‘We aim at creating a space where Nigerian artistes can tell their stories and be heard’
Temilayo Osude is a lawyer with experience in commercial law and statutory compliance. With a diploma in Security Studies, she brings to bear a wealth of experience in her role as Managing Partner at RBMM Solicitors, a corporate commercial law firm.
Temilayo also manages the business operations and statutory compliance for Ashcorp Luxury Projects and sits on the boards of several organisations, including Idlewoods Limited and SKO construction Ltd, driving operational excellence and statutory compliance at management level across the corporate, entertainment, IT and fashion industries.
In this interview with TOBI AWODIPE, she talks about her journey towards bringing to fruition, an international music festival, creating lifetime opportunities for Nigerian entertainers and her plans to build a yearly musical tourist destination in Nigeria for the entire world.
As a practicing lawyer, how do you marry this role with being the COO of Vertical Rave?
ASIDES the legal implications of an event like Vertical Rave, my background as a lawyer means I’m able to prospect, troubleshoot and manage a wide variety of concerns. Also, being an entertainment lawyer doesn’t hurt my cause as well and plays completely into managing Vertical Rave.
You’re also very prominent in the entertainment space, tell us something exciting you are working on?
I think in terms of groundbreaking pioneer work, organising the first international standard rave in Nigeria is pretty high up. Yes, I’ll say Vertical Rave is peak as far as career achievements this year.
This is a music festival that is bringing some of the most sought-after artists to one spot. It is the first time a music festival of this kind will be held in Nigeria. I truly believe that this event is setting the stage for a new era of Nigerian music festivals, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Putting together a festival is no mean feat. What are you looking to achieve with this project?
You know, the world is eating up African music, and only a small fraction of the amazing selection we have gets spotlighted. We are at the point where we are only exporting our music; the west packages that and sells us the experience.
What Vertical Rave is, is a truly authentic telling of our musical heritage. Plus it’s a platform for lesser known artistes to shine and possibly break commercial boundaries. This will become an annual musical tourist destination for the entire world.
What has been your most significant learning curve in putting together this international festival?
We’ve spent the most part of 2022 doing background work, preparing for December 17 and the biggest takeaway for me, is the reinforcement of my belief that preparation is key. At the point of execution, preparation really makes the difference between success and hard lessons. I can say even now, with all confidence, the festival is a success; thanks to all the preparatory groundwork.
The Nigerian music industry is evolving every day, with our artistes and their sounds reaching new places. What do you think is next for our artistes, and how is this music festival looking to be a part of this success?
Again, simply by owning our narrative and telling our story ourselves. When we create our own table, we don’t have to be a token anything or have our artists compete for a spot based on a disproportionate quota system. Everyone gets an opportunity to shine in the most honest way. This is going to be that table. First as a festival and then through other channels that are in the works.
The concept behind this is simple, to create a platform for Nigerian and African artistes to celebrate their culture and music in an authentic way. We aim to create a space where Nigerian artistes can tell their own stories and be heard in an authentic way without having to conform to other people’s standards.
What are some challenges you’ve encountered in putting a festival of this magnitude together, and how have you overcome them?
All the challenges of having pioneer status; we are the blueprint for a purely experiential music festival in Nigeria, I dare say, Africa. So, even the task of justifying the capital required to pull this off was a project on its own. Then, defying the experience that is the norm for concert goers in Nigeria has required more marketing resources than would be necessary in a different clime.
And to top it all, we have to do it in a way that would make sense for Nigerian audiences, no easy feat. Throw in logistics, human capital and all the other usual or uniquely Nigerian corporate issues, and it makes for a tasking, but rewarding venture all in all.
Who are the performing artistes at this year’s festival, and what informed your decision to select them?
It is a day-long music festival, and for every hour of the day, there will be music; most live, others not. Apart from our official lineup that includes Majorleaguedjz, Omahlay, Ruger, Made Kuti, Victony, Young Jonn, Buju and 9ice, we also have over a dozen niche artistes that will be performing. These artistes don’t have the commercial wave that our lineup artistes have, but they are all wildly talented and possibly would achieve commercial success using this festival as a springboard. And this is what Vertical Rave is really about.
Beyond being a music festival, we pride ourselves on being a platform that provides the much-needed arena for upcoming artistes to get more visibility and be seen, heard and loved by the right target audience. Empowering them to succeed in today’s highly competitive world.
We’ve had so many concerts over the years, how is this going to stand out?
A handful of reasons; it’s the first day-long festival in Nigeria. We have chosen Box Mall Beach as our location and there will be rooftop restaurants, VVIP lounges, street food vendors, a festival pool club and an inflatable park to keep attendees fully occupied and stimulated for their entire festival experience.
After a year of hard work, guests can escape the grind of daily routines and get ready for a sensory overload. We have spent the year planning and preparing for this festival so that everyone can have a whole new experience. You don’t have to travel to get a world-class music festival because we are bringing same experience to Lagos.
Do you think the entertainment industry has been kind upcoming artistes?
I think technology has been kind to upcoming artistes. Every creative is one social media post away from a big break. The entertainment industry, on the other hand, is still in the organisation/building phase, so we have to get it right. We are doing all the right things, so I’m super optimistic about the direction we are taking.
In the past decade, great events have taken place across the country. Every event has its own unique features and vibe. This is just our first year of bringing this to Nigeria, and we are trying to accommodate as many talented young Nigerians as we can. I am confident that it is well on the way to becoming the biggest music event in Africa, and this would be a great thing for the entire continent.
What would you say has been the best part of putting together this festival and what are plans for continuity?
The best part of putting together this concert has been the challenge of organising such a large and complex event. Seeing all the plans from eight months ago come together is very gratifying; looking prospectively at the opportunity to create something truly impactful is exciting as well. It takes a great deal of dedication and commitment from everyone involved, and we’re extremely proud of the final result.
So, the opportunity to work with an amazing and dedicated team has been the icing on the cake. The opportunity to showcase the undeniable talents of both established and up-and-coming Nigerian artistes is also exciting. We believe that this event will provide a platform for these artistes to gain exposure and recognition, which is essential for the longevity of Nigerian music on the global stage.
Would you say the entertainment industry is welcoming and accommodating of women today?
Talent accommodates itself. Perhaps, remnants of gender norms account for the disproportionate number of the genders in the African music space. However, when you look at film, art or fashion, women appear to be at the fore in those fields and as more and more people are exposed to different kinds of music, we can only hope that the African music industry will become more inclusive and diverse.