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Nigerian celebrities deny being barred at The Grammys

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– Recount experiences of the glamorous event

Nigeria nominee, Femi Kuti, couldn’t afford to buy a table that goes for $4,000, which they believe is too costly.

Harrysong, Ayo Animashaun and KCee

Harrysong, Ayo Animashaun and KCee

Ayo Animashaun, C.E.O of Smooth Productions was quick to debunk the tale, saying, “Let me correct that impression. They don’t sell tables at the Grammy. We were invited. In fact, we drove in our limo to the red carpet. You can’t even get to the red carpet without an I.V and once you get to the red carpet, you have access to the main hall, so it’s a rumour.”

The organizers of Headies, Nigerian biggest music awards, added, “Harrysong won a special award attached to the Headies, Most Downloaded Song on their platform. Winner goes to the Grammy and as the organizers of the awards, it was our responsibility to make it happen. He went in company of label mate, KCee.”

While narrating his experience, he said, “Grammy Awards was amazing, and every year, it’s always bigger. They took the awards to the next level. Talk about the commencement, they started at the right time, everybody was already seated. Everything, such as production, content and graphics were on point. You can’t compare Grammy with any Nigerian award. The difference is clear. However, we are learning because so many things are wrong here, especially sponsorship to organize the biggest show. We still have a long way to go, and I believe we’ll get there one day.”

Kenny Ogungbe, KCee, Dayo Adeneye and Julius Agwu

Kenny Ogungbe, KCee, Dayo Adeneye and Julius Agwu

For Harrysong (real name, Harrison Tare Okiri), it was a dream come true. Mr. Songz, as Harrysong is famously called, took to instagram to share the every of experience from the departure from Nigeria to arrival in the US and venue of the prestigious event. MTN, the sponsor of the trip, also shared the experience with subscribers as they took to Twitter to share a picture of their arrival with Kcee.

Expressing his joy, Harrysong said, “I feel excited. I’m very happy. It was a dream come true. I want to thank the telecommunications company, MTN for the opportunity to attend the glamorous event along other celebrities from around the world. By God’s grace, Mr. Songz is ready.”

Entertainment guru, Dayo Adeneye, otherwise known as D1 bemoaned the rumour saying, “I don’t know why we (Nigerians) like spreading rumours. What do we intend to gain from spreading falsehood? I’m not happy about it, I must confess. This is because you can’t get to the red carpet without an invitation. In fact, you need to get invitation, and ticket are not being sold. You can’t even work freely on the street when you don’t have business at the Grammys. You can’t snap pictures inside the hall. Pictures are not allowed. It’s part of the rules in your invites, except at the red carpet.”

Dayo Adeneye posing with a limousine

Dayo Adeneye posing with a limousine

When asked about the criteria for attendance, the veteran presenter said, “It’s not about your popularity. If you’re a popular artiste, and you’re not nominated, you have no business at the Grammys. So, first, you must be a nominee. Also, you must be a member of a National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which includes producers, engineers or broadcasters. For instance, we have broadcasting right to cover it because we’re members.”

While recounting his experience, D1 said, “It’s my 16th year, and I want to tell you that in the last 16 years, the 2014 Grammy was the best. I remember last year, when the son of the founder took over, after the death of his father, expectations were high and people wanted to see how he would handle the biggest music awards. Based on my assessment, I want to give him excellence. It shows that he’s well groomed. He brought a lot of innovation, which were highly commended.

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Dayo Adeneye backstage at The Grammys

“There was a 3-1 stage for performances. While one performance was going on, another one was set, and immediately after that ended, the next performance kicks off. The stage was rotated, hence, no delay in performances. It was very impressive, and it’ll be nice if we can introduce that into the way we plan our shows in Nigeria. Also, the red carpet experience will not be easily forgotten. Unlike before, we had large contingent from Nigeria. We had over 20 celebrities, not only musicians. It was a good feeling having Nigerians around.”

Finest comedian, Julius De Genius Agwu described the tale of being on the red carpet as untrue, saying it was a wholesome experience, not only for him, but all the Nigeria contingent.

Julius said, “I had a pass already into the Grammy, so also other celebrities. We arrived the venue in a limo, walked through the red carpet. However, we can’t deny the fact that we are not known as celebrities. We might be big in Nigeria, but nobody knew us there, Maybe that’s why we just entered the venue, just like every other person that attended.”

Describing his experience, the top Nigerian comedian said, “It was a wonderful experience for me, I want to see why Nigerians have not won the awards, and only Femi Kuti and King Sunny Ade the only artistes nominated from Nigeria. I realized that our music is not being played internationally. We need to start doing that now, by ensuring that our songs enjoy international airplay. We should also push it.

“Trust me, I learnt a lot. It was a wholesome experience, from the beginning to the end. You can imagine the venue accommodating 30,000 audience! Do we have such in Nigeria? We call ourselves giant of Africa, but we can’t boast of a bigger event centre, as big as the one in South Africa. We need to learn a lot and do a lot for the industry to grow.”

– RASHEED ABUBAKAR

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