This week we spoke with a Serial Entrepreneur championing food tourism and Independent Music in Nigeria Founder of Afrovibes Africa, Abulafestival, Indienightlagos & Singalong concert. Bisilola Bakare’s life imprint is creating intimate and unforgettable experiences.
We are creating a comic book about the superheroes of the African Entertainment industry, describe your superpower as an A&R and what would be your superhero name?
The Queen Creator, I pick up on energy and express them exceptionally.
What’s your favorite genre of music to listen to? Who are the 5 most-played artists in your playlist?
Highlife, because of the presence of percussions, the Konga, and the talking drum, it’s very diverse and that makes the listening enjoyable. My five most-played artists are Asa, The Cavemen, Cat Burns, Chike, & Brymo
Music and the food industry, what are your thoughts on this, possible collaborations, opportunities…?
There’s definitely something there because when you are having a meal and music is playing in the background you enjoy the meal more. Speaking from my experience creating Abula Festival, it is clear that Music is an accompaniment, it makes you enjoy things way better. I see the potential to create a multi-sensory experience championed by food and music, not just using music as an accompaniment.
Afrovibes Africa, what inspired the name?
It started in 2017 with me trying to create an atmosphere and experience that celebrates African Culture food, fashion, and music … and I soon realized that the only befitting name would have to speak to the African continent not just Nigeria or a particular African country because the atmosphere cuts across the diversity of culture in Africa. The name also speaks to what the future of the brand holds cutting across the African continent as we carry the vibe and energy across Africa, exploring every aspect of culture.
Why are there so many expressions of Afrovibes Africa?
Culture is multilayered and in order to explore fully it we must ascribe attention to each facet of it, this is why we have so many expressions. Our Current expressions are @afrovibesafrica @abulafestival @indienightlagos and @singalongconcert. The truth is each expression seeks to uncover and share the heart and principles of each activity for instance Afrovibes Travel (in the works), you can’t explore Africa if you don’t travel but we don’t want a touristy travel experience, we want an intimate native travel experience that exposes you to the heart and life of the culture not the globalized version of the culture.
Tell us about the journey of Afrovibes Africa?
It started as an answer to a need for me, I used to go to Bogobiri to satisfy my taste for artsy experiences. Living on the mainland and going to Bogobiri I didn’t enjoy the full experience because I always rushed home, so it started from a passion to create an experience I needed and enjoyed, a space for alternative sounds and genuine connections. From there we grew, from personally funding it to Budweiser becoming a sponsor which allowed us to be consistent. This leads us to meet The Cavemen through Femi Leye, the headliner at the time and it’s safe to say Cavemen started at Afrovibes because at the time they were playing covers and a few originals. In the words of Kingsley “It was there, we realized we can do this thing.” From being the Bogobiri of the mainland, Afrovibesfest grew to be headlined by Brymo, Chike, and last year Yemi Alade headlined. It has been an amazing journey of creating experiences.
Indienightlive, what is that?
Indienightlive just started as well taking its cue from the origin of Afrovibesfest which was originally meant for independent artists. Indienightlive is our way of going back to where we started, it is a platform specifically for Independent artists to have an audience to give them feedback and explore the possibilities of this journey they are embarking on and hopefully “blow”.
Tell us the story of Abulafestival?
Abulafestival is a product of Afrovibes Africa, because I’m all about expressing vibes once I experience a good vibe I will find a way to express it where I am or where it is needed. I was in Port Harcourt in 2019 for the bole festival and I liked the vibe, so I began looking for where, when, and how to bring it to life. I nursed the idea for three years and in 2022 it became a reality. Picking inspiration from a place and nursing the idea for three years was frustrating and annoying but if it keeps me up at night it reinforces my determination to bring it to life.
How do you reach Independent Artists?
It’s either I find them or they find me, people know that regardless of who is headlining Afrovibes I support 3 or 4 independent artists so people reach out to me. I follow the music and that looks like clicking on a hashtag and going down the rabbit hole which leads you to find people and the algorithm helps me as well. Having producers and talent managers on my contact list that share their talents, recommendations, and pitches also helps.
What is a Singalong concert?
It started from a conversation in preparation In preparation for Brymo headlining Afrovibesfest in march 2022 where Brymo’s sound manager said “he doesn’t use backup the audience will singalong, they will be his back up” and true to his statement the audience sang along, sometimes even starting the song before Byrmo did. After the event I posted a tweet, did you people singalong or not and the responses led to a singalong tour with Brymo. After the tour, I decided that I would plan a karaoke concert and that is the Singalong concert!
Your name is going in the hall of fame for people who impacted the music industry, what would your quote be?
Keep thinking about it and let your imagination go as wild as it can be.
To anyone nursing an idea …
Keep thinking about it, imagine it from start to finish, anticipate stuff, and don’t stop till it manifests. The more you think about it, the more you believe in it and if you believe in it you will see it.