On Tuesday, 20th November 2018, Percy Ibikunle Ademokun, the former Manager of King of Fuji music, K1, will be 50. And he will be celebrating it in Dublin where he lives with his family. Before he left K1, he was the biggest and most respected artiste manager in Nigeria. The humble and friendly dark-complexioned guy has not only made a name for himself as an
He is a citizen of Ireland. Last week, he spoke with City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE on his life at 50.
How do you feel turning 50?
I feel good. At 50, I just want to appreciate God for all he has done for me. For life itself. I give Him all the glory. Second, for my family! Happily growing adults He bequeathed to me. There is no joy as seeing your children doing great and having a supportive wife in all you do. In terms of feeling older, I sincerely do not feel different from how I felt at 40 or 45, though I decided to slow down on a couple of things.
What are the lessons life has taught you at 50?
Life has taught me to respect life itself more and not play with any moment left that God will give me to be alive. It has taught me that there is too much lies out there, that the only true friend one should always turn to is God. Life has taught me that family is first as no matter what you do for outsiders, they never pay you back well, but your family, no matter what happens, they are with you all the way. Life also taught me that you must never toil with your health.
Over the last 5 years, what have you been up to?
In the last 5 years, I have been hibernating. Laying down plans for the future and crossing them out one after the other. God has been wonderfully answering every prayer and plan I have laid at His feet. We have been moving from height to height without noise.
Since you left K1 as Manager, have you left showbiz?
Once you are in showbiz, you never quit. K1 is my Egbon and so shall it be for life. You know life is beautiful beyond, how we see it.
Let’s talk about your K1 years. You managed him for how many years?
I managed K1 for 18 years and there has been no regret. I believe I put in the best I could and I know he appreciated that and I also appreciated the opportunity. We remain a family for life!
How did you meet him? What sort of a person is he?
There is no way I can describe him beyond how he has been described over the years. He is one who believes in loyalty and does not take nonsense from fans or anyone. He is just him. He is a giving person, but short tempered. But Alhaji allows himself to be tamed by those he respects and loves and I believe he listens to superior points when he hears one, though you can beat him in an argument. Generally he is a good man.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up? Which schools did you attend?
I am a product of Island maternity, born to civil servant parents. My mother was a nurse as she is late now, may she continue to rest and my father was a Federal Government Printer as they were called then. I was a troublesome kid, but never went into any bad deeds. I have a degree in Journalism and working to get a Ph.D someday God willing. I am an Ajegunle product and I also grew up at Ogba.
How did you get into show business?
Showbiz, for me, came naturally as I started organising events right from my secondary school days at a very tender age.
Tell us about your challenges and successes?
Like every man of my age, I have seen the good the bad and the ugly. But God has always seen me through and when I start to ask if He has deserted me, He shows up ALWAYS in bigger ways. I have been blessed with a great family, which is my number one success. I don’t get weighed down by any form of challenge, when it comes; I ‘challenge’ it also and face it head on. Survival is key.
To artistes out there, never live a fake life! Invest, invest, invest because of when your voice fails you! Cars don’t add value to you! Invest! Be creative with your songs, let them have meaning! There is a lot of garbage out there now, songs that don’t stay beyond months. Fela is still relevant today as he used his music to preach. I was reading that Michael Jackson made $400m this year even though he is dead because he preached to the world he sang about love, he had songs for kids, he touched different topics with his songs. There are very few Nigerian artistes that their music will live beyond their lives. Ebenezer Obey is one as he sang about marriage, love, government, birthday, relationships, name it. K1 also has songs on democracy, love, birthday, etc and a couple of other Nigerian greats. So my advice is pick topics that are of relevance to people, create prayerful songs, preach!. Talk about love, speak to government.
To the artiste manager, create avenues to bring in money for your artistes ALWAYS, that’s number one. Tell him the truth always whether he likes it or not as it would help his career and never be in competition with your artiste.
He is the product not you. Sell him positively. Realise it is a business also and never work for free.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
My greatest achievement has been my person. I am a Communicator, I am someone who relates with people easily and I like to keep my friends, and make people around me happy. I believe my greatest achievement in my life has been my friend and people around me, my friends and family most especially, people I have known through the years. They have one way or the other influenced me and I have one way or the other influenced their lives too. So, I believe the major achievement I had in life has been the way a lot of us have gone together to become people in life.
What was your biggest challenge as a person and an artiste manager?
Hmm… I believe our challenges never stop, there are no limits to challenges, like one of my friends would always say “may your road be rough”. The road has been very rough and my major primary job (K1 De Ultimate job) at a time was very challenging because we were trying to take Fuji to a different level from where it had been and we had to do a lot of things you know. We give thanks to God that we were able to bring Fuji to the realm which we felt it was wanted and this time round too, we are going a step further ahead to take Fuji to another level again. Two, in terms of dealing with people, you will met difficult ones, those ones who do not want to understand and so on. So, it’s always a challenge each time you would have to deal with people who are not of like minds.
Being a manager was very challenging as you said, but thinking back to when you started and now, what were your expectations when you started and have you been able to achieve them?
My expectation was to get to anywhere whether corporate or local, anywhere I have my artiste mentioned and it rang a bell in the minds of people around there and I believe to a very high level that we were able to achieve that. There is no way you would mention the music industry in Nigeria today and you won’t find K1 De Ultimate within the first 5. I can tell you that.
Throughout the time you were manager, you had a very solid and good relationship with him, how were you able to achieve that?
Well…the most essential thing in everything is that when you have an opportunity to operate with a free hand, which is the major thing I enjoyed with K1, things becomes easily achievable. My being given a free hand to run his organisation, to run his management and everything largely contibuted to the success story. Two, the ability of your artiste to be able to listen and believe in you is also an essential tool. When you talk with him and he believes in you, he does what you ask him to do and it works for him. So, the confidence that your artiste has in you is also an essential tool in achieving whatever goals you have set.
When I started out as an artiste manager, I didn’t know I was going to be that long in it, but I tell you, I enjoy being an artiste manager for 18 years. Having managed Dele Taiwo for a couple of years and done a couple of things with other artistes here and there, and managing K1 De Ultimate for 18 years was a wonderful experience.
You have remained the most successful artiste manager in Nigeria for other people to learn from. What are the guidelines?
Perseverance, being truthful to your artiste. Look into his eyes and tell him if he is doing something wrong or he is doing something right, encourage him, make money for him, which is an important integral part of your job. I am more of a Business manager because when your artiste does not make money, he is not happy, whether you are doing all the public relations, paper thing, playing his video. So, essentially become a business manager, make money for him, keep a tab on him at all times because if anything goes wrong out there, its an indictment so to speak on your person, just be all encompassing in whatever you do, but always tell him the truth.
Let’s talk about how you started work?
I have always been a worker when I was in school, I was managing Dele Taiwo, I started managing Dele Taiwo actually when I was in OND 2. Before I met Dele Taiwo, I was into showbiz, I was doing campus shows, I had Sona Breweries, Nigerian Breweries, Guinness etc. I had a lot of corporate entities as my sponsors, so, I was doing a lot of campus shows. (Dele Taiwo, Shina Peters, Daniel Wilson, Dayo Kujore) all the reigning artistes then, we were doing shows, take artistes to school so, I was really bubbling.