I Invest The Money I Make From Entertainment In Real Estate -Laface
Tunde Oshinibosi needs little or no introduction in the Nigerian entertainment industry. At a point, it was rumoured that every Nigerian artiste wanted him as a manager because of the influence he wielded. He has facilitated the coming of foreign artistes like Shaggy, Wyclef Jean, Naughty by Nature, Joe and several others to Nigeria. However, very little has been heard of him in recent times, especially after the not too palatable outcome of the Felabration music event to celebrate the late Afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. In this interview with Gbenga Bada the man popularly known as Laface tells the story of his rise and why he has seemingly gone out of circulation.
You seem to have been out of circulation for a while now.
I have been doing many things underground and I have been present all along. You will soon see what I have been doing with my time. In fact, it's about the biggest thing that would happen to the Nigerian music industry when it berths. We are still at the grooming stage at the moment and all my efforts are being concentrated on this dude. I spotted him sometime back and it immediately struck me that this is a big thing in the offing. We are doing our best to make him a superstar from the cradle. He is actually a 12-year-old boy but you will be surprised at the energy that this guy has. He's so full of energy and talents. He has performed at several shows in the country and people marvel at his performances. He had been performing since he was much younger, and, according to his parents, he is so confident and bold. You need to see him or hear him sing to know how talented he is.
Are you now fully into artiste management or are you floating your record label?
A lot of established artistes have called me up and asked me to manage them but the truth is that no artiste in Nigeria can pay my fees at the moment. I help artistes as representatives to avoid exploitation but at the moment, I am concentrating all my energy and skills on the 12-year-old I just told you about. He is under our management and he is going to be the next Michael Jackson, Usher Raymond or Britney Spears and what have you. He is just a kid but what we want to do is to establish him and make of him a brand that can't just leave the entertainment scene because people want so much of him. He will no doubt become big because you need to see it; believe me, the dude has got it in him. He is said to have been doing music since he was five and had met and wowed people like the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, Neato C, Ikechukwu, Sound Sultan, 2face, Banky W and Mo Abudu, among many other people. He is just talented and I'm giving it everything it takes to achieve this feat.
Is this basically what has been going on all this while?
Yes and many more. I have been involved in some other things and the stage with which I have attained at the moment I can't afford to soil my name all because I want to do a show. If the money or logistics isn't right, I won't do the show.
How have the parents of this boy taken this idea?
They are in support of the boy, his career and what we are trying to make out of him. Though it wasn't a tea party convincing them that the boy needs to be shown the way at his age in order to get the best out of him till he's grown but we have been able to get the parents' consent. They know every of our moves and they support it without bias and we have given them our word that this won't make him stop school; it would further boost his ways and life for a better tomorrow.
Tell us a little about what went wrong with Felabration?
It's a show I was so enthusiastic about from the start, and I still am, but things just didn't work out. But it's all gone with the past. When I handled the Felabration event, we all saw what I was able to do with it and I have decided to leave it all in the past but I know it's a dream that I intended to turn to one of the biggest events in the world like the celebration of Bob Marley in Jamaica. I have moved on because I'm a man of many parts and more things are coming from Laface very soon.
What does it take to be a well-established show promoter, who makes huge success and wealth out of the business?
I tell people that you don't start this when you are too old; the best place for all this is in school. And if you lose that, it would be difficult for you to get embedded in it again. In school, different things happen, you plan different shows and you watch yourself fail, improve, succeed and grow as you learn at all times along the way. You are having fun while doing it and when you leave school, you easily decide on what you want to do. You bring in a lot of artistes, you don't charge more and because of that, some of them even come in free. So, it takes a whole lot from you. You can imagine the Wyclef show, do you know the guy performed with an injury, which ordinarily should have prevented him from performing? He was involved in a minor accident after he landed in Nigeria while he was dancing in his room. You plan something and something comes along and almost disrupts it but because of your love and passion for what you are doing, you expect more and forge ahead. So, for people who want to be in this business, it's a whole lot of hard work and believing in yourself despite the constraints because somebody, somewhere, somehow is waiting to give you your break.
What other things do you do aside entertainment?
So many promoters have come and gone, this is the only thing I know how to do aside investing in real estate, which I enjoy. I invest the money I make in real estate.
Have you at any point turned down any show since the inception of your career?
Of course yes. I have turned down lots of offers. If a company isn't ready to do business the right way or are not ready to fund the show as requested or required, I will turn down the show. Aside this, I have also turned down offers because the companies or organisers did not keep to time. I have turned down lots of seemingly good offers because the name Laface was built on hard work, consistency and originality and I wouldn't want it dented because of a certain show. I put all my energy into projects and I can organise events and shows as many times as possible.
What would you say has challenged your efforts in showbiz?
Challenges are everywhere. Lack of corporate sponsorship is one major challenge. Though we have some sponsors but they are still small. It takes a whole lot to stage a show because lots of resources are involved. Sponsors aren't that forthcoming but it's changing now because we now have better brand managers. There are so many people out there that have gotten the idea but who is there for them to sponsor? I know what it took to break into this industry and it's no child's play. It will take a lot of years but with determination, it will be broken.
What will be your take on the Nigerian music industry?
Things are growing faster and better by the day. We have got loads of talents and you can see what people have been able to achieve with little resources. Aside football, the escape route for Nigerian youths is showbiz, mostly music. Although things are fast growing, not all the musicians can perform internationally.
How do you cope with family demands with a time consuming business?
I think one of the greatest point of joy that I have is that, when I was still courting my wife, I was in the UK and the thing I realised is that the only way to make your woman understand your job is to let her into it for two years. I actually took her out and we went everywhere and attended events together. She saw how rigorous things were; she definitely understood what I was always going through daily. It's nice to have your own wife who understands you and what you do. This is because there's nothing as bad as pressure at work and pressure at home. If you don't have pressures at home, you do your job perfectly. I have a son who is just a darling. He was named Wyclef by one of my partners and we live happily together.