Music

Past winners of Star Quest speak on band culture in Nigeria

STAR

In 2002, Nigerian Breweries Plc, maker of Star lager beer, introduced Star Quest, an innovative talent hunt – and the maiden edition produced the defunct KC Presh group as the winner!

The show was rested for four years due to logistics, but in 2006, the organisers announced a better, re-loaded and well-packaged show that would not only discover great singers, but young talents with creativity and talents in the use of other musical instruments.

To achieve this, they splashed millions of naira on the winners that emerged between 2006 and 2012.

The 2013 edition didn’t hold, and no word from the organiser if it’s going to hold this year. However, there are speculations that the organisers are planning to put on hold the show due to reports that the band culture, which the show promotes, is not working in Nigeria. They said, among other things, NB Plc has a good intention to “Create an enduring platform for gifted Nigerian youth to make their mark in the entertainment industry”, but the past winners have not justified that. Evidently, most of them have parted ways, while the few ones left, are nowhere to be found.

ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with some past winners…

DIAMONDZ BAND 2008 winners

Diamondz

Diamondz

Diamondz emerged the winner of 2008 Star Quest, and also carted home mouth-watering prizes. They released their debut album entitled Bo Sokoto and later dropped singles such as Take my Hand and Pop Champagne, among others. Ready for the real music business, the band set up their own record label called Diamondz Records, with well-equipped studio in their house. However, their union didn’t last long, they later parted ways, and everybody went solo.

The band, comprised of Anthony Nwanne Iwediunor, Ifiok Effanga, Blessed Edewor, Temitope Ogunlowo and Ebenezer Ofili. One of their greatest achievements was when the lead guitarist, Ifiok Effanga played instrumentals for D’Banj’s Scape Goat. We were glad to speak with him. Here is what he said about the defunct band.

What are you working on?

I’m working on my project now. Featuring different artistes.

Tell us some of your work?

I featured in most of D’Banj’s songs such as We Are The Best featuring Fally Ipupa, Scape Goat original and remix featuring Kanye West. I was in Gobe by Davido, Away by Iyanya, Baby Tornado by Dr. Sid, God Sent by Jaywon featuring Tiwa Savage, among others.

Why did you split with your band?

Point of correction, I didn’t split with the band. Everybody decided that the band thing doesn’t work out anymore. We tried to work together for almost four years to make sure we stayed together, but it didn’t work. So, we decided that we pursue our personal dreams.

But you later worked with one of your band members?

Yes, WondaBoy, a very good vocalist, but we’ve stopped working, because he’s not the patient type. He’s good and I wish him success. One lovely thing is that, we are all friends, we still communicate when necessary.

Do you believe that culture of band is not working in Nigeria?

Yes, it’s not working.

If so, do you think the show should be stopped?

No. I don’t agree. For the band thing to work in Nigeria, there has to be a strong body that can really understand how to manage a group/band. There is no proper follow up by brands that brought them out as winners, to give them proper structure and build them up to meet up with what is going on in the industry. Reality shows are just a platform to build yourself to stardom. There are a lot of work after winning, which are not done. So, going into the house for just one month and become a winner doesn’t mean that you have flown as a reality show winner in Nigeria, except you have the street hustle mindset and put stardom behind you, you’ll get carried away.

JUKE BOX, 2010 winner

Juke Box

Juke Box

In 2010, Jukebox Band emerged winners of Star Quest – smiling home with N7.5 million recording contract, N600, 000 for each group member and an SUV. They’ve got the creative and entertaining drummer, Eghosa Frank as their leader. Joshua Itietie is also a unique piece in this band, his special skill of rapping with the lead guitar is beyond imagination. Ogun native with a powerful voice, Agunpopo Josephine Olamide, and fine-looking Wilson Emeka are vocalists of international standard with good dancing skills. The gentle Epanty Gregory plays the keyboard with a flourish while Asindi Sam is a wonder to watch on the bass guitar.

Juke Box is a self-motivated and pleasurable band with the sole aim of becoming the best, but how far have they gone. They explain…

We’ve not heard from your band for a while. What’s happening?

Yes, we are working. Something big is coming soon, trust us. In fact, in less than two months. We’ve been very busy because of school. Two members of the band are in school. Olamide, the only lady is schooling at LASU and Epanty at University of Calabar. We have to wait for them to come around when we have shows.

Tell us some of your works and the most popular among them?

We’ve dropped an album under Kennis Music, but now we’re on our own. We didn’t renew our deal when the one we had was over. But, I’ll say Hustle Go Pay was popular when we released it. And I’m sure, it brought us to where we are today, because virtually everybody started using it as a slang.

How has Star Quest transformed your life?

It has given us bigger platform to showcase our talent. We’re not like the up and coming artistes still hustling in the street. Besides, we’ve got winning prize and opportunity to perform with superstars.

Have you been able to utilize the platform?

To some extent, and we hope to get there one day. However, it’s not easy.

How much do you charge and how frequent do you get shows?

At least twice in a month, depending on the situation. We charge between and N650,00 – N700,000 per show.

Do you believe that culture of band is not working in Nigeria?

Yes, I believe.

If so, do you think the show should be stopped?

No. That’s not the problem. I support Star Quest to continue, but the major problem is that there is no follow up by the record label.

The B.E.A.T , 2011 winner

The B.E.A.T

The B.E.A.T

The B.E.A.T won the 2011 edition of Star Quest, after an impressive performance. They didn’t only win the prize money of N3.6 million, N7.5 million naira worth of recording contract and a mini-van with one year accomodation at any chosen area in Lagos, they won accolades from fans that thronged the grand finale where they emerged winner. The band has lead singer, Beauty Aghedo, female vocalists, Charity Adubi and Serene Enid Eyube alongside keyboard player Justice Adhigo, drummer Efetobor Ojarigho and bassist/bandleader Sammie Tochux.

We’ve not heard from your band for a while. What’s happening?

A lot have been going on since we dropped our first album two years ago. First, we’ve left Efe Omoregbe’s label, pushing our music so as to remain relevant. We’ve been performing at concerts too, particularly corporate and social functions. At the moment, we’ve recorded songs, we are just waiting for the right time to drop them.

Like how much do you charge?

It depends on the show, but minimum of N600,000 within Lagos, but outside Lagos, will include other logistics like transportation and accommodation.

How often do you get shows?

It depends. At times, we get 3, 4, 5 in a month. Every December, we get more shows because of the festive period. We’re planning to have our own show, called Life Lunch. We intend to be performing in a hotel. We have a lot of packages for our fans, when it’s time, we shall unveil them.

How has Star Quest transformed your life?

So many ways. First, the spirit of team work. We came from different states, homes, but we were able to achieve success through team work. It has strengthened our weaknesses. We’ve got exposure, met and performed with many big celebrities. Our music too has been strengthened.

Do you believe that culture of band is not working in Nigeria?

It’s working, I don’t believe it’s not working, because I can mention more than 10 vibrant bands in Nigeria. I think the structure is the problem. Most artistes don’t like using live band, it makes us get frustrated. So, artistes should be encouraged to perform with live bands.

So, Star Quest should stay?

Yes, Star Quest should stay. It’s the best band platform we have in the country. They have done a great job, and I want to urge them to continue with it.

 – RASHEED ABUBAKAR

Related Stories:

Comments

comments

About the Author