We got hold of a top executive and changemaker in different sectors. Paul Okeugo has played different parts in startups and established companies. And now, he shares his experience.
A Glimpse Into His Past
As a practising lawyer, he was head of chamber at Temple Chambers. He acted as an admin and in a paralegal role.
In 2005, he launched Chocolate City with two other partners.
Paul called this period “a juggling act”. As he held a lot of senior roles, and still managed to work on Chocolate City. For him, it was a mixture of luck, passion, and hard work.
Because the company was young, they decided to start with younger talents. These were people who could help and grow with the company.
Paul Okeugo based some of the success of chocolate city on his experience in working in blue chip and multinational companies. “They have structure, best practices, even good email etiquette and I was able to duplicate that at Chocolate City.
He says his partner, Audi, helped in building Chocolate City fundamentally. As with startups, they reached a period were revenue from the business could not put food on their families’ tables. At that point, duality helped. Both of them were able to give half of their salary to keep the company afloat. And if he wasn’t there, “[his partner] was there to handle everything”.
Though he has been involved in other businesses, Paul says he’s took a 2 year period to work on full time at Chocolate City. “That was when I really entered my role as president and COO. We were also in the process of securing a partnership with Warner Music and I wanted to be sure that was solid.”
Again, he mentions structure as the backbone of success in the company.
“Most startups [Nigerian and globally] don’t have structure. They have to learn on the job. However this is normal at infancy of any industry”. But luckily for him, he didn’t have to wing it all.
They have also created another startup, a branch off Chocolate City, Nu: Tribe Label. This focuses on grassroot talent.
Only a few Nigeria artistes are on the top shelf. And they take most of the public’s ears. The other good artistes have such a wide gap in terms of publicity and this hurts the growth of the sector. There is no development for the young artistes. International brands too focus only on the top percent.
Nu: Tribe Label aims to reduce and bridge that gap
ARTISTS AND LABELS
Cream always rises to the topPaul Okeugo
He says to talents who are in a rush to produce content. Be patient with your music. Work on it and be the best it can be. Quality beats speed every time. For if you produce mediocre sound, it falls flat as is forgotten in the midst of the overwhelming releases that come out daily.
Everyone wants quality now so give your audience that
If you join a label, go in with your eyes and ears open. Sign best deals. Bank on the experience of a team and have a great foundation for your career.
Of course, he knows, not every artist would need a label. We’re in the era where everyone can DIY their way to success.
Afrobeat: A phase or here to stay?
In his experience, Afrobeat is definitely here to stay. It has become a real genre and a lot of people love it. It’s similar to reggae boom. But it has a more lasting potential.
It’s a simple five step beat natural to Africans and a lot of people don’t know how to create it. It’s currently our leverage and it’s here to stay.
Who is Paul Okeugo Off The Screen?
He’s a homebody who likes to stay behind the scenes. While he can step up if the spotlight is on him, he prefers to take a more private role.
He doesn’t crave attention. And he appreciates real people with real values.
He’s a regular guy, an Arsenal fan who loves playing football and spending time with his 3 kids.
Takeaway For Young Nigerians
Even if everyone seems to be able to do without school, he would not go with that trend. There’s value in education for him. And it doesn’t need to be formal.
There’s talent in everyone but it may not pay the bills. So it’s important to learn something. Get training. Be the best one you can be so you can always bring value to the table.
So whatever you want to improve, it is important to train and sharpen talent.