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My Life As a Music Promoter -Alex Ozone Open Up

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For the purpose of those who are yet to know you, can you briefly tell us little about you?
My name is Alex Ozone, I am the CEO of O3 Media and I represent Team Street because I am from the street. That is who I am. Of course people know me but at the same time I like working behind the scene. I really like my work to speak for me than for me speaking for my work.
Is Ozone your real name or how did you come about the name?
Well many people have asked me this question before. The truth is that my names are too long so when I was with Terry G he was finding it very difficult with my name so he started calling me Ozone and from there my name turned to Ozone. So it is Terry G who actually gave me the name Ozone.
We all have our backgrounds, what is your background and what role has it played in shaping you to who you are today?
The truth is I never allowed my background to stand between me and who I wanted to be and that is why I said earlier that I represent the team street, and you know the street is where we all pass through every day. I must say that my background was rough and tough. Where I come from is a very difficult place for anyone with the ambition to make it in life but I thank God that we are here today, at least it feels good to be here answering question from reporters like you. It is a very big privilege for me because I never allowed my background to weigh me down.
Lots of artistes have come through you, can you recall how did it all start?
O3 Media is a promotional company, O3 media is an event management company, and a passion driven company. Most of these artistes you see with us we don’t even know how we got to meet with them, but somehow we meet and start working and in the process build a bond driven by passion whether gain or loss.
Who are the artistes you’ve worked with?
They call me Tipsy father nor be say I dey high o. they call me Tipsy father because I am the father of all these artistes. There is no artist you can mention in Nigeria today that I‘ve not had a working relationship with. That is just the truth of the matter, though sometimes I find it very difficult to mention one artist because at the end of the day you will find out that you made a very big mistake. As you know the entertainment industry is like a very big
family.
You been away with some artistes on Euro tour, how did it go and what was the experience like for you?
Euro tour is what we‘ve been doing for about 6 years or so and just as I was saying, passion is our driving. We do this thing and don’t really care about the outcome whether gain or loss. We do it for the love and passion we have for it. It all started when I travelled to Europe with Terry G and there I find out that some people were doing this thing but they were doing it wrongly. I found out that many of the so called promoters were deceiving and promising Nigerian artistes that they were going to do this and that but at the end they will do nothing. They will take the artist to Europe and the moment they get there they will not provide anything. Then I said to myself that though the task seems to be very difficult but I’m going to make a difference and that is what I did. Part of my game plan was to avoid
looking at what to gain or loss but at the positive result, though we are not totally there yet but looking back at where we were then and where we are now it is safe to say that we have succeeded, and part of the positive changes so far is positively projecting the image of Nigeria and Africa to the outside world through entertainment, and to
that I am very proud and grateful to God. Terry G was first on the list, followed by Chudy K, Jaywon, Oritsefemi, Terry G again, We ‘ve Tecno, Patoranking, Skales, MC Galaxy and so on . I was the first promoter to do Davido’s foreign tour, from there people began to pick more interest because then no one really want to pick interest in
the Nigerian culture and music. But the moment the guys over there saw the progress we were making with what we were doing they began to pick interest. Though some other guys were there even before us doing it but they were not doing it the way it should because they don’t have this connectivity with the Nigerian artistes as we have. One of my
success secrets is that I know the basic problem of the average Nigerian youth and these artistes you see are good examples of the Nigerian youth, I understand them very well because I have been there and I am still as one of the them, so I know how to tackle their problem, I know how to put them through and help them get along and
along the line we build a strong bond and achieve positive result I talked about earlier. We ‘ve Tecno, Patoranking, Skales, MC Galaxy and so on.
How many countries and cities did your artistes perform on the tour?
We toured 12 countries and about 18 cities. I don’t know if can be able to mention all the countries and cities off hand but I can remember Czech Republic because it’s more like my base, Prague, Vienna Austria. We did about 3 cities in Austria, 2 cities in Germany, 2 cities in Italy, we did Paris, we did 2 cities in Norway, 2 cities in Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Malta, and so on. I must say that from Teckno, Skales to Patoranking history was made regarding Nigerian or African artistes performing in major cities in the Europe in terms of big turnout of fans, It’s indeed a new face for the Nigerian and African music.
You posted a photo and a video clip of you and former President Olusegun Obasanjo and people are wondering if the former President was part of your crew on that. What is your connection, is he part of O3 Media now?
You see, I actually wanted to pass a message particularly to the Nigerian youth out there through that. As an aspiring Entrepreneur, as an artist, as young person, whoever you are, whatever you want to do or be, they say opportunities comes but once. So when you see an opportunity don’t fail to grab it no matter the obstacle you might face. What I did there was to pass a message to our youths to take a good advantage of the opportunities that comes their ways no matter what. No matter who the person is if you feel he is who you really desire to meet please go ahead, he may bless you, he may cures you but the most important thing for you is to play your own part which is to
take the bold step by approaching him, and whatever the outcome is you accept it, but never fail to cleared your conscience because if you don’t one day you will look back and regret not taking your chances.
Me meeting Obasanjo to me was an ordinary thing because it was not actually major, it was not planned, we were just on the same flight and when I saw him I observed that no one was going to greet him or try to meet him probably they were scared or something. Thought initially I was like, what is baba doing here because ordinarily baba was supposed to be rolling with private jet as former president, so I approached him and said, ‘baba o’ and he said ‘’how are you’’ I responded and introduced myself as Alex Ozone of O3 Media, from there we started talking, baba is really a nice and jovial person. In the course our discussion he asked me what I do, I told him I am into entertainment business, and introduced Skales because Skales was with me on that flight, in fact it was Skale that actually informed me in the first place that OBJ was sitting beside us, I also introduced his manager and his producer, of course I’m the promoter. Baba said ‘really? ‘’what work is now left for me, can I be the distributor? I said yes, from there we chatted all through the journey back home. Of course we snapped picture and exchanged contacts, it was a very nice and pleasant experience for all us on the flight.
Have you tried to contact or approach him for any favors since you came back?
Not really because I believe I’m a big man and also important in my own right, so when I need baba I will reach out to him but for now I will not want to abuse the privilege he gave me by calling him unnecessarily and telling him what is not. I survive through myself, I hustle, I work hard for myself, for my family for the Nigerian youth, for the general society. I and help push and positively project the image of Nigeria to the outside world through my work. So when I need person in the capacity and position of baba, why not I will approach him.
Based on that experience with Chief Obasanjo, what would you like them to learn from that experience?
My message to everybody out there not just the youths, though the youths are actually my primary constituency is that they must believe in themselves, self confidence leads to so many good things in life, you must believe that nobody is better than you, you must believe that nobody is bigger than you, you must believe that you can achieve
whatever you set out to achieve. Obama is the next person I really want to chill with and it will happen soon.
Looking at the society now, looking at our polity, what do you think of Nigeria, is this the Nigeria you desire?
My brother nothing is working in this country I won’t tell you lies. In fact, Nigeria feeds me with sorrow and pain whenever I come back into this country right from the airport. Nothing is really working here, hunger everywhere, suffering everywhere, anguish, pain, frustration all over the place. Its no longer funny, they promised us
change but the way it appears now it seems we are now in chains, it is even so funny that nobody is talking about this, we all travel outside this country, we see how things are done over there, rather than come back and do what is right help our people we will be doing the opposite. They promised us change and nobody is asking questions, what
is happening to the change, is this the change they promised us? What is happening? Why is no one asking questions? No electricity, no food, no job, nothing and everyone pretends as though all is well. I have been reading about the increased cases of suicide and suicide attempt in Nigeria and it’s so alarming, how did we get ourselves to this position? Why is no one talking? Sometimes when I want come back I often become agitated and filled with anxiety because I know what I would be coming back to face, I know the kind of suffering and frustration I would be coming back into.
Don’t you think the poor health condition of President Muhammadu Buhari is part of the reason things have not really worked as they should?
The president’s health has got nothing to do with what is going on in Nigeria because always been like this, the president is just an individual, he has his cabinet and runs the affairs of the country through these cabinet members, so the president illness does not stop his ministers from working, or is all the ministers, heads all departments also sick? Must the country be grounded because Mr. President is sick? Don’t we have vice president again? What is he
doing? The problem is not the health of Mr. President, the problem is actually those who are working with Mr. President, take for example, I have been away for some time now in Europe and my office is functioning because I put capable hands in place. We Nigerians need to start thinking outside the box because these so called politicians are like wolves, the only thing they think about is how to feed themselves and their families and make themselves comfortable. I even feel pity for some youths out there who are killing themselves and destroying the little they have because of these politicians who doesn’t care about them. Look these people only care about themselves, check out
the recently the wedding ceremony of the daughter of former head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, all these people both from the north, south, east and west, they all gathered, they were all smiling as they merry but the poor masses were shut out because that place is not for them, but you will see these poor masses marching the streets, killing one
another because of these their collective enemies and that is the irony of life for you. Look we must rise up and say to these people, you promised us change, where is the change? We must do something, we must say enough is enough, Buhar is not the issue here unless we want to deceive ourselves. Anyone can fall sick, I can for sick and my
office will still be running because everybody have got their jobs to do, everyone has got their role play.
Based on what you‘ve just said, are you saying those Mr. President chose to run the affairs of the country are not capable of doing the job?
They are all capable but they don’t want to do the job, they are selfish. They always want to blame someone else for their failure. You have to own up to your responsibility, that way you can be able to evaluate your progress. Minister of power must own up to his responsibility, the minister of Agriculture must own up to his responsibility, minister of Sports must own up to his responsibility and so on. The reason the previous person was removed and you put in
that place is for things to change and work better, not for you coming back to us every now and then to tell us that the previous man did not do it therefore the thing cannot be done, so why are you there? If the previous man had done it then there wouldn’t have been a reason to change him and put you there in the first place. Minister of works
must make sure that the roads are in order, minister of agriculture must make sure there is food, minister of power have to make sure there is electricity, that is why they put them there, they were not put there to come and be giving us excuses or blaming another person who was there before them. You don’t blame your predecessor for your
failure because if your predecessor failed it doesn’t mean you must fail too
Are you trying to say that Nigerians made a mistake by electing this administration into power?
Don’t misquote me here, nobody made a mistake but we Nigerians don’t want to face challenges, we don’t want to face reality, you elected somebody and that person should take responsibility, that is all I’m saying. The person should deliver on his promises, not blaming another person for his shortcomings. We elected you because we felt the other person was not delivering, now you are there rather than deliver even on your own promises you’re blaming the other person for not delivering, how do you want to progress by blaming your passed leaders? You only move forward by making a difference, you move forward by setting aside ethnic, tribe and religious sentiment. Look
we don’t ask for too much o, the only thing we ask for is electricity, communication and good roads, that is all and we can survive. A person like me all I need is my phone, once I have my phone I can do so many things and make money likewise many Nigerians, we don’t ask for much.
With the way things are in Nigeria now, if President Buhari and most of the people in power present themselves for elective post would you still vote them in?
I will vote for you, in fact I want you to come out. Do you know why I will vote for you? Because you’re a youth, the power belong to the youths, again because you’ve gone through what we’re going through you will understand the pain of the common man on the street,and when you get there though you will want to make yourself comfortable, still you will remember where you are coming from and the plight of those you left behind, another reason I will vote for you is because I can challenge you when you are no longer doing what you should do, but all these big men over there I can’t challenge them because they’ve criminally enriched themselves and surrounded themselves with security that we the people can no longer reach them, but as a youth I believe we share the same view and ideology and you understand where I am coming from so I will vote for you.
From all indication the Nigerian music business seems to be enjoying a boom of sort. As an insider what is the secret?
The only secret I can say I know is the passion, passion to make it work, the passion we have for entertainment that is all I know is the secret because we’re not getting any support from anybody, no support from government, no support from corporate organizations. Go abroad, government provides funds for entertainment, if artist want to promote his song he will apply and government will assist him with finance to promote the song, that is why I said earlier that we do the opposite of what we see in other countries when we get back home, or are you trying to tell me that all these people in government that always travel abroad doesn’t know that this is the practice other there? In
overseas radios stations will pay you money in form of loyalty for playing your song but here the reverse is the case. Here it is the artist that pays the radio stations, same thing with the television. So passion and determination is only secret of that young artist you see on television, and that is why I said I will vote for you earlier because if the Nigerian youth want to succeed he goes all out to succeed, and I believe more than 70% of the Nigerian youths are into entertainment one way or the other because there is no job out there and some of them believe entertainment is the easiest job anyone can go into since it requires is talent. So boom you talk about is just the share determination of that youth you see out there to succeed. Entertainment has provided that opportunity for them to excel, quote me anywhere, the Nigerian entertainment industry is the poorest in the world because they are not even making it and that is why we made it to be a make believe business which is not supposed to be, entertainment industry world over is a lucrative business but because of the poor structure, we don’t even have any structure on ground and because of that we do it as a make believe business hoping it will happen.
Wizkid and some other Nigerian artistes seems to be doing very well internationally, what is your take, how do you see the industry and what the future of the Nigerian music?
Well it’s always good to move forward than moving backwards, like I said earlier these guys are supposed to be established over there they are not supposed to be trying to break into, they are not supposed to be struggling to break into because the other people are not struggling to break into, they’re not even supposed to be attaching
themselves to certain people over there just to break in because their music is global, but we lack the structure here, we lack government support, we lack corporate organization support and all that. Do you think Drake wouldn’t have turned up for that wizkid video shoot if the right support and structure were there? Imagine that young boy who
have struggled all the way to that level and lack of support let him down? Do you know what must have transpired behind the scene? Now look at what that has caused that young boy and Nigerians in general because any glory that boy get out there is Nigerian glory. These people in government don’t reason that way, they don’t just think at
all because as it is in entertainment so it is in sports. Take the case of Anthony Joshua who is now the world boxing champion, what did the government do for him? How did they assist him to achieve that feet? Nothing, it was after he had suffered and achieved his feet we remember that he is our son and the Ogun State government started
doing some gragra of how they will name this and that after him. What was the government role in the success of the young man? Look I don’t want to talk about all these things because they make me angry. Do you know the kind of work these guys put in? do you know the kind of money they spend on some of this projects? But they don’t have any form of support. In the past we’ve had some of our artistes nominated for some of these international awards like the Grammies but they were not given. The likes of Fela, Femi, Sunny Ade and the rest have one time or the other been nominated. Do you think with what we have on ground now these awards are coming our way?
That is part what I am talking about, no structure, no government support, and instead of we moving forward we’re moving backwards.
Nothing like Buhari picking the phone to call Trump to help talk to the organizers of this awards, or one corporate organization in Nigeria putting a call through to the organizers of these awards to say, ‘hello, we are aware that our brand ambassador Wizkid is nominated in this award in so so category and we are behind him, we will appreciate if he gets the award’’. Nothing like that, it happens but we don’t have anybody who can do that. Some of these things you see are politics, the outcome of the result of some football matches has the influence of international politics, some awards has strong political and interest influences unfortunately we don’t have the people who understands this things in leadership positions. Imagine they nominated Drake for an award in Nigeria, I can bet you that Trump will pick up his phone and call Buhari to talk to the organizers of the award to make sure Drake is given that award because the award is for Americans not for Drake alone,do you know what it means if Wizkid or any Nigerian artist stands on that podium of the Grammy awards to receive the award? Do you know what it will do to the image of
Nigeria? Do you know how it will project the image of Nigeria positively globally? You are a journalist and you should know much about PR work, is there any other PR work to project something greater than that? Do you know how many million people that are watching the award ceremony live all over the world? But here we see it as ‘it’s
Wizkid award, it’s not a Nigerian award’ and you will begin to wonder the kind of government we have in this country. If Wizkid is nominated no Nigerian government official, not even the Minister for Touring and
Culture will pick up his phone and call the organizers of the award to give the award to wizkid knowing fully well that the award is not for Wizkid alone but for Nigerians and that it will help promote the image of Nigeria globally. Everybody have their interest, the government have their interest, the corporate organizations have their interest,
the artistes have their interest, the record labels have their interest, the fans have their interest and so on, but nobody understands these things, all they understands is how to loot our treasury. I will keep saying it that the problem we have particularly in this entertainment business is that we don’t have the structure on ground, we don’t have a backbone who we can rely on to do the diplomatic aspect of the work for us. These guys are trying, do you
know how much they are spending? Do you know how they have struggled to get to this stage? I’m even praising them for what they have achieved so far. Go to most African countries and see things for yourself, all over the world our musicians are making strong waves but that little push and support needed from government and corporate
organizations is what is lacking. Just like the Euro tour we’re doing, nobody is sponsoring us, I’m the one sponsoring it because some people believes it is Ozone private business, they don’t know that I am promoting the image of this country, I am exporting the culture of this country to the world because music is culture. Go to Ghana, their
government is the one sponsoring their international tour through the ministry for Culture and Tourism, yet they don’t even get up to what we get. Chata Wale is on tour, Stone Bwoy is on tour sponsored by Ghana ministry for Culture and Tourism for about 3-6 shows but Nigerian artist sponsored by an individual like me gets 18 shows or
more. Now use that to imagine when the Nigerian government through the relevant ministry comes in with some little assistance and some diplomatic support and say look, ‘we know it is the image of our country that you are promoting, Wizkid we gat your back to any length because you are projecting the image of our nation to the outside
world positively, as little as that, it will go a long way. To get visa here is very difficult because nobody is backing you, but in Ghana Chaka Wale has about 2 years visa because the Ghana government is backing him. So in a nutshell Nigerians is the problem of Nigeria or Nigeria is the problem of Nigerians any way you want to put it.
Wizkid would have been far bigger than he is if he had come from sane country because he is far more talented than Drake, Wizkid is more talented than all these so called American super stars but over there they enjoy government and corporate organization support while we here don’t .
Considering all you’ve said so far how do you think government can come in, what do you think government should do to support the Nigerian entertainment industry.
Well the government people should know better because they are in a better position to know this things. Who are the people in the entertainment industry? Youths, how do you empower the youths? You empower the youths through what they do most. I put it to you today that more than 70% of the Nigerian youths are into the entertainment industry one way or the other. so when government invest in the industry it is the government that benefit far more than we the practitioners because by supporting the industry that employs more than 70% of the youths of the country they have succeeded in empowering the youths and creating more opportunities for others and
at the same time using these youths to launder the image of the country as the youths will no doubt be good ambassadors of the country everywhere they go around the world.
Who is the next artist on the line for the Euro tour?
Yes we’re already on it and it’s no other person than Kiss Daniel and you may want to know why. I often make an enquiry of the artist they want to see whenever I travel, so when I travelled with Patoranking I asked them who they want next and they said Kiss Daniel and that is how we decided it’s going to be Kiss Daniel. You’ve worked with so many artistes, tell us how it has been working with them particularly after they have become rich and famous?
Truth is, the Nigerian artist is the most difficult to work with most especially when they became rich and famous as you said and the reason is very simple. More than 80% of the Nigerian artistes are from a certain background and you know as fame is, most of these guys never believed they will ever find themselves in the position they found
themselves and when that came they weren’t prepared for it because  they didn’t imagine it. And another problem is the so called artiste managers, they play too much, they play with their business, you don’t have to be a friend to your artist because if you are you will not be able to tell him the right thing, you will be afraid that if you tell him he may feel bad and when you eventually do he will see you as a bad person because you gave that chance from the beginning. Don’t tell your artist what he wants to hear, tell him what the people out there want to hear, tell him what the radio and the tv stations out there want to hear, tell him what the music fans out there want hear, tell him what your clients want to hear, tell him what the business people out there want to hear.
Some years back while on this same Euro tour with Oritsefemi you had an issue with Danku and his management team. What actually happened?
Oritsefemi is in Europe as we speak, he played in Italy yesterday, I give him shows. The question is, where is Danku? That is the way this life is bro, I don’t really want to talk about this things because like I said earlier if you remember we are family, the entertainment industry is one big family but sometimes we should be mindful of what we do, we should not attach sentiments, you don’t attach sentiment in business, and as a manager you don’t need to befriend your artist because artistes are a kind of people, they don’t have bus stop they are not loyal to anybody, they are only loyal to their career. They can be with you today and tomorrow they are with someone else. You fighting and making enemies unnecessarily because of them is wrong because tomorrow they may still leave you and go to that person you were fighting because of their interest. What happened between us was a business misunderstanding that some people for whatever reason best known to them decided to blow out of proportion just to pull me down and dent my image but as you can see I’m still here doing what I’m doing and even bigger and better. Everybody is doing what they are doing but the question now is, where are we now? The truth is that we are all where we are supposed to be. So to me that is also a lesson because I have learnt that in whatever I do I must never do anything to pull anybody down. What actually happened was a case of somebody somewhere trying to pull me down but the fact still remains
that I am still here. It’s only God that knew what happened. We are still together, Danku is probably my best friend, Oritsefemi is my artist and we are one big family.
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