eLDeetheDon recently released a video for his track, One day off of his “Is It Your Money Vol.1″ album. In true “I go Yarn-esque” fashion, he eloquently speaks out against societal ills in Nigeria. The lyrics for the track are pure inspiration. With moving graphics and over 15 Nigerian celebrity artistes present, the video adds a refreshing and welcome voice to the Nigerian youth activism landscape. In the interview below, we catch up with eLDee, asking questions about his motivations and inspiration for exploring socially conscious themes through his music. A recommended read… But first, some images..!
ONE DAY – MUSIC VIDEO
INTERVIEW WITH ELDEETHEDON ON HIS TRACK, ONE DAY – CP-AFRICA.COM
CP-AFRICA.COM: You have consistently used music as a medium for social change with “I go Yarn” and now with “One Day.” What inspires you to continue “yarning” against societal ills in Nigeria?
– I am very passionate about Nigeria and Africa as a whole. I strongly believe that we need to get back on the path of progress. I understand that I have a platform that reaches millions of people across the continent and I believe it is my social responsibility to use my music to contribute positively towards social change. I will continue to use the platform to such purpose for as long as I have it at my disposal. It’s sad to note that when I recorded “I go yarn” in 2004, things were actually better than they are now. The situation in Africa keeps getting worse but I hope that I am able to inspire people through my music, by highlighting the issues, offering solutions and spreading hope across the continent.
VIDEO: eLDee – I GO YARN[pro-player]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7FSxSpRg80[/pro-player]
CP-AFRICA.COM: Do you think music is a viable tool for initiating social change?
elDee: I believe music is one of the strongest tools because everyone can understand and relate to it easily. It gets to a lot of difficult to reach areas and sends the message to people faster than any other medium. The fact that most musicians are public figures, role models for the youth, and always have the audience of their fans is why music can not be ignored in a social change campaign.
CP-AFRICA.COM: By venturing out as an artiste and launching your own label at a time when it was almost unconventional to do so, you were in many ways a trendsetter in the Nigerian music industry. What was the source of your inspiration?
elDee: I was about 18years old when I started Trybe Records. I had to create my own record label because I couldn’t find any record label to support the new ideas we were about to introduce to Nigerian music. I grew up wanting to create. I had a vision, I studied my environment and its challenges and chose to contribute something socially. We have created an industry that employs millions and is now the strongest on the continent. I’d like to say I am proud of what we have done collectively with Nigerian entertainment, but this is only the beginning. We’re still dealing with a lot of issues while seeking government support towards enforcing intellectual property rights, so that creators can benefit more from their works.
CP-AFRICA.COM: Who is your favorite African socially conscious musician?
elDee: The late great Fela Anikulapo Kuti. He spoke when no one else dared to. He used his music as a weapon against corruption and injustice in the land. He is one of the artists that has not only influenced me immensely but also taught me to speak up regardless of what most think is fashionable.
CP-AFRICA.COM: Who is your favorite African musician, period?
elDee: I like and enjoy a lot of artists for different reasons but if I had to choose one, it would be Fela.
CP-AFRICA.COM: In an interview with Liz Yemoja late last year, you emphasized the need for education, empowerment and reorientation in Nigeria. You also emphasized that you think our generation can change Nigeria. Can you touch more on this issue? Why do you think our generation can change the country and how best do you think we can combine our energies to make it happen?
elDee: There is a new generation of Nigerians who are determined to put Nigeria back on its course to greatness,…if only they are given a chance. We have witnessed over two decades of injustice and corruption in our country and everyone is frustrated. People didn’t often voice their frustrations in the past but that trend is beginning to change. Especially now that the media is no longer restricted to print. There are many more forums of expression for the youth, and we have started using them. The effect of pressure groups towards prioritizing key issues is already being felt by the government and things are beginning to turn around for the better.
Nigeria, and Africa as a whole can be brought back on track when we start practicing true and proper democracies, when people are held accountable for their actions, when people begin to do things the way it should be done. We are not bad people, we have just ignored one of the key elements of a proper functioning society,…enforcement of laws.
For Nigeria to work, we are going to need an overhaul of our government. We have too many insincere people sitting at the helm of affairs. When people selected based on merit begin to occupy these offices, you will see change in Nigeria. Our problems are not complicated at all, once we decide we are not going to live like this anymore. There is a new crop of Nigerian youth that have chosen to take that stand. We are currently working on getting every Nigerian to see the big picture, and making sure that all Nigerians exercise their voting rights in the next and future elections with a better Nigeria in mind.
CP-AFRICA.COM: In what other ways besides music are you involved in trying to effect social change in the country?
elDee: Other than using my platform of music to reach out to fellow Nigerians, I am doing everything within my capacity to shed light on the problems we are facing and why every Nigerian should change their attitude towards Nigeria. I have also initiated Light up Nigeria and joined several pressure groups like EnoughIsEnough and Cool2Vote. I am very outspoken on many issues in Nigeria because I believe that is one of our biggest problems. We have been sold “fear” by greedy politicians and the military, so not many want to speak out on issues of national concern. The fact that greedy and corrupt officials are able to loot the treasury with impunity is the only reason it continues to happen repeatedly. I urge all Nigerians to speak up against the ills in this country and to seek electoral reform. Once everyone acknowledges that we are in a mess that needs fixing, and we begin to hold our officials accountable, I believe we can then begin our journey onto the right path. I am also part of a small group that will carry out several campaigns to encourage and educate the youth on the importance of registering to vote and voting, in the next and future elections.
CP-AFRICA.COM: Most people already consider you a legend. How do you want Lanre Dabiri to be remembered?
elDee: Though I don’t see myself as a “legend”, I’d like to be remembered as someone who stood for what he believed in, always.
CP-AFRICA.COM: Any last words for your fans?
elDee: Thanks for all the love and support! I am not a politician. Neither am I interested in politics but I want to implore you all to please register to vote, and make sure you use your votes wisely for the upcoming and future elections. Your future lies entirely in the choices you make today.