KJ Spio is one of Africa and the UK’s leading music executives and artist managers …
He has gained international success working with artists from across the globe such as Cadet, Big Narstie, Sarkodie, Efya and Blaq Jerzee. KJ’s strategic mindset has seen him nurture talent and build their global presence within music, TV, sports and entertainment.
He is also the creative director of CEEK, an award-winning developer of premium social virtual reality experiences, a platform that allows musicians and creatives to monetise their work in the form of virtual concerts.
We caught up with KJ Spio to find out more …
Please tell us who you are, what you do, and where you’re from.
I am KJ Spio artist manager/creative director and record executive.
Describe your life right now in a word or one sentence..
Hard work beginning to pay off.
Tell us about your latest project.
My latest project is executive producing and A&R-ing Sarkodie’s new album Jamz out on November 11th.
How did it come about?
It started with a conversation regarding the direction of Afrobeats and the Amapiano influence and wanting to produce a project that has the fusion of Afrobeats, Hip-hop and Amapiano, it’s really a project that came about organically. He records usually in different places. He’s not an artist that goes to the same studio, he records when he’s travelling. The records started feeling cohesive and sounding like an album. They all had Amapiano influence which eventually led to putting together a body of work.
You are also the creative director of award-winning developer seek CEEK can you tell us more about the platform?
CEEK came about from us wanting to provide a platform or an avenue where artists can provide premium content and offer it directly to their fanbase and also get paid. It’s like a Netflix for artists. Initially it started off by us contacting artists, but now we get a lot of artists, management and labels contacting us regarding artists doing virtual concerts or exclusive premium content for their fans. The artist range across all different music genres.
What is your role as curator?
My role is to identity artists that we should work with and come up with concepts and content that works well with different artists; for example, for Sarkodie’s first virtual concert, he performed at the Independent Square in Ghana which had never been done before. The Independent Square is very significant because Ghana was the first African country to gain its independence, and that is the same place our forefathers stood and proclaimed independence. So fast forward to him having a virtual concert there, it was very significant. From that to him doing another virtual concert in the desert. Now we’re about to film a virtual concert with Oxlade. My role is to identify talent and put together something that is great.
What makes CEEK special what does your audience gain from the virtual concerts you put on?
The start of it was like any other start up, just a handful of artists and it grew. The more ground-breaking events that we have, the more talent across different genres we attract. I think what makes what we are doing unique and my role unique, is that we are creating different experiences, having virtual concerts where its so imaginative and you see stuff that you wouldn’t expect to see such as Sarkodie performing in a desert. That was very unusual.
Tell us about any highs you’ve had but also any low points during your career.
High points would be releasing independently and going platinum and the lowest point is the passing of an artist that I manage (RIP Cadet).
What is a memorable moment from your carer that you can share with our audience …
Recording a song and shooting the music video the same day, that was for Cadet x Deno – Advice. Music is something very spiritual. Naturally, if you’re intuitive and you listen to where the energy drives you, you’re able to make decisions or able to do things that happen organically. So during the process of recording the record, we just felt that it was the perfect timing to actually shoot the music video which nobody every does. We went out and shot the video around the recording studio. That’s how it came about.
What’s your current plan B? (if it all goes wrong what’s the plan?)
Plan A, B and C is what I am doing now.
What’s made you Sad, Mad, Glad this week ?
Glad this week is planning the rollout of a very special project.
What are you watching right now?
What are you reading right now?
The Outliers for the second read.
What are you listening to right now?
The last thing you saw on stage?
Celebrate someone else (who do you rate right now?) –
Celebrate yourself … (make us proud of you)
I’m blessed to work with great talent and being able to see ideas come to reality.
Where can we find your latest project?
Sarkodie’s Jamz is out November 11th