Executive of the Month (May Edition) — Bolaji Kareem

by TurnTable Charts

May 25, 2024, 2:16:08 PM

From breakout star to award-winning artiste, Bnxn (Daniel Benson) continues to blaze a trail in the music industry.  Evolving his sound and captivating audiences with each release, Bnxn isn't just meeting expectations, he's exceeding them.  Fresh off his 2022 Headies win for Next Rated, Bnxn has consistently delivered quality music, from the ‘Sorry I'm Late’ EP to his critically acclaimed 2023 debut album, ‘Sincerely, Benson.’  And the hits keep coming: his recent collaboration with Ruger on the joint album ‘RnB’ has racked up over 34 million on-demand streams, sold 22670 album units and achieved silver certification in just a month.

In this interview, one of the Executives of May, Bolaji Kareem, the Regional Head of EMPIRE in West Africa speaks on EMPIRE, the success of the collaborative ‘RnB’ album, diversifying and unifying talents, and positive predictions for West African music. 

TTC: Beyond the Charts: ‘RnB’ by Ruger & Bnxn achieved phenomenal success, topping charts and is aiming to rule the summer. What, from your perspective, made this project resonate so deeply with the West African audience? Was there a specific strategy or approach that contributed to this success?

BOLAJI KAREEM: I believe that everyone appreciates innovation and that's what we did here. The mix of both incredibly distinct talents in a short and sweet collection of songs sealed it. 

TTC: Championing Talent: West Africa boasts an exciting and diverse music scene. How does EMPIRE identify and nurture rising stars in the region, and how did this approach contribute to the success of ‘RnB’?

BOLAJI KAREEM: We keep our eyes and ears to the ground, we identify and do our best to work with individuals and teams that have vision, tact and depth. You can definitely say that for both artistes on ‘RnB’.

TTC: Building Bridges: Afropop continues to take the world by storm. How does EMPIRE, as a global entity, balance supporting the unique identity of West African music while also making it accessible to a wider international audience?

BOLAJI KAREEM: Honesty. We do our best to stay honest to the craft. We listen to the market, the artiste, the audience, and the experts. It's a clear path most times when you do that. 

TTC: Beyond Music: The ‘RnB’ project showcased a strong synergy between Ruger & Bnxn. Does EMPIRE encourage  collaborations within the region, and if so, how do you identify these potential partnerships?

BOLAJI KAREEM: We definitely encourage collaborations. Our entire ethos is built on partnerships. Finding the right ones, building, and maintaining it is key for us. Identifying it is not always a straight line, but we are keen on synergy and that's what we look for over anything. 

TTC: Shaping the Future: What are your predictions for the future of West African music? How will EMPIRE continue to be a driving force in its growth and global recognition?

BOLAJI KAREEM: We will all have to sit tight and watch. Predictions are great to make for sure, however, I believe we'd like to do the work and show the results when the future comes. EMPIRE will always be a champion of the people and the culture and with that, you can never lose. 

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