If you are familiar with eLDee, you would recall that he’s an artiste and also the CEO of Trybes Record label.
eLDee used to be one of the top hip-hop acts in Nigeria before he decide to leave it all for the technology world.
Now the Founder of PlayDate, a technology software that helps to monitor how often artistes’ songs are being broadcasted both on radio and television, eLDee opens up on why he left entertainment.
Where have you been?
There’s a lot going on with me. Within the last year and half, I’ve been working on building a solution to the entertainment industry’s problem. The solution is called PlayData. Basically, it is about helping content creators see how they can get value for their works, help COSON know how to share the money they get, help advertisers know what they are playing for. Sometimes you can pay for a hundred spin and they play below and sometimes they play beyond it. So, it’s basically brining accountability to radio and television broadcasting. It’s taking a lot of work but we have a task to meet.
You said it’s possible for Nigerian acts to know how many times their songs are played on airwaves even abroad. How possible is that?
For how long have you been working on it?
For about four years now. I have been working on it before I left the country. I actually got to a point that I needed to go and be with my partners rather than through email. That’s why I have not been in the country a lot of the time. I have a technology background and I have partners who are into technology in the UK.
Is that why we’ve not been seeing much of you in music?
Part of it. Then also, I am married with two daughters. I grew up with my dad being around. I was already away from my children more than 70% of the time. I don’t want my children to remember them growing up without their father. So I chose to leave everything else and find something that will allow me be with them.
So you haven’t been in the country that much
It’s not like I’m not always around. I’ve been in and out but of course, if I’m not on stage, nobody will even notice my absence. So, I go and come back regularly
You left your family here?
No. I didn’t leave them here. I had to relocate them too. The whole point is that I want them to be around me. So since I’m working with myself, it makes sense for them to be there with me.
The last time we spoke, you talked about you losing some of your songs and those of your artistes. Could that be why you decided you were tired of music?
That was a long time ago. (Laughs). I may strong believer in the saying that- if you can’t make it Nigeria, you can’t make it anywhere else. If you think that it’s by going somewhere that you’ll now be okay, it’s a lie. Whatever you can do there, you can do it here. People are living well there and people are living well here. People sometimes give too much credit to the whites. Today now, you are interviewing me. Nobody is going to interview me there. It’s value and I can’t run away from it. I’m a part of something good here and I can’t leave it and go somewhere else because of something flimsy. What will be my reason? I just want to spend more time doing something worthwhile and stop complaining.
So what happened to those acts who were already signed under your label, Trybes Records?
I let everybody go.
Or maybe you weren’t really making much out of music and owning a label?
Owning a record label is business and I already invested money into it. So, I was the one who even lost money by letting them go. So that means I’ve thought about it and made an informed decision. That doesn’t mean that I’ve shut down the label. It just means that I want to focus the energy I ought to use on the label on something personal.
It’s not all about money. For me, I don’t have to do much and I don’t need much to be happy. So, whether I am here or there, I am okay regardless of what I have. I already own a house so I don’t have to pay rent. So people are merely trying to guess whether or not something went wrong that made me leave. At the end of the day, I just needed to find my own self. I’ve made a lot of people happy. It’s time to be happy too.
You gave an outstanding speech at the Nigerian Entertainment Conference even without looking at any book. Were you trained on public speaking?
When you are speaking from your heart, you don’t have to write it. If I ask you to tell me about your life, it won’t take you anything to start talking without looking into a book. So, the PlayData is what I’ve been working on for a long time and I don’t need to steal glances at any book to tell people what it’s all about.
It’s really nice to see that you can do other things other than depending on music as your only source of income. What do you have to say to your fellow entertainers who refuse to go to school?
Go to school. Don’t ever compare yourself to those who didn’t go to school yet are rich because they are a drop in the ocean. You have to give yourself something that can guarantee that you can decide to either tilt this way or this way. Education is a foundation and you can do whatever you want with it. Downplaying school is very dangerous to our growth as a people. Imagine that I didn’t go to school, I wouldn’t have come out with Play Data. When we started Trybes, I made it clear that I would never sign an artiste that isn’t educated. It’s just not my style because first of all, it will be hard to pass across my ideas to someone who isn’t properly schooled. My artistes think music is just about going to studios, mix beat and then add lyrics- it doesn’t work like that. There’s technicality to everything you do and without education, you are limited. That’s not to say those who don’t have education are dumb but education just enhances your ability to do things right.
There was a low turnout of artistes at the just concluded NEC where issues that bothers on them were trashed out. What can you say about this?
I think it may be a timing thing. NEC was in the morning till the evening and most entertainers probably had things they were doing. So, I don’t think they deliberately shunned the Conference because all that was discussed there, were things that affect them.
How do you intend to make your fellow entertainers key into PlayData?
I don’t have to try because it affects every one of them. It’s just like you are walking on bottles and I give you slippers, will you say no?
What if they doubt it workability?
Here is the thing. When you use it because we are giving people free accounts. So when they log in, look at the logs and listen to the radio then compare it to see when it registers on their accounts. So, if it’s a lie, they will definitely know.
eLDee, you are almost twice your size now
That’s not true. That’s inaccurate. My arms are just bigger
Your chest is bigger too. Why was just your arms you decided to build?
I was just trying to be healthy and in the process of trying to work my body, my arms became bigger.