More Branches interview with Dolapo Alade [Beat FM 97.9]

Dolapo Alade is an On -Air Personality (AOP) for Ibadan based Beat FM in Nigeria. She talks to Adedayo Lekatu (More Branches).

How has music grown over the years to you being a personality on radio?
Dolapo Alade : Music has grown immensely; to the point the international market has seen the uniqueness and beauty of it, to want to get with the vibe or associate with it.

The afro-pop music has become so dynamic that you can’t get just one “Naija sound”. The ability to have more than one category in one genre shows how evolved it has become.

What’s Afro-Pop to you and what impact do you feel it’s had on our culture both good and bad in relation to the new culture ‘new age’ music is bringing into Africa?

Dolapo Alade : The Afropolitan pop culture.. that’s the clear definition for me, nothing to personify. I won’t say afro-pop made an impact on our culture, It’s the other way round. The artists are able to use what’s happening around to project their art using the melody that suits the story. Granted we have our misgivings about some artists glorifying crime and whatnot but that’s what’s happening. You can only get good art when you can relate to what you’re creating.

The new generation’s music from Africa’s young minds is still fighting to gain awareness, how do you think their sound can be pushed out into the world more being an OAP?

Dolapo Alade : The manipulation of social media is very underrated for the unsigned. A great example is Chance the Rapper; he was able grow his fan base through Soundcloud and other social media platforms. Make use of any kind of exposure, there’s never too much exposure. The speed of information passed on social media is very fast. This depends on the content and the way it is designed. Here’s one example; Have an Instagram Live concert, collaborate with your fellow indie musicians and have a monthly concert. If they are able to use these tools to their advantage they would surpass the barriers keeping them from peaking. 

I’ve had friends who want to go into music and they always talk about how expensive it is to be an artist in Africa; how they have to pay to get their songs on radio and tv. What do you think about that narrative and how can it be changed?

Dolapo Alade : In my honest opinion, you really don’t have to pay for anything if the song is really good. DJs, radio presenters, media personalities and so on want to be associated with the next big thing. Payola is a problem when it’s not voluntary and can dissuade artists but if your material is good, you have nothing to worry about.

They have to know that every generation has its time, and what gets them the spotlight is to collaborate with the older ones to get their first spotlight and then eventually the older generation will want to emulate the trend as well – Dolapo Alade

Why do you think many of these artist have problems of getting their content then? Cause the sounds are good but I hear issues of how they still get billed. Is this from the system and is it a thinking we need to change?

Dolapo Alade : That’s where the power of record labels come in. They have the funds to handle the publicity and media interviews that push their new content, Yes it’s the system. It’s just how things work.

People often feel the need to come down to Lagos to make it. I’ve been to Ibadan and they have a growing culture for the arts and tech. From the music angle, what do you think about Ibadan’s scene?

Dolapo Alade : Ibadan is growing in terms of the arts and tech scene. There’s content here in Ibadan, but  evasive of the existent structure in Lagos, there’s more attention in Lagos. We can’t in anyway compare the culture in Ibadan to Lagos when it comes to arts and tech. Regardless of this; there are individuals seriously pushing out their content aggressively, a number of talents in Lagos started their craft in Ibadan. There’s room for growth and development a lot still has to be done in providing certain platforms for budding talents here.

How important is it for the music culture to allow the younger generation come into the scene fully? 

Dolapo Alade : The thing is there’s really nothing stopping the younger generation, every generation of music has its time and would eventually take over mainstream. It starts slowly, It’s only a matter of time and I truly believe that. 

In the entertainment scene the younger generation feel that the older ones have set a barrier or standard that makes it problematic for them to penetrate the industry. They have to know that every generation has its time, and what gets them the spotlight is to collaborate with the older ones to get their first spotlight and then eventually the older generation will want to emulate the trend as well.

Interview by Adedayo Lekatu for More Branches

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