I got into music because of my mother-Sagas
This week on our Entertainment Spotlight Series with Emmanuel Harrison, we had an interesting conversation with the Eyen Obong Owo himself, Sagas. The multi-talented singer, rapper, podcaster and entrepreneur spoke to us about his growth process as an artiste, his new song ‘Mkpat Enin’ and the controversy surrounding it, his challenges in the AkwaIbom Entertainment Industry and his plans for the future of his art.
Sagas: Starting off, tell us what first got you into music?
So first off, I got into music because of my mother. She was a broadcaster, so I was privileged to listen to different sounds growing up and that influenced my ears and my writing skills.
Sagas: You’ve been in the music scene for a long while, we believe over 8 years; and you’ve delivered a number of hit tunes over those years. How can you say your art has evolved over the years?
Yeah, I’ve been in it for some time. I’ve dropped one or two hit songs like that, I don’t want to brag sha, but yeah. My art evolves because I personally have a mindset of not being ‘good enough’. I don’t believe in perfection, so I constantly improve on my skill. I think that’s what keeps me in tune. So I more likely get surprised when people like my music.
Sagas: What can you say has been the hardest/most challenging part in your growth process & career journey as an artiste?
The most challenging part is having to promote my music and get heard. I think that’s where the real business is, having to be heard could be very difficult sometimes because personally I might just want to drop a song and move to the next release but the promotion process is a vital part where a lot of money is involved.
It could be very tiring for an artiste sometimes but I’ve learnt in my growth to separate the talent from the business. The business is the most important part because it fuels the art.
Sagas: Tell us about your new single Mkpat Enin which features Otyno. It is a very addictive tune. How did the recording process come about?
Okay, I had it ever since in my head, I had wanted to try Amapiano with the Ibibio language.Then I later wrote and composed the song. I happened to be in Lagos back in October,.so I messaged Otyno because it’s been a while I had seen him, he’s like my day 1 homie. He told me where he was and we met and vibed, then I was like “Yo okay, this my verse I’ll take it off and you can just jump on it”. I’m happy people like it. The recording was smooth and easy, everything flowed like the song.
Sagas : A lot of people have been skeptical about the release. Some people feel like you’re throwing indirect jabs. Tell us, what was the inspiration behind the song, Mkpat Enin?
It’s not jabs o, I’m not throwing jabs. Though there was a time I started ranting on Facebook and all. As a really quiet person, I think sometimes you should just air your views and make the other party know that you notice things. As I said in that write-up, no one has been consistent like I have, and I’m not even looking down on anybody. It’s art but if you bring it to plain black and white writing, no one has consistent asides Ikpa Udo. It’s only him that I can place on that level that has been more consistent than I am, but still I’m always not remembered.Then everybody will just say ” oh we’re sorry, we’re sorry”. So it’s more like you have to kiss ass? I wouldn’t say kissing ass is a bad thing but sometimes I think the art should thrive instead of the corridor runs in the industry. The art should go first so that you can inspire other minds, so that’s what I’m about. I wouldn’t feel convinced in my heart if I have to keep calling some to put me on. I feel my resume should speak for itself.
It’s rumoured that you planned to have Buju on the feature, is that true?
It was supposed to be MI not Buju but I think there was a thing or two that came up. There was a middle man – Godwin Tom. So I think MI was busy, and I waited for sometime. Since I couldn’t wait any longer I just had to drop it.
Talking about controversy, where you recently shared on social media that you’ve been sidelined for way too long (in the AkwaIbom Entertainment Scene). Do you feel like there is a particular reason for this, either a fault from industry heads or your fans and Is it also the same reason you’ve not been featuring in events in the state?
You know It gained a lot of likes on Facebook when I spoke about being sidelined. I don’t know if it’s as a result of my silence or the fans or as a result of the fact that I’m not in the scene. It’s what I was saying earlier, I don’t need to be in the scene, as long as my work is in the scene I should always be called. There’s always politics in the system it’s valid but normally I wouldn’t even disturb if I didn’t have my work to show that I did well this year. So, that’s why I said what I said. Also, that campaign they did, it was more like using my movement and no one called me. It’s only when I wrote about it I started getting calls. I wasn’t throwing jabs at anyone, I was just airing my views.
You’ve also stated that asides Ikpa Udo, no one else (within your set) has gotten back to back hits like you have in the AkwaIbom Entertainment Scene. Do you feel like you’re not appreciated enough for the work you’ve put in as much as other AkwaIbom Artistes?
Yeah, for real. You know how the prophet was not appreciated in his hometown, that’s how it is. Though I don’t hold on to that, I hold on to the love I get and the fact that when the inspiration comes I have to drop it. Also, I don’t just want to be celebrated when I’m gone, I want to be celebrated while I’m here. Like I said about Ikpa Udo and this is not even a comparison because I respect him a lot, he’s my brother but he the only one who’s Résume is as thick as mine. I’m not even throwing jabs at any other person, like so ‘why them no dey call me, why? Why?’. Truth is I don’t like to call them because immediately you call them your price has dropped, and it’s the price they tell you that they’ll pay. That’s a No! If you appreciate the craft and you know how much I spend on promo then you should pay me properly, call me. That’s my point. We should eat off our work because we do it for home.
If you can change anything in the AkwaIbom Entertainment Scene right now, what will it be?
Simple, It’s just to put people who have ideas for the art in the right position. It’s not just being an entertainer, you need to know the business part of things. There’s money pumped into that industry but it’s not just the money, the ideas also matter. How many shows do we go for? How many? Lots of things should change. You don’t even need to give some of these artistes money but imagine if you can provide big artiste features for them like Olamide and Phyno with Ikpa Udo, the whole country will give Ikpa Udo attention. There’s money for that so what is stopping it? If that is done, the next thing we’ll talk about is video, then we’ll look at raising another person. That’s how they do it! It’s not by doing “our thing, our thing” and it just ends within the State. There’s a lot of money to be made, we’re 15 million Akwaibomites across the world. Let’s say 5 million within the State and 10 million in the diaspora all over the world. So let’s say at least 3 million people have phones and know what streaming an downloading is, do you know what that would mean to our lives? We won’t even care about Lagos because we have numbers. It’s that kind of awareness we need, not doing shows at Christmas Village and that’s where it ends. It’s just having people that can have that vision, that’s what I would change if I could change it and I would change it.
As a creative, you also shared once on social media that your profession is beyond music. You also have a furniture, décor and flooring agency. How has diversifying your income stream helped you push your music?
As a creative, if you’re not doing like illegal jobs then you need to find yourself doing many things to help your music. The industry has changed and a lot of music labels have been through hell. It’s valid for someone who is investing to say “oh, I don’t want to make certain mistakes again with investing in human beings.” So you as an individual, you need to do something. That’s why I advise the youngins to learn a skill, there is no shame in making a honest living through tedious work. If you need to learn plumbing or carpentry, do it because at the end of the day the legitimacy of your earning gives you confidence and helps you sleep well. As a creative you need it. So I have a furniture enterprise, TWC Furniture just incase you want to patronise me.
As we wrap up 2021. What’s next for Sagas in 2022? What should we expect? An album? Or do you still have surprises in store for us this year?
In 2022, I’m building my YouTube Channel. I think I have about a 1300 subscribers. So there’ll be more of furniture, there’ll be more of YouTube contents, skits, there’ll be more music, more podcasts. My podcast had been on lockdown because I’ve been doing so many other things. I’ve been teaching French, entrepreneurship and all that. Next year, I’ll be putting myself more out there.