Empire Mates Entertainment (EME), the record label founded by R&B singer Banky W in 2002, is diversifying to become a media and public relations agency. Earlier in the week, Banky W made the announcement in a two-page Instagram post, notifying the public about the record label’s restructuring and the slight chance in focus.
Empire Mates Entertainment (EME) was started by @captdemuren & I, way back in 2001/2002 – in my dorm room at my University in NY. The reason we used the word “Empire” was because Tunde and I were crazy enough to dream that we could build a company that would eventually become an Empire.. one that would serve as the launching pad for not only my career goals in music, movies and other interests… but one that would also serve as a stepping stone for other talents to become more successful and achieve their goals as well. We started the record label part of it right there in my room, which we relocated to Lagos around Vals day 2008 – and we thank God for guiding and crowning our efforts thus far; we’ve played our little part in helping discover/boost the careers of a number of talents in the Music business (some of your favourite Artists, Producers & Engineers..) and we are forever grateful for the opportunity to live out our dreams by giving others a platform to shine as well. In January of 2017, after 9 years of being in the Nigerian Music Industry, we decided it was time to quietly close the Record Label Arm of our business (Part 1.. pls read next post 😁)
“We are now a full-fledged media agency that focuses on creative marketing, advertising, PR, brand events/activation and a talent management firm. This switch in focus has been amazing and fulfilling…behind the scenes, we have been able to impact the launching and marketing of a number of brands and companies the way we did artists… but even in the talent management side, we are no longer restricted with music artistes. We still work with musicians, but we also work with OAPs, actors and are evaluating sports management as well.” Banky said via Instagram.
(Part 2 – continued from previous post) Essentially we have restructured our business.. and instead of operating just as a record label, we have expanded and changed our focus a bit… we are now a full fledged Media Agency that focuses on Creative Marketing, Advertising, PR, Brand Events/Activations AND a talent management firm. This switch in focus has been amazing and fulfilling.. behind the scenes, we have been able to impact the launching and marketing of a number of brands and companies the way we did artists.. but even in the talent management side, we are no longer restricted to working with just Music Artistes. We still work with Musicians, but we also work with OAP’s, Actors and are evaluating sports management as well. The goal was always to find talents and brands we believe in, and partner with them to help them become more successful… now we have expanded to do that for more than just the Music business. We are excited about our client portfolio: the corporate brands we rep, as well as the talents. At the moment, our clients are: @djxclusive83, @ebuka, @toolzo, @adesuaetomi, and of course yours truly Mr W. (And a few corporate brands as well) Talk to us for all things Marketing/Advertising/PR/Media/Entertainment. We shoot tvc’s and documentaries just as great as we do music videos. We launch brands and products as well as we have launched Artists. Need some help with your digital marketing? Need an ad campaign? Influencers for your next launch? Finding the right brand ambassadors for your product? We are your one stop shop for the marriage between corporate Africa and Entertainment. For a simple reference, it’s kind of like how Jay went from Rocafella to Roc Nation. Just.. same name, new targets. @theofficialeme_ is our IG page, and for booking any of our clients pls holla at us directly. Grateful for our past, and excited about our future.. this is EME. God bless you all and thanks for the support.
The rest of the post goes further to advertise the now-rebranded outfit, which Banky W encapsulates as a “one stop shop for the marriage between corporate Africa and entertainment.” The brand’s current slew of clients includes Banky W himself, actress and wife Adesua Etomi, DJ Xclusive, and media personalities Toolz and Ebuka Obi-Uchendu. Ebuka is, perhaps, the most valuable asset in this bunch, having conquered 2017 as fashion statement-maker and social media maven. He belongs to a small, glamorous, impenetrable band of friends, a phenomenon that YNaija’s Editor Edwin Okolo had referred to in a 2017 end-of-year piece as the “Naija rat pack,” a hyper-specific nomenclature inspired by the rat pack of Hollywood’s 1950s and the brat pack of the 1980s. “Two distinct groups of entertainment-inclined friends who went on to define the zeitgeist of their generations.” writes Okolo.
Ebuka and his ilk, consisting of the Demuren brothers, Olamide Adedeji, Bankole Wellington, and Noble Igwe are the Nigerian rat pack equivalent of the modern era, grandstanding on synergistic, explicit social media branding whether as an individual or group. “The “Naija rat pack” has our undivided attention now, and it will be interesting to see what gold they can spin from it.” Okolo writes conclusively in what looks like a foreshadowing of the EME record label rebranding, a strategy to consolidate on the monolithic, zeitgeisty presence of the rat pack but had turned out to be a retooling of an old workhorse.
All this, of course, is just theorising on the bits of information at my disposal. Furthermore, there’s a sense that the refurbished EME might not be rooted in functional altruism, or maybe this is just my cynicism talking. The acquisition of Adesua and Toolz as clients, wives of Banky W and Tunde Demuren respectively, isn’t all that surprising. Their statuses as spouses affords them inclusion into the small hermetic world of organised trips and exclusive partying and brand visibility. The fame rubs off on them, but never leaves the pack.
Before now, EME was home to artistes like Skales, and the departure of Afrobeats titan Wizkid back in 2013 seemed like the biblical prodigal son story. Except that Wizkid never went back. But who needs the Star Boy when EME has co-opted a movement to truly turn it into an empire?