Ebenezer Nwankwo is a music and sport talent scout and manager. He has worked with names like Loose Kaynon, Phenom, Koker, Giftty and a few more. He talks to Tosin Clegg about being an artiste manager, its challenges, the music industry and more
What does it mean to be the manager of an artiste?
You basically have the talent’s career in your hands, you run the day to day, you’re like a coach, you guide the talent and try to make the best decisions for the talent.
What would you regard as one of the major challenges of being an artiste manager in Nigeria?
First, there is the talent, in whatever field, even in sport, but the truth is talent needs funds to be seen, that’s for starters. Secondly, you’re not exactly protected, you could get a talent from level 0 to 1000, but when it’s time to reap your rewards, you’re either out the door or poorly remunerated- too much greed. So yeah, funds and protection.
Do you think artistes and managers structure is properly operated in Nigeria?
No, as I said, you’re genuinely at the mercy of the talent. The day they decide you’re not needed, even if you’ve given them one of your kidneys, it’s over for you. They don’t respect contracts with labels, what is a manager? You’ve got to be lucky to do business with someone that appreciates your work and the effort you put in, and as a manager, reinvent yourself and stay in the know. Be of value, you’ll always be sought after.
Where do you see the future of Nigerian music with the kind of contents played everywhere today?
I genuinely feel like there are some artistes that’ll be hot for the moment, but in two to three years time, they won’t be as relevant as they are now just because their music is monotonous and people will get tired. It’s a wave. However, there are some that’ll be on top of the game 10 to 15 years from now just because they make timeless music. Hopefully, the guys that are the dons in the afrobeat space will continue to reinvent themselves and we’re able to have a long run at the top because at the moment African music is huge!