Junior Adeosun, popularly known as SMADE, is a top Afrobeats Events Promoter in the UK, having hosted events for the biggest names in Afrobeats including Wizkid, Olamide, Davido and Ice Prince.
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
My name is Adesegun Adeosun Junior. I am the Founder and CEO of SMADE and I studied Marketing and Advertising for my first degree, and my second degree is an MBA in Marketing from Greenwich University. I started my business in the first year of university and I never thought it would be this big.
What does SMADE stand for?
‘Self-Made’; it relates with dreamers and achievers and hard workers. Dream, Believe, Achieve. It also stands for ‘Successfully Made’; it interprets people that are creative about life and that can make something out of anything.
You said you started your business whilst in university, can you tell us more about that?
When I started doing events I was about 19, but when I decided to actually do it properly I was 21 leaving first year going to second year of university, during my first degree. I came into this country at age 19 and I had never been to any clubs. I had a strict father back home and he would not let you go out unless you had someone like a driver or an uncle to go with you so we were banned from going to clubs. When I first got into this country I hung out with my friends from school back home who were already living here so they snuck me into a club and then a few months later I became the promoter of the club.
I started doing reunions in my house and I used to have a lot of people come through. Anytime I was doing a house party it was banging but the police would come and try and shut us down telling us to reduce the music. In the last house party I threw one police man came and said ‘Why don’t you take this to a club rather than us coming to disturb you every year when you’re doing parties’. So the next party I decided to do, I hired a club. It was so big that the owner called me back assuming I was a promoter but I did not even know what a promoter was at that time and I just wanted to focus on my studies as that’s what my dad sent me here for. Along the line a different club contacted me, as they heard the result of the party I threw and they really wanted to work with me. We met and agreed on monthly events and it was successful from the very start because it was different, no one was really doing it at that time. A lot of people have seen what we do and try to emulate do the same thing but we thank God we are still here.
What has been your most memorable and proudest experience in your career so far?
That would be my first show because it was the most challenging. It was Davido’s first ever concert in the UK and a lot of people said no; people I really respected, people that I have shadowed for a while, people that I would not even expect they would say no. This was the time ‘Dami Duro’ came out. It was a two-week tour where we did it in the Indigo O2 London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Coventry and then Manchester and it was really successful. Another proud moment was our last show which was the Olamide and YBNL concert. It was crazy, we ran out of capacity; it’s a 3200 venue capacity but we had about 4000 people in the venue and we had 2000 people outside fighting to come in.
What major challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
I have faced a lot of challenges, but one of main ones is getting fans for the shows. Also, we have not really had any substantial backing for funds so I have had to save my own money and dip into my pocket to make the shows happen at all times for which people normally get sponsorship for but I have employed a new Business Manager now that is working on that sponsorship side.
Everyone has something or someone that inspires them; what inspires and motivates you in life?
I respect my dad so much, he taught me the principles of business and running my own business, he did not go to school but he is a very successful man today. If I am confused about something, I pick up the phone and he gives the right answer to my question. Other than him, Richard Branson inspires me. I also like one of our ex-presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo; I like and respect the way he was able to manage the country at the time he was president.
What does your dad think about it all now?
My dad is so proud; he comes to every one of my concerts even if he is to spend two nights in London he will travel down for it. He was around for the first big show I did which was the Davido Concert in the Indigo O2. He was also around the following year for the Wizkid UK tour. He also came down for the Olamide concert with quite a lot of people, it was about 30 of them, and he was really proud with the crowd, with the atmosphere, and the vibe and the performance from the artists as well. He has watched me grow from when I was doing the clubs to now.
If you were not into entertainment what do you think you will be doing?
What would I be doing? That is a good question. I would still own my business whatever it is because I grew up with a father who owns his own business and I have always been inspired by him and I always wanted to be like my father. A 9 – 5 was never for me, so I would be selling something. I actually have my own hat line now and I have merchandises that I am working on and sell at my shows as well.
Where would you like to see SMADE Entertainment in a few years from now?
We are looking at something like ‘Wireless’ for Afrobeats, but that is all down to funds. We are looking to do more cooperate events and organise a few weddings because, having done mine, I figured that there is a lot of potential as it was a very high-class event. We actually have 2 weddings we are planning this year because a few people felt mine went well and they want me to also organise theirs.
What advice would you give anyone wanting to get into the entertainment industry and start their own business?
It is harder now, however the harder it gets the more motivated and passionate you should get. You should be very patient, obviously Rome was not built in a day, so you cannot achieve the same things with whoever you are shadowing has achieved over night. It has taken a lot for the likes of myself and people even bigger than myself; it took a lot of passion and hard work. We believed and now we are here. You just have to believe and achieve.
A lot of young Nigerians abroad are getting in touch with the culture especially through the entertainment industry as you will obviously know. How do you think young Nigerians abroad can stay connected with the country?
By coming out to more cultural events and embracing the Afropop and Afrobeats music. Music is big and it speaks a lot of languages, if you can embrace Afrobeats you can come closer to home just by the music alone.
How do you think Nigerians abroad can positively promote the country globally?
To be sincere, I think we are putting out a better image than bringing out a bad image. For example, if you go to the Troxy they will tell you that the last show I did was still the biggest they ever had since the inception of the venue. So the likes of Wizkid, Davido and Olamide are being recognised internationally so that is something very good.
What are your thoughts on how a community like NNC can be involved in endorsing Nigeria’s positivity?
We should support each other in any way. I like what you guys are doing, trying to acknowledge those that are doing positive things in the community so continue to do that, continue to acknowledge and support in any way you can.
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