Next World Music act and CEO, Oluwajuwonlo James Iledara, fondly known as Jaywon, gained limelight courtesy of his new single, Filebe, which became national anthem and ever since, he has proved that he understood the music game properly dishing out mind-blowing songs and breathe-taking videos, and shows no sign of quitting music anytime soon. The Kogi State-born super star recently released yet another album titled ‘Oba Orin’ which is doing quite well in the music market. Jaywon has all the reasons to be happy as he has scaled through past struggle days to a well-bred artiste. Cornered during the shoot of yet another video off his new album, Juwonlo spoke with MUTIAT ALLI about the journey so far, current project and other issues. Enjoy…
You recently dropped your album, ‘Oba Orin’; what has been the feedback since its release?
We thank God, the feedback has been very positive as words of encouragement also follow suit. I am not relenting anytime soon as all hands are on deck towards the coming project. In fairness, we received good comments and for other comments, we will surely work on them as stepping stones. We recently wrapped off the video shoot of a new video from the album titled ‘Gbadun’ featuring Mavin record act, Reakado Banks as directed by my brother, Unlimited LA. Determined as I am, the first two weeks sales of the album was taken to a motherless baby home in Abuja as plans are still in the pipelines for more of such.
What informed your decision to take part of the proceeds from the album to charity?
The truth is I have always wanted to do that for so long but when your actions and plans are restricted by record label, you don’t just have a choice than to follow their rules but now that I am my own boss, I can take decisions on my own. I said to myself when the album was released that the first income that comes in must go to charity and I thank the almighty for making it possible for me and with the support of Mr. Churchill (Tonto Dike’s husband), I was able to put smiles on their faces in my own little way.
With your charity move, do we get to see you float your foundation soon?
I don’t think I will want to own a foundation to my name for now because there are so many things attached it. A lot of celebrities own foundations and at the end of the day, there is nothing to show for it. For anytime I am in a good mood, I visit a home to reach out to them in my own small way because it’s always good to give as the heart of giving can never be quantified.
At the point of your visit, were there plans of taking full responsibilities of a particular child that struck you?
Man proposes and God disposes; adopting has always been part of my dream in life, we will see what we can actually do to actually adopt one of these children and take care of them. While I was there, I realised so many things you know; and one is how cruel humans can actually be. I was shocked when I saw a baby who was less than six months old with name Glory that was dumped outside by her supposed parent. I may not have the capacity to adopt one of them now but I have promised that whenever I am in Abuja, I will always stop by to see how they are all fairing.
Back to your album, why the name, Oba Orin?
Oba Orin is a name I got from one of my fans shortly after I released ‘This Year’ which is one of the greatest songs ever out of Nigeria and still remains ever green. I equally come to term that whenever I perform ‘This Year’ at shows, the response I get is usually Jaywon Oba Orin; so when I was thinking of the title for the album, Oba Orin was the first that came to mind.
In one of your songs, ‘Jolly Muke,’ you were full of praise and sounded more of like a Church Boy?
For ‘Jolly Muke’ where I featured Alapomeji boss, 9ice, the song is just a reflection of the glory of God in my life and career as a whole and I took time out to give praises to him because I don’t have any other God that I worship. Both in the lyrics and video, I showed my hustle spirit from nobody to somebody and the fact that I am still standing in the industry and people still reckon with the brand Jaywon is worthy of praise for me.
Will you say this is the best album so far from Jaywon’s brand?
Remember I cannot be the judge here neither will I say this is my best album judging from my previous work but I leave members of the public to give their verdict on that. When I was preparing to drop this album, I had two albums ready but decided to push this out first and the response I have been receiving is good as people even adjudged it best album in 2016 and album of the year. It’s left for the people to decide if the album is good enough; I sing for people to enjoy my brand the more.
From all the tracks from the album, which will you consider your favourite?
That will definitely be ‘Show Me’ because so far whether you like it or not I’ve been trying to actually keep a relationship, to actually stay calm, stay out of scandal and just have a woman to myself but a times it feels like it’s very hard to achieve. You will realise that the girl you have relationship with turns out be the celebrity when ordinarily you are supposed to be the super star there. It’s my most beloved track for all the bachelors.
Take the music away from Jaywon, define your personality?
Oluwajuwonlo is an easy going personality, friendly and very accommodating; I see myself as the boy next door as music is my life. I am the every other guy on the street but the only difference now is that I am popular because of my chosen career. I am also that person that when angry and you think I will be muddy, with music, I am back to life and won’t remember anything that happened between us. In essence, music gives me life and that’s why it’s hard for me to quit.
With several industry players on your album, how easy or tough was it getting them on the album?
It wasn’t easy and at the same time, it was easy because for me, the first question I ask you when I call you for collaboration is “can you do it”? If you cannot do it, let me know now so that I won’t start to chase you up and down like new babe. I think that’s basically what helped me in getting these collaborations done at ease. They were all supportive from the beginning to the end.
So who amongst them, did you enjoy recording with during the album process?
Sincerely, I enjoyed every bit with all the artistes on my album, from the recording process to the finished work. Everybody was eager just like I was too. I want to use this medium to show appreciation to 9ice, Olamide, Reminisce, Tiwa Savage, Reakado Banks, and Ortisefemi to mention but few for making the album a success.
Being the CEO of your label, how do you juggle all the responsibilities of family and tight schedules?
It’s not been easy I must say; it’s been tough but I am enjoying it. I’m enjoying the fact that I’m paying people salary. Of course I run a company and I always tell them if I don’t make money, there’s no way I’ll pay, so you need to work so you can make money you know, so I’m enjoying the fact that I run a company, I’m the boss and I’m still going to get partners as time goes on. It’s been stressful; you can imagine I’ve been in Abuja for how many days, I came into Lagos from Abuja recently and I’m in the state shooting a video already; I have other things to attend to within the period I’m in Lagos, so it’s a lot of work for me. I’m enjoying the fact that the money is coming in and at the same time, I schedule my plans properly.
With your tight schedules, do find time to check on your parents in Kogi?
Off course I find time to visit my parents no matter my busy schedule; my mum understands me very well; her support and prayer keeps me going.
Are you currently enjoying your celebrity status?
Of course, it’s good to be known, it’s good to be famous, it’s good to be recognised, it’s good to be ok, to actually know that people love you, they listen to you, they enjoy listening to your music. So I’m enjoying it but I don’t let it affect me.
How have you been able to keep off scandal?
It’s not been easy , it’s been God all the way, because I don’t know how I have been able to manage it; I don’t just do more than myself, I stay on my zone and I am cool.
So how do you feel when you read negative stories that are not true about you?
I just laugh it out because I know them very well and I know that, ok, it’s important that the paper must sell or the online platform is trying to gain traffic. I just feel bad when some artistes go out to actually react, sometimes you just have to ignore, ignore everything if you don’t want it to trend but if you want it to trend, you can talk.
The industry has witnessed a lot beefs and controversies this year; do you think hitting fellow artistes is necessary?
I don’t know of anybody but for me, I think it’s good because when someone fires at you wrongly, be prepared for a feedback that has sense in it. The thing is sometimes it’s fun, you know, sometimes it’s just fun, you just have to speak up and you have to ignore a whole lot of things. So, when I hear people say, people steal songs, they’ve been stealing my song from the beginning of my career till date and sometimes I just ignore them, but when I feel like talking, I would say like ‘come on men, give me some kudos, give me some respect’. This is my intellectual property, when you pick a line or two from my song, accord me the respect.
From somebody who started with ‘Filebe’ and taking over the industry, what do you think is your Unique Selling Point?
My voice is still my market and when I started, people said I sing like 9ice but today I’m happy they’ve been able to differentiate us and you know 9ice is baba, Jaywon is baba now too. We thank the Lord.
Do you have any female artiste you are dying to have collaboration with in the industry?
I seriously want to do collaboration with Asa because she is one of the greatest female artistes from Africa; I respect and love her craft so much.
So, do you have a celebrity crush?
None for now.
Which award are you like looking forward to have one day?
It’s not an award, it’s just, I don’t just want to come to the industry and go. I want to be remembered for good, to be one of the greatest Nigerian artistes, greatest ever out of Africa, so it’s more than an award to me, it’s like a mark. Just like one of my uncles use to say; wither you are good or bad, you will be remembered. What you will be remembered for, that’s what is most important. I want to be remembered as one of the artistes who ever came out of Nigeria or Africa and he’s doing great.
Has there been any point in your career that you’ve felt like quitting?
Yes there have been times when I felt like quitting the music career because it’s actually weird when you do things right and some people feel like it’s not enough, if you don’t make yourself visible enough, people feel like he’s dead. You can just satisfy a quota of the populace even if you keep it real.
What’s the craziest thing a fan has done to you?
Asking me to sign autograph somewhere crazy, at least that’s one of the craziest ever that I’ve ever experienced.
When should we be expect the wedding bell?