Olawale Omoniyi: Navigating the Intricate Intersections of Healthcare and Music 

For Olawale Omoniyi, navigating the intricate intersections of healthcare and music has been a defining moment that showcased his multifaceted approach to life. With a first degree in Veterinary Medicine and a Nursing degree afterwards, the Ondo State indigene, who has re-jigged his musical journey, is set to explore
his artistic side once again. Professionally known as the KingElaw, his return to the Nigerian music scene is to reaffirm that he was born to make music as well as to have a space among stars in the Nigerian and African music industry. While weaving his educational tapestry, KingElaw’s musical journey sprouted roots in Nigerian soil with the release of his debut singles in 2010, marking the commencement of a prolific musical odyssey. But beyond the studio, he is a very active support system to the grassroots entertainment system, which was why Crawley Records was created to help navigate the storms of the music industry. In this interview with MARY NNAH, he shared how his coming back to kick off his one-time loved passion is a great choice as he is set to release his first single of the year ‘Magazine girl’ by this February  

First, can you tell me the origin of the name KingElaw?

My name is Olawale Omoniyi, and I go by the stage name KingElaw. I derived the name from my first name, OlaWALE, by using the spelling ‘Wale’ from the other end. I added “King” to the name because I have a royal affiliation.  

Let’s discuss your musical journey. When, where, and how did it begin?
I started my musical journey in 2004 with the release of my debut singles. This year was a turning point for me as it marked the beginning of my exploration into the world of music.  

According to your profile, you returned to the Nigerian music scene to re-establish yourself after spending time in Australia. Is Nigeria the only place where you can make your mark or why not explore other parts of the world?

While I was in Australia, I didn’t limit myself to exploring just one country’s musical landscape. Instead, I looked beyond borders and explored various diverse musical genres worldwide. This helped me broaden my potential impact, not just in Nigeria but globally as well. However, there’s no place like home, which is why I’ve decided to return to Nigeria to release my new debut album and fans can be assured of more releases as the year goes on.

Tell us about life in Australia from your perspective. 

Australia provided a distinctive setting for my educational and entrepreneurial endeavours. Its culture and environment enriched my experiences and contributed to the multifaceted approach I bring to my endeavours.

Australia has a high standard of living supported by an educated workforce and a high level of innovation. The quality of education, healthcare, transport, infrastructure and government services in Australia are all above international averages. Australia’s culturally diverse communities make it a special place to live. Almost a third of the population was born overseas and 23 per cent speak a language other than English at home.  

You have always been a science student throughout your school years. You pursued Animal Health and Production and even went on to study Veterinary Medicine. One would think that you would naturally become a farmer or an animal doctor, but suddenly you were found in the music sector. What led to this drastic change?

Despite my academic background in Animal Health and Production, I discovered a profound passion for music that led me to shift my career path. It’s a testament to the unpredictability of life’s journey, but music has always been a part of my life, even from my early days here in Nigeria. I grew up listening to all of my fav artists and this sort of inspired me. 

Amidst your educational pursuit, you still managed to find time for music. Can you tell us what it was like to juggle both?

Balancing education and music were undoubtedly challenging, but my commitment to both fueled a sense of discipline. Each pursuit complemented the other, contributing to my holistic growth. Music is a form of self-care for me, it is what I do when I want to have my alone time and it gives me joy, also when I’m down music lifts my spirit.  There were challenges but it was not too difficult because I loved it so much. I had so much structure, I was super busy all the time and I think the busier I am the more I’m able to juggle, because there’s a lot more movement in that sense, and there’s a lot more structure. It was great. 

Your debut single was in 2010. That’s like 14 years ago.  What was the title of your debut song and the inspiration behind it? And why did it take 14 years to come up with another single? 

In 2010, I released my debut single “Magazine Girl”. The inspiration behind the song came from a conversation I had with my friends, who were also part of the same group as me. During our chat, we were discussing girls and songs, and a particular magazine that was popular at that time. This discussion gave rise to the idea of writing the song “Magazine Girl”.
I was solely inspired to create Magazine Girl by my admiration for all the strong and beautiful female figures in my life. This song is more of an appreciation tribute to them. It took me a while to come up with another song because I’ve been away from the music space for a while. This was due to school, my career, and some other family matters that needed my attention. 

“Magazine Girl” is a project still immersed in, and I look forward to sharing more about it with my fans soon. Have always had the lyrics of “Magazine Girl” written way back 14 years ago, added more flesh to it now and done a lot of work to this project, “Magazine Girl”. 

What is the name of the music label you work for currently?

I currently work with Crawley Records and I’m the CEO of the record label, we are based in Lagos and we are open to signing new talented artists before the end of 2024.

When can fans anticipate the release of your debut album?

On the 29th of this month, my debut “Magazine Girl” will be out for streaming and download on all platforms. My album is currently being worked on and I can’t wait to share the magic with my fans, I’m working with some of the talented producers and directors in Nigeria.

What are you planning to do with the skills you acquired in school now that you are fully immersed in music? 

The skills acquired in my academic journey, particularly in Veterinary Medicine and nursing, provide a unique perspective to my musical approach. It adds depth to my understanding of the human experience. The skills can also be put to work at any time.  I run a company called Respect and Care Community Services, so my skills acquired academically are still being put to use.

Tell us about the mission behind Respect and Care Community Services. It sounds more like an NGO than a company. How does it operate? 

Respect and Care is my company in Australia. Respect and Care Community Services Pty Ltd is a disability support services provider company established in 2021 to provide person-centred care to people with special needs, focusing on respect for individual dignity. Our mission is to care for people living with disabilities and to provide high-quality services that enable people with disabilities to live their lives to the fullest. We believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, and we strive to create an environment where our participants feel valued and supported.  

How do you plan to sustain the company now that you’re back in Nigeria? 

I have associates running the company with me and we work remotely from anywhere we are, there are capable hands (staff) to make sure the company stands, and our team is made up of well-vetted and experienced professionals who are passionate about helping people with disabilities. We work closely with our participants and their families to understand their unique needs and develop personalised care plans that meet those needs.

Can you share your thoughts on the current state of music in Nigeria and provide some advice for stakeholders on how to improve it based on your experience?

The Nigerian music scene is vibrant, but there’s always room for growth. The Nigerian music industry has experienced a surge in popularity due to the emergence of the genre Afrobeats. This genre has become increasingly popular in recent years, not only in Nigeria but also in other parts of the world.

It has become a leading musical force in the international music industry, from the UK to the US, and from Canada to Australia. This trend has been fueled by the work of popular Nigerian musicians such as Wizkid, Burna Boy, Davido, and Tiwa Savage. This has further driven collaboration between Nigerian artists and international acts, creating a unique sound that resonates with global audiences.

My advice to stakeholders will be for them to prioritize collaboration, support emerging talent, and embrace innovation to elevate the industry, they also need to work together with other global collective management societies to get all revenues accruing to our musicians and the music industry from across the world. This will impact the economies of the musicians, the industry and our GDP as well.

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