Chief Sylvester Chinedu Nweke, “Eze Ndi Igbo” Lagos is the CEO of Don Sylvester Records (DSR). The very industrious gentleman veered into the music industry by setting up his record label due to his love for music, where he currently has over 30 artistes and 2 signed artistes. Ahead of DSR first year anniversary, the Enugu State-born businessman, movie producer, actor, minister of God and a philanthropist in an exclusive interview with Theresa Moses, open up on challenges of managing artists, his love for youth empowerment, benefits of being signed to DSR and more.
No doubt the multiple awards winning Don Sylvester is so loved by youths. “Yes, I empower youths, give them a platform to exhibit and showcase their talents instead of just wasting away irrespective of ethnicity, language or religion. This is what I never had while growing up” he said.
Speaking on how many artistes he has signed on his record label so far he has this to say: “I have over 30 artistes on my record label now, though more artists are begging to join but I have signed only two officially. It is like a different stroke for different folks. Because of the expenses and other things, we don’t sign more than 2 artistes at a time. Basically are always there for them especially when they sing, we promote. It’s more or less like grooming before proper signing. The difference between them and the signed artistes is that we don’t give the unsigned artistes the benefits the signed ones get, like accommodation, cars, cash, and other things” but they are still comfortable.
On the challenges of managing artists, the boss as he’s called by his artists says “yes, a lot of challenges like some artistes trying to have things done in their own ways, disappointment from producers and so many others. For instance we bought a car worth 4 million naira for an artiste, he went out with it and promised to come back the next day but didn’t until after few days I received a call from the artist that the car is burning on third mainland bridge. I left what I was doing and rushed to the scene of the incident to watch the car burnt to ashes. It might not be a challenge to others, but to me, it is because nobody likes to waste money. Another major challenge we are facing right now, is choosing artistes to be signed, because there are lots of them, and they are all exceptionally good, so it’s been difficult picking, but I always try to use my discretion”.
As the Director of the National Youth Council, Lagos branch he speaks on what it takes to be on DSR label: ‘Basically it doesn’t take much; DSR is more or less a platform for youth empowerment. That’s why we empower youths, take them off the street, there are lots of talented youths out there but no platform for them to showcase their God giving talents. Most of my colleagues in the industry advised me against signing more than one artiste at a go, but I told them, I don’t care. This is my style.
Chief Nweke says what makes DSR different from other record labels is how they live as one big family and bring decency into music. “We want to take music to the highest level, re-brand it and become the game changers. We want to add class, value and glamour to music. We are trying to bring decency into music, no drugs, no smoking, and no sex. We are trying to change something in music. We want to do things differently. Artistes are often regarded as drug addicts and tagged everything negative you can think about, but here it’s no to such lifestyle” he said.
The DSR boss plays fatherly role to his artistes by providing shelter, accommodation, monthly allowance, medication and also taking care of the artists’ extended family. Anywhere he’s invited as the CEO, he goes with his artistes. “I carry them along in everything and also clothe them, they are my children and I don’t discriminate between them, I treat them equally” he said.