By Rotimi Agbana
The immense success of teen pop bands like ‘Jackson 5’ and ‘One Direction’ on the International scene, leads us to imagine the possibility of a similar success story in the fast-evolving Nigerian music industry; such that a band of teenage artists would grow to record chart-topping songs, put out great videos, perform at profiting events, attain a level of popularity that allows them command tons of fan love and then qualify to be called pop stars.
It was this thought that inspired my interest in “Puppy Pound” – a group of three teenage artistes; who, interestingly, are all of the same age – 14. Their names are Oluwatodunni Obafemi, Jude Ore and Akolade Adegboyega; but as artistes they are called Bichon, Shepherd and Rott respectively. They make Afro-fusion music which combines elements of soul, pop and rap music.
Put together by Play Palms Entertainment – an entertainment and management company based in Lagos, members of the group were selected based on merit off an audition for young music talents organized in 2016. Two of their records were released in 2018 to a welcome reception from a wide range of Nigerian music lovers that cut across both the young, old and the experienced.
From listening to their debut single – “Body” – you get the impression that their aim is to entertain and encourage their listener. Mostly, the song is dance-stimulating but it is also the type of song that can fit into a playlist of inspiring music. Rott explains and confirms that they make music “not just for commercial purposes, but also to make an impact.” Shepherd responded to my question on possible breakup of the group in the future by saying, “that’s not going to happen because we share a common vision and with the ideas we share and the kind of conversations we have, we help each other stay true to that vision.”
The follow-up track of the group, “Olayinka”, came in July 2018, accompanied with a video that has recorded over 50,000 YouTube views – an improvement on the number of views on their first video. Rott talked about the effect of being part of a growing music group, speaking of the increasing number of his Instagram followers; while for Bichon, it’s the calls he gets from friends and random people who introduce themselves as “fans” that has been his new experience since going pro with music.
Their third single which has turned out to be the biggest release for the group so far is titled “Lookrie”. Lookrie was released in December 2018, and had its video shot and directed by fast rising video directed TG Omori. The music gained popularity in a short time and amassed over 300,000 views on YouTube.
For the trio, their eyes are still on the prize. With the quality of songs they plan to release as the year unfolds, they are confident about their dreams of becoming global music stars and have acknowledged the demands of chasing “the music dream”; as well as their other interests in the field of Engineering (as in the case of Rott), Astronomy (Bichon) and Medicine (for Shepherd).
One thing is certain: this trio is not short of ambition and with the structure provided for them by their Record label, they seem prepared for the life of music and stardom. When asked if they think they would go on to be as famous as Jackson 5 or One Direction, unanimously they responded, “time will tell.”