My name is Uju Nneji but some may know me as Uj. I am 19 years old and I study Law and Combined social sciences in University of Durham; yes it sounds good on paper but that is not entirely what I want to pursue for my future. This is where my story begins.
Two years ago, I knew that there was more to me than just books but I didn’t know what exactly it was. Being 17 then, I thought the entertainment world was the easy way out, so I started writing lyrics, singing, even attempted rapping (and failed). So I stuck to believing I was the next Serena Williams as I was/am very sporty, but no one scouted me on time for any life changing opportunities, therefore I was left to believe that I’m just an average typical black girl with no ‘extraordinary’ talents.
After a long break from my epic fail of a music career, I just stuck to all my inherited talents (drums and sports). These led me to struggle a bit in A-levels as I was not happy but I had no remedy to the feeling, however my friends from Napier House (boarding school) encouraged me with words – mainly insults but it helped and I am grateful, more importantly my siblings where there from day one. But as God will have it, He found a way for me to do very well in all my final exams because it definitely was not my doing as I woefully failed my AS-Level/Year12 January modules (Jamb equivalent) but found a way at the end with God on my side as always.
Anyway back to after moving on from my music career, exactly a year ago I thought to myself , I like to have fun and I like socializing how about I combine both. So I thought “Party Promotion” won’t be a bad idea. Wow, I cannot even begin to tell you how many club managers I contacted, or how many roads I walked to convince people to come out under my guest list “UJ Parties”. I was officially a real hustler, don’t forget that at this time I was preparing for my final exams too. I ended up loosing at least £80 every night I promoted, because my guests wouldn’t get in (too many blacks or too many guys or they just won’t show up) and the end of the night my transport money is gone and drinks money is gone on the 2 or 3 that showed up expecting free drinks as incentives.
So after what I can only tag as “Disaster party promotion”, on a very random day hanging out with my friends, I decided I was going to take the biggest risk ever and hire a club for myself and organise an ‘End of exams party’. Realising the effect social media has, I created a page on Facebook, contacted some clubs; “Bureau Club in Soho” offering the best deal. A month after the page had been created at least over 100 people had clicked ATTENDING, including people unknown to me – I was in shock. Three days before the event, I received a phone call from someone telling me they wanted to do a ‘PartyMerge’ instead of having a rival party against them. Fear took over me as they were older guys with much more experience in organising Club Nights. On the night before my final exams and the party, I decided to call off my solo event I had taken weeks to plan and merge with these guys at a place called “Layalina Privee”, bearing in mind that I had never met these boys before.
It was finally the 24th of June, the night of the event, I arrived too early because I was scared, the place was empty, random songs playing, the club looked too small etc. Anyway at 12:30am the night kicked off, drinks flowing, and I had finally met with the other guys(my party collaborators), but over 40 people were stuck outside including my main table spenders. Things where going wrong, however the people inside were having fun so it was not as bad as it might have been. The night ended, money shared accordingly and I left the club that night feeling I could have done much better but obviously I had never thrown a private party so I was still content with it even though if I had gone at it alone I would have made more money.
After that people at least knew that I was into events, so I had made a start. So over summer(July/August), I spent my time planning ahead in terms of events as everyone was in Nigeria while I was here. September came, the 2 other guys and I decided to organise a random night in “Bureau Club” as I still had their contact details. The night was unbelievably good, so the following week we decided to throw another one and it was even better. The earnings shared I don’t think words could explain it. I had the jaw dropping moment but irrespective of the my huge earnings I had to keep calm and cool to hide my ‘jjc(johnnyjustcome)’ shock.
From then on people started asking me for clubs they could celebrate their birthdays and other random parties; by this time I had become linked with a lot of club managers especially after attending an event planing night out that was hosted in No5 Cavendish and I happened to be the only black, one of the few females and the youngest by a margin. These characteristics drew a lot of attention my way and a talkative like me was ready to utilise the opportunity to the fullest. Soon after, I hosted a launch party for an upcoming Abuja group FBS and the party was very impressive, people were paying multiple entry fee just to get in, this was on the 4th of November – I was shocked that even in a boring, cold season people were still ready to have a brilliantly good time – dancing and popping bottles. The event helped spread my name across the Nigerian northern region especially since I’m based in Lagos.
After that event, because I got into Durham University, a mainly white community, I decided to show all those clubs and club promoters that looked down at me months back that I am now capable of throwing highly successful promotion nights because being a lively individual, I had made an unlimited amount of friends. Since things were looking up for me in my new found business, I did a bit of re-branding, changed my brand to “MAGIC ENT” and created a Facebook event page which was flooded with FRIENDS in just 2 weeks. On the 16th of December, I launched my new guest list in Punk Club in Soho. The VIP treatment I received and the free drinks, I was like, OMG, so this is it. I even got paid that night, usually it is due in a week but the manager was so impressed with my guests. From then on, I could afford to go to Punk at anytime with even a limited number of people and still expect a VIP treatment.
Thereafter, at the start of 2012 I thought to myself, “Why don’t you get a celebrity of some sort involved”. I started with Anton Murphy and Aden Theobald from Bigbrotheruk 2011 to do a night with me. Being a born hustler, I got their contact details for free. Planned the night in Bureau Club for the 27th of Jan – by now I had developed a great working relationship with them. It ended up being a fantastic night with performances by GNA etc. And that marked the beginning of having celebrities as part of my parties. Next up, I got Joey Essex from a UK reality TV show “The Only Way Is Essex” and Spencer from “Made in Chelsea” (another UK reality TV show) to host separate nights with me and as you can imagine, both nights were fantastic.
Then the same guys I started organising club nights with decided to organize a big event, which was a group launch for DRBLasgidi who are known for their top tune “Dj Caise presents Toyin“. I booked a club in Notting hill, London called Blag Club with over 200 capacity. This event was the same day as a party for Davido in Birmingham so we were sceptical about the date (Feb 17) but what is the point of organising club nights and not taking risks? We kept our feet on the ground in terms of the date and went ahead – We hit capacity; people stuck outside, live performances, no one complaining, the club was happy, people talking to about BLAG2 – It was a successful night. I can comfortably say the night was the best night we had ever planned.
After that I realised that I could spread my wings around. Helping people launch their events (albums, singles etc), easily getting a venue and getting a couple of people down. Help upcoming artists organise a performing show etc. So I got contacts of “Envy365″/Oga envy” and decided to do a night with him to launch his website, alongside upcoming artists supporting him. I thought the timing was off but then again for Nigerians and party, it’s not about timing it’s about having a good time regardless of when and we all know Nigerians never lack so “March 24th” at “Blag Club” once again the night was unbelievably good considering the fact that most universities hadn’t broken up yet. The most impressive thing about the night, was that it was a 2 person organised event. Just Oga envy and I, but still we managed to push it. So right now I am working with a well-known Nigerian artist to host her album launch soon in London, but unfortunately I cannot let the cat out of the bag yet….”Laughs” (visa is not easy). 2012 is going to big by the grace of God.
Lastly, people may call this “Famz” in the usual Nigerian mentality but I call this support. So here it goes, shout out to FBS, DRBLasgidi, CEDRB, Joules, GMRecords, LAX, MV etc. God bless your hustle, people think its easy but I know it’s not. We’ll get there soon and time will tell. Also big shout out to (Fj and Chase), thank you.
In all I give thanks to God, my family and my friends. It is a lesson for everyone, you can do what you want if you just try. Giving up is not allowed. Whatever age you might be just believe YOU can do it. Don’t underestimate the power of YOUR talent.
If you are in the UK and want a FAB party or would like to party London style at the best clubs (Table bookings, guest lists and all), then UJ is your girl. Here are her contact details.
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For GUESTLISTS & TABLE BOOKINGS call: 0741 168 9689
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