Events, People

Ayo Animashaun speaks on the Success of The Headies 2014 – “We apologized for starting late, but it was an amazing show”

Ayo Animashaun is basking the euphoria of the success of The Headies, Nigeria’s most credible and most prestigious music awards, held on Sunday, December 14, 2014. The Smooth Promotions boss, while speaking with ENCOMIUM Weekly, confirmed that the show was a success. He however apologized for late commencement, as he also addressed some controversies surrounding the awards and more…
How does it feel about the success of The Headies?

The Headies has actually grown. For the first time, an entertainment brand trended for five straight days, I think it’s unprecedented. I just think we have put in so much to develop The Headies brand and we are seeing the result. It feels great, we are happy about the success.

A lot of people expected Comedian Bovi to co-host the show with Toke Makinwa. Can you tell us what really happened why he didn’t?

December is very busy in Nigeria. When we changed the date from October 25 to December, it affected his schedule. Bovi had another event that was already paid for. He wasn’t available anymore to host the awards. He wanted to, but he had already been paid for another job that coincided with The Headies’ new date. So, we had to hug each other and said we’ll see next time. Nothing other than that.

I believe the organizers made every effort to ensure that the programme started as scheduled, but as usual it did not…

(Cuts) Let me address that and this is the first time anywhere I’ll be addressing that. Yes, we put in our own bit to ensure that we start early, but there were peculiarities for a huge awards like this. You know, people now compare us to the Grammies. But Nigeria is not America. For Grammy, you have several weeks to plan for the venue.

The venue is known for several weeks. I was at the last Grammies, weeks to the awards, they already had their run. But back in Nigeria, the reverse is the case. Not too many venues can host the kind of events we want, even if you are going to pay, they give you four to five days. Unfortunately, this time around we started setting up in the early hours of the day of the event. We wanted four days to set up and we were ready to pay for four days to set up, but we only had a few hours. These were the peculiarities. Yes, we are not happy that we started late and we apologized. But it was an amazing show. It didn’t take away much from the fact that it was a very good show and it was talked about. A lot of people tend to concentrate on the side that is not so positive when you do something. You don’t need a license to organize a music awards.

Other people can start their own and start early, with due respect. Instead of just concentrating on the negative, support us. We need encouragement, we need support.

The business started with just N1,000 that was borrowed 10 years ago. We’ll put in effort to start early next time. But the reality is that there are some factors in Nigeria that will just work against you.

Let’s talk about Wizkid. He was expected to perform, but he did not…

(Cuts-in) Wizkid was not meant to perform. Wizkid was expected to attend as a guest and a nominee. He came as a guest and a nominee.

But there was no reserved seat for him and there was a report that he actually walked out…

Wizkid has already said that he didn’t walk out. Wizkid and I spoke when we left the venue. Wizkid and The Headies are cool. Wizkid is part of the Headies family. He’s won several Headies awards. He has performed on the Headies stage. He has also done a theme song for The Headies.

He didn’t walk out on The Headies and he has said it himself. For reasons known to him, he couldn’t stay any longer at that point and he left. We don’t feel bad about it. He was talking to me on his way out, so we are cool.

What is your assessment of the whole event, would you say you are satisfied with the outcome?

I think the judges did a good job. I thought they put in a lot of work and we saw the result. Like awards ceremony all over the world, not everybody would be happy, because some people will go home empty handed and these are all nominees that deserve to win. When you nominate four people in a category, they are as good as winning the award.

That’s why in some awards, we don’t say The winner is we say The award goes to“. Meaning out of all people that deserved to win, one person is taking the award home. I believe the screening team did a great job. I’m happy that we’ve grown over the years. When some people talk about who they think should have been nominated or won, opinions are different.

Some informed, most of the time are not so informed. Some people who didn’t even have songs within the year in review asked why they not nominated. They say it’s because they are this ambassador or that ambassador, whereas they didn’t even have a song within the year in review. People should learn to educate themselves before commenting. I think we should show more love to ourselves and encourage each other.

It’s not perfect anywhere. The Grammy is in its 56th year, but go online and read people’s comment about it. Snoop Dogg even did a song saying Fuck the Grammies! That it is big does not mean it is perfect! When there were other awards show in Nigeria, we stepped forward and we contributed, so I’m expecting other people to do same.

Tell us how much was splashed on the just-concluded The Headies?

We don’t discuss figures, but it is a lot of money.

Like N200 million…?

I’m not going to mention figures, it was a lot of money and it was only 20 percent of it that was sponsored.

Can you give us a rough estimate…

Why do you want to know? When you start your own awards, you’ll spend money on it.

It’s barely a week after, I know the organizers would have sat down to see whether they made profit or not seeing that it was a sold-out show…

We’ve not made profit on The Headies since 2008.

Despite the fact that it was a sold out event?

80 percent of the people in entertainment think it is their birthright to attend The Headies without paying and it is! By time you count all the musicians (past and present nominees), the celebrities, the Nollywood people, the media and top personalities, 70 percent of the auditorium is gone already. So, you’ll never make money from a show like The Headies by selling tickets.

So, where do you make money if not through ticket sales?

It is not all the time that money drives everybody. If it was just money, then I would just face my hip TV and forget awards. It’s not money that drives everything we do.

What motivates The Headies if not money?

Money has never been my motivating factor if not I won’t even be in entertainment. Money has never pushed me. I’ve never worked for money for one day. We want to make a difference, we want to set standards, we want the music industry to develop by our own effort. We want to do things the right way and we are making progress in that direction. Money will come. It is not the day you start that money comes.

– RASHEED ABUBAKAR

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