Growing up in a music family, Enitan Aina’s trajectory seemed predetermined. He studied music at the University of Lagos and even attempted to be a rapper. However, his genuine calling emerged as he ventured into artist management, commencing with a former contestant from the bygone music competition, Project Fame. Over his eight-year sojourn in the music industry, Aina affectionately known as Giovanni, has donned myriad roles — from road management, and booking expertise to artist representation. Presently, he assumes the pivotal role of Director of Operations at Troniq Music, a record label founded in 2019 and boasting talents like the afrobeats sensation, Oxlade. In a chat with Vanessa Obioha, Aina delves into
the multifaceted landscape of the music industry and teases an upcoming project.
With your background in music, did you ever entertain the thought of becoming a musician?
Oh yes. I tried to be a rapper but it didn’t work. I played a few musical instruments like the saxophone. I learnt the piano but drums was my major and I used to sing in the choir.
When exactly did you delve into the music business?
In 2016, I started with Dapo, a former contestant of the defunct Project Fame.
Trust is a very hard currency in the music industry. How did you manage that back then and now at Troniq?
I never wanted to become a music manager. So, for me, it’s all about self-awareness. You’re dealing with an artist’s career, putting their life in your hands. So you have to be true to yourself. Artists get scared because a lot of people are taking advantage of the industry. We’ve had a lot of bad deals in the industry, people signing the wrong management contracts, wrong label contracts, and people not exploiting their talents the right way. Sometimes not always the fault of the label. Sometimes the artists don’t understand the business so they don’t know what they’re actually looking for, what it entails. I just learned about the business. I just do what I’m supposed to do and give you the results, and that pretty much eclipses everything else. At Troniq however, our deals are very fair. Every artist signed to us gets value from the onset and the key component in this business is the music, but every other thing such as the merch is split from the get-go. We try to be as fair as possible as we understand that these artists need to be happy doing what they love.
What really sets Troniq apart from other labels?
Vision. Our vision has always been to position ourselves in places where we can collaborate with existing industry brands, management companies or major labels like Sony Music. We’ve always had that vision to expand. My goal has always been to build a career in the music industry. Let people see that there are actually different career paths in the music industry, not just being an artist manager. There are other key components.
Can you shed some light on the key components?
So one thing that has been picking up in conversations around music in the last few months is publishing. Music Publishing is very big. It’s the soul of music. A lot of managers don’t understand publishing. They don’t know what it is. Catalogues are being sold worldwide. I had the opportunity to work with a music acquisitions company that was founded by Roc Nation, they purchase catalogues from these artists. Speaking with artists, I could understand that they didn’t know what it was about what it means to sell a catalogue. Your music can be remade into various forms. So having somebody that understands publishing, that music can be remade 100 years from now into another sound. Some people specialise in that. So in the music industry, you can be a lot of things. You can specialise in A&R, you can be a publisher, a marketer, a PR or even specialise in merchandise.
You seem to have a good relationship with Oxlade?
Yes, we grew up together in Surulere.
What subgenres of afrobeats have you noticed recently?
Afrobeats is not a genre. It is a music style derived from the afrobeat genre that was popularised by the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Afrobeats as a style is still a Fusion. Just like you add African elements to r&b and hip-hop. There are elements in music that make up a genre and a music style like when you’re talking about periods in music such as Renaissance music, baroque, and romantic styles. It switched from Europe to America where you started having jazz, and other new styles. So one style influences the other but we have not gotten to a point whereby our music scholars name our new popular style of music. Back in music school, they called it African pop music because you’re trying to be hip and trendy but also using African style because of the lyrics, composition and everything that adds up to make that style.
What other projects are you working on currently?
I’m trying to set up a DIY marketing platform. Still in the incubation stage. It’s an app called Vayrel. Artists can basically upload their songs and get influencers to use their songs in their content. It’s a way of promoting their songs.