Many of us are still trying to find their purpose in life.
Not jonah chukwu Orji: he’s the Founder of a management company & he his also the Head of Label Operations at Distroplug a label service/distribution company based in Ghana, Nigeria , South Africa & United Kingdom.
You might be comforted to know that Jonah chukwu Orji started his music industry journey after many failed attempt to get into university to study sociology.
There came a point, as there does for all of us, where Jonah thought he better do something more prosperous with his life and find something he was passionate enough about to work hard at.
Music was the obvious choice.
Audience Attention management is now three years old and has a 5 strong team working across A&R, creativity & management & plans to add more people in the near future.
Jonah has further ambitions to expand to Tech and outside of music, wants to move into sport, TV , and film…
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE MUSIC BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE?
I’ve been a music fan for as long as I can remember , i sold Music cds with my uncle on the streets in Lagos , I even have music Sign tattoos on my left hand & my childhood friend was running a In house independent label Bunna Empire in 2015 also worked with a lot of artists behind the scene helping them with marketing or being a project manager.
YOU’RE A MANAGEMENT COMPANY, YOU ALSO WORK WITH A DISTRIBUTION COMPANY AND ALSO A PUBLISHING COMPANY IN UK WHY OFFER ALL THREE SERVICES?
I wanted to make sure that I have a level of difference in how I do things within the music industry & Help Independent artists, I really wanted our point of difference to be the fact that i add value to people careers.
if i get an artist that comes to me and need my help in terms of management , distribution & Publishing I always go above and beyond to make the artist a success and to me, it’s irrelevant what i actually do, as long as i have a business relationship with them.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS AUDIENCE ATTENTION MANAGEMENT IS DIFFERENT TO WHAT YOU EXPERIENCED EARLIER IN YOUR CAREER?
Audience Attention Management is a full-service agency with a staff of 5 We have an amazing roster of clients that includes artists as well as some really exciting developing artists & hopefully we will add actors , footballers , models in the nearest future, Our staff is a collection of the hard working , most talented, kind-hearted professionals I’ve ever had the pleasure of growing up with of of them.
Our model is more matriarchal and, frankly, it’s get better. We’re building something really, really good based on what we think management is now and where we think it’s heading.
At AA Management we think of our artists/clients as our partners, family and we help them diversify so that they have very successful, sustainable careers.
AA MANAGEMENT IS AN IDEAL COMBINATION OF TECHNOLOGY , ARTIST DEVELOPMENT AND CREATIVITY, WITH AN INTERNATIONAL MINDSET BUILT IN ITS DNA.’
WHAT IMPACT DO YOU SEE THAT APPROACH HAVING ON THE COMMERCIAL MUSIC SCENE?
This is just my opinion, but I see a lot of hit songs, and I don’t necessarily see a lot of artists with long careers. The art of artist development has shifted — there are a lot of examples of hit records and then you never hear from the artist again. We are in a much more singles, rather than albums, driven market. That’s also because of the generation of young people who are listening to music, whose attention spans aren’t as long.
HOW DO YOU THINK THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS IS GOING TO IMPACT THE MUSIC BUSINESS LONG-TERM?
I think it’s going to be done differently. I think that arenas like the O2 [in London], Live in concerts in Nigeria & many concerts around the worlds for example, are going to struggle, Things are going to change as far as how many people can gather together. I think that the universe is trying to make us be a little more intimate with each other in a very strange kind of way. And I think that creativity is going to flourish because people don’t have any distractions.
But I’m very excited about what 2021 has to offer from all the creatives who are sitting in their homes, by themselves, or figuring out ways to produce and create with people through their computers, I believe that 2021 will be one of the most amazing years musically that we have ever seen. Both in recorded music and [the] live [industry]. We are going to come out of this and we are all going to celebrate together.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF CAREER RELATED ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
The best advice I’ve ever been given, honestly, is just people rejecting me over and over and over or
looking down at me and saying, better luck next time, you are never going to get in here.
Thickening my skin, lighting my fire, and driving me to where I am now.
When I think of what’s driven me my whole career, it’s often been different versions of that. Maybe it’s a relative or a family friend saying, ‘When are you going to give up on the something you are chasing and try something else.
WHAT ARE YOUR BUSINESS PRINCIPLES?
Being as transparent as possible and always seeking to add value.
WHAT ONE THING WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT THE MUSIC BUSINESS?
It’s not really a question of changing the business, more reminding everybody’s what’s core to it. And that’s building a bridge between the talent and an audience.
Everyone should remember that most artists only get one shot at stardom. Executives have many.
We must treat every artist like our entire career depends on their success. As the business continues to grow, if we lose sight of that basic truth, then we’ll be in trouble.
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING A LABEL ADDS FOR ARTISTS
I feel like a good label is good at taking an artist from 50mph to 100mph. A management company can develop a artist nought to 50mph, but taking it to 100 is what Good Record label is really good at.
THERE ANYONE IN THE BUSINESS WHO YOU WOULD CALL AN INSPIRATION?
Definitely Jay-Z and what he’s built with Roc Nation, Wizkid Manager Sunday Are what he has done for Wizkid career over the years Scooter Braun Justin Bieber manager and what he’s built with SB Projects & Dre London Post Malone manager.
YOU’RE IMPRESSIVELY YOUNG FOR A BUSINESS OWNER — HOW DID YOU LEARN YOUR BUSINESS ? IS THERE ANYONE YOU’VE LEARNED FROM?
When I want to get into something, I seek knowledge in many different ways. That could be from reading books to being inquisitive when I’m in situations, and researching, looking at different music articles This is the information age, so if you really want to know something, it’s literally a few clicks away. I did my best at learning the theory and applying it in practice and I tried to utilise other people’s experiences too. I try to live vicariously through other people and learn from their mistakes before I make them myself.
WHAT ATTRACTS YOU TO NEW ARTISTS?
Talent, but most importantly, dedication and hard work. try not to look at their talent too much and look more at their willingness to listen and their willingness to work hard, because those two things will take you a lot further than just talent by itself.
HOW DO YOU BREAK AN ACT?
We invest in what we believe in, we simply seek to add value where we can. It’s less about what we want to do and more about what the artist wants to do. We always want to reach for the stars and be able to work with people at the highest level possible but those things you can’t really guarantee, so it’s about believing that someone can achieve something and being able to invest in it. That’s all we want to do. If they then become the next Wizkid or davido or Burna boy , I will be happy, if they don’t, as long as I have done my job, added value and tried to accomplish the targets that the artist has set for themselves — and that I have set for the artist — that is all i can work towards.
WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO A YOUNG MANAGER STARTING OUT?
Make sure you know who you’re dealing with. I talk to my artists for maybe three months, six months, sometimes a year, just helping them, getting them together, I might get them to the point they’re putting music out and I won’t even have sign a contract with them yet & Also, [artist] managers should learn every aspect of the business – learn publishing, learn touring, learn everything you can – so that you can bring value.
If you are not bringing value to the table you’re probably gonna get fired at some point, when the artist realises you’re not bringing nothing to the table. So make sure you’re bringing value.
WHAT DO YOU THINK SUCCESS MEANS IN MUSIC TODAY?
I think it means a variety of things – one person’s view of success is another person’s view of failure. Success for me, personally? I want to grow my Audience Attention Management to be nationally and internationally recognised, I want to break truly international acts, create opportunities around our brand and grow and develop regional infrastructure to the level that it impacts the world.
WHAT ARE YOUR ULTIMATE AMBITIONS? WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE IN 10 YEARS?
I want to have built an entertainment company that spans different sectors but is true to its mission statement of adding value to all its clients. With the content stuff that we are looking to do, I want to be able to tell interesting stories about people and showcase the creativity within different spaces in the Nigeria & the rest of Africa I also want to work on an international level and bridge the gap a bit more by taking artists from the Nigeria , Ghana , Rest of Africa and exposing them to different territories by doing international collaborations.
Am Nigerian & been around other Africa countries so I understand the size of the world a little bit opportunities here in Africa is a big issue.
What would your advice be for newcomers to the music industry?
You’ve got to have tough skin. People aren’t always going to see it how you see it — especially in the beginning. When you haven’t yet accomplished anything, the whole world’s going to doubt you. You have to believe more than anyone else. You have to know that you’re going to hear way more no’s than yes’s, but you’ve got to fight. You’ve got to have tunnel vision. People are going to be hurtful. They will turn you down, they won’t answer your phone calls, and they’re going to make you feel really insecure. It takes a different type of drive to get through all of that.
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