By Florence Amagiya
It is not everyday that one hears of a person, who despite his poor background, rose to the height of influence in the society. One of such persons is Ayo Animashaun.
Ayo has made an indelible mark in the sand of time, even though he had a rough patch growing up. In 2013, two major events happened in his life that changed his story forever.
He was listed as one of the most influential people in the Nigerian entertainment world by net.ng and his HipTV was launched on DSTV. Ayo Animashaun is the CEO of Smooth Promotions, an entertainment firm that organizes “The Headies Award.” He is also the publisher of Hip-hop World Magazine.
Today HipTV is arguably one of the most watched music TV on DSTV. He is the brain behind the success stories of reputable musicians like Tuface, Mi, Olamide and many others. In this edition, we present to you a young man who has taken music business to the next level for Nigerian artistes.
Ayo Animashaun hails from Lagos state, though hewas born in Kwara state. He completed both his elementary and secondary school in Kwara state.
Ayo Animashaun may have been one of the youngest in his time to have gained admission into higher institution as he was only 16 years old when he began studying Business Administration at Kwara state Polytechnic.
Ayo discovered his love for music quite early in life and took advantage of his passion to make a brand for himself. His biggest challenge was lack of fund as “his rags to riches” story wasn’t a tale of bed of roses, but he refused to give up as he knew that his day would break soon.
Ayo Animashaun would stay with his classmates after class at a record store to record tunes and lyrics as that became his passion.
He studied Business Administration because he needed to get an education. His dream was music to the extent that he was ready to become a music personality even after school.
Strangely, he was so young when he started writing down lyrics for his friends and even banking lyrics for future purposes. He had to do all kind of odd jobs to make ends meets in school while feeding his passion.
Even though he saw that things were tough from the beginning, he didn’t relent one bit. At some point, he needed money to publish his book of lyrics and found someone who lent him a N1000.
At the venue of the book launch people were already waiting, but the books were still with the printers. Ayo almost suffered a heart break thinking he wouldn’t be able to sell any of his books of the time schedule, but he resolved to be resilient.
He picked himself up and 300 copies of the book were sold out that day. Later he had to hook his book of lyrics with a wheelbarrow after completion of his O.N.D. Ayo eventually went back for his HND.
After youth service, he was advised against writing just a book of lyrics. He decided to publish a magazine for youths which will centre on music and entertainment. He named his magazine Hip-hop World magazine, but he couldn’t sustain it for lack of fund.
To be able to survive, he got a job as an entertainment reporter with “The Fame Magazine where he was paid N1200 per month and later worked for Encomium Magazine. While working with Encomium, he was able to raise money to continue his Hip-Hop world magazine that birthed “The Headies” and today the HipTV on DSTV.
He is the CEO of Smooth Productions, an entertainment firm that organizes “The Headies Award”. The Headies which was formerly known as the Hip Hop World Awards was established by Ayo Animashaun in 2005, but its first edition took place in 2006 to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry.
It is an annual ceremony which features performances by established and promising artists. It is broadcast live on HipTV to television viewers across Nigeria and this year 2014 edition promises an exciting show.
His monthly Hip-hop World Magazine is loved by so many youths in the society. Through the platform of his company, he has been credited with a lot of innovative ideas like the Hip hop World Exclusive Partea which is held in Lagos and London. He was actively behind the success stories of Mi, Olamide, Tuface, Rugged Man and many others.
Today Ayo Animashaun is a model to several youths including musicians and writers. He has scaled through difficult times of starvation, lack, debts, deprivation and lack of sleep, and he has attained global recognition.
His HipTV which has a channel on DSTV is also viewed in so many local stations. Today, one way or the other, reputable Hip-hip musicians, actors, actresses, VJ’s and even foreign stars, have had one thing or the other to do with ‘The Headies’ boss. His international event and awards projects have drawn both foreign and local stars from afar.
He has over 50 workers working for him. The story of these workers, like Dayo of HipTV who has relocated to New York, may not have been complete, if Ayo hasn’t grown his brand and employed them.
Ayo Animashaun has helped a lot of Nigerian artistes fulfilled their dreams. He is one of the frontiers of Nigerian Hip-hop Music and that the Nigerian music wouldn’t be complete without his contribution.