Giovani… My Dream Is To Produce Next Music Star
Aina Enitan Olalekan, widely known as Giovanni in the music industry, is Director of Operations at Troniq Music Inc, an establishment, which represents some of the best acts in Afrobeats, including Oxlade, revered gospel minister, Pita, and rising star, Kohdee.
Olalekan, a graduate of Creative Arts from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), started his journey as a roadie and artistes’ assistant.
Over the years, he has worn many hats in the industry, from road management to artist representation, booking expertise, and strategic consultancy, he even served as the Africa consultant for both ‘Duetti’ and ‘Repost by SoundCloud’, projects handled by Resilience Studios — a British creative enterprise led by Amal Omari.
His collaborative ventures extend to stars such as Blaq Jerzee, Asake, Superwozzy, Oxlade, and Naya Effectz, among others. Additionally, he has directed a series of acclaimed music videos for a diverse array of artistes. Beyond his professional pursuits, he has passion for sports and the acquisition of new found knowledge.
What has been the journey so far?
It started in 2016, when I was managing an artiste, Oladapo Arogundade, who just came out of Project Fame. Moving forward, Troniq music was founded by Geoffrey in 2019, and we started out with Oxlade. It’s four years since then, and we have been able to sign other artistes such as Pita, a gospel artiste, Khodee and a couple of others.
Are there specifics to the kind of artistes you sign?
Music is something I love. My dad was a composer, and I studied music in school. I love what I do. I hear something and I like it, we think we can work and grow with these artistes, I take it up.
Did you ever think of being an artiste?
Most of us started with trying to do music. I tried to be a rapper, but it didn’t work. I played a few instruments growing up such as saxophone. I also learnt to play piano. Drum was my major interest, and I used to sing in the choir. I didn’t leave the choir; I’m just constrained by time. My sister is still active in the choir.
How have you handled the issue of trust with your artistes?
I never wanted to become a manager, so, for me; it’s all about self awareness. As a label or manager, you are dealing with artistes’ career, putting their lives in your hands, by so doing; you have to be truthful to yourself. Artistes get scared because a lot of people try to take advantage of them in the industry. We have had a lot of bad deals. People are signing the wrong deals and contracts, people not exploring their talents in the right way. Sometimes, it’s not the fault of the label, sometimes, the artistes do not understand the business perspectives as well as what the contract entails.
How has Troniq assisted in addressing relationship issues with your artistes?
Our deals are very fair. We make sure that every artiste we sign gets value from the onset. We try to be as fair as possible with the artistes by giving them the fairest contracts to make them happy.
What differentiate Troniq from other record labels?
It’s simply the vision. Most people, when they start a music label, they don’t try to incorporate people that understand the business angle properly. They only invest their money, sign random artistes, and expect financial returns almost immediately. But we pride ourselves in partnership by collaborating with other existing industry brands, Apple Music, Spotify and others. We always have that vision to expand. My goals have always been to build a career in the industry, and to let people know that there are other key components they can key into aside from being an artiste or a manager.
What are those other opportunities you think people are not utilising aside being an artiste or a manager?
Publishing. Music publishing is very big. Many managers and artistes don’t understand that music publishing catalogues are sold worldwide and music are remade into various forms through publishing and documentary even in hundreds of years to come.
What’s your relationship with Oxlade?
Oxlade and I are both from Surulere in Lagos, although we weren’t friends initially, I lived close to OJB’s house and do visit there to do music, including other artistes back then like 2face Idibia, Tony Tetuila and others.
How did you meet Oxlade?
Through recommendation from a friend, and I discovered he was super talented and passionate about music. Unlike others who are money driven.
What’s the total number of artistes you have right now?
Three. Oxlade, Peter and Khodee.
Did you deliberately study music in school or did under pressure?
I deliberately studied music. But then, deep down in my heart, I never wanted to study music.
Because growing up as a kid, I played sports very well, especially Rugby. And I also wanted to leave the shores of the country, but the dream died owing to systemic failure in the country.
Any role model in the industry?
Initially, there wasn’t, but now Tunji Balogun. I chose him because of his quiet and calm lifestyle
What made you later choose music over other careers?
Maybe it’s because I lived close to friends who just wanted to do music. And I said to myself, if I am not singing, I can actually manage an artiste. That was the turning point.
Would you say music business has evolved since your eight years participation in it?
Yeah! The business has evolved, especially through technological assistance and easy access to information from the Internet. Quite unlike what it was before when artistes didn’t have access to information and apps such as Sportify, Audiomack and the rest that are technological product, which help artistes to sell their songs to the world.
How many are you in your family?
We are three children. Two boys and a girl and I’m the second child.
As the director of operations in Troniq, what’s your relationship with music promoters in the industry?
I try as much as possible to create good contact with every promoter I come across.
So, what’s next for you?
To break out the next global star again.
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