Darey Art Alade - The Rhythm & Blues, Soul Crooner, With African Infusion

“I am humbled”

“I am solo. The band compliments my efforts. They are my backline, my backbone. We need to play live, to give people the real feel of music, which is where the direction of the Nigerian music is going now. People need to get the real thing, rather than cutting corners and performing CD’s, or renting a band.”

“I have a 14-man band - vocals, back up, percussionist, ‘gan-gan’, ‘omile’, bassists, ‘konga’ with our own equipment”.

- Dare

Q: It takes innovation and creativity to drive your art. Is it an infusion of local and foreign instruments?

A: Yes.

Darey is the rhythm & blues, soul crooner, with African infusion”.

A lot of music we hear now really started in Africa and made popular in the West. It makes it seem like we are borrowing Western culture, it actually belongs to us.

What I do is R&B with African vibes. We add our local groove and dialect, so that you represent your origin, not only for our people, but also for the rest of the world.

We sell the Nigerian culture; that is the message and image we try to portray.

About the ‘Brand and Band’…

The good thing is that the band can operate, without me. The band does not depend on me to perform. They are an entity by themselves. They do weddings, and all kinds of events.

When you want Dare, you experience something unique, something grand. It is better to have me with the live band, but of course, if you are on a low budget, we can work with you. We can do a CD or a small combination that is not the full band. We are malleable, you can bend us.

About Work/Life Balance - Entrepreneur/ Musician/Family Man/Compere/Celebrity

Deola & Dare Art Alade

Deola & Dare Art Alade

There is no formula - Take things in your stride and do things as a matter of priority.

If your child is sick, nothing else is more important at that time. Once the child gets well then you can go back to work.

“What we have control over is the hard work, but for where God takes us, we do not have control over”.

About the music business

I think there is the misconception, especially for people who are new in the music business; they think there’s big money connected to the Nigerian music because a lot of people are listening to Nigerian music and watching the videos.

The people who are doing well are driven by the love for music. You must keep practicing, rehearsing, and exercising hard work to deliver something better.

As with all businesses, sometimes it's good, and sometimes it is not so good. You have to be prepared and invest wisely so that at any point in time the money is coming in. You must also Diversify; do more things at the same time so that they can yield. What happens when no one likes you anymore, not because your music is not good, but someone better came along and everybody follows that person? It is like handling competition – by being consistent and ever improving, coming up with better music, better albums. You just have to stay relevant one way or the other.

About sales and distribution

There is no solid distribution network on ground here. You only find you have become popular without the income because of piracy. Everybody has your album, yet it does not show on income statement. Piracy would always do harm. If all big markets are flushed of piracy, and Government comes on board the entertainment scene, takes a stake off every CD/video sold, then there would be an obligation for it to work.

Closing

§  Continuous hard work

§  Believe and have faith in God

§  Get better and invest in yourself

“Once these things are in place the sky would be your starting point. We are not there yet. There is still more to do, more room to improve” – Darey Art Alade

 

Rania Odaymat, The Jewelry Artist, 2008

In my journey through life so far, I have met a lot of people from diverse cultures, origins and backgrounds, but I must confess, Rania is of different specie! She is Lebanese and African at heart, this is evident in her passion for Africa art. She digs deep into the roots of culture to exhume elements, which she combines with modern aesthetics to produce the best of African art

– Toyin W. Oke

 Rania

Designing Jewelry from passion, imagination, and innovation, has brought Rania into a strong bond with nature, beads, and precious stones. She stops at nothing to create pieces of art that are so special and unique; beautifying women from all over the world, she goes as far into Asia, Europe, Africa, and beyond, in search for rare pieces to set her works apart.

Did you grow up in Accra?

Yes, I grew up and was educated in Accra, but left in 1989 and returned in 1997. During which time, I attended the Saint Joseph University in Beirut, where I studied languages with a specialization in translations, and then came back to Accra. This is home; this is where I live, where my family has been for generations now.

How did you arrive at Jewelry Art as a Buisness?

 In school, I was in a totally different line, but the urge to study arts has always been there. So I learnt it by going to shows, exhibitions, through books and other mediums. I was always following the trends in arts and learning more and more. The truth is, I had wanted to be an artist, but at that time for several reasons I could not. So I chose to study languages and translations because of my love for languages and knowledge.  When I came back to Ghana, I spent three years training in fine arts with a famous Ghanaian painter, and during those years, I was intensively trained in everything that had to do with painting, drawing, drawing, and using different entertaining media.

The history of adornment had always been intriguing to me…why do people wear cloths? Why do people wear ornaments?  What do they try to express?  How does it affect them and their lives?

So, I was studying all of that at the same time; at a point I became really dissatisfied with the accessories that I found in the market because they didn’t tell me any story; there was no depth in them. They were in fashion today, out of fashion tomorrow. People just made them to make money. But that has not always been the story of accessories. I therefore wanted to do something else. As a result, I started attending bead fairs and learnt a lot about beads here in Ghana.  Just for fun, I started using all the techniques and contacts that I learnt in painting, and researching the symbolism and the history of the beads with a view to coming up with a whole new concept in bead making. In the beginning when I wore them, people kept asking me ‘where did you get that’ and I tell them ‘I made it myself.’ People started signifying interest, but I did not want to sell initially. Sometimes I would make some for friends as gifts and the requests kept increasing.

At a point, I wanted to go into business so I decided to do that which I have a passion for, beads.  I would take a local Ghanaian legend and present the elements of the legends or local stories. Sometimes, it would be something I read in a book about perception that I would try to interpret.  

When I started, I didn’t have any money on my own, it was my husband who is a businessman here in Ghana who helped me. Knowing and believing that I have to depend on myself on the long run, I didn’t want to ask him for a big loan. I just needed a bit of help and a little push. So he gave me $2,000 and with that, I bought all the tools, threads and beads, though I had a collection of beads I had gathered over time. With that amount, I started working, and along the line, for every bead sold, the money is ploughed back into the business. Up until now, I have not taken any profit out of it.  

So you just let it grow?

I simply let it grow!

I make specific and exclusive designs for clients. In doing this, I interview the person, study the way she walks, the way she talks, her character, ask her many questions about herself, like her favorite colours, and her educational background. Armed with these facts, I then find appropriate beads that will fit her personality. After selecting these beads, I try to identify a context within which I can put all of the beads into consideration and then create a necklace that is made specifically for the person; a necklace that will give her the best possible feeling.

What categories of people patronize you most?

Well, the market in Ghana is not very big as such, most if not all of my clients are foreigners with love for arts; people who appreciate the time and effort that goes into making a piece.  

You seem highly innovative. Do you have people working with you work alone?

Initially, I used to do all the work alone, because like I said, I started very small and could not afford to pay anybody to help me, so making one necklace took a lot longer. But then, at one point I was struck because, if I was to wait to sell one or two pieces a year or one or two pieces every six months, I needed to do something extra to buy more beads. There was an exhibition in London, someone needed to take necklaces along, and also some people in Ghana who took my pieces with them as they travelled. These did not take so much time, materials, and planning.  

At some point, I really needed somebody to help me with the secondary issues. Of course, I handle the primary issues, that is, the making of the necklace itself. I have to be on top of every single element in the necklace making process.

Are your pieces expensive?

My prices reflect the enormous resources that go into producing these things.  To a number of people, it is very expensive but I know the value of what I do. I know how many years it took and how many years it takes it terms of research to do something like this. If I lower the prices, what sense does it make?  Truth is my beads are not ordinary, if I lower the prices, it would amount to a loss. I don’t want to take stuff that don’t mean anything into the market.  If I can’t get people to buy my pieces because of the price, I just do them for the passion and pleasure hoping that someday some persons will come along appreciating the efforts that have gone into making them.

The future

I don’t always think of the future, but I hope for the best and know that if you do things from the heart you will get somewhere someday.  For me, I just think there is something I need to do, and I do it to the best of my ability. Anytime I do face something new, it is a new challenge, and I want to do the best that I can.  With such a philosophy, you will get results sooner than later. I hope that the future is going to be bright.

Culled from The Archive - The Street Hawker Entrepreneur May 2008 Edition

The Future indeed became bright for Rania, today, she is an artist, stylist & Curator...We hope to catch up with her again...

 

4 Elements of a Balanced Life by Dr. Temi Odejide

Get to where you want to go and have fun on the way there!

Balance is the key to life.

It is said that a just balance will elevate a good man, I totally concur!

As I walk down the streets of life observing people, it is obvious that most are living very unbalanced lives. What is more shocking is the apparent ignorance of most people to their plight. I have been there too.

Life seems so unfair sometimes; it throws so many balls at you demanding that you juggle, and you have no choice than to comply. Just when you are getting a grasp of juggling the balls, you get thrown a curve ball that must be added to those you are already juggling.

Photo: safesermons

Photo: safesermons

We all try to achieve some kind of balance in our lives, but it seems to be an ever-illusive commodity. Every time you attempt to balance out one area, you tend to over-compensate and find yourself tittering off. Have you ever tried to walk on a tight rope?

To do it successfully, you have to find a way of evenly distributing your weight on both sides of the rope. That’s life!

By the way, what is balance? Balance can be defined as the middle of the road or the ability to stand stable, secure, with weight evenly distributed, and not vulnerable to an easy fall.

Is balance in life the same for everyone? Not necessarily, but there are some basic elements that make for balance in every life. What I hope to do in the next few paragraphs is share with you four crucial elements to achieving balance in life.

Before I start sharing these four elements, let me once again underscore the need for balance.  Many people do not live balanced lives at all, because they are consumed with doing everything possible to make money. So they live to work, seeing work as the means to make money, without a break or vacation of any kind. And when he does go on holiday, he is looking for one job or the other to do at the same time.

“We live to work! We spend all our time making a living that we have little time left to actually live.”

Your ability to achieve balance in life is also governed by your perspectives, priorities and definitions of life. I believe that life is meant to be enjoyed. I believe life is meant for value addition. To do this, you need to have a long-term perspective of life. You cannot cram every necessary activity into everyday, so you have to look at life from a panoramic perspective, on a periodic basis.

VOCATION

The first crucial element of a balanced life is discovering your vocation in life. Your vocation is what you do for a living; what earns you money! The truth is that everything is ultimately driven by money. So you must have a constant source of income. I must quickly emphasize here that life is not all about money. When we make it all about money, we lose the balance and start living an unhealthy lifestyle.

Balance is the key to a healthy life! For a balanced life, your vocation should not be defined by where money is perceived to be abundant, but by what you find passion in doing. Yes, most of us do not start where we want to be, however, we must start with what we have on our way to where we want to be. You might need to do a job you don’t like for a while, but you must continue with the job till it opens the door to your desired place.

Your vocation should also be defined not just by your acquired skills (school, degrees, etc), but by your gifts. Your gifts and talents come naturally and they give you pleasure. So you should look for a vocation that will allow you utilize them. Your vocation should afford you some recreation on the job. In other words, you so enjoy what you are doing at work that you do not really see it as work, but pleasure!

How many people hate Monday mornings because of the prospect of going to a dreadful job, just to be able to pay bills. Get your vocation aligned with your passion, then, you will wake up alert and excited to go to work.

At that point, your vocation has become recreation. This is a vital element to a balanced life!

RECREATION

Life is not about vocation and work! You have got to make time for recreation. It is said that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

To have a balanced life, you have got to make time for play! What recreational activity do you engage in?

I recommend recreational activities that utilize energy, like a sports and exercise. Some of us are just too serious about life. Take some time out to let your hair down. Taking time out to have fun is truly therapeutic and recreative. You will feel more alive and ready to face the next challenge life throws your way.

VACATION

You need to develop the culture of going on vacation, at least one a year, plus short breaks in-between. Someone said, “But that would cost a lot of money.” “Yes, you can save towards it,” said someone who knows the value of vacationing - this is the most effective form of recreation.

A vacation to where you have never been improves your worldview and exposure. It really does put you in position to come back to your vocation with fresh ideas, concepts and zeal. You can start small and grow big from there. Vacationing also does wonders for your relationships when you travel with your spouse or nuclear family.

RELATION

You cannot have a balanced life without working on your relationships. Life is not meant to be lived in isolation. We are created to be fulfilled in relating with others. So for a balanced life, you must identify the important relationships in your life and invest in them.

Let me quickly give you four levels of relationship that you must cultivate to live a balanced life.

Relationship with those above you - Your bosses and those that are already where you want to be.

Relationship with those at the same level as you - Your colleagues and friends.

Relationship with those below you - Those that work with you and are below you in status.

Relationship with God - You must have a vital link with God to be covered in all areas.

Conclusion

You should not allow yourself to be tossed to and fro by the urgent demands of life. It is time to take charge and dictate how to live a balanced life. God bless you!

Four Aspects of Sight I - Dr. Temi Odejide

Seeing is everything! Your sight determines your quality of life

Two persons can be looking at the same thing and yet see vastly different things. Why? Perspective! Two people look at a cup with water at the half way mark and one sees a half empty cup while the other sees a half full cup.

One has a positive perspective while the other has negative perspective.

One perspective stops the creative juices from flowing while the other provokes creativeness!

 Have you heard the story of the two employees sent by a shoe company to a third world country to assess the potential market opportunities there? One sent back the message “Send me a ticket home, they do not wear shoes here!” The other sent back the message “Start mass producing shoes and send them down, they do not wear shoes here!” What was the difference between the two? Perspective! Positive perspective sees opportunity where the other sees only despondency!

 What is your perspective? How and what do you see?

Everyone has something unique to them that will guarantee them success, if they would only find out what it is and then work on it! Sometimes it can be a mundane thing that seems to come naturally to you, but that same thing could be your salvation key.

 See your way forward!

Part Two in next post.

For a more detailed look at the four aspects of sight, get the best selling practical motivational book by Dr. Temi Odejide titled “SEE YOUR WAY FORWARD!”

 

 

Four Aspects of Sight II - Dr. Temi Odejide

There are four aspects of sight that will make for complete sight!

If you understand and activate them you will able to see your way forward;

Hindsight, Foresight, Oversight/Undersight and Insight!

If any of these aspects of sight are absent or faulty your sight will be impaired!

 Hindsight

You cannot move forward without a clear grasp of your past and background lessons that your past teaches. People have become rich off telling the stories of their past so can you.

Learn from your past, the pleasant and the unpleasant, the happy and the sad and use them to improve your life. The only thing that you must take out of your past, are the lessons learnt.

If you refuse to learn those lessons, you are bound to reproduce that past in your future. If you are in a cycle of repetitions, maybe you have not learnt your lessons.

 Foresight

After exploring your past and learning the relevant lessons, you need to set your focus on where you want to go! Foresight speaks of pre-empting what is ahead and preparing for it!

 There are two important parts of foresight.

First, is about having a clear great vision of where you want to go.

You must have vision; visit where you want to go, in your mind’s eye.

You must have dreams and goals.

If you have identified your unique gift/talent, you have to have visions of where you are going with it or where it will take you.  

See far, dream big, envision grandeur.

Secondly, foresight is not being overly optimist, but considering every possible eventuality on your chosen path. You must envision also possible pitfalls, hiccups, obstacles, and challenges.

 You must prepare for rejections, disappointments, and betrayal.

 So what if they say no! Are you ready for that?

Most people do not consider the down side, otherwise, they will be prepared, and have a plan B, C, and D …and E for good measure.

Foresight entails having great visions of the future, and balancing them with a good dose of realism.

Photo: Thinking Gifts

Photo: Thinking Gifts

Oversight and Undersight

These two aspects of sight are tied together and cannot be separated!

“He stand tallest that stands on the shoulders of those that have gone ahead!”

It is a colossal waste of time and energy to re-invent the wheel.  

Oversight is simply finding mentors in your chosen area of endeavour.

Find those that have gone ahead of you, those that are where you want to be.

Submit to them and learn from them.

Hear from them. Some from a distance, some up close and personal.

When you find a mentor, that person will have oversight over you, and that will put you undersight.

When you are undersight you will have additional sight. Those that have oversight over you see farther than you and have seen what you have not seen.

This is additional sight. By being undersight you avail yourself of all the benefits of their accrued sight.

 Insight

This is my personal favourite and also in my judgement the most important aspect of sight.

“If a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives only himself!”

Insight is all about your accurate assessment of yourself. It is the ability to know the true state of affairs on all issues relating to your life and future.

Can you be brutally honest with yourself to accurately assess yourself?

There are two aspects of insight.

First, you must have insight into your weaknesses and inadequacies. This will help you to work on the areas that need working on. When you know and own your weakness and inadequacies, it frees you to staff your weaknesses.

You look for friends and co-workers that are strong where you are weak. So that by complementing each other, you will be all together strong.

The second aspect of insight is having insight into your strengths. You must know what you are good at. In winning in the market place of life, you have to know your strength and magnify it. Sometimes to gain clear insight from season to season you need to ask close associates that love you, to tell you the truth about yourself.

Remember the wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy!

Conclusion

If you can work on these four aspects of sight and get them functioning properly in your life you will be well on your way to actualizing your dreams and visions. You will see your way forward!

For a more detailed look at the four aspects of sight, get the best selling practical motivational book by Dr. Temi Odejide titled “SEE YOUR WAY FORWARD!”

Failing Forward II – Dr. Musa Babayo (PhD)

Despite adverse circumstances, you should always realize there is one major difference between average people and achieving people. Look at the way an achiever handles negative experiences, and you can learn about how to fail forward.

Think about a recent setback you experienced. How did you respond? No matter how difficult your problems are, the key to overcoming them doesn’t lie in changing your circumstances.

It’s in changing yourself. If you are to do that, then you will be able to handle failure. You should make a commitment to do whatever it takes to fail forward.

Photo: i0.wp.com

Photo: i0.wp.com

One of the greatest problems people have with failure is that they are too quick to judge situations in their lives and label them as failures. They need to keep the bigger picture in mind.

You should see the bigger picture. Your perspective leads to perseverance, then longevity, and then, the opportunity for success arises.

Changing your perspective on failure will help you persevere and ultimately achieve your desires.

You should always keep in mind that failure is not the following:

- People think failure is avoidable – it’s not

- People think failure is objective - it’s not

- People think failure is an event – it’s not

- People think failure is the enemy - it’s not

- People think failure is irreversible – it’s not

- People think failure is a stigma – it’s not

- People think failure is final - it’s not

“It does not matter how much milk you spill as long as you don’t lose your cow.”