Here’s an exclusive interview of Joy Tongo a Showbiz and media guru.
Let’s meet you:
I am a media person, US visa agent, entertainer, Tv producer, a legal adviser, I do most of the legal adviser for Nigerian artiste abroad US, UK and Canada. I basically do a lot of stuff as far as entertainment is concerned. And I also organize tour and visa for artiste in US, UK and Canada. Last year I did Yemi Alade’s tour to US and this year am gonna be doing her Canadian tour and I have been PSquare’s Agent from way back in 2010 till they broke up. I did Wizkid first visa to US. I used to be Cynthia Morgan’s manager; I brought her from the scratch way back 2012, I took her to the State came back to Nigeria; I stopped working with her in 2016; I also used to be Retta’s manager. I am also the co-founder of Nigeria Entertainment Award (NEA). I was the president. And the first time BET decided to come to Nigeria, I was one of the pioneers to bring them to Nigeria and then we did a whole lots of stuff like spotlight, shows, when they were launching in Africa/Nigeria cypher; so basically I do everything in entertainment.
For how long have you been doing entertainment?
The first NEA was 2006/2007. So NEA was what launched me into entertainment; that’s approximately 12 years in the showbiz industry.
You are an MBA holder, a consultant, media guru, motivational speaker, management personality, and a production company owner:
How do you combine all these together to stand out in showbiz industry like this?
When you do your passion I believe is something that comes easily so it sound like it’s a lot but it is not a lot but it is a passion. However, everything boils down to entertainment. They are intertwined together. I have an MBA now in Finance; Masters in Business so I believe everything is business to me.
Which school did you get all these degrees from?
University of NewYork Masters, Degree university of NewYork as well. I was born in the state. Came back to stay awhile in Nigeria then back to US though I went to high school in Nigeria but primary, university and Masters were obtained in America.
How many artiste have you managed so far?
Well I don’t manage artiste anymore lols… basically is Retta and Cynthia Morgan that’s for management but when it comes to agent I do that in the State mostly all the time in the summer time but am picky when it comes to being an agent of an artiste.
It is a lot of work because I wanna work with the right artiste that will bring money to me as well. One is the right artiste because when you are on tour is a lot of work. So basically I have only worked with Yemi Alade and PSquare.
So why do you stop an artiste management?
It is a lot of work, drama lols… I think I have entered the level of my life that I have grown above some certain things and artiste management is one of them. I don’t think I can manage any artiste now even for $10Billion Dollars because there is a lot of stress and work to do: I can’t even live in Nigeria anymore but I can come here for business; I have passed through that stage.
Meaning there is a lot of stress managing artiste in Nigeria than over there?
Well, there is stress everywhere, but I think you have to be tough to live in Nigeria and I think am tough, am strong lols….but I have passed that phase yeah.
How do you see the entertainment business compare to that of abroad?
It is great!!! Nigeria is my country. I love Nigeria, there is a lot going on over here. Nigeria entertainment industry is growing and again I was one of the people in America that brought afro music to the America and starting with NEA; starting with bringing artiste touring in the State now African music and Nigerian Music is booming in the State with the likes of Wizkid, Davido, Tekno and all the people. African music is really doing great in the State. Years ago they don’t play Nigerian music in the radio stations or in the club but now when you tune in your radio station in the State they play Nigeria music even the gospel music. Sinach is doing very well in the State. I actually going to be working with her in this summer. African music is really doing very well in the State and I think we just started.
Who are some of those Nigerian artistes you would love to work with?
I will to work with offcourse Wizkid lols… I have had history with years ago, his first US visa I did it for him. So I have known them very: it is very very possible for us to work together musically because Wizkid is very talented: a whole lot of artistes are doing very well right now.
How was Yemi Alade’s tour you did for her, what was the turn-up like, the love, ticket sales?
It was massive and great. African music is very great; like I said it can only get better. I did her tour in US last year and she will be touring Canada this year.
What challenge did you experience doing her tour?
African music is still new fertile ground and it can’t be like American music so there is a whole lot of work that we have put through to make sure things are done right so there is challenges everyday.
How do you see Nigerians going outside to shoot their videos instead of shooting it in Nigeria?
Nothing wrong with that: shoot your video wherever you want to shoot your video at the end of the day it still African music because you know the vision and story you wanna tell: if you have an African story you can do it in Nigeria but if you want glamour, girls, some kind of background or image you are looking at: so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it you can shoot your video wherever you want it. I like videos made in Africa especially Nigeria but it doesn’t matter where you shoot your video because at the end of the day it is a story you are trying to tell.
What are the things that keep you going everyday when you wake-up instead of thinking of challenges;
I mean things that motivates you?
God is my number one motivator because without Lord Jesus I don’t think I will be able to go through the day, right now that is my only motivation knowing that offcourse when I have God I have life and good health; you know without life and good health you can’t do nothing every other things to me is like extra like the bible says “seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and every other things will be added to you”. So what motivates me is having the Lord Jesus in my life.
What is the secret behind your success in showbiz industry?
Well am still growing, I have my own definition of success: to me success is a journey: am just starting through the phase of the journey: like you are saying advising other people: you can’t come into entertainment industry without passion you gonna loose it. If I don’t have the passion to be in the entertainment I don’t think am gonna be here because at the beginning there is no money. You are working and working and there is no money. I think it is the passion and the love for what you do that that keep you going. Just the artiste that have been working without knowing where the next meal is coming from (so the passion is a biggest deal) at the end of the day they are everywhere.
So how passion is passion? (I think you should go deeper))
I think is my passion that made me stay longer in Nigeria in managing artiste: so now the passion for management I have lost it: so that’s why I said if you don’t have passion anymore you will loose it and there is nothing you can tell me because I have lost passion for management; I don’t have passion for management anymore: so when you don’t have that you can’t wake that person early in the morning because you’ve lost it.
What is your advice to the upcoming Nigerian artiste?
No.1. have your passion. Talent is not everything. I used to say talent is 10% over 100% but recently Yemi Alade’s manager Taiye said talent is just 2%-5% over 100%. So it is not your talent but that the business matters. You can be so talented and don’t have a head of where you are going and nobody knows about you.
What having you been doing to remain relevant?
Well am trying because staying relevant still have to do with your passion by getting your face out there and keep working.
Can you tell us how you managed to make it in this male dominated industry and what is the greatest problem you have faced in Nigeria?
In Nigeria and everywhere in the world being a lady in a male dominated industry is very hard. When I first came to this country, things were very hard; I remember I used to break down and cry lols…. I will go to the back and shed some tears and later people will be like that girl is strong, mean and tough but I wasn’t like that when I first came to Nigeria: I was a very soft person, tender but Nigeria broke me: so I will say my biggest achievement ever is living in Nigeria because Nigeria made me strong. I learnt business wise in Nigeria. One of the person that taught me how to be tough is Jude Okoye; so I remember one time he called and he told me “Joy you are ready for this business: you are tough; I hear about you out there lols”… then I became the person that people will be like call Joy: talk to her she is mean, tough but that’s not me but I have to learn new things and adapt: like they say wherever you find yourself you gat to change up. I can’t be living the way I live in the state in Nigeria; I have to create a different image for myself by becoming tough like I said I used to cry. Am still learning everyday though but I know that i am a better person now and people will ride on you in this country: is really hard living in Nigeria: I give it up to people living in this country I must admit and Nigeria makes me. So it gives me a different way to see life.
How do you relax?
Well, I love vacation, I love travelling a lot to different part of the world but at the same time I don’t love travelling because I have travelled almost part of the world especially during tours but when it comes to vacation I love travelling because travelling is like education. You will get see other people’s culture, different food, how people relate and it just makes you a different kind of person and it makes me happy.
Who is your role model?
Ahhhhhwu!!!! I like Oprah
Why did you pick Oprah?
She is just hard working but I will say in I like Mo Abudu but in America people say I look like Angela Basit. But I seriously like Oprah in America in Nigeria I like Mo Abudu: I just like women doing great things and fearless.
Are you single?
Well, as far as am not married, I am single: even if am dating someone. I am single.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
Well, I love fashion a lot: whatever makes a lady feel beautiful and comfortable is fashion. I love something elegant.
You are a Jesus love, how does that apply to showbiz; you know some Christian will say that as a Christian you don’t need to be doing entertainment: isn’t that worldly?
I have heard that a lot. It just like when you are working in the hospital(because my brother is a medical doctor) but the owner of the hospital might not be a Christian but you are working there so you are shining because you are a light in the industry wherever you found yourself that is the way I put it. If you are a lawyer and your client might not be a Christian but you took that job. Yeah am a light in the industry that’s what I tell people and I have been in this industry for years especially when I live in Nigeria but a different people that know me knows that am different. If am not working you can’t even catch me outside clubbing. So am a light in the industry; am totally different.
Can you tell us your future project?
Yeah. Right now am going into production because am working on a talk show, documentary but basically I just want to spot Africa letting them know that Africa is very beautiful, talented and the power of Africa. So right now I want to spot Africa in a better way especially African fashion.
What advice do you have for young ladies out there that use this economy as an excuse to depend on men for sustenance?
When you have a goal and a dream nothing can stop you. Wherever you found yourself just get the best of it. You have a dream, goal, vision I don’t think the economy can stop you: it can be a hindrance definitely I mean I understand that but it cannot stop you. I have heard a lot about people who started with nothing but today they are very successful today in the same Nigeria that we all say is hard and everything. A goal, vision and a dream with God you will be unstoppable.
Who is your crush?
Lols…. I don’t a crush in Nigeria lols…. But in America I like Tyler Perry but he is taken. I just like a God fearing person.