Lanre Dabiri aka eLDee or “eLDee the Don” as he is fondly called, is the founder of Trybe Records. A music producer, songwriter, performing artist, and a qualified architect.
Born and raised in Kaduna, a city in Northern Nigeria, eLDee’s love for music and the arts started at a very young age.For over a decade, eLDee has proved to be the most consistent artist/producer in West Africa writing and producing some of the biggest hit songs. His recent collaborations have also established eLDee as the go-to-guy for infectious music and has had all artists in the land (signed and unsigned) seeking his golden touch.eLDee’s resume not only brags about his work as an artist, producer and video director, but also as an interactive media genius. His business resume boasts of clients like CNN, D3 Publishing, Hines, Accenture, Andersen, Kimberly Clark, Naruto, Primedia, NBA, UPS, Cartoon Network, Consumer Source, Warner Bros, just to name a few of the fortune 500 companies he has had the opportunity to design and develop for with an Atlanta based firm. eLDee and his colleagues have received numerous national and international awards for design and new media campaigns.
eLDee writes and produces most of his music, and owns all rights to his works through his reign of over a decade. His second solo album “Big Boy” was released early 2009 and was tagged an instant classic. The album includes monster hits such as “Bosi Gbangba” and “Big Boy”. The Big Boy album received 17 nominations in di fferent categories of various award shows including best video, best album, best cinematography, hottest single, best album, best artist and 2009 MOBO award nomination for “Best African artist”.
eLDee’s most recent album, “Is it your money Vol.1″ was released on March 6, 2010. The much-anticipated album was a trending topic on twitter for two days as the world awaited the release of the fresh body of work from one of Nigeria’s most exciting artists. The album boasts of hits like “Ota mi”, “U blow my mind”, “Feel good music” and “One day”.
eLDee is very passionate about the current state of Nigeria and is one of the very few outspoken Nigerian celebrities when it comes to social issues. His passion is evident in his active involvement in a lot of activities geared toward social change. eLDee’s thirst for sustainability in Nigeria is also evident in his music as with each album, he hammers on real issues and seeks to motivate/inspire the people of the land towards greatness. Such songs include “Which kind life be dis”, “I go yarn”, and more recently “One day”. eLDee hopes to inspire a new generation towards a more sustainable Nigeria through his musical works and social campaigns.
Radio and video charts have been incomplete without eLDee and he still stands as one of the most promising Nigerian artists on the scene today.
In anticipation of his upcoming album, We sit with eLDee and have a long chat as he take us through his journey so far…
FAB: YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY FOR _____ YEARS?
eLDee: I’ve been in the industry for about 14yrs professionally.
FAB: HOW HAS THE JOURNEY SO FAR BEEN?
eLDee: It’s been a fun ride. I had a dream as a 15 year old and to see it come to fruition is truly amazing. I hope I am able to inspire a lot of young people. With hard work and perseverance, if you put your mind to anything, it shall come to pass. I feel very fulfilled with my career and I hope to continue to pave the way for upcoming talent in the entertainment industry.
FAB: IF YOU COULD TURN BACK THE HANDS OF TIME? IS THERE ANY THING YOU WOULD HAVE CHANGED ?
eLDee: I don’t think there’s much I’d love to change. I am grateful to the almighty for his constant support and blessings. I wish to see the industry grow at a quicker pace but I feel like we have done well independently in just little over a decade.
FAB: WHAT INSPIRED/INSPIRES YOU?
eLDee: I’m inspired by everyday stuff. I write about events in my life and of those around me. I write most of music in the weirdest of places, bathroom, while driving, on an airplane, in meetings..lol. Don’t do drugs kids, it has never helped anyone
FAB: YOUR FONDEST MOMENTS SO FAR.
eLDee: The early successes of Trybesmen and the acceptance of my music. Most people didn’t believe in the contemporary urban sounds we created, it was fun to prove them all wrong and gain nationwide and continental acceptance.
FAB: WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A PRODUCER, A MUSICIAN AND A VIDEO DIRECTOR ALL TOGETHER?
eLDee: The fact that you are in control of the creative process. These days I employ the expertise of professional and dedicated producers and directors to ease my workload and I also enhance my projects with their creativity.
FAB: HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK IT IS TO BE ABLE TO PLAY AT LEAST ONE MUSICAL INSTRUMENT OR BE ABLE TO READ AND UNDERSTAND MUSIC NOTES?
eLDee: It helps a great deal if you can read and understand sheet music. Musical instruments also help you explore creative possibilities and expand your subconscious melody archives. If you’re naturally creative, it will enhance the technical quality of your music. You however don’t need to be a sheet music writing composer to create fun music, you just have to understand the basics and have a creative bank of melodies in your head.
FAB: YOU ARE RELEASING AN ALBUM OR A MIXTAPE SOON?
eLDee: My new album is titled “Undeniable” and it drops in a few weeks. The album contains singles such as “wash wash”, “Higher”, and “today today”. I have shot videos for two of the singles and they should be on the airwaves shortly.
* Been there done that – eLDee
* Higher – eLDee ft. K9 & Sojay
* Today today – eLDee
* Rundown – eLDee ft. BankyW
* Always – eLDee
* Transformer love – eLDee ft. K9
* Category – eLDee
* Wash wash – eLDee
* Never let u go – eLDee ft. Wizkid
* Zombie – eLDee ft. K9
* We made it – eLDee ft. Sojay
* One luv – eLDee
* Follow me go – eLDee
…and more tracks on the deluxe edition.
FAB: WHEN EXACTLY?
eLDee: Release date for the Undeniable album was originally set for March 31st but may be moved to April 15.
FAB: WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT?
eLDee: Expect a new sound, something creatively different from what is currently out there. I strive to raise the bar with each album and this album is a true expression of my musical dexterity and experience. I combine genres and attempt to modernize the African sound for better understanding by non-Africans on this album. I have a lot of interesting interpretations of juju, highlife, afro-beat and traditional Nigerian genres. I blend them with Hiphop, r&b and contemporary urban sounds without losing the African essence of it all. It was fun to make I hope my fans love it as much as we did making it.
FAB: ANY INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATIONS?
eLDee: I didn’t do any international collaborations on the album but expect to hear some remixes with international artists in a few months. I may release a deluxe international edition of the album including such singles.
FAB: WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE NEW TRYBES RECORDS MEMBERS?
eLDee: The new Trybe records artists have a lot to offer and we are working very hard to deliver diverse sounding music. We have setup a world-class studio at our new facility IMAN Studios which is located in our new entertainment village here in Lagos. We also have a distribution and publishing division called IMAN-One that will handle our catalogue of music both locally and internationally. We setup an events company called Trybe Productions that manages all our events and creates customized events for corporate and independent companies. Trybe Records remains the label and we are very excited about our future with artists such as Sheyman, Sarz, K9, Sojay, and just recently included Aramide.
FAB: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AT THE MOMENT?
eLDee: I believe we have come a long way but have a long way to go. Our distribution model is one that I believe will change the way music is sold in Nigeria by bringing true accountability while assisting Nigerian artists generate more revenue from the sale and exploitation of their music. We currently have a distribution network via our company IMAN-One, which through partnership with Courteville Plc has almost 3000 existing physical outlets nationwide, and we are working on servicing other countries like Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa, United States, and the United Kingdom in the same capacity.
FAB: THE MOST FAB THING ABOUT YOUR PRESENT LIFE?
eLDee: My family and my fans are the motivators of my daily joy, I don’t know what I’d do without them. I also love the fact that I am able to dream and see it come to pass. I’m constantly seeking enhancement of the entertainment industry and the ability to constantly bring such dreams to fruition gives me joy on a daily basis.
FAB: IS THIS REALLY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?
eLDee: Yes, I will be in entertainment for the rest of my life. It’s the one thing that gives me the most fulfillment. I have hinted this may be my last studio album but it’s for a good reason. As the ceo of IMAN Entertainment, I hope to create the first African major record company that will help develop and exploit African music globally. I may not be able to put in as much work as necessary if I am still an actively performing artist.
FAB: ARE YOU FULFILLED?
eLDee: I am quite fulfilled but I keep pushing for more and more each step of the way. I believe everything we do right now has the potential to grow and I won’t relent in my pursuit of true sustainability and perfection.
FAB: WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
eLDee: I believe it was the fact that we led the way by creating a new genre of music that has now become the benchmark for contemporary African music. I however believe greater achievements will manifest in the long-term goals of IMAN Entertainment and its vision for African entertainment.
FAB: HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR LIFE OR CAREER HAS POSITIVELY INFLUENCED YOUNG PEOPLE?
eLDee: I believe a lot of young people look up to me as an artist and role model because of my ability to create fun music while staying positive. I try to stay conscious while having fun. I constantly seek to remind young Africans about the social and economic problems we are facing and the need to individually strive for a much better and more sustainable system. I hope I am able to continue to inspire young Africans more with my work as a businessman as well.
FAB: WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU CAN OFFER UPCOMING ACTS?
eLDee: Develop yourself to the point when your act becomes undeniable before coming out. You usually have only one chance to prove yourself as an artist to your audience, make sure it counts. Its ok to grow while at it, but your starting point must not be questionable by your core audience.
FAB: ARE YOU LOOKING OUT ON SIGNING A LADY TO YOUR RECORD SOON?
eLDee: We recently signed “Aramide” a wonderful songwriter and performing artist and we are also currently in talks with a few other female artists. The Trybe Records roster is very diverse, we have artists from all corners of the country and each artists brings something very unique to the table.
To get in touch with eLDee, Visit his personalal Website
or his twitter @eldeethedon
or stay up to date on www.eldeethedon.wordpress.com
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