Three winners have emerged in the just concluded Don Jazzy’s Enigma Beat Competition. The competition, which went viral while it lasted, was launched a few weeks ago with over 1,800 submissions. After screening and short-listing the entries down to top ten, the publics were invited to vote for their favorite artiste.
According to a post on the website that hosted the competition, notjustok.com, the top 10 entries had 34,410 votes from different parts of the world. On Monday, 15th August, the top three artistes who emerged winners were announced. IBK Spaceship Boi, was top winner with 13,214 Votes. While Teeklef Unogu came second place with 7,864 Votes and Opeyemi Akinloye aka OPZY had5,746 votes, coming third place.
In this interview with Jennifer Ehidiamen, the Computer Engineering graduate from Covenant University, Emuwawon Ibukun Kevin, aka IBK Spaceship Boi shares his experience on the Don Jazzy Enigma Beat competition and his aspiration forthe future as he launches fully into the Nigeriam Music industry.
In retrospect, who was your favorite artiste from the top 10 shortlisted on Don Jazzy's Enigma competition?
IBK: Wow! That's a tough one because everyone had elements in their delivery that was exclusive to them, and I appreciated the individual diversity each time I listened through the top ten list. They were all deserving winners, but I can't seem to take a pick.
The track you entered for the competition started with "a toast to the winner," was that a premonition that you would win?
IBK: Yes it was, (Laughs) because winning for me was encapsulated around the fact that a young man or woman would be inspired to dream and become what God wants them to be on earth after they listen to the record. I was positive I had delivered to that effect and shouting out a toast to the ultimate winner in the deity of Christ was to reassure myself that He would bless His people through the work He inspired me to do.
If you had not won the competition, whom else do you think deserved to win on the list aside Teeklef and Opzy?
You won the competition with a striking 13,214 Votes, compared to Teeklef's 7,864 Votes and Opzy's 5,746 Votes, what do you think endeared you to the listeners who voted for you?
IBK: I would say the message and the way it was delivered. I heard the beat and immediately thought "cinema", hence I introduced the effect elements like the thunder sound, rain, soldier foot stomps, extra vocals to make the intro fuller and an inspiring hook, with the body of the rap focusing on the story of God's salvation told in a manner the rap artiste, Common, did in the song “I used to love her”. It was different and stood out. For some people, it was a bold step doing what I did. I can't forget a comment from someone on twitter saying "Wow! You spoke about Jesus without saying His name but we all got the message. That is true creativity." But most importantly, I found favour with God and with the listeners because it was ordained to be, even before I was born.
How was the waiting process, between the time the poll closed on notjustok.com and when the result was announced on Monday?
IBK: (Exclaims) It was horrible! Ah! I had to remind myself of God's word that says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your request known unto God." It was a true test of selflessness. There were many moments of doubt because I didn't know what it would be judged by. I kept telling myself, "but you are already fulfilled in what you set out to do, which was to inspire people". It wasn't a pleasant waiting moment I must say. But God proved Himself.
Where were you when you were told you won? What was your first reaction?
IBK: I was on a Bike, heading out to see a friend. I find traveling on Bikes an efficient means of beating the traffic jam in Lagos. Anyway, as we rode along, a friend sent a BBM message saying "Yayyyy!!! You won". I was like “Please don't play with my emotions, oh please!” All of a sudden, another message came in, and another and another, all saying congratulations. I broke down in tears as the Okada (Bike) rider kept going. Immediately called my mum and told her what had happened because mummy was supportive with her votes, with prayers and all, thank God for my family and friends, they were all so supportive.
Before the Enigma Beat competition, where was IBK Spaceship Boi and now that you won, what next?
IBK: Before the competition, I was working on my debut album schedule to drop sometime in 2012, a current member of bez's band and very well into the business of creating music for other artists, companies and all. What happens next is obvious to me because I have always been on "what next" since I was born. It is simple, be sensitive to listen and obey Gods voice because like I said earlier, He is the author and director; I am just an actor with a script He wrote for His play.
Tell us a bit more about life as a music producer and songwriter
IBK: It's fun having the ability to create; an amazing experience having to go through old records, redefine the sound and make it fresh for the human ear consumption. "There is nothing new under the sun" King Solomon once said. It is pretty cool being your own boss and pushing yourself to achieve your goals. It is exciting and fun, especially when the set wages for your services are handed to you, wow! That sure is amazing.
You studied Computer Engineering but today you have ventured into music full-time. Was this an easy transition?
IBK: Music for me has always been my life. I wanted to go to Australia to study Sound Engineering prior to going to Covenant University to study Computer Engineering. There was no transition at all. It was staple right from my tender ages. I knew this was what I was going to do and I bless God for all the people that added to me being where I am today.
What advice do you have for young Nigerians who are aspiring to be or pursue a career different from what they are studying presently?
IBK: Go for it! Develop yourself in what you want to do. It takes lots of reading and doing what the average person won't do in order for you to be exceptional. I can't tell you the amount of sleepless nights I have had in my little journey so far. Make sure you have a strong purpose for going into what you want to go into, and the motive should be centered on solving a problem or adding value.
Why did you enter for the Enigma Beat competition?
IBK: I entered because it was an opportunity to get God's word out. I entered the competition to inspire that boy and girl who would listen to what I put out. It was a selfless route for me and I am grateful it turned out the way it did.
What is your opinion about the Nigerian music industry? What excites you about the industry? What difference are you bringing on board?
IBK: The Nigerian music industry is in transition like most things are in the country. Where our country is today is primarily as a result of the mindset of its people. We hold our future in our hands but its beauty is evident when we commit it to the hands of God. What excites me about the industry is the growing desire for development and improvement in the nature of material its artistes put out. People are gradually moving from the mediocre state of mind to actually pushing themselves to be creative. The industry is still “doggy dog,” but we are getting there. I want to stir up the drive to put out quality products that would inspire my nation and the world at large. Let's make our nation the most desirable place to live in, let's get more youths thinking like job creators and not job seekers. We need more Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) growing to become Conglomerates. Lets work towards setting policies that will be enforced for the growth of the industry. Let's grow, we can do it and we shall. God bless Nigeria.
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This interviewed was first published in the Nation Newspaper, August 21st, 2011.