Obiajunwa Chinonso Justine, popularly known as Sir Justine is the Managing Director, CEO, Sir Justine World Entertainment. SJW Record is a fast-growing record label in Africa, we have been in the music industry for more than two years now, and have signed some very talented artistes like Victor Ad and others, we have done a couple of songs with some top African celebrity artists like Davido. Our second artist is BlackJazy, and we did a track with top African artiste Wizkid, titled, “ARIZONA”. Victor Ad also did a track with Davido, titled, “TIRE YOU”. SJW as a record label has three artists, Victor AD, BLAQJERZEE, and ACEBERG TM, a newly signed Artist. We are launching our first track with our newly signed Artist, ICEBERG this month-end.
In this interview with Moses Nosike, he discussed the benefits of government investment in the entertainment industry, the job opportunities for our youths, and economic gains. Excerpt:
In line with your vision, how do you think your company has improved the business of entertainment and the creative industry in Nigeria?
SJW as the fastest-growing music company in Africa exists to shape culture through the power of artistry. We are the community of creative entrepreneurs committed to creativity and innovation. We are creating and innovating in the entertainment industry with the messages that if you can dream it, you can create it and you can live it.
Our vision is to build an institution and academy for young talented artists or musicians and to create a window for investors to participate in the entertainment industry, profitably and to create a model and be a pacesetter for other record labels to follow. We want to create an industry, most importantly, where ethnicity, tribe, and wealth will not be a determining factor for a good artist to hit fame.
We are a fast-growing company determined to give opportunities to young upcoming artistes and also to create revenue and opportunity for government and private sector players to invest in entertainment.
You talked about your company as a community of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneur, can you give more details?
Like is said earlier, we are a record label that allows young and talented artists who are looking for a platform. We give opportunities for young talented ones to showcase their creative abilities and we provide opportunities for people who want to invest and generate revenue from the creative and entertainment space.
We want to be a pacesetter for other record labels, upcoming and existing record labels, to follow. And also to motivate people that you can do it; if you can dream it you can, to make people believe in music and to bring out the talent in young people. We are building a community of creative talents who will shape the future of entertainment in Africa and around the world. So, we are a community of stars who are eager and determined to rule the entertainment world.
What, in your view, are major challenges of the entertainment industry in Nigeria today; what do you suggest as a way forward?
One of the major challenges is the reluctance of investors to invest in this industry. On the part of the government, I feel the government should invest more in music and entertainment in general. I feel that we do not have a standard law for the benefit of the record label owners, unlike in other developed countries.
The government should invest in the music and entertainment business, that way, we can have standard and supportive laws which should provide a suitable platform for investors. The government should invest to encourage us the record label owners so that we can effectively engage our talented ones so that we can take Nigeria and Africa to the world. Nigeria as a country in Africa is blessed with abundant talents, so the Nigerian government should look into the music and entertainment business and give the industry full support to grow.
And, also provide enabling laws that will enable smooth flow and to enhance the capacity of the record label owners who are desirous to grow the sector. There are no supportive laws in Nigeria which favor the record label, that is why some artiste when once they hit fame, they start having issues with their record label because they know they can walk away freely not minding the investment the record label has put behind them. These make most record labels or people who would have been interested in music to feel reluctant to invest.
How do you think the world rating of the Nigerian creative and entertainment industry stands today?
Well, I feel we are growing from steps one to five. We are going fast, we are doing well. From Afrobeat to what we have now, all superb. However, I feel government should invest and participate. In world rating, I think we still have a lot to do. For us to go forward and for us to go higher, we need to come
together especially as record labels. We need to have a union and speak with one voice, we need to have one mind and need to work together as a family. We should be able to collectively push our talents, once talent is accepted out there we should as record label come together behind the artiste because he or she represents Nigeria and Africa.
And when you make a road for some it will open the door for others. If the likes of Davido and Whizkid are out there and people are saying who are these guys, they are from Nigeria, the world will be curious to know more about what is going on in Nigeria as we see it today. We need to put more talents on the world stage. That way you attract more audiences and opportunities for the upcoming talents. So, as a record label, we need to come together. Entertainment is another major source of national income and revenue to support our country.
How does the economy of Nigeria benefit from the entertainment industry and what does the future look like?
Of course, the economy of Nigeria will benefit more from the entertainment industry but the government needs to invest in it. As of today, it is entirely a private and individually driven sector and efforts. We have taken Nigeria to the world and that has enabled lots of foreign investors to come in and invest in the entertainment value chain.
We need more investment and interest from the government, as you may well know, this industry creates jobs for young people and more jobs can be created if we can expand the industry the more. Our young people are hungry and Nigeria will benefit more in the future. Look at Davido, BurnaBoy, and Wizkid, more of their kind are coming. The future looks great.
You have invested so much in music by signing on very top artistes, how do you recover your money after a whole lot of production process?
Yes, the first music business is a thing of passion and requires patience, more importantly. When you see it as a passion, though it is business, though the income is very important as a businessman, you must have a passion to understand and benefit from the music business. You have to undergo the investing stage. You have to put the artiste out there, the artistes have to be known. You have to accumulate and build the fan base.
It is like training a child and investing in him or her to be able to become productive. So it is always difficult at the beginning stage but there is a benefit to it. I am still on the sowing stage. I would not say I am very certain about recovery; I am just passionate and committed to growing this industry. Most importantly, you have to do the right thing, have the right artiste, produce the right songs, and make sure your artiste is in good space and then leave the rest to God. You just have to do the job. It is a thing of patience but you must have passion for it.