Mr Eazi started the Empawa Foundation in November last year and is still working on the first year with some of the artists. While on media rounds, he spoke with Ebro of New York’s Hot 97 FM about the growth of African music and Empawa.
On a lighter note, one of the most notable things that Mr Eazi talked about on the show was that he was finally picking Nigeria over Ghana. He talked about Empawa and helping 100 artists from across 13 African countries shoot their music videos.
He said that he had begun the journey with them after they had been selected from 17,000 entries to be part of the first Empawa Foundation 110. They had then been given $3,000 each to shoot music videos for their songs. They went on to pick 10 of the artists to attend a masterclass they set up in South Africa with teachers like Diplo, J5, Jules and lots of producers and artists.
He said they finally picked 2 of the 10 and invested in them some more. He talked about how they had to open Empawa YouTube and Distribution even though they were not exactly planned for at the beginning of the project. He said after the videos had been shot, the question that came up was where to host them. He added that “these kids are like I don’t have a channel and so we had to set up Empawa channel.”
He added that “and then these artists are like… yo! How do I distribute the record, and we wanted to give them the fairest deal, and so Empawa Distribution came about. And from just doing that we started seeing that we are setting up the entire ecosystem for Lagos services in Africa.”
He said that anyone who wanted to join the next batch of Empawa 100 should just pay attention to their website and Instagram because he has committed financially to it for 3 years. He says that there has been more communication and lines are open to collaborations across continents. He said that the major hindrance to growing music in Africa is access to data (internet).
He also revealed that the biggest artists from the Empawa 100, JDurvy and Joe-boy were not signed to Empawa. He said, “They have their own team, so they are not signed to Empawa.” He talks about how they are topping charts and how it is important to support the new wave.
He opened up that he had a deal brewing with MTN where kids could watch music on the Empawa YouTube Channel at zero data cost. He said he had even paid MTN for it and was just waiting for it to start rolling. He said, “once I roll it out, these kids can just go watch videos for free.”
Sadly, there will be no new album this year from Mr Eazi as he says “I’m just in a state of mind where it’s just singles. I’m focusing on new singles. Mr Eazi is also set to release a new single with Jules called ‘Cake’ tomorrow. So at least fans have something to look forward to.
Watch the full interview below.
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