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My dad’s death made me take life seriously – Rema



My journey into being a film and media executive, brand strategist and talent manager all started as me working on production sets.That grew my love for storytelling and filmmaking basically. Growing up I used to enjoy watching movies and I grew up watching classics on videso with my dad and my mum. That kind of informed me that to make the world a better place, storytelling can actually be a medium to reach and educate people.

During those time, not everybody could afford going to school, people that could not afford going to school, one way or the other watched movies. It could be by the roadside, it could be through their neighbor’s window. One way or the other, they were able to watch movies. And for the people that didn’t go to school, these movies were in a language that they understood. Whatever moral lesson they learnt from that movie, had a positive impact in their life. So to speak, it was a medium of education for people that couldn’t afford going to school.

So that alone made me know that I needed to be very much involved in something like this that contributes to making a positive change to the world. And that’s how my journey began.

I attended school in film production, digital marketing and multimedia production just to have a rounded knowledge that contributes to visual storytelling .And that’s how we began. So far, so good it’s been very much interesting.Its something I very much enjoy doing.The journey is not the same like it was from the begininnng. I am getting there.

My journey into talent management isn’t something that is part of my journey from the on set.Over time I was on the filming set of ‘Maami Water’ and I was able to manage three different actors and them my friend and producer called and said I have seen how you have handled  these people and I think I have someone I think you should handle and that was how I met Kelechi Udegbe.Kelechi Udegbe became the first person that I managed  as a talent manager.So I worked with Kelechi Udegbe. The first thing I needed to do was to reposition his brand and get people to know him.While doing my due diligence I relaised that a couple of people know Kelechi by his peformace but they really cannot connect the face with the name and that was a major problem because it didn’t come as the first choice when it comes to casting.He didn’t really have a social media presence, it was very hard for people to remember him and in this line of business  as an actor in Nollywood, its very important that you have a social media presence and its important than your brand positioning is strong so that you can always be at the top of the mind of casting directors, producers, directors and a host of others that contributes to the success of making a film.So it was important for us to work on his brand positioning, brand presence online and reintroduce him to the audience.That was how we came up with the name Kelechi the performer.And so far so good, where he was before I started managing him, is a lot more different than where is right now.

After managing Kelechi, Uzor Arukwe came into the light also.He saw the good work we were doing with Kelechi and came on board  and said  he will love to be managed as well too.His brand was at a point where he needed to reach more audience, and have more presence online and that’s how we came in.Managing Kelechi and Uzor Arukwe hasn’t been a smooth journey but its been a fulfilling one.Like I do tell myself, ‘The true test of managing an individual is not managing a star that is already a household name because the work has already been done.But it is about doing the real work of making an unknown person known to the public.

And my positive impact on their careers so far is that we have been able to increase their ROI’s , we have been able to increase  their brand presence, we have been able to get them verified on social media  and help them to get paying gigs which is different from what they used to get before.Their brand positioning is now different from what it used to be.People can now connect with Uzor Arukwe and Kelechi Udegbe as household names when it comes to Nollywood movies.Not just that, they can testify to their professionalism  on productions and their delivery   when it comes to their performance.

Having an indepth understanding about how the Nigerian audience mind works, first thing is to know that one is trying to reach a local audience which is one’s community in Nigeria and understanding how their mind works is very key to how one comes up with strategies.

I have triangle that connects my strategies together.Its either I am tapping in to their emotional side to get them to talk about certain things that I want them to talk about which in turn leads to conversion for my campaign or to tap into their controversial side  which is a bit of controversy and a bit of the truth.That way, it can raise social commentaries, that can approach issues from a critical point of view.I attend film workshops when I travel just to  nework.I also attend film workshops  here in Nigeria .I also attend a couple of industry events just to connect with people because  when I watch Nollywood movies, I watch from a critical analysis point of view.It is also for me to identify talents  and then when I am able to identify a particular talent, its very important for me to connect with them and know how we can best work together.This brought about the collaboration of Mami Water which is a project  that  I happen to be one of the executive producers.Its the first Nigerian movie to screen at Sundace for its world premiere.

Popular singer, Divine Ikubor has revealed that losing his dad at an early age shaped his mind.

Rema said he didn’t take life seriously until his dad passed away and he realised the importance of family.

The ‘Calm Down’ crooner stated this while appearing on the Afrobeats podcast hosted by Shopsydoo.

Rema said, “It [losing my dad] shaped me, to be honest. It shaped my mindset, my mood, you know.

“There was a point in time I was very colourful, I would say. I was funny, running around and unserious. I never took life seriously until when I lost my dad. And it just shows different sides of people. It just shows the importance of family as well.

“Yeah, as siblings we might have our fights, quarrels but you never know when you will just not see them again; the people you are closest to.

“For my dad, my dad used to call me a soldier.”