Afrobeats is the future, says presenter, Sheila O

International broadcasting star Sheila O who was the first female personality to host a nationally-syndicated Afrobeats show in the United States on mainstream terrestrial platforms has brought her show tagged “How Far with Sheila O” to Nigeria on the 24/7 digital TV HipTV.

The show created by Afrozons started on Youtube and now is making its way to HIP TV Africa on DSTV to air in over 44 African countries. The show would be aired every Friday and Monday at 10:30 pm beginning from October 9, 2020.

The show which is being sponsored by Star Radler and Farouz (Nigerian Breweries PLC) allows the host, Sheila O to go one-on-one with celebrities from different sectors. Celebs that we love and are trending. No topics are off-limits and the celebs break major news on the show.

The Series One of “How Far” features many celebrities like Zack O Malley Greenburg from Forbes Magazine, 2 face Idibia, Wurld, Sean Stockman from Boys to Men, Tiwa Savage, A-Star, Nasty C, Sean Paul, Konshens, StoneBwoy etc.

In a chat with Potpourri, the American of Nigerian descent ( Sheila Okonji-Ashinze, simply known to her followers as ‘Sheila O’ ) shares her passion for African music in general and Afrobeats in particular, highlighting what she’s bringing to the table to stir up things in the African entertainment sphere. Excerpts:

From your experience and exposure, what does the future hold for African music?

African music or Afrobeats is the future. The style is being adapted by a lot of A- list US and of course UK artistes. The versatility of the sound is undeniably palatable by most in the diaspora including non-Africans and is a party starter.

Anything that gets the people dancing is a sure winner. The lyrics are non-threatening and the rhythm is infectious. I strongly believe that Afrobeats would end up being elevated like Hip hop. Afrobeats is a culture, lifestyle and an on-going movement.

What should African artists, especially emerging ones, do to attract collaborations with their American counterparts?

Make quality music and be authentic! Some artists try too hard to change their styles to fit the American listener. Collaborations may help music tracks trend but it’s not the be-all or end-all. There are instances with collaborations, where the label does not approve/ sign off nor are willing to push/ promote it.

You hear of many collaborations that are mentioned/ promoted but never get out to the public. The trick is making your track a HIT and then letting the collaboration request come from the American counterparts. That way, they do all the clearing with the label/ management and your time is not wasted. Period!

What’s America’s interest in African music?

The labels are waking up to the performance figures of African music not regarding if the music is on the airwaves or in the US. Labels are relocating to Africa and opening offices. It’s been an untapped market that they want to be a part of. There is also a growing population of Africans in the diaspora, people from other cultures and Afro music enthusiasts who are consuming the music.

So, my advice is to remember that the power lies with the African Artists. Afrobeats is now big and making mad waves, so don’t sell your music or rights away. Do deals and not takeovers. Go for percentage splits with powers that be instead of collecting upfront cash that you would spend quickly while your song goes on to making endless money. This can be something you can leave for your kids. The right song is great real estate.” Go hungry now to eat plenty”.

About Sheila O

Sheila O is the mastermind creator of ‘How Far’. She is also a media personality and international booking agent. Sheila Okonji-Ashinze known to her followers as ‘Sheila O’ has a very dedicated and large social media fan base. She is also credited as the champion behind the first Afrobeat show on a major FM dial in the United States of America.

She is the Founder and CEO of Zons Holdings, a booking agency for A-List artists and celebrity speakers. Her experience as a booking agent helps with her explosive line up of guests. Zons Tours has toured a long list of international stars, including Megan Thee Stallion, Chris Brown, Jay Z, Beyoncé, Kanye West, J Cole, Nas, Mariah Carey, Ciara, New Edition, Busta Rhymes, Nelly, Ludacris, Wyclef, Akon, Joe, Usher, Jamiroquai, Anita Baker, SWV, 112, Sean Paul, Ja Rule and Ashanti, Sean Paul, R Kelly, Shaggy, 50 Cent and G Unit, Nicki Minaj, Dionne Warwick, Boys II Men and many more

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