummer in a tweet.
    Flea tweeted that Baker was a “wildman” who played the drums with “so much freedom.”
    Van Zandt said that Baker was “one of the greatest drummers of all time” and suggested that anyone unfamiliar with Cream’s music start by listening to the band’s second album, “Disraeli Gears.”
    “Sad to hear of the passing of a great drummer, Ginger Baker,” guitarist Steve Hackett tweeted.
    Mike Portnoy, a co-founder of Dream Theater, tweeted that it was a “very sad day in the drum world” as Baker took “rock drumming to a whole new level of expression.”
    Formed in 1966, the band consisted of Baker, bassist Jack Bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton. Their hits include “Sunshine of Your Love,” “White Room,” “Crossroads,” and “Strange Brew.”
    Cream are considered to be the first rock supergroup as the band was formed by already established musicians. Cream also are one of the first examples of a rock power trio featuring only guitar, bass and drums with all three members contributing vocals.
    The band split in 1968 after two years and reunited for the first time in 1993 when they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Twelve years later, Cream played their first full reunion shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden and London’s Royal Albert Hall.
      Bruce died in October 2014 at age 71. Clapton, now 74, released his most recent solo album “I Still Do” in 2016.
      In 2006 the band received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. In 1968, the band was nominated for a Grammy as Best New Artist.

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      Graffiti-covered Banksy truck to be auctioned

      Bonhams to sell massive artwork at Goodwood Revival sale next month

      Art and design

      Among the gleaming Bugattis, Aston Martins and Porsches at one of the UKs premier car auctions next month will be a 17-tonne truck with a price tag to match them all.

      Bonhams has announced it is selling what can arguably be called Banksys largest art work at its Goodwood Revival sale on 14 September.

      The truck was covered with graffiti by Banksy in 2000, when he was still very much under the art worlds radar. While a used Volvo FL6 box truck might cost a buyer somewhere in the low thousands of pounds, this one is estimated at between 1m-1.5m.

      Ralph Taylor, Bonhams head of postwar and contemporary art, said he was thrilled to have the work in the sale.

      Banksy is arguably the most important artist to have emerged since the millennium and this, his largest commercial work, represents a new high watermark of quality for works of his to appear at auction, Taylor said.

      The composition bears all the hallmarks of this peerless agent provocateur.

      The artist was at an open-air party in Spain to celebrate the millennium when he was presented with the truck by Mojo, the co-founder of Turbozone International Circus.

      He started on the truck during the party and continued to work on it for a fortnight. It was then used, for years, as the companys transport around Europe and South America.

      The truck is called Turbo Zone Truck (Laugh Now But One Day Well Be in Charge). It is funny and anarchic and has flying monkeys, soldiers running away from a cannon and a man about to smash a TV screen with a hammer.

      Bonhams said the over-riding message of the piece was anarchy its us against them and were going to win..

      Taylor said there was no getting away from what the work was. It is an enormous great lorry, he said. Contemporary art can be anything, from a small painting to an installation that takes up an entire room. This is a 17-tonne lorry and it is completely painted. Its an immersive experience it is incredibly impressive when you see it.

      Taylor said the work was from a pivotal moment in Banksys career, a time when he was beginning to work in the studio, as well as on the street, producing work that he would show in self-staged exhibitions.

      The lorry has motifs seen over and again in Banksys work, particularly monkeys. One image is a riff on Soviet-era posters of industrial work, with Banksy showing a factory worker with a Mohican smashing a television.

      There are references to art history and to social history, said Taylor. Banksy is always at his best when there is that kind of vicious black humour. When its funny, thats when its good and thats why he is so successful, that is why he keeps on being voted the nations favourite artist. It feels like hes been coming top of those polls for a decade.

      The lorry was done at a time street artists were often considered a menace, the reason why Banksy always pictures himself as a rat and calls his company Pest Control.

      For someone to give him free rein to paint an entire lorry that would then travel around would have been such a huge gift and opportunity, to have such a big canvas with no risk of getting arrested.

      The market for Banksy is a strong and global one, said Taylor. The auction record is for one of his works is $1.9m a Damien Hirst spot painting on to which Banksy has stencilled a maid doing the cleaning.

      Last year the art world was left stunned as a Banksy work, Girl With Balloon, began to shred itself after the hammer went down at Sothebys in London for 1.04m. It was given a new title by Banksy, Love is in the Bin and is the only artwork ever created live during an auction.

      Bonhams said it expected strong interest from institutions as well as collectors passionate about collecting unusual vehicles.

      The truck will be sold by the auction house on the Goodwood estate in West Sussex, the ancestral home of the Duke of Richmond, founder of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the Goodwood Revival.

      One of the more traditional highlights of the 14 September sale is an ultra-rare 935 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Faux Cabriolet, which has an estimate price of 1m-1.5m.

      Three years ago Bonhams sold a Banksy Swat van which he created for his break out Barely Legal show in Los Angeles. It fetched 218,500.

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      Climate change and the US south for a year

      I crisscrossed a region my own that is mired in a culture of denial and delay. The conversation on the climate crisis has not changed fast enough

      atmosphere

      Its 96 degrees in downtown Beaufort, North Carolina, a place where I spent much of my childhood. The sidewalk is too hot for dogs to walk on. The iconic wild horses, visible on Shackleford Banks, wade in the marsh, munching cordgrass. Ive been watching the horses since I was in elementary school, and now Im sharing them with my elementary school-aged daughters on summer vacation.

      My girls love them, as I did. The legend is that the horses swam to safety from an old Spanish shipwreck. Its moving to watch the small, strong horses grazing on the dunes. For now, theyve survived the latest big hurricane, and theyre free.

      The 100 or so wild horses have one square kilometer of high ground on which to weather hurricanes and sea level rise, and a shortage of fresh water endangered by encroaching salt water and storm surge. Some scientists recommend that the Shackleford horses be relocated, although they have been there for centuries.

      The story is a familiar one that will be told in a thousand different ways as the atmosphere warms in the years to come: we must think creatively and quickly to save the things we love.

      I wrote my Climate Changed column between hurricane seasons, in the wake of Hurricane Florence and before the start of Hurricane Barry. I close the column from Beaufort, a place where Florence brought a record storm surge; it caused $17bn in damage to the state. As my daughters and I drive over the bridge into Morehead City, I see bulldozers still clearing the last of the Channel Marker restaurant, a fixture of Atlantic Beach flooded during Florence.

      I thought that Hurricane Florence might serve as a turning point in the conversation about the realities of climate change in a region still mired in a culture of denial and delay. After a year of research and reporting, I am not convinced that the conversation has changed fast enough, if much at all. Here in Beaufort, like Miami and Charleston, I encounter deniers, continued waterfront development, hurricane damage and blistering temperatures.

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      A great blue heron is silhouetted by the reflection of the rising sun at Lake Johnson Park in Raleigh. Photograph: Alamy

       

      If there is any part of the south where technology, tax dollars and public opinion are aligning to make changes, its Miami, even though new waterfront real estate is still being built. But for the most part, climate change discussions continue to fall along party lines in a divided nation. To many rural southerners, the bigger, well-funded environmental movements seem to be rooted in California and New England. The conversations appear to be taking place in the echo chamber of privileged believers.

      I saw more of the south while reporting for this column than I ever saw in my 30 years of living there. My travel reinforced what I already knew: there is no one south. In 2019 it is multitudinous, diverse and still reckoning with its plantation economy and cruel social history. It has PhDs, evangelicals, Trump enthusiasts, environmentalists, artists and activists. Its this very tension that has often made the south the genesis of social movements; one hopes it might happen again, and soon.

      Social and environmental racism, income inequality and poverty are as present as they have ever been, and are only weaponized by climate change, as I reported from Virginia and Natchez, Mississippi.

      I found that in places like eastern North Carolina, the river parishes of Louisiana, Miami, and Mississippis Gulf coast, chronic exposure to natural disasters has resulted in psychological resilience, and created a desire in some to go down with the ship. In places like New Orleans, trauma strengthens the sense of community. As Tropical Storm Barry moved in to New Orleans, I emailed with former interviewees who shared forecasts and concerns. Im gritting my teeth, one wrote. But Im not evacuating. Home is sometimes more an emotional than a rational commitment.

      In eastern North Carolina, where I grew up and write from, climate change was never a polite topic of conversation. I was told the same in a coffee shop in Mississippi, and by a minister in Georgia. Too many southerners are still dancing around the reality of climate change, and the cost of avoiding the conversation is going to be steep.

      What does a better and more inclusive conversation look like? Non-traditional environmentalists can be critical allies in addressing the culture of climate change denial below the Mason-Dixon Line, like hunters in Arkansas and evangelical Christians in places like St Simons, Georgia. But too often, the perspectives and interests of frontline communities are ignored, further exacerbating the environmental racism so pervasive in the south.

      When it comes to climate change preparedness in this region, part of the continued challenge is that the power structures of the old south remain in place. A Pew survey indicated that white evangelical protestants are the least likely to profess a belief in climate change. Power companies, developers and conservative politicians have a vested interest in deregulation and maintaining the environmental status quo, and many paint environmental concerns as nothing but liberal pagan ideas.

      When I began this column, I felt more of a duty to listen to all sides, but frankly I do not believe that climate change is an issue of which one can pretend, or afford, to hear both sides. I believe that to deny climate change and delay productive action in 2019 is malicious and akin to governmental malpractice. A government that is not actively protecting its citizens from the future challenges of climate change (property loss, food system collapse, increased intensity of storms, flooded infrastructure, extreme heat, economic disruption) is not acting in the interests of its citizens. A politician who delays climate action is not acting in his or her constituents best interests, and may be going so far as to actually cause harm.

      We do not need to hear another word from deniers, or cater to their anti-science position. Something the progressive south has always struggled to do: take the megaphone away from the people who want to live in the past.

      Now that Ive seen more of the south, I cant help but feel losses and concerns in a specific way. As I began to write this final column, a fire raged through the Everglades, which I had driven through just months before. Storms threatened to challenge the already saturated Mississippi and its river control structures. I thought about the gators in the marsh, the last wild panthers darting to safety in the Everglades, the bartender who was kind to me in an ancient pub on Natchez-under-the-hill. The loss of life and landscape in climate change scenarios has always troubled me, but now it is real and urgent in a way it has never been before.

      When the wild horses of Shackleford Banks weather storms, the dominant male gathers his harem on high ground or in the deep parts of the maritime forest, and they turn their backs to the wind and rain. A researcher observed that while wild herds are typically divided into harems, the divisions break down in extreme weather. The horses gave up their internal political dynamics, he said, staying together on the relatively highest ground of that site. That is how they survive.

      To navigate the decades ahead, and save the places we love and call home, southerners will need to dismantle old political dynamics and build new, inclusive alliances.

       

       

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