From his run with Kennis Music to running his own record label, Olajuwonlo Edahi, aka Jaywon, has come a long way in the Nigerian music industry. His 2012 song, This Year, is still serenading the airways and the artiste says that surpassing that track would be a feat. In this interview with OVWE MEDEME, he talks about his new album, charity works and beef in the industry among other issues.
Where has Jaywon been all this while?
I’ve been around doing a lot of work. And I’m excited because of the album I just released. It is titled Oba Orin. That is basically what I’ve been up to. It is even more interesting for me because this time around, I decided to give out the first two week’s sales to Heritage Homes, a motherless babies home in Abuja.
What’s the concept behind Oba Orin?
After the release of the album, some of my fans started calling me Oba Orin. I didn’t give myself the name, and the title was not because I’m trying to be proud. On my twitter and I changed my handle to Oba Orin and it started trending. At some point, we had three different titles for the album. We discussed it, the marketer was in love with Oba Orin and we are like, since everyone loves it, we should put it up.
How many tracks does the album have?
It has 21 tracks, two skits and one intro.
Did you feature any popular artiste in the album?
Of course I featured some of the best voices in the industry, like Tiwa Savage, Reekado Banks, Vector, Oritsefemi, Olamide, Phyno, Storm Rex, Mode 9 and a whole lot of other people.
Talking about your label, how many artistes have you signed so far?
I’ve always believed in discovering new talents and anyone who’s been following me will know that I discovered more producers than anybody in the industry. Basically my label is not just signing artistes, it’s about supporting some people, taking some particular people from one particular level to another. We like to discover new talents and see how we can support and groom them. We don’t need to sign them. I know in the industry, everybody believes in signing artistes. I don’t want to sign any artiste and keep him just there and not do what I’m supposed to do for him or her. So it’s not about just signing artiste, it’s about grooming them.
What are some of the qualities you look out for when taking up an artiste?
Right now, in Nigeria, talent is not enough right now, but one of the first things I look out for in an artiste is the talent. Secondly, I consider their attitude. Not everybody understands the power of you saying you want to support someone. It’s not all about me; it’s about the people I want to help. They need to understand that there are lots of artistes. I feel really bad when I go out there and meet people that are very talented and have good behaviour and they don’t have anyone to help them. That’s basically where I try to come in.
In 2012, you were everywhere. Do you have any song that will bring a banger again?
This song This Year, to me is much more than a song. The song was so big that I might find it difficult to make such a song again. Some people even did a remix of the song without my knowledge. I was at Eko Hotel some days ago for Shalanga and the way the song came out, it sounded like a new song. So to me, it’s hard to make a new song like that again. I’m not planning on doing that type of song again because it might be very hard because I don’t just make music.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I just sit down and think. I think a lot, and that helps me.
Aside music, what are the other things you do?
Basically right now, music has been putting food on my table and that of family. Yes, I have a lot of things I do, some I don’t want to talk about right now but people will get to know about them later. Part of it has to do with my relationship and I really don’t want to talk about that right now.
About that, are you still single or you had a secret marriage?
I’m not married but I have someone who is very special in life. We are trying to work things out and as well have other businesses we do together. We are not just together as a couple, we are actually business partners.
When should we be expecting the wedding announcement?
You might have to wait forever.
So how do you relax?
For a while now, it has been very difficult for me to actually do things because I want to do them. I have to check myself. So any opportunity I see to relax, I use it. It has been work all the way. When I’m in the studio, I play the song that I have recorded. If I’m lodging in a hotel and they have a snooker board, I just go there and relax or something like that. But I can’t just choose a day and say I want to rest or choose a place to go and relax.
If you are to choose a female artiste as wife, who would you choose?
I’m actually crushing on Niniola. I think she is actually good.
What’s the attraction?
She is talented, and she is beautiful. I think she just perfect.
So how do enjoy being a CEO?
That’s actually very tough, me being a workaholic. The issue with me is, when you employ someone to do a job for you, and you end up being the one doing the job yourself at the end of the day while your employee gets paid. And everyone knows it’s not easy to pay salary because even if you are not getting enough income, people under you must receive their pay. So if I’m paying your salary and you are not doing what you are getting paid for, I don’t get comfortable.
You were with Kennis Music for a while. What is your present relationship with them?
With all due respect, everything I know today I learnt from Kennis Music. No matter what happens, I will always give them credit. A lot of things must have happened, but I still owe them a lot. Whatever happened between me and Kennis Music, I don’t want to talk about it. To me, Kennis Music is the best thing that has ever happened to me. So whatever happened between us happened because we are close; we are business partners. If we weren’t business partners, nothing would have happened.
If you had the opportunity to go back there, what would you do differently?
If I had the opportunity to go back to Kennis Music I will definitely grab it, but it will not be the same way it was before. I would do a lot different. The industry we had then is not the same as now. Over the years, a lot has changed, and for you to relate to this day industry, you have to be part of it.
Will Jaywon ever delve into the movie world?
You never can tell. I’m actually talking to some people right now, and if things go well, I might just be cast in the next Super Story. In this industry, there are so many doubters. I don’t like to use the word fake. They celebrate people only when they are dead. If you have anybody you like in the industry, you should celebrate them when they are alive, and some people we should celebrate everyday in the industry are King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Pasuma because these are the people we grew up listening to, all this thing we know today we learn it from them.
Take the music out of Jaywon, how would you describe yourself?
Juwon is just like every young guy out there looking for a way to survive and he does it in a different way. Whether we like it or not, na wetin man go wack, e dey find. That is why when I go out and people see me the way I act, they say I’m humble. I’m not humble; I’m just being myself, because I don’t like to put myself up.
So what’s your take on the rising issue of Baby Mamas in the industry?
I’ve actually said a lot about that. I don’t see it as a bad thing or a problem. The only problem I see is that of people having children and not taking care of them. I think we should make a law in this country that any man that gives birth to any child and doesn’t take care of them should be jailed.
Don’t you think it’s wrong to have kids out of wedlock?
If you have 10 baby mamas and you have enough to take care of them, then that is nobody’s problem. What would you say about people who get married and after three or four months, they parted ways. Even the ladies of nowadays are days are not ready to be loyal to any man and say I want to stay with this man and be loyal to him.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I will like to be remembered as one of the best artistes to ever come out of Africa.
What is the craziest thing a female fan has ever done to you?
I had an experience in Dublin when one lady actually asked me to sign an autograph on her boobs. That one was a very long story. Then there is another incident when a lady asked me for a proper kiss. It was crazy.
Did you oblige?
At least she got a peck.