By Omiko Awa
With over three decades in the United States of America, where apart from promoting artistes, organizing shows and running other businesses, which include mortgage and telecom, Adams Kelly Salaam, recently came home to do what he has been doing in God’s own country in Nigeria and to mentor the youths.
Determined to up the stead in showbizness in the country, the State University, New York, Finance graduate formed Bryze Entertainment, an outfit through which he mentors, manages and promotes artistes, old and new, and as well rekindle the love for reggae music.
How do feel coming home to find that the Nigerian entertainment sector has changed? He says, “it is like night and day. I left the country thinking Nigeria is there with music, but coming home I discovered we are not even there; we have rather allowed hip pop to dominate the scene. So, coming home, it was like trying to carve a path for reggae music to grow. So, I am happy that we have begun to understand that entertainment can bring in money and create a whole lot of empowerment for the youth and, of course, help a lot of people to stand on their own. However, I must point out that we have not even scratched the surface of our entertainment industry, for countries like the US for the huge revenue in the industry give it due attention and make laws that protects the artistes.”
For a person with his type of background in the telecom and mortgage sectors, one would have expected him to go into either of the sectors, but the returnee sticks to music; but why music? “It’s my passion, we need to understand that in life there is a point you get and you begin to understand where you are suppose to go. Of course, there is this believe that as a boy growing up with strict parents, the first model to them is education. It was on that premise that I decide to study something to satisfy my parents, but after graduating and having my degree I went for my passion — showbiz. I realized that I have more to do for music and entertainment than working in the bank or in any other industry. Though I have worked in the financial and telecom sectors in the US and even own a real estate and mortgage company there, my passion lays in music and I have come back to contribute my quota,” he says.
In October 1, 2010, Adams lighted up the entertainment scene by organizing
Reggae Carnival at Oniru beach, Lagos. This attracted a large turn out of people who have been longing to see Jah people do their thing in our country. With the success of the maiden edition and consequently the second outing held, last year, at the National Stadium, Lagos, the music fest has come to stay as a yearly event, as plans are on to hold the third edition come October 1, aside from making it a global fest.
Not resting on his success, the show promoter has gone a step further to establish a borderless republic known as Reggae Republik on radio.
Why Reggae Republik? “It is an interactive forum on radio, where upcoming reggae artistes and, of course, the old ones are invited to speak on the music. Here, different reggae artistes tell the audience how they feel about the music and why nobody seems be hearing about them. We established it, not only to rekindle the love of the music in the people, but to take reggae to another level, to make it be at par with international standard.” He continues, “Reggae Republik is solely my idea. It’s a product of the few things I discovered in the Nigerian music industry. I realized that the love of the music is weaning, so I decided to revive it by bringing reggae artistes from different places across the globe to talk on Rainbow 94.1 FM every Sunday from 4pm to 6pm. It is a call-in programme that allows people to make their contributions and ask questions about the music,” he says.
Commenting on the radio show, Adams informs, “the responses we get from the audience is unbelievable. Though it is an entertainment platform, we still counsel and enlighten people on life. There are a lot of talented reggae artistes in Nigeria that people do not even have the opportunity to see or hear, less interacting with them, but with the radio show it becomes an easy thing. People from other countries across the globe can also participate in the show by logging onto www.rainbo-fm.com to listen to us live.”
Comparing reggae to hip hop, don’t you think reggae is fast losing its grip? Adams retorts, “one thing I know for sure is that reggae is here because people are really doing it. Listen to somebody like 2Face, he might not come to declare that he is a reggae artiste, but his lyrical content and sometime his rhythm have a flavour of reggae. However, Nigeria is a funny society that moves towards anything in vogue. We believe so much on quick returns on investment, which is one of the things killing us. We must learn to grow things like seed; throw a seed on the ground, you don’t expect it to germinate immediately. For the fact that hip hop is all over the place people began to think reggae is dead in the country, but if you go back to all the hip hop artistes you will see a bit of reggae in what they are doing. Most artistes would want to do hip pop for the monetary returns, but the fact remains that Nigerians want reggae because we have hundreds of thousand of people following the music based on the findings of our radio show.“
With the show you must then be managing a lot of reggae artistes. Adams disagrees, “presently, I am managing only Precious Stone. He has been here for a while and nobody seems to hear or listen to him, but thank God for Reggae Republik that gave him and the like of Pato Ranking, King Wadyda, Rockman and other artistes the platform to come on board. I know as I am mentioning these names you would be asking who are these fellows, because nobody is tapping into them to understand that these artistes are tuning out one of the best reggae music you can ever listen to in the country by their personal efforts.” He adds,” we have the likes of the late Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, I Roy, U Roy, Johnny Nash, Jimmy Cliff and others in Nigeria, but they have not been given the platform until now to showcase their talents. No matter what, we must note that these artistes are on their own using their songs to unite the country. Take a song like Bind Us Together from Precious Stone; it can be a national anthem, especially with what is happening in the country, now, with the Boko Haram thing. The lyrics talk about who we are, our sameness and whether we like it or not that we must bind ourselves together as one invisible nation.”
And your dreadlock? “Oh, it’s a fashion dread, you don’t have to be a dreadlock to do reggae. Though I love other genres of music, I seriously believe in what reggae artistes believe in — human rights, anti imperialism, anti-colonialism, civil rights, love, living together and others. For, we either live together or perish together.”