Nigerian women making a difference in the music industry: A look at the Nigerian music scene will show some differences. Less women and more males. On one side, there may be just one female A-list artist while there are five or six male hitmakers. Almost none of our producers are women.
However, a look at these artists’ teams helps to balance that discrepancy. There are increasingly more women on teams and corporate boards. Women are successful team leaders, better artist managers, and contributors. Jada P oversees business operations and serves as a representative for artists like Wizkid.
Women make up a smaller proportion of the Nigerian music industry than men do, including music executives and artists themselves. The entry hurdle for the majority of women who want to work in the Nigerian music industry has grown over time due to negative cultural preconceptions, patriarchal practices, and a strongly gendered workplace environment.
Simi once took to popular micro blogging platform, Twitter and wrote, “To be honest, some of the things I’ve experienced – specifically as a woman – in this industry. They will try to pit you against other women; try to redefine your value, try to get in your head and remodel your self-esteem. And I have even had it easier than many,”
She added, “It comes from all sides. That’s why I am with any woman that is winning in this industry – because [there are a lot of hurdles]. Women can hardly get away with the kinds of things many men in the same industry get away with on a [regular basis].”
Here are women contributing to the growth of the Nigerian music space behind the scenes
Bose Ogulu (Executive, Spaceship Collective)
Bose Ogulu, also known as “Mama Burna,” is not just Burna Boy‘s manager; she also serves as the executive director of Spaceship Collective, which includes the record label Spaceship Entertainment and a publishing division. She also oversees Burna Boy’s sister Nissi Ogulu (also known as Nissi), a singer and visual artist, as well as her father, author Benson Idonije (who also served as Fela Anikulapo-first Kuti’s band manager).
Osagie Osarenz — Artist Manager/Country Manager, OneRPM
Osagie is most well-known for discovering Wizkid before he signed with EME. For five years, she worked closely with him to train the act. On her resume are names of performers who credit her tenacious efforts for their success. YCee, Terri, Timaya, and Reminisce are currently managed by Osagie’s full-service management company, The Zone Agency. Osagie was appointed the nation manager for the music distribution business OneRPM in 2020.
Ibukun Aibee Abidoye (Executive vice president, Chocolate City Group)
Since joining Chocolate City Group in 2012 as the legal and content manager, Abidoye has worked her way through the ranks while assisting the several artists who have emerged from the company. She is now in charge of overseeing all aspects of the music industry run by Chocolate City, including strategy, development, and implementation.
One of the most well-known record labels in Nigeria is Chocolate City Music. Its roster includes artists like the late rapper M.I. Abaga, Dice Ailes, Blaqbonez, and DJ Lambo, among others. She played a key role in developing and formalizing the historic alliance, the first of its kind in Nigeria, between the US-based Warner Music Group and the Chocolate City.
Vanessa Amadi (Miss Amadi) — Publicist/Artist Manager to Tiwa Savage
Miss Amadi is a mystery and a powerhouse in her own right. She has left her mark on other music venues in addition to Nigerian music, and her influence extends beyond the music industry. She is a key player in Tiwa Savage‘s contract with Universal Music, manages the act, and uses her brand, VAPR, to handle Davido and Fireboy’s PR.
Rima Tahini — A&R Director, Mavin
Ladipoe explained how an A&R director at his record company chose the song “Know You” as his next release when he was making his acceptance speech at the Headies a few weeks ago. Rima Tahini, who has made significant contributions to the success the record company has experienced over the past three years, is that A&R. Rima negotiated an agreement with the label and Kupanda in 2019 while she was a member of the investment company Kupanda Holdings.
Queen Nworisara-Quinn (Board member, Mavin Global)
Kupanda Capital, an investment and advising company that helps pan-African businesses, was cofounded by Queen Nworisara-Quinn. One of the largest record labels in Nigeria created by legendary producer Don Jazzy, Mavin Records received investment from the company in 2018, transforming it into a fully functional commercial and creative enterprise. She has a PhD in innovation, strategy and organization from the University of Cambridge and was a Gates Cambridge scholar.