May 9, 2020

Why I moved from Chicago to Lagos —Tolani Baj, A&R, media personality

Why I moved from Chicago to Lagos —Tolani Baj, A&R, media personality

Tolani Baj

Tolani Baj

Nigerian entrepreneur, A&R (Artists and Repertoire), media personality and content creator, Tolani Baj left Chicago, her base in the United States, for a new challenge in Nigeria: “I am happier here because of the available resources.”

Real names Tolani Shobajo, who also run a modeling/event staffing agency, shed more light on how her journey into entertainment started: “I would say showbiz started for me December 2016. That year, I made the many connections I have in the industry today. I took detty December more like a networking time.

ALSO READ: Nigerian entertainment has gone global— DamyQue

“I would party with the coolest people, we’d vibe organically and viola! We become good friends. Energy is very important. I always looked forward to December from the beginning of the year solely to catch the next flight to Lagos. I’m happier here because I have access to the resources that I need. That’s why I moved back home.”

On how A&R started for her: “I started consulting up and coming acts while in America via Instagram and e-mail. I would A&R for free because I enjoyed it so much. Then I developed a passion for presenting, buy I wasn’t able to secure a job in Nigeria because I needed to be on ground. So I decided to start a Youtube channel. This is where the era of Tolani Baj began.

“On YouTube, I would talk about new music, celebrity gossips and the Nigerian culture. After a year of consistency on Youtube, I was recognised by Bellanaija and tooxclusive. I became a tooxclusive affiliate without having to be on ground, creating playlists on their platform.

“Fast forward to December 2018; I summoned the courage to relocate back to Nigeria after nine years, to pursue my career in the entertainment industry. I took the risk, moved to Nigeria and flourished.”

On been a female in a male-dominated profession and Vblog: “The entertainment industry is fickle. Women have to prove themselves twice as hard in order to be respected. I believe I can achieve anything and everything I want in life, if I put my mind to it.

“Being a female in the industry is definitely challenging, because you are being underestimated on a constant basis. All my skills work hand-in-hand thankfully. My personality makes it all easier because I am able to adapt to any situation.

“I also have a strong passion for entertainment, hence why it doesn’t feel like a job. I consider my Vlogs more like an open diary. I document my journey transitioning from living in America to living in Lagos, Nigeria. I create insightful content for Africans in the Diaspora to watch, most especially because some of them are not able to visit Nigeria.

“I keep them updated with the Lagos lifestyle. I also have videos portraying Lagos in a positive. You can watch my detty December series on there and be entertained. I also would like to view my videos as a documentary for my future kids. They get to see how fun their mom was as a youth/adult.”

Baj, who probably would be working a 9-5 job in the healthcare industry, if she wasn’t doing entertainment, highlighted some of her industry challenges and what she thinks of the Nigerian musical space: “The game is the game. Anybody can switch up on you at any given second.

“Always be on your toes, because loyalty is non-existent. I know the importance of providing value in the industry. The more valuable you are, the more access you have in the industry. We are all using each other in the industry one way or another — record labels in Nigeria have a lot to learn.

“We have so many inexperienced music execs in Nigeria, who are running labels with no direction. Artistes are silently depressed because of their labels. Some labels are hindering the success of their artistes due to negligence. Companies will owe salaries and will terminate your contract as an employee if you voice out.”

Born in the early 1990s in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., Tolani Shobajo, who likes to travel, listen to music, dance and scout for new talents, has been featured on Ebonylife, Hiptv, etc. Her modeling/event staffing agency, 234nextgen, is fast becoming a force in Nigeria.

Some of the clients Tolani has worked with include, Universal Music Group, Aristokrat Records, Tooxclusive, Pulsetv, among others.