Mr Eazi has officially kicked off his Empawa program, an initiative created to help talents across Africa by sponsoring their music videos.
The Banku Music boss who recently released his second studio project, ”Lagos To London” is moving to a new phase with his career, which involves providing a platform for emerging talents to get introduced to a wider community via music videos.
At an exclusive event held on Tuesday, November 20, Mr Eazi gathered members of the press, label executives and talent managers, where he unveiled the inspiration behind his Empawa project and rolled out the timeline of events.
”Since 2016, I have been blessed to do music not only relevant to Nigeria but to the world. Back then, I was involved in Tech and a company asked people to submit tech ideas, from 440 people who submitted ideas, they brought it down to 12 and I was one of the 12.
For about 4-6 weeks, they taught us everything and some of things I took from there like ‘boot-strapping’ and ‘data mining’ are what I have put to the music.
Whilst I was doing the program, a friend who knew I used to do music for fun in the University paid for a dance video at about 300pounds and gave to me as a birthday gift and it began to grow viral.
Basically people have funded videos for me, like ‘Skin Tight’ for instance, it was shot for about $1,000 (about N300,000), if someone had not shot that dance video or sponsored the ‘Skin Tight’ video, I won’t be here.”
Speaking further, he explained that he had built a policy where he doesn’t collect any form of payment for features with African artists
”Since 2016, I have made it a point to engage in CSR, both music and non, there is nobody in Nigeria that will say Mr Eazi did a song for me and I paid any amount. For Nigerian artists, I don’t charge for features.
We have lowkey sponsored about six videos in the past two years… so I have decided to make it big and more formal.”
On the criteria adopted in selecting the artistes, Mr Eazi explains
‘An artist can simply bet small by putting up a video of him/herself rapping or singing and win big by getting the chance to be one of the 100 artists to get funded for a music video, chosen by my internal team and top industry professionals.
The minimum spend on this video of 100 winners is N300,000 per video, then there will be marketing both digital and print.
The top 10 from these 100 artists will be flown to South Africa from February 4th to March 4th 2019 with the likes of Diplo, Guilty Beatz, EKelly, Sarz and other professionals. They will get to work with top talents and also get mentorship from business lawyers.”
On the choice of Instagram for choosing winners
”It is only through Instagram because of its simplicity and reach, especially with how you can track all the posts directed to you with the hashtag [#empawa100] used.”
When asked how he intends to finance and sustain the program
”Everything I do is well thought of, there is not a lot of structure in Africa which in a way works in our benefit as we are now more of entrepreneurs and not just artists.
This is my initiative, on the finance part, we have BetPower as sponsors and since launching this I have gotten a lot of enquiry from companies and even labels, but we are careful with labels because we want these artists to own their content, even though we will be shooting their videos, they own their content 100%. Nobody owns my content, I own everything and that is what I want for them.
I am a multinational ambassador for BETPower, a mobile betting company, so we’ve come together, we’re supposed to be pushing the jackpot called BETPower Jackpot and for pushing the BETPower jackpot.
I was supposed to be getting a percentage, but instead of taking a lump sum, I said I wasn’t going to take that, instead I’m going to get a percentage from the jackpot and push it and now I’ve brought that percentage even down and it’s going to be called Empawa so it’s now going to be called Empawa Jacket and 10% of the entire revenue goes to fund the Empawa foundation.
On the logistics part, we have partnership with committed people who are reviewing these songs and making sure they are being pushed and we are working on a partnership with Demand-side platforms (DSP) like Apple Music and Spotify to get like a playlist on these platforms for the artists.”
Mr Eazi ended the session by informing the audience that his label, Banku Music just bought up a park that holds about 8,000 people in the UK and the top 10 artists from the 100 winners will join him for a festival later in the year.
Entries for the Empawa program, which is being launched across seven African countries [Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia] will end on December 15, 2018.