Helpline aims for the sky in South Africa
Record label owner/CEO, Habeeb Oluwafemi Giwa popularly known as Helpline is currently making waves in South Africa where he currently resides.
Speaking with The Guardian over the phone about his rising fame and how fans are embracing his label both home and abroad, the Oyo state born star said, “building an international brand can be labour-intensive, busy and very difficult, but a blessing at the end of the day.”
In an industry very much highlighted by its high risk and equally high reward for winners, the head honcho behind More Coke every day (MCE) Entertainment used his philosophy of the power of learning to catapult the growth of his life and business.
“Growing is an act of learning and unlearning. If you perceive life as a blessing, failure becomes difficult; I love the ups and downs of this life,” he said.
According to him, the business side of music is where he set his vision for the long haul, stressing that international brands like P-Diddy’s Bad Boy Records and Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella painted the picture of financial freedom in the music business so vividly.
“I liked these icons specifically because they understood the balance between business and creativity quite well. They preach financial freedom and prosperity constantly. The investments they have made and musical achievements they have amassed are awe-inspiring. We really do write our own stories in this life,” he stated.
Helpline further stated that African music has been on the rise, as it recently began occupying top charts in multiple territories around the world. He added that it is not the rise of the continent’s music in international territories that have amazed him, rather the amount of time it has taken both local and international fans to catch the various flavors.
“Africa has been under the radar for a while. I mean hear the sounds of the AmaPiono genre, it’s Africa telling a story through passionate beats and vocals, the same as Afrobeat, and they sound great.
“I’m thankful to the pioneers of these many sounds that got us to where we are right now. Artists like King Sunny Ade, Sir Shina Peters, Brenda Fassie, Angelique Kidjo and Fela Kuti really pushed the continent musically,” he added.
Understanding that success demands a sheer amount of hard work and time, hence, he compares the experience of an artist signed to MCE as being in university, adding that the success that ‘virality’ brings the stars of the new digital age is far removed from the grooming process that the artistes undergo in the label.
“We are chasing the dream; we are not chasing the competition. This takes time and we are patient. It’s as simple as understanding that for one to take over the world, they have got to understand that they are a masterpiece that first has to master the pace,” he said.