PEOPLE THAT MATTER: AUDU MAIKORI -ENTERTAINMENT
Once in a blue moon comes a maverick in the entertainment industry whose talent surpasses the rest in the market. The maverick is Kaduna born and Kings College Lagos graduate Audu Maikori, the CEO of Chocolate City Entertainment Company.
It was during his first year of university Maikori developed a strong interest in the entertainment industry. “I was asked to design a poster for a show during my first year in university.”
After receiving a Law Degree from University of Jos, Maikori went on to practice law however still harboured a strong passion for music due to growing up in a very musical house hold. Partnering up with his older brother Yahaya and business partner Paul Okeugo, with whom he formed The Guild of Artistes and Poets in Abuja in 2001, the trio registered Chocolate City.
Since then, Chocolate City has been leading what I call Third Wave Renaissance of the Nigerian music industry, with the first being Fela/Sunny Ade and second being the Sade/Seal era’s as they expand and develop new talent and sounds. Moreover, The Chocolate City Entertainment Company has fast become one of the biggest entertainment conglamorate in West Africa since their launch less than a decade ago.
Inside Maikori’s chocolate box, one would find Brymo, DJ Casie, Ice Prince, Jesse Jagz, M.I, and Pryse. In recent news, Maikori’s talent Ice Prince swooped up the ‘Best International Act’ Award at the 2012 BET Music Awards held in Los Angeles earlier this year and is scheduled to headline his first UK tour this October.
And with Maikori’s recent move to Lagos, fans can expect more surprises from The Chocolate City Entertainment Company.
I was curious on how things were going and arranged a trip to their Lagos head quarters in Lekki on Tuesday. It certainly a chocolatey visit for me as I was greeted with a cup of Milo (a popular chocolate drink in West Africa), which I love, chocolate chip cookies and a slice of chocolate cake as it was Ibrahim or ‘IBB’ as they call him, the Social Media Co-ordinator’s birthday. There is a chocolate cake only policy for birthday at chocolate city according to Maikori. I had a great time and as Audu said during our second interview “Chocolate City is a city with very sweet things going on.” I couldn’t agree more.
Yes, this wasn’t the first time, Audu and I crossed paths. We did this interview back in April on the afternoon, of the African Movie Academy Awards. Sadly, as fate would have it, the interview files went bust. It was very embarrassing for me as Audu is a very busy man and took time to meet with me. I eventually mustered up some courage to tell him what happened. I expected him to reply with some carefully selected choice words. He didn’t. Instead, he agreed to another interview post his business travels and Lagos move. So after months of planning, I’m so happy to share an interview with The Chocolate King of Lagos -Audu Maikori.
On your move to Lagos
NL: So what would you say the big difference is from moving from Abuja to Lagos?
AM: Lagos is not a strange city as I attended KC -Kings College I am still very much involved in the Kings College Alumni network. We are having a career / networking event next week. But the honestly speaking, waking up in a house and not in a hotel is the biggest difference.
NL: How are you finding the paparazzi in Lagos? Do they chase you?
AM: No, they do not chase me, but the more established / regular photographer know who I am. Two years ago when I was filming Nigerian Idol I got a lot of unwanted attention from the paparazzi. It was ridiculous. For example, I was walking to a place to buy food and they just crowed me as I got into the car. I mean, I spend my career building up artists so I’m used to being in the background and when you find out you are no longer in the background and people are watching you it’s a different story. I think the most dangerous thing is when some of them pretend they don’t know you.
NL: What do you mean by that?
AM: Well, for example you go into a shop and you want to buy something and you slip and fall. When you fall, they say oh sorry sir. In this case, they will say oh do you know who that guy is to someone nearby. Or I am having a secret meeting and they are around and they say hi or pretend not be eves drop, but they are taking notes of what I said.
NL: What is the weirdest thing you have ever heard you have been doing or done in the tabloids?
AM: I generally keep out of the media so I generally, don’t have those weird stories about me. I’ve gotten comments like: “oh I know him,” but nothing strange.
NL: So what about the sayings any “publicity is good publicity” and “if they are talking about you (about anything) you are important”?
AM: Well, yes and no. For example, everyone knows who Ben Murray-Bruce (The CEO and Founder of Silverbird Group along with his brothers, Roy and Guy ) is but you never really hear anything odd about Ben Bruce. There is a way to manage your publicity.
*Nonny Photography (Audu Maikori Photo taken at S&S Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos)
*Chocolate City Entertainment Company Logo courtesy of Chocolate City Entertainment Company.