Tells City People How He Coped
Seun Bankole who is better known via his stage name SB Live is one of the current music acts in high demand. Since Covid-19 Lockdown began he has been doing a lot Online, doing music shout outs for those having Birthdays and events.
He was our guest recently on City People Instagram Live Chat with Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE, during which he spoke about his new Online performances. Below are excerpts.
How has it been coping since the lockdown? What has life been since March and what have you been up to?
Well, let me say it has been amazing. A lot of lessons on how to do things differently, especially digitally. I never knew a band can actually play online events because I have actually played some. But you know, life is a learning process, it has been fine all the same. I was able to rest some more.
When you say online performance, how does that work out?
Like they say, every disappointment is a blessing. When the pandemic started, I was on a tour in America, I had to rush back home, with my management team. That was early March. When we got to Nigeria, nobody knew what to do. We were just hoping on God and expecting the best out of the situation but somehow, we started Instagram live party where we would play on Instagram and all our fans around the world would join as long as you are following. We have been able to improve on the Instagram party that when you connect your phones to your home theatre at home, you feel like you are in a real party. So that is what we have been able to do overtime. Then zoom party events where you can do a private event exclusive to the celebrant where their family and friends can join them all over the world. That is zoom. Some people want to stream the party for them on YouTube. You will just go on YouTube at a particular time and you play live for them. It is sort of an eye-opener.
What do we expect from SB live post lockdown, now that it’s been eased?
Right now, the lockdown drew me closer to my fans, I have time to attend to all my messages and connect with a lot of people. I have another group from this lockdown for my online party where we connect, myself and my fans connect with each other, share ideas together on what to do and what they expect from us in terms of businesses all over the world.. After COVID, for me, I don’t think I want to throw away the online event. Whenever I go out to play, I can as well stream live the event on Instagram for one hour now, so for any wedding I play, we will probably share a part of it online, so that we can keep it alive because that has really been a blessing.
So has it made you develop the online option kind of?
Yes, because when we play online, at some point when people begin to enjoy the music, they begin to request for your account details, and as such, bless us with something. That is how we have been coping and that is how we live now.
So what are your plans now as regards music?
Like I said, the pandemic is a great blessing. For me, because there is this project, that I wanted to record in the last 2 years, I was able to record that during this pandemic. It is a gospel album, it is also a mixtape. It is a compilation of hymns, 43 in all. I was able to do a lot of things like I did a song for the Lagos state government. So many projects, so it has been a big blessing sort of.
I listened to the song you did for Lagos state government and it was really nice, so how did you put that together, in terms of content and all?
I am a music business person. I think about business all the time. I knew a lot of people will not think about it at this time, your excellency, the executive governor of Lagos state, Jide Sanwoolu, was going to be one year in office and no one really remembers so I thought of it and I said to myself, this is something if I do, this man has been up to the task, he is a responsible governor. When COVID came into Lagos, his response was amazing. That can not be overlooked or taken for granted so I decided to do something for him and appreciate him and it came out well. I did it to celebrate his one year of excellence in Lagos.
Has there been any other project you did recently?
I recorded the gospel album and that will be coming out soon on all digital platforms in the market. I have also been able to grow my fan base. On Instagram, I have had extra 7000 Instagram followers in the last 2 to 3 months. So I’m growing.
How has all of that helped in terms of projecting your music?
The fan base is growing. The brand is getting bigger by the day. It is fulfilling for me. It makes me happy because it is like you are doing something, marketing is poor, and nobody is hearing about it. Sometimes people introduce the brand to their friends and then it goes on and on like that. So that is how we have been growing.
When you started the year, what were your plans, and how did the lockdown affect or not affect it?
I was having my tour in America when the pandemic started so we had to postpone. So I had a plan with my management team, to tour Europe for the first time this year, scheduled between June and August. We won’t be able to do that this year. Then my concert, Sblive concert, every October, we had to shift it till next year. Those were the areas I have been affected by the pandemic.
You have been doing this for how long?
I want to talk from the point I started Sblive because I was doing other things like singing in church, but I am starting from Sblive point, that was 9 years ago, 2011. I have been doing this professionally for 9 years.
Your relationship with music started when?
From my mother’s womb (laughs). I knew I wanted to sing. The only thing I had always want to do with it even when I was in church was how to make it a business. A lot of people don’t know music is a real business. I got the business side of it wrong many times before I got to brand SB. So it was at a point where I said okay my name is SB and I need a name with that song, so it was at that point, I started getting the business part of it, so the rest is history.
What has been your relationship with other artistes in the profession?
Everybody is my friend, I am in good relationship with all of them. I don’t have any competitors. The only competitor I have is myself, to be better than I am. I don’t want to have a better yesterday. Not beefing anybody but I don’t know whether anyone is beefing me, but I am at peace with everyone.
Can you mention the numbers of collaboration you have done and with who?
I have a song with 9ice, I have the video with that song, Gbemileke. I have a song with Seriki too. I was supposed to do a song with Tubaba before the pandemic but we could not do it. I am a life band artiste, I don’t want to shift focus, I just do the collabo and switch back. But in the future I am looking to work with the likes of Wizkid, Davido on a live band session, that is what I think collaboration is because when you do collaboration without your live band, and people see you on TV, people will think one now sings hip hop, they will get it twisted. But if I can succeed in doing that, bringing Davido, Burna Boy and Wizkid on my beat, that will break records. Live music is real music, not digital music with all due respect. KSA and Fela always play live and they were not tired.
We have 6 months left now, what are your plans?
For me, I am in the event industry and before things get to the former normal, it will take a while. For about 2 or 3 months. We just keep believing God because I don’t want to do away with my online practice after the pandemic. I want to continue my online party because it has brought me a lot of people from my Sunday’s live band online for people across the world. Even if I am not streaming from my sitting room like I have been doing, we will also be streaming live from anywhere we set up.
What words do you have for your fans?
I love all my fans all over the world. Without them, there is no SB.
In terms of fashion, how do you develop your fashion ethics?
For me, it is one of my strategies to sell my music. To tell people it is continuous progress we are making. I feel comfortable in whatever I wear. So I love to look trendy. I am a young man so I need to dress well.
Is it possible for many of you artistes to come together and possibly play a part in taking advantage of the pandemic to engage your fans?
I think we are playing our part already. We are merrymakers. We put smiles on people’s faces. We make people happy. Most bands playing online are making people happy so we are playing our part. The initiative is welcomed if we can come together to have a peace concert or post COVID concert. For me after the COVID, I will put up a show where all my fans can come together to know each other and relate together like an exclusive party for my fans where they network and better each other’s life.
I have found out that the 3 months have helped many of us develop the IT side to entertainment, what do you think?
That is why I said I will not do away with my online performances. It is helping us.