Lagos hots up for Red Bull Music Academy, as alumni recount memories


Lagos, the entertainment capital of Nigeria, will come alive on July 14 through 15, as the city hosts the red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) featuring lectures, workshops, collaborations and live events

Over the years, RBMA alumni have gone on to achieve great things and build great careers. Among them are Hudson Mohawke, Flying Lotus, Lunice, Evian Christ, Tokimonsta, Mr Hudson, Brenmar, Dorian Concept, Teebs, LAO, Aloe Blacc, Nina Kraviz and others.

Sharing his experience on the platform, Kraftmatiks said, “eeveryone has fantasies about being a doctor, lawyer and other, but for me, I always wanted to be an artiste. At #RBMA, you get to meet people, who you inspire to be around; you are literally breathing the same air as these guys who are your idols,” he said.

On the seminars and training, he said, “they were great as it gave me a nudge in the right direction. I always felt like I didn’t fit into the Nigerian music scene. The workshops gave me the confidence to stand out and not be scared to stand out. The sound reinforcement training was awesome,” he said.

To prospective participants, he said, “don’t be someone else. Apply! If you don’t get picked, apply again. Mode 9 told me about this. He said if I thought I didn’t fit into the Nigerian music scene, that I would definitely fit in with Red bull. I didn’t get in the first time I applied, then, DJ Klem convinced me to reapply and I got in! It really was the best experience of my life,” he enthused.

For Kenya’s Bill Sellanga, otherwise known as Blinky Bill, being part of the RBMA in Tokyo is a rewarding experience. “I met people that I would not necessarily have access to, which was amazing. Making music in Nairobi can often feel like you are not part of the conversation. It was great to have creative freedom and not have any barriers; we were there to make good music. Flying Lotus, Aloe Blacc, Black Coffee were all part of the Academy. RBMA is a growing and evolving family and I still get invites to all the Red Bull events around the world including Sonar Festival. Once you have gone through the Academy, you become part of the family and you will always be invited. It’s something to aspire to,” he said.

In 2009, DJ Klem made history as the first Nigerian to be accepted to participate in the prestigious annual Red Bull Music Academy, which he attended in London in 2010, learning and exchanging ideas producers and artistes from across the globe, including Grammy winners such as Mark Ronson, Jazzie B and Steve Reich.

“I was the first Nigerian participant, which was amazing. A lot of people were curious to meet me. Apart from exposing me to other genres of music, it also exposed other people to Nigerian music. It was great to experience the music culture in London but also experience world music through other participants. The experience changed my outlook on music and draw influences from other participants; watch other people create, learn what makes them tick, that type of thing,” he said.

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