If you have not heard about “Green October” you probably from another planet or better still not yet born….This has been the word on the streets for the last couple of weeks.
Finally Vol 3 of the “Green October Mixtape” is here and as usual, well packaged and of course the best of African Acts in one place…..
I decided to find out what makes “Green October” thick so i contacted Harry Baba who is……………
So how did it all begin?
Where did the name come from?
I came up with the name Green October in early 2006 when I first thought of putting together a compilation of up and coming Nigerian artists.
“Green”, in this context, stands for the “people of the land”; all the diverse Nigerian peoples (Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa etc), their cultures and traditions. “Green” also represents the stunning Nigerian terrain, and the country’s rich natural resources.
“October” has three distinctive meanings:(1) the month Nigeria had her independence (October 1960) from British colonial rule, (2) it also signifies the month Harrison’s mother, Pauline I. Nwozo, passed away from a long struggle with Ovarian cancer, (October 1996). Finally, it symbolizes a new positive “awareness” or “perception” of the international community’s view of Nigeria and Nigerians as a whole. October in this sense represents the autumn season. Old leaves pass away and “fall” to make room for new leaves to grow and thrive. The positive, progressive presentation of a Nigeria that the rest of the world is unaccustomed too (the old leaves), dies off and re emerges as “something new”.
Green October therefore is the positive representation of Nigeria to the Western World by introducing them to something creative, beautiful, “something new”. That would be its incredibly diverse and powerful music. It is “new” to the outside world because all they know about Nigeria is stories of fraud, corruption, greed and religious strife. Most recently Nigeria has been linked to terrorism. Hopefully all Nigerians will discover their very own “Green October” (something special about Nigeria they could share with the world) and show the rest of the world how gifted and truly blessed we really are.
What gave you that initial push?
I was motivated by my love of the music and the negative images of Nigeria portrayed in the media. Nigeria, like most countries have a variety of problems and issues that it deals with. Nigeria, unfortunately, is known in many quarters as the most corrupt country in the world. Unlike most countries that have a bad rap, there is really nothing positive mentioned about Nigeria in the media. The fact that I was an established Nigerian promoter in the US gave me the idea that if I could get a Nigerian DJ to partner with we could put together mix tapes and push them to the Western world online. I knew that they would have to be of a certain standard and quality for non Nigerians to even listen to and accept. My initial inspiration for the fast paced Green October musical format came from listening and admiring Atlanta based DJ Mighty Mike’s Heavy Something Mix Tape series. I already knew who ManixX was and reached out to him. He said “yes” and we put out our first mix tape, Green October Volume I in April 2009.
When all the partying is over how do you like to chill out?
I love chilling out with my wife and kids at home, playing video games with my girls and watching movies while sipping on wine or munching on popcorn. During the summer we travel a lot, go out to the park, movies, dinner, playgrounds to play soccer with the girls, and travel to decent amusement parks. In addition, when I am alone at home, I listen to music, surf the web and run my mouth on the phone. There has not been much chilling out lately as I am now pursuing my Masters in Technology Management at the University of Maryland. Pray for me ooo! It’s been a minute since I have been in school and these professors are showing no mercy!
So how is the scene in your eyes at the moment?
The scene is complicated. We are in a position to take over the music scene globally if we can all come together, pull our resources like the Hispanics did for Reggaeton. Nigerians are incredibly selfish. Everyone wants to be their own “island” so to speak. There are people with serious connections in the American music world that are not sharing that information because they want all the fame and glory for themselves. When these artists don’t make it hose resources “die off “ as they are never shared with others Nigerians who may have more talent and promise in breaking through. We have so much talent and promise. Heck, I reached out to some folks myself that had blogs, entertainment sites, I reached out to popular PR folks, Nigerian magazine owners, African fashion/entertainment magazine owners and others who blatantly refused to work with me or carry or help me tell my story as I am telling you. I was told “no” by most, others beat around the bush, some refused to respond and you had those who promised to work with me but always seemed to be “busy” all the time. This is the reason why I have an American PR person helping me with my press release.
The scene is one of greed, jealousy and selfishness. There is that Naija Entertainment click that exists in Lagos and Abuja. They are keeping everything in house. This is what’s stifling the growth of the movement.
What advice would you give to up and coming DJs/Promoters?
I love the Coalition of Nigerian DJ’s. Dee Money, Mighty mike, Three K, Preview, ManixX, DJ Obi, Zimo, MixMaster Brown and so many others are really helping the Movement. DJ’s should continue to play NEW music and do their best to add at least 2 new Nigerian songs to their playlist every week. I think they should communicate through their networks on specific new songs (as long as those tracks are really, really hot) and play them simultaneously at parties. What I am trying to say is if a new artist like Shakar El Swaggar comes out with “Anyhow” you know that if that specific track is played enough by ALL Dj’s it will catch on. So it all depends on the music also. It has to be a song that even though it’s NEW, it should be so hot that it would not entirely disrupt the party they are spinning at. This is the reason I believe most DJ’s don’t play new music: their clients getting mad and people unwillingness to dance to something they never heard before.
Finally: know your clients! For example, If you are hired to spin for people 30 and over, young Nigerian professionals, adjust your playlist accordingly. Don’t take for granted that you will just play what you want to play. Ask your client what type of music, artists or songs their guests would expect. Ask for demographic information. Play what the people want tohear and then slide in a couple of new tracks in between….if you are good to them and give them what they want…they won’t mind a new song or two included in your rotation…!
Most promoters use to only care about one thing: getting their money. Nothing wrong with that but it got to the point where people were expecting a lot more than just a random party with the same people, same DJ, same $20 at the door and get in before 11pm if you don’t want to pay.
Times have changed and promoters are now thinking outside the box in the events and parties they are hosting. Some have branched into talk radio, artist management, community fundraising and other activities. I encourage promoters that think outside the box. I call them personally, hit them up on facebook and let them know that I support what they are doing because I know it’s not easy taking on a new task. My advice to promoters is to continue to think outside the box. It does not take a genius to get a club or lounge, hire a DJ, security, negotiate a bar guarantee, pass out fliers, call, text, facebook people to death and at the end other night the club/lounge owner makes 100 times more than you did…….there has got to more to the game than that. Not saying that they should stop throwing parties, heck, I would be a hypocrite if I said that, but add something more to the mix. Find something you are passionate about, package market and promote it.
How Did You Come About Green October
What Connected You With Dj Manixx
I knew of DJ Manixx in the Washington DC Area. I knew he was part of the Nigerian DJ Coalition. I mentioned to him about a year or two before I asked him to join my project that I was trying to come up with a positive Nigerian concept that I could promote and market to the Western World. I told him it had to do with music and at that time I was thinking of managing a Nigerian artist and pushing him all the way to the top. When this did not work out, (it was not as easy as I thought) I totally abandoned the idea of ever managing a Nigerian or any artist for that matter. I still wanted to do something musically. But how? I could not rap or sing. Then DJ Mighty Mike came out with Heavy Something Mix Tapes, of which I was a big fan, and a light bulb went off. The mix tapes are available online, FREE of charge and the music is blended in so no artist can really say you are selling his music. This meant no stress in dealing with artists directly (who can be a pain in the neck sometimes). I called ManixX, we had a meeting and went to work on Green October Volume I. We do make serious attempts to reach out to all the artists featured on our mixtapes and let them know what we are doing. To date no artist has refused to have his or her music on the projects.
Anything else you want to say? Any shouts?
Shout out To God and my Lord Jesus Christ to whom I owe everything, my wife and Vice president of Operations Tee Nwozo, my daughters Olanna and Maranna, brothers, sisters, their families, my extended family worldwide, my incredibly supportive in laws and all my friends on facebook, in the Washington DC metro area and all over the world!
I would like to shout out all the blogs, entertainment websites (too many to name hear) that agreed to put up our story, music, links and graphics. When they do this for us I take their link featuring my story and post it on facebook. So if you go to Tribe X Entertainment, LLC or Harry Baba Presents Green October and go through the archives you will see the links of the Entertainment magazines, blogs, and websites etc that have supported our movement.
Last but not least, I would like to thank my haters. Without them hating on me for no reason I may not have been as aggressive as I am to succeed in all I do, especially the Green October mix tape series and other projects. The more they hate, the more determined I am to succeed at what I do best.
That’s how it went between Harry Baba (Tribe X Entertainment CEO) & Mixmasterbrown (Afrijamz CEO), i hope this pushes at least one person to a whole new level.
I gotta go take care of business, so i’ll catch y’all some other time with another inspiring personality.