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Photo: Ikenna Nwagboso (BANKU MUSIC)

Mr Eazi.

Mr Eazi Launches Africa Music Fund

The financial venture is raising $20 million to invest in African creatives, with the goal of setting them up with economic and creative freedom.

Nigerian musician Mr Eazi has revealed the creation of the Africa Music Fund (AMF) with 88mph, which invests in mobile/web-based startups, as lead investors.

The music fund was created to shake up the music business across the Africa continent, providing direct financial support to African artists to master their crafts. Of the project, Mr Eazi says, "AMF will give African creatives the ability to create content without worrying about the financial burgers of production."

Music from across the African continent has been a hot commodity in recent years, with the popularity of Afrobeats and the rising Amapiano genre as a few examples.


"The entire world is looking towards Africa for content," said Eazi, "For the entertainment industry, Africa is sort of the last frontier to be explored. African creatives should be able to retain economic and creative control of the content and culture that they create. With funding from AMF they can go ahead and create, knowing that there are no strings attached—it's just an advance on their future earnings."

The inspiration behind AMF came in light of the financial hardships many artists are experiencing with the global spread of COVID-19. "Post-Covid, some independent African artists might be in such a tough spot they end up signing deals they would have normally not have signed," Mr Eazi said. "But what if artists could get funding without going through a record label? Individual artists can't get funding from a regular bank to create content, because banks aren't set up to understand what collateral they can secure your loan against. You need an institution really focused on artists and content. That's where AMF comes in. It's a financial engine that invests in intellectual property. You come to us, we see how much you make, we give you an advance, and it is secured based on your IP."

Funding will be made available to both new and established creators. It is awarded based on demonstrated streaming revenue, as well as projected incomes on future recordings. "The initial advance will be debited in installments as their earnings begin to rise, with all artists enjoying access to information about their earnings in real-time," AMF said in a statement.

Already on the list is Nigerian producer DJ Neptune, whose single"Nobody" is one of the most streamed Afropop releases of 2020.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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