A-Maz of 360nobs got to sit down with Asa Asika and have a little chat. Asa Asika is an artist manager who has managed lots of A-list artists notably Davido and currently Naeto C. Read on and get an insight into Asa Asika and his life as a Manager
Nice to have you on 360nobs interview again. So can we start with your entry point into the Industry?
Thanks for having me. Well, honestly it all started in secondary school. I was a proper nerd and then I got really interested in events, parties – the entertainment scene in general. I used to be involved in loads of parties and concerts which always turned out to be successful. My uncle Obi Asika at that time was the owner of the hottest record label in the country, Storm Records. So he gave me a platform and I started promoting the artistes and events under him and since then it’s been one thing to another.
That’s really amazing. I admire your hustle a lot. So what was the first thing or job/project you were involved with in the music industry professionally?
It would probably be being part of the team that promoted the Storm [Records] brand and Ikechukwu’s debut album in 2006/2007. Outside Storm, it was promoting Banky W’s singles, “Strong Thing” and “Lagos Party”. I did a very successful club tour with Banky and the EME crew. Shout out to Uncle Segun & Banky for the opportunity.
Also, you’ve been the person behind the success of some big artists but most music fans will not know. How does it feel working from the background? Being a sort of silent boss? 🙂
[Laughs] I am no boss; I will get there one day by the grace of God. It’s a great feeling. I enjoy developing and promoting talent so to me its not even work. From recording the music, to getting it on radio, pitching the talent for shows, negotiating deals, strategizing in general etc. it’s all stuff I love doing.
I first heard of you back when you and Davido were together, and you were making things happen for him. How did you guys meet and when did you decide to start managing him?
Boys had been putting in work way before that. David was my first solo project, where I was basically running the project myself. Before that I had worked with Ikechukwu, Naeto, eLDee, DJ Jimmy Jatt, YQ, Sauce Kid and Sasha through Storm Records. I have also worked with Banky W, R2Bess from Ghana & Dr. Sid. I’ve known David for years. David has always been interested in music but he didn’t really take it seriously till about four years ago. We always spoke about it and had plans but we never did anything about it. Eventually David moved back to Lagos and asked me to manage him and the rest is history.
What led to the parting of ways though? Most people never got to hear your side of the story.
People’s plans change. It was more of a thing where we were not on the same page and decided it was best to just move on. People made it such a big deal and I was really surprised about that. I guess it was the fact that two young boys had achieved so much success in such a short period of time. We thank God for all that and I learnt a lot from that. David is still my guy any day, any time. We see each other a lot so it’s all good.
That’s really on point, I admire that. So which artist or artists are you handling right now? Can you just tell us a little about them?
Currently I am setting up a brand Agency called, “Stargaze”. I plan on representing brands in all sorts of ways. From songwriters, to DJ’s to actors. A lot of celebrities don’t have proper branding in Nigeria. At the beginning of this year after parting ways with David, the calibre of people that contacted me let me know that I definitely had something going on. Music legends showed up at my house, actors called me, I was really shocked at some of the calls and emails I received. Stargaze currently represents a few people. We manage BOJ from DRB Lasgidi as a solo artiste, that’s a project I am very excited about as BOJ is a very unique talent. We also manage a new talent called Ayo Jay, The BOY WONDER. He is an amazing singer and songwriter who just released his first official single, “Available”. I am also majorly involved in my cousin, Naeto C’s career. We handle promotions, bookings, his press related stuff etc for him. He is our biggest client at the moment. We have also done some consultancy work for some other artistes this year like Blackmagic, Lynxxx and the whole Syndik8 Records, DJ Neptune & Waliyah. I am really excited about Stargaze and hope all my plans do work out.
I’ve to say that’s impressive. That brings me to another question though. As music fans we all respect artist managers a great deal, but most of us don’t really have a clear picture of what is involved. So can you tell us about the typical things you do as a manager?
First of all you basically handle all things concerning the artists career. Promoting music and his/her brand, booking shows, rehearsing for performances, strategizing. A lot of artists in this country have no game plan. That is why we have so many guys that have one hot song and then they are gone because the artist’s brand itself Is not strong or doesn’t even exist. It’s a great job I love doing.
What are the qualities that draw you to an artist to the point you decide to manage that artist? Also what advice do you have for struggling artists and new artists? Any secret formulae?
First of all basic things like the actual talent. You have to be hard-working. One thing that made David and I successful was our work ethic. Everybody knows that. There is a saying ‘Hard–work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.’ It is very true. With new artists, I always say this you need a game plan, not everyone can get signed to a label and the situation we find ourselves in you might not even need a label to blow up. It’s hardwork, dedication and God. In terms of formulas, it all depends on the talent or product you are trying to put out. Game plans vary regarding what you are trying to sell. I have seen about four people trying to use my initial game plan for David fail. Luck is also a huge part of it. Last but not least originality. Nobody can beat you at being you.
So how much of a social life do you have with your busy schedule? Do you have a girl, or some girl you really care about? How’s it going for you?
I have a social life to an extent. Most times when I’m out at the clubs I am probably there because I am trying to promote some music in the clubs or meet a DJ. I do have a social life though. A girl…well I’m single but there is someone I do really care about a lot but due to the crazy schedule I have, time will tell like she says. Hopefully, it all works out in the end that would be a nice Christmas present!
[Laughs] I like that. Wish you all the best with that, you deserve it. So do you get to spend as much time as you’d like with family? What do you do to relax, by the way?
No I don’t. Two of my younger siblings go to school in Dubai. I haven’t seen them since August. I also have another three younger sisters and a little brother who live in Abuja with their mum so I don’t get to se them as often as I’d have liked to. I miss them a lot. I try my best to see my dad at least once a week, He’s just as busy as I am with work and being a good father to his seven kids who unfortunately are in different places. My own mum is late; she would have been 50 a few days ago. The family members I get to spend the most time with are Naeto, his wife Nicki and their son. That’s also due to the fact that Naeto and I do business together and they are permanently in Lagos. Regardless of all this, I love all of my family and I make sure to keep in touch with them as often as I can.
What’s the thing you dislike the most about Nigeria’s music industry? Do you have any suggestions on how that could be fixed? On the other hand, what impresses you about the Nigerian music industry?
I hate the fact that a lot of people are fake. You don’t get along with someone and then you spend all your time talking reckless about the person behind their back. Then you see them at an event and start acting like the person is your best friend. There is a lot that’s impressive about our music industry of course. The industry is has grown and is still growing. It’s providing employment and has allowed the likes of young entrepreneurs such as myself but at the same time, I think we need to develop it more. There are a lot of opportunities and things we haven’t discovered yet.
Asa. Thank you so much for taking the time to have this interview with us. I really appreciate and we at 360nobs will always be rooting for you. Keep up the good work