Ace talent manager, Olayinka Babawale known popularly as Wale Applause has just released a compelling tell-all piece that found him unravelling the daunting task of creative management and key lessons that every young artiste and budding manager can take away from his rocky half a decade-long experience.
The comprehensive memo which is already causing a stir amongst music industry practitioners and observers also accommodated an account of how he was unjustly dismissed from his assignment as manager to then-buzzing Nigerian artiste, Lil Kesh.
Wale’s ties with the Olamide-led YBNL label traces back to the inception – around the time rapper, Olamide was working on his debut, YBNL album. “I remember when Olamide dropped YBNL album, that was my first major project. God bless Baddo, he loved me so much. I got some Cds from him, I signed them myself in his name drove down to Ibadan and was handing it out to all radio stations, telling them Ola sent me, whereas, I sent myself. You wonder why YBNL have so much fan base in Ibadan and Ikorodu, I did that. I laid the foundation”, He cited.
Wale was, however, in the discovery stage, saddled with the responsibility of developing and breaking then-newbie, Lil Kesh into the pop market. “…Olamide blessed me with Lil Kesh just when he had recorded Shoki”. After day and night of unending sacrifices that translate to (sometimes) spending/forgoing his earnings, bitter treatment from OAPs, DJs, et al, Wale explains that he was finally able to make Shoki a smash hit and ultimately turn Lil Kesh into a superstar. In his words, “There were many days I had to sleep in my rickety Honda, days my friends Aspen and the gang will go to the club to spend money just so Shoki can be played, those days when all that mattered to me was raising a king, Alas, HE SACKED ME.”
Wale went on to disclose that his sack was a result of his over-zealousness and total dedication to the building of Lil kesh who he sporadically referred to as a King. He alleges that in an attempt to stick up for Kesh who was being black-balled and robbed by industry gatekeepers, he landed himself a letter of termination. Read Wale’s account below;
“Here is the reason why I got sacked the first time. I cannot be very specific about the time, but it was when Shoki and Dorobucci were blowing at the same time. My sources said to me that Don Jazzy had gone to lobby the MTV base award for Dorobucci and Reekado Banks was going to come on stage to get the award. I was told that what that translated to was that Reekado Banks was going to win Next Rated at the Headies. I had worked so hard than to make that happen. Now we had Shoki, Gbese, Efejoku. I tried my best but i was just one person. Alas Dorobucci won the award and just as told, Reekado banks was on stage to get it. I went bonkers. Abfresh who was to later manage Lil Kesh just got back from Uk at the time and was staying at my place. I was so sad, i went on twitter and rant. I did rant and mention Don Jazzy well. Then i called Olamide’s attention to my tweets, told him i was sorry it was just a moment of madness, i had rights to be angry. I got a shocker the next day when Olamide told me I wouldn’t manage Lil Kesh again because of a Twitter rant from someone like me, only for him to go on the stage at the headies to declare Lil Kesh Winner himself. I am sure we all remember how that went. I remember watching the Headies in my father’s house in Ibadan as i was jobless, i cried when Lil Kesh wasn’t given the Award, i wanted him to win it for me. I thought my night was bad enough, not until Olamide came on stage to rant and i started wailing. My parents could not console me. I was wailing because all i did was rant on twitter and i became jobless for several months, Olamide goes on stage to disorganize a well-organized award and he is tagged a hero even by himself. This pot of beans life”.
The frustration of the erstwhile YBNL manager as it appears stems largely from the fact that he was fired for publicly defending his artiste – an act that was on a higher proportion put up by the same individual that spearheaded his sack.
Wale still runs a talent agency, Applause Global.
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