Iledare Juwonlo, popularly known as Jaywon, is an artist who is gradually carving out a name for himself on the Nigerian music scene. He has over the years shown professionalism in his craft and that stands him out in the industry. In this interview with TONY CHINEDU, he speaks about his current album, Oba Orin which features some of the big shots in the music industry such as Reekado Banks, Vector, among others.
What’s been happening with Jaywon brand?
It’s been a lot of work and I am excited we chose the new album we just dropped. That is basically what I have been up to.
The album is titled ‘Oba Orin’; What’s the mystery behind it?
I didn’t give myself Oba Orin; and the title was not because am proud or anything. After the release of this year, a lot of fans started calling me Oba Orin on my twitter and I changed my handle to Oba Orin and it started trending. At a point we had three different titles for the album. We discussed it, the marketer was in love with the title and we are like since everyone loves it we should put it up.
How many tracks has the album?
We had 21 tracks. Two skits and one intro; all in the album.
Did you feature any popular artiste in the album?
Of course we had the best acts in the industry like Tiwa Savage, Rekado Banks, Vector, Oritsefemi Olamide, Phyno, Storm Rex and Mode 9. We have a lot of people on the album actually.
Talking about your label, how many artistes have signed under your label?
I’ve always believed in discovering new talents and anyone who’s been following me will know that we discover more producers than anybody in the industry. Basically my label is not just signing artistes. It is about supporting some people, taking some particular people from one particular level to another. Basically just discovering new talents and seeing how we can support and groom them. We don’t need to sign them. I know in the industry; everybody believes in signing artiste. I don’t want to sign in any artiste and keep him just there and not do what I’m supposed to do for him or her. So it’s not about just signing artiste, it’s about grooming more artistes and how we can support them.
Talking about grooming, do you have a music school where you enroll them like teach them the rudiments of music or what do you mean by grooming?
Yes, we have a studio, and most of these artists just have the music; some don’t even gain any opportunity to go anywhere not to talk of performance or radios interviews. What most of them actually need is meet new people that can support them. And most of my shows that I perform maybe towards the end of the show, ok I say well this is an opportunity for you guys to jump stage and perform before me, this is the opportunity for you guys to meet the media. Basically that is what I do, I have like two people under me right now. Have done that for many people, but we are looking at two people we are going to sign officially because I actually have them on my album.
What are the standards you are looking out for, before you sign an artiste?
In Nigeria, talent is not enough right now; but one of the first things I looked out for in an artiste is the talent, and secondly the attitude the way they behave. It’s not everybody that understands the power of you saying you want to support them; like the trend that is going around now is ‘who you help’. It is not all about you, is about the people you want to help: do you know that this is what they are about to do for you? You are making me to spend more money for you coming around me because I need to make sure you are comfortable. If you see me travelling, I carry three bags; two bags for me and the one bag for the boys. You need to understand that part. I feel really bad when I go out there and meet people that are very talented and have good behaviour and they don’t have people to help them. Well that’s basically what I do.
Your brand Jaywon has stood the test of time. How did you do it?
I think the love for what I do have been able to put me out there. Actually a lot of people do not know am as the most travelled artistes in Nigeria. I love to go to different countries and do deals with them and the brand has been able to stay this strong because of that. I love seeing myself traveling and meeting a lot of people.
Most of your songs were bangers. Are we expecting something like that soon?
This song This Year, to me is way too much; more than a song. The song is big that you might find it difficult to make such a song again. There are so many people that did the remix of that song without my knowledge, and before you know it within six months, the song will not reign again. I was at Eko Hotel some days ago for Shalanga show, and the way the song came out, it looked like a new song. So, to me it’s hard to make a new song like that again. Am not challenging my friends not to do a bigger songs because, I think that the song is even bigger than me. Once the song drops, even the people hearing the song for the first time will sing along. So am not planning on doing that type of song again because it might be very hard. I don’t just make music. I just go to studio and record and any inspiration that comes along the line I just do it.
So how do you get your inspirations from?
I just sit down and think. I think a lot; I think that helps me. Thinking about the rhyme, melody, tried singing in the vibe along the beat.
Aside music, what are the other things you do?
Basically right now, music has been putting food on the table for my family. Yeah, I have a lot of things I do sometimes. I don’t want to talk about them now but you guys would still get to know later. Part of it has to do with my relationship and I really don’t want to talk about that right now.
There are a lot of rumors surrounding your marital status. Are you still single, are you married or married coded?
Not at all! am not married but I have someone who is very special in my life that we trying to work things out and as well have other businesses we do together as well. We are not just together just because of the relationship, we are also business partners.
When should we be expecting the wedding announcement?
You might have to wait forever.
So how do you relax?
See for a while now my life has been really very hard to actually do things because I want to do them. So any opportunity I see to relax, I relax. It has been work always. I am always in the studio and play the song that I have done, and if am in a hotel and they have snookers I just go there and relax or if they have table tennis where I can go and relax. But I can’t just choose a day and say I want to rest or choose a place and go and relax.
Talk about the female artistes in the industry. If you are to choose any of them as your wife, who would you choose?
I think am actually crushing on Niniola. I think she is good.
What actually attracted you to her?
She is talented, she is beautiful I think she just perfect.
So how do enjoy being the C.E.O.
Well that’s actually very though. The issue with me is, when you employ someone to do a job for you, and you end up being the one doing the job yourself at the end of the day and your employee is getting paid, and everyone knows it is not easy to pay salary; because even if you are not getting enough income, people under you must be paid. So if am paying your salary and you are not doing what you are getting paid for, I don’t get comfortable.
You were with Kennis music for a while before you left the record label to set up yours. How much of the experience gathered with Kennis Music is working for you now?
With all due respect everything I know today I gathered from Kennis Music. No matter what happens, I will always pick them up there. A lot of things must have happened, that’s why I look at people, like my former employer, she was going out there and saying thing about me. Somebody gave you a contract, you employed a lawyer to read and interpret that contract before you signed and something went wrong and you went outside and start saying rubbish about them. The first thing that came to my mind was that if my other employers, or me, are watching you on TV or reading on the newspaper or read you online what do you want me to think? So do you think I will now invest my money on you? Even if I have the money, do you think I will invest my money on someone that will go out there and say rubbish about me? So whatever happens between me and Kennis Music, I don’t want to talk about it because there is no how there will be something that will kill it. But to me, Kennis Music is the best thing that has ever happened So, whatever that happen between me and them happen because we are close; we are business partners. If we weren’t business partners nothing would have happened.
Aside whatever happen between you. If you have the opportunity to go back what would you have done differently?
If I had the opportunity to go back to Kennis Music I will definitely grab it; but it will not be the same way it was before.
Has Jaywon ever delved into movie?
Of course why not? Am actually talking to some people right now and I will be part of the cast for the next Super story. That is just me, because in this industry, I don’t like to use the word fake. There are so many doubts in the industry. They only celebrate people only when they are dead. If you have anybody you like in the industry, you should celebrate them when they are alive, and one of the people we should celebrate every day in the industry is King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Pasuma because these were the people we grew up listening to. All the things we know today we learnt from them; we don’t need to wait till they pass on before we start to celebrate them.
Take the music out of Jaywon who is Jaywon?
Juwon is just like every young guy out there looking for ways to survive. Doing different things in different ways. Whether all of us like it or not; but all the same, that is why when I go out and people see me the way I do, they will say he is humble, he is not humble; am just being myself.
So what’s your take on baby mamas in the industry?
I have actually said a lot about that; to me I don’t see it as a bad thing or a problem. The only problem I see and feel is that people having children and not taking care of them. I think the only lesson I see is that they should make a law in this country that any man that makes a woman pregnant and she gives birth but he refuses to take care of the child, should be jailed.
You don’t see anything wrong in having baby mama’s? Like 10 baby mama’s?
If you have ten baby mama’s and you have enough to take care of them, then that is nobody’s problem, because when you are talking about baby mama, what about people that get married three months, four months and they divorce? the stigma will be on their children, the mother cannot even stay in her husband’s house. Even the ladies of nowadays are not ready to be loyal to any man and say I want to stay with this man and be loyal to him; how many of them? These days, it is like one in a million that will say am loyal to my husband.
There are lot of beefs in the industry and there are still beefs, what’s your point of the beef. Do you think beef is good for the industry?
I think beef is allowed. It is just the way people do it, everything is news. Everybody wants to be in the news. That is when people will come and meet me and say ‘Jaywon we’ve not see you in the news’. I’m always in the news, but for better things not for wrong things. If anybody can’t put in the news for releasing an album or doing good things, then, leave me out. It has never worked for me, am not controversial, and whether all of us like it or not we all have skeletons in our closets. What doesn’t work for you, doesn’t work for you. A lot of artiste have done something to me. My own is that I just ignore a lot of them that is because intellectual property in this country is not respected. You know in America, if you take a line or the same melody of someone else, you know you get jailed.
You talked about giving your first week of your album to the charity, why did you do that?
Well that is because I have not done that in a while, and I think the act of giving can never be too much. I found myself in Abuja and am like waoh, has done that in Lagos before so I was like let’s do the same thing there too.
What other charity project are you into?
I just follow my spirit. I do as my spirit directs. I can wake up this morning and say 20 percent of what I have at the moment, I should give it out. Am still looking for where am going to do that for my birthday which is in a few days. My birthday is on Monday June 6. Am still thinking of where we can visit, even though it is N10000 you give them, they will still appreciate.
What do you want as your birthday gift?
I just want to be alive because every day is my birthday. Just to be alive.
So should we still be expecting another album this year?
We just shoot a ‘Gbadun’ video with Reekado. We have too many songs yet to shoot from this year till like middle of next year. We haven’t shot the one with Tiwa Savage. We haven’t shot the one with Reminisce, also with Oritse Femi. So, It’s going to be like back to back video from now till like middle of next year.
No album for now?
No. But we have a surprise from the industry very soon between December and January next year.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I will like to be remembered as one of the best artistes ever in Africa.
Are you aiming at winning the Grammy?
It is everybody’s dream to win a Grammy; at least I have attended Grammy once and it is a privilege to have been able to attend that kind of event and no doubt when you are present and have experienced that kind of event, you will like to get on that stage; you like to have one.
Be sincere, what is the craziest thing a female fan has ever done to you?
Recently? it’s crazy though…. I was in Dublin and a fan asked me to autograph on her boobs and that one was a very long story; then the recent one was asking for a proper kiss. I mean mouth to mouth kiss; it was crazy.
Did you oblige?
I don’t understand… at least she got a peck.