Quick Questions with Ope Bakare
Meet the Unrelenting Optimist, Life-long learner, & Chop-Life Advocate who can turn any music piece into gold! Can you guess his superpower?…
Describe your superpower as a Live Music Director and what would be your superhero name?
My superpower would be the ability to turn any piece of music I lay my hands on into sonic gold and my name would be Midas!
What were your top 5 songs of 2022?
Gone Girl – Obongjayar
Sing To The Moon – Laura Mvula
Message In A Hammer – Obongjayar
Mind’s Eye – Jordan Rakei
For My Hand – Burna Boy feat. Ed Sheeran
Who is a Live music executive? How does one become a live music executive?
For me, a live music exec is someone who works with artists, brands and/or organizations to curate, direct & deliver memorable live music experiences. Anyone can become one by gaining skills & building competencies relevant to the live music ecosystem and actively seeking out opportunities to apply those skills.
As a Live Music Director, my role typically involves hiring & leading a team of singers and musicians (band) that will back an act onstage, creating arrangements that will become the live version of the artist’s records (including intros, outros & transitions), running rehearsals, and creatively shaping the performance. The role brings my skills and knowledge as an A&R, producer, arranger, and performing musician together in a single package towards shaping every aspect of the artist’s live musical performance or tour.
Is there a relationship between live music and the film industry? Are there opportunities there?
Well, we’ve seen cases where some filmmakers with really big production budgets have their entire film score composed, played & recorded live by a band or orchestra. I do think there’s an opportunity for artists, particularly great performers, to create documentary-style films that gives their fans an in-depth look at the behind-the-scenes processes that go towards preparing for a live performance or tour. For example, Beyoncé did this with HOMECOMING: A film by Beyoncé, a Netflix film about her 2018 Coachella performance; Justin Timberlake with Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids; Ariana Grande with ariana grande: excuse me, I love you. Many other artists are beginning to explore this as another way of commercially exploiting their live music craft.
What does the Nigerian Music Industry need to see more off in your opinion?
Honestly, we need to see more funding and support go towards building a thriving live music ecosystem.
Revenue from live performances & touring is among top 2 income streams for most musicians, contributing ~50% of total annual income in some cases. In comparison, streaming revenue brings in roughly 15% of annual income on the average for artists that I know personally. Our live music space needs further development; more dedicated live concert venues need to be built, training needs to go towards having more world-class skilled personnel to deliver excellent concerts, and a proper national touring circuit needs to be established. Also A&Rs and labels need to commit more attention as well as resources towards developing the live performance craftsmanship of artists on their rosters.
You are a retiring guitarist, tell us a bit about that? How did you become a guitarist, what are the opportunities there and how can one find them?
At some point in my career, I figured I had the capacity to take on more challenging engagements in the space and I sought out learning opportunities to expand my skill set including enrolling in the Music Business Academy For Africa setup by Godwin Tom. Right now in addition to being a live music director, I lead an amazing collective of musicians called WeAreTheViralz and also provide Playback Engineering services for Artists, TV shows and music festivals. I co-run a concert production and tour management startup and I’ve just recently rounded up a 6-month consultancy engagement with a leading global music distribution service where I handled market research and developed go-to-market strategies as part of their expansion into the African music market.
My career as a guitarist began in Church around late 2014. About two years later, I was sitting in the lobby of a studio just chatting with a random dude I met there; it turns out he was Seyi Shay’s manager and he was looking for a guitarist to complete her band. That was my 1st foray into the “big leagues” and I went on to record for, as well as, tour with some amazing artists such as WurlD, Lady Donli, Ric Hassani, Brymo, Tay Iwar and so on. My final years as an active session & performance guitarist was spent as a member of the Highlife-fusion band, The Cavemen. As many more Nigerian artists embrace performing live & touring extensively, the demand for skilled guitarists will keep increasing. Guitarists with great skill, strong visibility and great networking skills will be best positioned to take advantage of the demand.
What trends do you foresee in the music industry for the year 2023?
In the Nigerian context, I think we’d see more artists embrace touring and also see other movements like the Alté, Alternative and Drill movements gain more attention globally. In the global context, I foresee more artist groups clamour for an increase in revenue per stream paid out by streaming services.
With your journey, if you had to start from scratch how would you go about it? what would you say to the young Ope of way back then?
Considering how much sheer luck and providence have played a huge role in my journey, I do not think I’d start out any other way. However, I’d have these words to say to my young self; “Big Chief! Shine your eye, be more discerning. Find a healthy balance between head and heart. Dare to dream and take more bets on yourself”.
Your name is going in the hall of fame for people who impacted the music Industry, what would your quote be?
Dare to dream and take more bets on yourself. Never be afraid to knock on doors, be prepared to kick them down if you need to!