With TOPS All Stars, Okoroji returns to first love
Though he started out as a recording artiste, the chairman of Copyright Society Of Nigeria (COSON) Chief Tony Okoroji is prominent today for his role in the fight against piracy and copyright infringement. However, except for veterans in the showbiz industry, a good number of young artistes of today are really not aware of Okoroji’s exploits as a musician. In fact, he was once one of the most sought after producers and artiste & repertoire managers, while working for EMI, the big international recording conglomerate in Nigeria at the time.
But there are indications that the former PMAN president is set for a return as a major player in the music industry. Already, the machinery of TOPS, his entertainment company, has since been set in motion in preparation for the re-launch.
“I’ve spent a life time in the music industry; I’ve seen talents surge and talents disappear. I have seen labels take center stage and suddenly melt away. I have witnessed the industry through the era of the black vinyl, the music cassette and the compact disc; I saw the rise and fall of Alaba. I’m presently in the thick of getting the industry to master the digital age with the internet and mobile technology playing significant roles in music distribution as downloads, streaming, CRBT, etc. take over and establish themselves as the new method of passing the ball. I know the nuts and bolts,” Okoroji said.
For several months, the COSON boss, who has devoted a lifetime to the fight for the rights of musicians and other creative people across Africa, has been retooling TOPS, his entertainment company involved in production, promotion, distribution, publishing and top class events organisation. The man, who made PMAN a house-hold name, turned COSON into a multi-million naira organisation, conceived and launched the razzle-dazzle Nigerian Music Awards, Africa’s first notable entertainment award event that attracted presidents, ministers, ambassadors and stars from around the world, is ready to make another big statement.
Obviously, Okoroji is set for a revolution in the Nigerian entertainment industry with an outstanding group of young first class talents he has painstakingly assembled.
“I must salute all the young artistes, producers and labels that have in recent years kept Nigerian music representing across the continent and beyond. My job over the years has been to make sure that this crop of creative Nigerians gets the recognition they deserve, their rights respected and that they earn commensurate income for their sweat. In the process, I have met many uniquely talented young artistes, who are totally frustrated because nobody seems to have the time to even listen to them or offer them a chance to showcase what they have got. I certainly cannot take care of everyone but I can give hope to some.”
Despite his tight schedule, in the last six months, he spent practically every weekend in the recording studio working with an incredible crop of young Nigerian songwriters, singers and producers.
“I’m in the trenches with them imparting the professional skills and values they need to rise to the top. Each of them has become a member of the TOPS family, a special family that goes for only the best. I’m determined to turn TOPS into a unique 360 degrees hit factory offering hope to those who had no hope and taking them to the top. We will touch every facet of entertainment in a different style and touch the lives of people. That ought to be the legacy I leave for an industry that I love with all my heart,” he said.
TOPS All Stars, who are set to take on the industry, consists of Kasi, Kul-GP, Milly-X, Gwilz and Dolzi.