One word that sums up Ayo Sonaiya is ENTERTAINING. This talented producer, director, writer and more who has worked with some of the biggest name in the Industry talks about his company, working with various artists and life and as an entertainer. Don't forget to pick up his latest movie "SPIN" it will keep you on the edge of your seat.
AS: Ayo is a God fearing, humble human being..., forget that shit, Ayo Shonaiya is just there. I laugh when people answer questions like that, it's so unimaginative and boring. Ayo Shonaiya is just there, working!
NE: What is R70?
AS: R70 World is a film, television and music development and production company based in the UK. I'm the director of the company.
NE: Tell us about your show on BenTv?
AS: We have 2 shows left on BEN TV, Intro Live with DJ Abass and the Black Variety Show with Ronke Apampa. Intro is primarily for African music and BVS is for everything, from pregnant women classes to worst parking fine stories. The programs are broadcast live on BEN TV at the moment.
NE: What artists have featured on your show?
AS: Too many to mention. Notable ones are Kwam 1, Tony Tetuila, Ron Kenoly, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Rhian Benson, Genevieve Nnaji, Tumi Makgabo of CNN, Goerge Weah...too many to mention.
NE: You are known for your artist management skills amongst others, could you tell us some of the artists you have worked with?
AS: I was Kwam 1's international manager for 3 years. I also worked with Trybesmen and Da Trybe. Right now I'm hooking up with D'Banj (the next big thing) and a Fuji musician in Atlanta called Rokan, and of course eLDee of the Trybesmen who now resides in Atlanta like I do.
NE: Who was the hardest person or group to work with and who was the easiest?
AS: Management is preety much the same because I'm not an employee, so I get to do things my way, but Kwam 1 was the most complex. He is such a mixture of emotions and as he was my learning curve, I use him as my model. After him, I can deal with anybody!
NE: Is there any artist out there that you cannot see yourself doing business with?
AS: There are a few that due to their true characters and inner motivation, I'll rather steer clear but it's all good.
NE: What artists would you like to work with?
AS: From Nigeria, anyone that shares the same vision of conquering the world with Nigerian music or afro hip-hop with me. Internationally, I would relish a chance to make a film with Ed Norton and Brad Pitt.
NE: You produce music videos, tell us some of the videos you have worked on?
AS: I made all the Trybe videos, and also a few for other artistes as well, Alariwo, Solek Crew, Tony Tetuila, Kas, Jide Chord and so on.
NE: Any plans to start a record label?
AS: No, but I know I'll change my mind soon. That thing just keeps pulling me, and I know I don't have the time. Let's wait and see, maybe I'll just keep it at Artiste Management and sign them to major labels.
NE: If you had a record label today, what artists would you love to sign and why?
AS: D'Banj, Eedris Abdulkareem, Ruggedman, Sasha and a new guy called Lord of the Ajasa!
NE: What projects are you currently working on?
AS: Our own television Station, IntroTV, set to launch in the summer in the UK. Right now, this minute, I'm editing a film I just shot in London with Jim Iyke called Good Evening.
NE: Your Summer Jam show was a clear hit, what was the key to your success?
don't know. We just covered all the angles and combined the best elements
like bringing artistes from Nigeria to perform on the same stage as UK
based Nigerian artistes spliced with a bit of stand up comedy Naija style,
seems to work. We're bringing the show to the States this year so
NE: What artists performed at the show and what was the turnout like?
AS: The last one featured Sid, Komo, D'Banj, Kween, JJC & 419 Squad, Maintain and Eedris Abdulkareem. Our maiden edition in 2003 featured AY, Cashino, Kas, Solek Crew, Trybesmen and Tony Tetuila. Full house at both shows and in fact all the shows we've ever done (with DJ Abass' DJA Music), people seem to come to our shows because they know we know how to put on a good show and maybe catch a glimpse of my pretty face!
NE: Any plans for more shows like that, if so when and where?
Intro Summer Jam in London in June, the Nigerian Reunion in Las Vegas
(TBC), Bubbling In Dublin Concert in August, the Notting Hill Carnival
in August, the Big Nigerian Independence Intro Jam in London and in Atlanta
in October and so on. Find out more info on our website R70.com and
NE: Give us details about the next show you are planning
AS: The next big one is the Intro Sumnmer Jam in June and we're hoping to bring to the UK Styl-Plus, Tuface, Ruggedman, Lexxy-Doo and Sasha for the show.
NE: You have also produced film, tell us about your recent project?
AS: Just finished a feature film starring Jim Iyke and an American actor Tanjareen Martin called Good Evening. It's a suspense/mystery/whodunnit kind of psycho thriller. It should be out soon after I deliver it to the Executive Producers. I wrote and directed it.
NE: With R70 what do we have to look forward to in the coming months?
AS: All of the above.
NE: The entertainment industry can be funny, what obstacles would you say you have faced?
AS: I've been lucky. I've been duped a few times but not bad enough to cripple me, I'm still standing. I don't see any obstacles though, I'm just plowing through like a moving train. I'm not a celebrity, I'm a worker. I'm constatntly working to keep myself and my family in the kind of good life they have become accustomed to, if that's not shaking I'm happy.
NE: Nigeria obviously has a lot of talent, name some of your favorite artist and why?
AS: Kwam 1 for sure, he's the greatest, he doesn't see obstacles as well, and of course my spiritual father Fela Kuti and Majek Fashek. I'm feeling a lot of the new generation of Afro hip-hop cats out there now, eLDee, Eedris, Ruggedman and producer OJB, filmmaker Uzodinma Okpechi, Sammie Okposo, D'Banj and lots more, Comedians Gbenga Adeyinka 1st, Julius Agwu and Basket Mouth. This is a good time for Nigerian hip-hop and entertainment in general and we're at the edge of blowing up now, you just wait and see.
NE: Any advice to young men or women who would like to go into the film making industry?
AS: Sounds like bad advise, but don't listen to anyone, not even your mother, do your own thing, fail, learn and get back in there, if you fail again, learn and get back in there. Express yourself, do it for the love of film, the art of film, not just to get babes, although that's fine, but do it for the love of film first.
NE: Any final words of wisdom?
question is for those deemed to be wise. I don't know if I'm wise, all
I know is that I'm just kicking it and enjoying what I do. I don't have
any words of wisdom, Just Do It!
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