Azeez Adenekan, popularly known as Lanre Typical, a foremost Nigerian show promoter in the United Arab Emirates, has lamented the impact of the visa ban on his nightlife business.
In October, the United Arab Emirates said it would no longer issue visas to Nigeria and 20 other African countries, although it did not give reasons for the ban.
In the same month, about 542 Nigerians were evacuated from the UAE and arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
The show promoter, who has over the years facilitated the inclusion of top Nigerian afrobeat artistes in shows in Dubai, says the visa ban has made him look to other African countries.
Although he seems more involved with Amapiano singers, he told PREMIUM TIMES that he still hopes to invite Nigerian artistes in the long run.
He said: “I have not taken Amapiano over Afrobeats. I’m sure you are aware that the Dubai Emirate has stopped issuing visas to Nigerians.”
“So, in trying to find a solution for myself and continue my business of promoting nightlife in the city and to keep myself going, I started bringing Amapiano artists to Dubai because South Africans are not affected by the visa.”
The show promoter, reacting to criticism, explained that his love for Amapiano is part of what influenced his decision
He added: “Amapiano and Afrobeats have some similarities. For me, the Genres of music are almost the same. So, that was why I penetrated South Africa. Once the ban is lifted, I will return to my Afrobeats because that’s my roots.”
King of Dubai Nightlife
The computer science graduate of Lagos State University (LASU) said it took some hard work to sell Nigerian music to the Gulf state.
Explaining how he played his part in that regard, he said: “Funny enough, I came to Dubai for vacation and decided to reside here after seeing so many opportunities. Nigerian entertainment wasn’t so strong when I came to Dubai about ten years ago”.
“I visited the first club where Nigerians hang out, and the music wasn’t good, so I met with the manager and gave him some advice on improving it. Then I was called by the club management the same week for a meeting. After taking my advice which worked for them, they told me they would like to work with me, and I accepted, and that’s how it all started”.
“They paid me weekly for publicity and promotions, which was good pay, and I felt there’s more to gain than lose, so I decided to stay back.”
Lanre, who also runs a blog, explained that his blogging experience aided his current business.
“I was once a music artiste way back in my university days. About 16 years ago, I stopped singing after opening my entertainment blog Typicalnaija. Ng, influenced by what I studied, Computer Science, at Lagos State University.”
“My blog was buzzing, and I was using the platform to promote artists, then, after relocating to Dubai, started promoting Nigerian entertainment in clubs and bringing artists from Africa to the United Arab Emirates for performances,” he said.
Pathway for African music
In the last couple of months before the visa ban, he had flown in more than 12 Nigerian and foreign artistes for mesmerising shows and nightlife experiences in Dubai.
Before the visa restrictions, he brought the likes of Davido, Naira Marley, Zlatan, Mohbad, Kcee, Portable, Ice Prince, Ceeza Milli, A-Star, Ckay, Tiwa Savage, Mayorkun, Skiibii and Ntosh Gazi from South Africa amongst others.
In November alone, the acclaimed “King of Dubai nightlife” shipped in top acts like Ramz, Lax, Costa Titch, Walshy Fire and several others.
READ ALSO: Meet Goya Menor, artiste behind viral ‘Ameno’ amapiano remix
Nigerian music, Afrobeats in particular, has become something of a phenomenon, not only on the African continent but also spiralling to other continents. He also revealed that Dubai residents had embraced Nigerian music, saying it has caught on like wildfire.
Speaking emphatically on his love for Afrobeats, “As we all know, Afrobeats is one of the biggest genres in the world right now. All love it, and it is now widely accepted. All clubs rock to it here in Dubai.”
Explaining the increase in demand for Afrobeats, he said: “Every club has or wants an Afrobeat night which they were not proud of a few years back. Afrobeats has taken over all clubs in Dubai. A select few accepted Nigerian music. I feel if there is consistency, it will remain in the mainstream for a long time to come,”
Among others, Lanre Typical unleashed on the city are Kevin Lyttle, Focalistic, Camidoh, DBN GOGO, Felo Tee, Goya Menor, and Serani are included.
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