Entertainment, Interviews

Coca-Cola Unveils 24 African Artistes for CokeStudio

Beverage giant, Coca-Cola has unveiled 24 artistes from sub-sahara Africa for a new and exciting musical television show, tagged Coke Studio Africa. ENCOMIUM Weekly’s investigations revealed that it costs the company N30 million to feature five Nigerian entertainers in the line-up of the artistes for the Season I.
The five artistes, legendary King Sunny Ade, rapper M.I Abaga, DJ Jimmy Jatt, R & B singers, Waje and Bez were unveiled at the Coke Studio premiere held on Friday, October 4, 2013, at Genesis Deluxe Cinemas, Victoria-Island, Lagos.
Coincidentally, it was rapper M.I’s 33rd birthday and guests showered and sang birthday wishes and songs for the celebrant.
Other African artistes shortlisted for the show are Salif Keita from Mali; Octopizzo, Miss Karun and Just A Band from Kenya; Hip Hop Pantsula and Tumi from South-Africa; BoddhiSatva from the Central African Republic: Diamond Platinumz, Lady Jaydee and the Culture Music Club from Tanzania; Joel Sebunjo, Qwela and Lillian Mbabazi from Uganda
The Brand Manager, Colas, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Olufemi Ashipa said Coke-Studio is a musical fusion project that brings together African artistes across cultures, generations, and genres to creature an authentic African sound. It’s a one-of-a-kind musical show different from the usual musical talent hunt.
“At Coca-Cola, we appreciate the power that music has of bringing people together regardless of race, language, religion and region,” he said, adding, “Through Coke-Studio, we have the rare opportunity to not only bring Africa’s artistes together, but also create a modern sound that will appeal to teens. We hope to give audiences an unforgettable experience of musical fusion as we strengthen our relationship with consumers.”
The project, which airs in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, is a 45-minute show of eight episodes. Each episode will showcase unexpected fusions by various groups of artistes to create a unique sound. One established musician or lead artiste and an up-and-coming artiste will come together to create a memorable sound that will resonate with the audience and stay with them far beyond the show. It’ll also provide viewers with a behind-the-scenes look into the artistes’ interactions and experiences on set. We reliably learnt it will culminate in a two-hour New Year’s Eve special.
The first episode aired on STV on Saturday, October 5, 2013, saw an impressing fusions between Nigerian rapper, M.I and Hip Hop Pantsula from South Africa, as they both voiced on M.I’s hit single, African Rapper No 1. He told ENCOMIUM Weekly his experience with HHP as he also spoke on other issues, including his roles as Energy ambassador in Lagos, amongst others.

coke2 - Copy (2)‘Being part of the project is a big opportunity’
Happy birthday, M.I. How does it feel being unveiled as one of the artistes in Coke Studio?
I’m happy to be part of this. It feels great, because with this, Coke Studio will change the way we have been looking at African music and taking African music to another level.
Coke Music is nothing short of an exciting musical adventure. Fusing different sounds and creating something totally different is something I find very intriguing.
And Coke Studio is an opportunity to delve into evergreen music like highlife, apala, sakara, amongst others.
You did a collaboration with Hip Hop Pantsula. How was your experience?
It was a great experience. We are friends and we’ve made great music together and it was so fantastic. This is a man that walked from South Africa to Kenya for a charity. I didn’t say drove, trekked.
Let’s talk about your roles as Lagos State’s Energy ambassador?
The ambassador of Energy project. This is Lagos Energy month and we’re going to be talking about energy project. Like I was telling the energy board that what they are doing with this project is really a big blessing to the rest of Nigeria. If the government has passion about environmental future of Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole, what we are working on is energy conservation and making the environment safer.
What are your expectations, music wise?
I have been working so much. I guess I didn’t have time to stop working, I just feel blessed to be here.
Are you still taking legal action against Jaguda for leaking your songs without permissi-on?
Honestly, I was very upset with Jaguda. However, the owner of Jaguda has reached me and we’ve talked and left it like that. No legal action again and I appreciate it.

How does it feel being unveiled as one of the artistes for Coke Studio?
It feels very wonderful, it’s real good. Always a good feeling to be involved in something new and conceptually rich. I’m loving it.
Why did you think you’re selected for this project?
The African vibe is one thing that Coke Studio drives intensely, and I’d like to think I represent a significant part of African tune. So, I guess I may have been selected because my genre can suit the fusion that Coke Studio is all about. My style can blend smoothly with these other fantastic sounds from across the continent.
How was your experience with the artistes?
It was more fun than I imagined it would be. I mean, the engagement of two different sounds, I felt like we were doing a mashup that should be recorded and produced as one song on it’s own. And it was somewhat educative doing this collaboration. I got to learn how other Africans channel their energies into their music, as different as they are.
What really stands Bez out from other artistes?
His haircut! (Smiles) Really, I would say his style, the living, breathing sense of his style is what stands him out.
How can you describe Coke Studio?
Coke Studio is awesome. It’s fresh, it’s fabulous, and it’s a special thing that is surely going to bring various African styles and genres together. This show, Coke Studio, will cause a ripple effect as regards to African music combinations.

How does it feel being unveiled as one of the artistes for Coke Studio?
It feels like that sensation that comes with being part of an elite few, a part of a small group selected to do something so special. That’s one feeling, which gives birth to another feeling of great gratitude and appreciation of the chance and the privilege to be involved in something so unique. It’s wonderful, I swear.
Why did you think you’re selected for this project?
Besides Baba God saying, “Oya, make una choose Waje” (laughs), I guess I was seen as fit for the show. I hope that is part of it. And then my genre, and all of my soul that I pour into it, must be standing out enough to be noticed that something like this would be cool to have me on. And again, it must have been known that I would soon have so much fun doing it.
How was your experience with other African artistes?
It was amazing, really. Music is one thing that can be so diverse, but when passion comes together, the most dissimilar factors can bond so perfectly that it seems like they were always one. I had so much fun collaborating and it made me feel the need to experiment more with other sounds from other parts of Africa.
What really stands Waje out from other female artistes?
I would say Waje is a fighter and a survivor. I’m not sure how different it is from other female artistes, but it’s a distinct feature.
How can you describe Coke Studio?
Coke Studio is one of the most creatively exciting things to ever happen to music in Africa. It is a unique concept, very unique and it gives African music a whole new life, because some of the fusion you see and hear may be desired by some, as a single track on it’s own. So, if I were to use just one word, I would say Coke Studio is phenomenal.

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