Posted by News Express | 7 December 2018 | 3,195 times
Veteran musician and gifted flutist, Dr Tee Mac Omatshola Iseli MFR, has been in Nigeria’s entertainment industry long enough to know the gains, the pains and the aspirations of this unique sector that gives joy to every home. The former President of the Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) and business tycoon takes a critical look at the country’s entertainment industry in this one-on-one interview with SUNNY OKIM.
Question: You have been a major player in the country’s music sector; how do you compare the industry now and 30 years ago?
Tee Mac: Thirty years ago, the industry was fairer. You had to get a record contract and rehearse your band well because studio time was expensive. Now, every Tom, Dick and Harry are using their laptops with “Fruti loops”, a software, to record. They download or steal beats and in a few hours they have a song. Because their voices are weak and not trained and there is no tone, they use a guitar effect called auto tune to cover up their deficiencies. I am not saying everybody is bad but majority produce trash!
So you are not pleased with the standard of the works by newbreed artistes?
No, I am not. I am not pleased and all professional musicians are of the same opinion that most songs have no lyrics and no compositions.
How can the entertainment sector be developed to be a major source of revenue for the country?
Like every profitable business, you need a business plan and proper funding to show business profitability. Anywhere else in the world, show business is the second largest industry and adds a big number to the GDP of the relevant countries.
Nigerian artistes are still complaining that there is no institution put in place by the relevant authorities to actually cater for their welfare. Do you share in this line of thoughts?
This is not the business of the authorities. If Nigerian artistes would support PMAN and/or the Entertainment Foundation of Nigeria, perhaps we could do it ourselves. But musicians in Nigeria don’t pay their monthly dues, so PMAN is under-funded.
Why has it been a problem for Nigerian musicians to come together under one umbrella without rancour? What can be done to address the issue?
Most music illiterates have big egos and don’t know the union is there for their benefit. If all the 150,000 professionals and two million amateur musicians would be members of PMAN, the union would be a force to be recognised by the government and the tax authorities.
If you find yourself as the president of Nigeria today, what would be your priorities?
I would recognise that the entertainment industry is a viable and an important foreign exchange earner, an important tool to market Nigeria and a very important civil education to further our culture. My budget for the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism would be the second biggest after Education.
Which genre of music is your favourite and why?
Classic music. This is because classic music is the basis upon which music is built on. You study music, the hundred of years old system, that is what you have to learn. Anything else is just being lazy.
(Interview first published in the special print anniversary edition of News Express Magazine under the headline, "If I were President and Commander-in-Chief . . . — Tee Mac")
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