The name Jones Albert may not elicit a quick response but just mention ‘prodigy’ many will agree that they know him like the back of their hands as the Afro-pop slash R&B song writer and singer. Also wearing the hat of a Video Director, the University of Nigeria Nsukka graduate with a bachelor degree in accounting is not signed to any particular record label, but he is the Managing Director of “Horizon Entertainment outfit” in Lagos. In this special interview, with EDIALE KINGSLEY and AYODELE OSHIKOKHAI he talked about the heart of the matter, the dynamic transformation that is expected to go on in the entertainment industry that could bring multi-billion naira revenue to boost Nigeria economy, if the government could harness it rather than leaving it to private sectors and individuals to manage as it is currently going on in the Country today. Excerpts:
FOR those who don’t know you, can you tell us who prodigy is?
Prodigy is my stage name and I was born Jones Albert in the Niger Delta, Edo state to be précis. I was born into the nuclear family of Mr. & Mrs. Albert with 2 elder sisters. I had a modest upbringing and corporate nursery primary and secondary education in Lagos before my admission into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) where I bagged BSc. in Accounting.
You have come a long way in the entertainment industry. What inspires you into music?
Well music has been my passion right from when I was very young. I just discovered that I could sing at a point and at the same time realized that I could put pen on paper and come up with words and rhymes. I did not have any formal training in music, but it was just a talent which initially was relatively dormant in me that has now blossom into what you are seeing today.
Having discovered your talent earlier, one would have thought you would read music in the university.
As at the time I went to the university, it was not so much of a popular thing among the youths to study music because in our own setting everybody want his child to be either a Doctor or an Engineer etc. but for me I just wanted to read a course that will stand me out when you mention it to people in the society. Today I did not regret for not reading music in the university, but I am happy that I have my BSc in accounting despite the fact that I may not likely use the certificate to get a job.
As a Video Director, can you tell us about the music video “love me proper”
Recently I was featured on a music video track by Lamili “love me proper” the song is now online, television and radio entitle Lamili featuring prodigy “ love me proper”
What is your general Assessment of Nigeria music industry as at today?
Nigeria music industry has registered it own place all over the world and right now it is the biggest music industry in Africa. A lot of Nigeria artistes are collaborating with international artistes and a lot of them too are being recognized internationally as they are now bringing home international Awards to the country. Nigeria is rated at the world-class level whereby the whole world now recognized our brand of music.
What would you have done, if you have not gone into music?
I probably would have been a chartered accountant. May be I would have gone back to my profession as an Accountant. I probably would have like to work for myself because I do not think I can just sit down and work for someone else endlessly. I probably would have set up a business that would have enabled me to be flexible with my time that will make me an independent man which I crave for.
If you were to come back into this world again will you still go back to music?
Absolutely, yes, yes in the sense that music called me. I do not force myself to become an artiste. Let me tell you, I do not bother myself so much about money or profit of making money in the music industry. I enjoy everything I am doing. I could be sad right now and once I start singing I would be happy. Music heals my soul. So, if I have the opportunity to come back into this world again, I would still want to become an artiste.
Any regret in life?
I do not have any regret in life, but shortcoming like every other human being. We have our moment of happiness and challenges but whenever you are down, you learn from that mistake and move on with your life.
What is your relationship with other artistes in the country?
I have a very good relationship with other artistes in the country. I have worked with so many of them. As a video Director, I meet a lot of them and shoot a lot of video featuring most of them. I see them as my big brothers and I learn a lot of things from them. I also get along with the new ones. I socialize with many of them. They call me on their mobile phone. We meet and discuss issues of the moment from time to time with them.
Do you intend to have Collaboration with other stars in the country?
I am not so driven with collaboration. Although it may happen someday or at some other point, but I am not so driven by collaboration with anybody.
As a young handsome and talented musician, how do you cope with your female fans that come to you?
The female fans are a very important part of what we do. We just appreciate them, but as for those women who may throw themselves on one because of his status as a celebrity, one should know where to draw the line, so as not to be distracted or messed up by them. I get a lot of attention from the female fans, but I do not lost my focus on what I am doing. I love my female fans, just the same way they love me, but I know where to draw the line when it comes to professionalism because I hate scandal, hence I am always very careful of what I do.
How profitable is the entertainment industry today?
I wish the government could pay serious attention to the entertainment industry because it is a multi-billion naira area that is supposed to bring a lot of money and employment to the country if it is harnessed by the government. I for one owned an outfit “Horizon Entertainment” I do not sign to any record label or signed by anyone. With this outfit, I have provided employment for a number of youths who work with me, hence the industry is an important area the government should look into because it generate a lot of revenue for the country and it is profitable too. Lamili is a very good friend. She featured me in one of the tracks, but I wrote the song and we co-produce the song.
It is generally believe that the music industry in the country is no longer vibrant as in the past. What is your take on this?
I think the music industry in Nigeria is bigger than it has ever been or has been in the history of Nigeria. The government should actually look into it and invest in the industry. Right now, the private sector is the one investing their own money on it. You can see how far it has been, how much more it would be if the government invest their own money into it. The industry is doing absolutely great on its own being financed by private sectors and individuals. It is growing tremendously well.
In your own opinion, what area do you want the government to come in?
There are so many areas the government could come in. They could invest in programmes that can harness talents, provision of studio for vocational skills for people to go to especially those people who has interest in music. They could also set government institutes such as acting, entertainment by making it affordable for people to go to. Government should also recognized entertainment, acting and singing as sources of revenue for the country economy. This can be achieved when the government starts investing on it as in other countries.
Any advice for the up-coming artistes?
The up-coming artiste should come out and do things on their own way. Be yourself and be prayerful. The whole industry is monetized. If you want to sing, it involves a lot of money. Shooting of video is also very expensive. They should get sponsors, get their own record label or sponsor themselves. They should showcase their talent and be themselves. They should also seek opinion of others who are on top for guidance.
How do you make your money in the entertainment industry?
We make money from contest show and endorsement as well as online, but absolutely not on the sales of CD and VCD.