– Explained relationship with EME
News that music superstar and Star Boy Record label boss, Wizkid allegedly collected money from University of Lagos students and failed to perform hit the airwaves last week, days after he had an accident with his N25 million Porsche Panorama. It was believed that the crooner, who recently featured legendary Afro-beat singer, Femi Kuti in his hit single, Jaiye Jaiye duped the students, but the truth of the matter came to fore on Thursday, June 27, 2013, when the artiste cleared the air on the allegation.
In an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the Pakurumo crooner spoke on his multi-million naira MTN endorsement, relationship with EME after the unconfirmed split and why he bought a brand new Porsche said to be N15 million.
Tell us about the alleged scam involving you and the UNILAG students?
This is the best time to address this scam issue because a lot of people have been reporting that they’ve been talking to fake Wizkid or chatting with fake Wizkid manager. The impostor went to the extent of opening a fake account in my name and collecting money from people who were expecting me to perform at their shows. I want to state here that to book me for a show, there is a process. It is either you go to EME office, which is my label or talk to my manager, Godwin Tom.
To put the record straight, I never collected or charged anybody directly. In fact, I don’t talk directly to people about shows, I don’t discuss prices. I allow my label and management to handle such matters. So, nobody talked to me directly about it. I am however available to do business with anybody in as much we follow the normal procedure.
If you want to book Wizkid, the procedure is simple. First, you would send a request via email or you can forward us your email and the booking office would contact you with the email address you provided, like a booking questionnaire where you would provide information about your event and other special information, which I might not provide now so that the impostor won’t use that against us (smiles).
Can you speak specifically on the UNILAG scam? How did it happen?
It’s a long story, but let me just update you. We were invited to the police station, which we granted. The claimants made their statement and we also made ours and at the end it became obvious that they were duped by people using our fake account to operate.
We didn’t receive any email and besides, if you had contacted anybody regarding a Wizkid show and you had paid and I didn’t show up or you didn’t contact the right people, provide the bank account detail and the email correspondence, and if there was a contract document, provide it.
Does that mean they weren’t able to provide all these?
The matter is with the police but we have nothing to worry because we know for sure we weren’t the ones they contacted. So, we are not worried, we are only worried about the other people that would end up being duped by the fake Wizkid and impostor.
Let’s be realistic, why should I collect N500, 000? Everybody saw me growing, everybody saw my hustling. Even when I had Holla At Ur Boi, I wasn’t collecting N500, 000 for a show.
(Cuts-in) How much did you charge?
N5 million (he smiled).
What have you done to stop a repeat of such incidence?
Apart from talking to you, we’re going to extend the awareness to the social media. I have tried to explain to people the best way I could, but most important, I believe in the media and I am sure the message would be passed across.
Let’s talk about your relationship with EME at the moment. How is it?
We are doing very well. We have been holding meetings, going back to the drawing board and mapping out new strategies plan to make EME one of the best record labels in Africa. Everyone is in the studio right now, working, including Banky W, who recently shot a couple of videos. However, I have my new company called Star Boy and you’ve seen that in the couple of works I have released, starting from Jaiye Jaiye, featuring Femi Kuti.
So, EME is definitely still with Wizkid’s Star Boy, my record label and I have signed couple of producers. We’ll definitely work with more people, because we’re expanding, that has been our plan from day one, to build an empire but it can’t just happen through one person. The industry is really big and we have like five million talents outside, who need a platform to shine, showcase their talents.
Why did you sign three producers?
In EME, we are all artistes. That’s why we need to work with more producers. Also, to allow them get the platform. Although, we don’t have the structure yet, I believe with time, producers will also be celebrated.
We read that you’ve replaced your damaged Porsche. How true is it?
Yeah, we thank God. It is God’s blessing. Honestly, I really don’t like talking about bad experiences, but once they happen, it is expected we all learn from them. This is the second time it happened to me, I just thank God. I needed to get another one because after the accident, I didn’t have a car and I have to move around. I started taking cabs before I decided to buy this to move around. It is needed for work.
Is it that Wizkid has passion for automobiles?
I don’t think so because I believe a lot of people drive more flashy cars in Lagos, even in the entertainment industry. So, I don’t think I have passion for flashy cars really, even though people think so, I am not. I just like to move around comfortably.
To you, is there anything wrong splashing N20 to N40 million on automobiles when you can buy cheaper ones and you still move around comfortably?
What about people in government that spend more than that on cars? I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, because if someone works hard and decides to spend on something that he thinks is good for him, why not? In fact, I don’t think there is need to justify whether it is wrong or not. If I work hard, why not?
Let’s talk about your MTN endorsement, how does it feel and your role?
It feels good and my role is self explanatory. I am an ambassador of the brand and my aim is to move the brand. Just like what I am doing as Pepsi ambassador. It has been great, big shouts-out Pepsi and MTN.
When is your second album coming out?
The album is ready and it is going to be released under EME/Star Boy. I twitted the track list featuring Olamide, Don-Jazzy, Banky W and others. We are only putting finishing touches to it. There would still be an album listening party to be announced later.
Your collaboration with Femi Kuti was a big surprise to some people. Why the choice of Femi Kuti?
Yeah, nobody expected it but it is just to show that I can diversify, and that is how it should be. People always think all my songs talk about girls, flashy life and so on, but not so, all I talk about in my music are true life stories. So, when I wanted to do Jaiye Jaiye, I really wanted to pass a message to the young people who are aspiring to be like Wizkid, to tell them that it is not easy, but they can make it with determination.
Basically, Jaiye Jaiye is to bridge a gap between the old and the young. Big shouts out to Uncle Femi because I called him a day before we recorded that song.
What should your fans expect from your forthcoming album?
Magic. We’ve put in a lot of work and we just hope everyone would love the album. I have been in the studio for weeks to make the album great. I can’t wait to see it released.
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, July 20, 2013