In Conversations: Onyeka Nwelue speaks to Fred Apugo

IMG-20130121-WA000He likes to chill.

He likes to piss me off, because he is my ‘little’ friend, who prefers to call me brother. He is bigger than that. Fred Apugo has a Bachelors and a Master’s from a University in the UK. He is actually very passionate about music and he wants to run a music empire, that will groom new voices and showcase them to the world.

He returned from his base in the Portsmouth and we met up in Abuja recently over drinks to talk about his career and the future of Nigerian music industry.

I am very age conscious, how old are you?

My age doesn’t matter, does it? In Nigeria, we place far too much value on a person’s age. I’m young though. I’m not saying anything more. (Laughing)

What have you been doing with your life?

I’ve been in the UK studying for my Bachelors and Masters degrees – which I got! I’ve also been taking the required steps to start up my record label.

It is very interesting how passionate you are about music and you have come to add value to it, tell us about what sparked your interest in the entertainment world.

I’ve always had love for music since I was a kid. I used to rap along to Biggie and Tupac back in the days, for some reason I can’t be a musician but I’m here to contribute my own quota to the Nigerian music industry.

Recently, you returned from the UK to start up a record label. Tell us about the journey from the UK and the things you are doing to make this a reality.

Like I said I like music a lot so I met a lot of people in the UK, America and Nigeria who share the same interest so I had to set aside going for my MBA and returned back to make this happen.

Many young people in Nigeria know nothing about what they want in life. I mean, how do you think they can discover themselves?

Young people need to list out things/activities they are interested in. Once they’ve done that, they need to put a lot of effort into furthering those interests. The important thing is finding what they are good in, without that nothing can be accomplished.

For some time now, I thought that university education elevates man to the highest order. I mean, I still find it appalling that many graduates haven’t even invented themselves and have nothing to do. What is your take on this?

We are in a world where university education isn’t all that matters though it gives you an edge. We shouldn’t overly rely on that to gain employment. You go to university to acquire the required knowledge you need to set up yourself so when you are done you put it to use.

Are you an emotional person?

Errrrrrrrrm yes actually though I don’t let it show.

Nigerian music has a long way to go.  The market is not that healthy as we find more people in the entertainment industry. How do you make yourself unique as a music promoter and investor?

I’ve spent a lot of time doing my feasibility study on the entertainment industry in Nigeria and across the globe. I have my strategies all planned out. I’m putting God first and hoping for the best J

I may need to get personal with you. Are you in a relationship? If not, why? If yes, is it distracting?

Not yet but I’m liking someone.

I hate to ask people this, because it is very cliché. What advice do you have for young people who want to be like you?

Be like me? (Laughing) I don’t think I’m one to be emulated yet. Well I also find it cliché when people say work hard and you’ll make it. I’ve seen lots of people who work very hard yet have nothing to show for it. I’ll rather say put God first, work hard in the right direction and be very smart; make use of any opportunity that comes your way.

What is your take on the political system of Nigeria?

I’m not a big follower of any political happenings. From the numerous complaints of the masses we aren’t there yet. Every Nigerian has a role to play in making this country a better place. For now let’s stick to doing that- do what we need to do. I’m sure in time everything will be fine.

Do you see yourself as a youth activist? Just like others?

No.

You’ve met quite interesting people. Do you agree that Nigerians should co-exist in one nation?

Yes we should. We need to change the way we see each other. A different culture or a different state of origin does not amount to becoming a different nation. As long as every Nigerian makes a pact to be peaceable with their neighbors, we can co-exist without incident.

Who is your favourite Nigerian musician?

They are many: Wizkid, General Pype, Bez, Asa, Burna Boy. Currently I’m feeling some new arts like Ogah Brothers, Oxygene ,T.O.C and Pope the Hitman.

 

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