Black Avenue Muzik Creative Director and Manager John Hermit Talks Afrobeats
By Freedom Eche, April 2019
Following the article about Black Avenue Muzik and afrobeats star Nina Ricchie, I caught up with the labels Creative Director and Manager, John Asogonnde, better known by his professional name, John Hermit and asked him to give me some insights about the company and what it takes to make it to the top of the afrobeats ladder in Ghana
J H: Black Avenue Muzik is owned by Ghanian rapper and businessman D-Black. It started in 2011 with Joey B and Dee Money. It then went for a while and rebranded in to Ghana's finest record label in 2017 with 7 signees currently on the award winning label thus adding Dahlin Gage, Freda Rhymz, Kobla jnr, Nina Ricchie, Osayo and S3fa.
Freedom: How tough is it for an aspiring afrobeats artist in Ghana to establish themselves in the industry? What's the competition like?
JH: Just like any other business or venture, perseverance is key. But with the growing phenomenon of afrobeats, it's quite easy to succeed once you put your talent to work and stay focused on building a unique brand/solid career.
Freedom: What are the misconceptions about how the industry works and do you encounter aspiring artists that understand the 'show' aspect but not much about the side?
JH: Yes, absolutely. A lot of young upcoming artists feel entitled to all the glitz and glamour without recognizing the fact that it goes beyond just your talent. It's a whole business and your showmanship has to be authentic.
Freedom: When a wannabe star walks through your doors oozing with potential how do you go about developing them to perform at pro level?
JH: Grooming and mentoring basically. Anything is possible once you have a credible management team.
Freedom: Creatively speaking, how does an artist develop a unique sound and originality? Is this something that you can nurture?
JH: Naturally, talent is key, but it could be nurtured to suit the market and gain popularity. That's when the efforts of the music producers, songwriters and video directors come to play in carving out the perfect sound.
Freedom: The lifestyle of afrobeats musicians is mostly portrayed as one of non-stop partying and having a good time. Are aspiring artists in for a shock?
JH: Partying and getting down is a given. Most people are distracted by this and end up losing focus on their careers.
Freedom: The bling, bling lifestyle aside, what are the less fun realities artists should prepare themselves for?
JH: Long studio hours, ignoring haters, impromptu schedules etc.
Freedom: Yeah, I remember night shoots and 12 hour days when I used to be a film and television support artiste and often having to drop everything I had planned because I got called for a shoot that very day.
How does an artist deal with the pressures of fame that come with the profession?
JH: Emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility is key. Most artists often direct all their energy towards work and end up mistreating family and friends due to pressure and stress.
Freedom: And finally, what singles, albums and emerging talent from Black Avenue Muzik should we look forward to seeing?
JH: Kobla jnr, S3fa, Dahlin Gage, Freda Rhymz, Osayo and Nina Ricchie. These are all uniquely talented artists and they have amazing content dropping within the course of this year
In addition, I bring you this exclusive sneak peek at John's new book 'Breaking Up With Mary Jane' in which he tells his story about battling marijuana addiction, making it through that and what he learnt from the experience due out Friday 26th April 2019!!