MTN’s 2013 Project Fame winner, Olawale Ojo is now a cab driver. Big deal?! Well, I thought it wasn’t until I realized it was to everyone else. Turns out that with him having won a car and USD 13,766 (based on today’s conversion rates) , he was expected to only do music and live a luxurious lifestyle. The kind that we see superstars live (or portray to be living) and that reminds us just how unlucky we are at life!
Back to Olawale and he said that he had to use the car he won as a way to survive and fight depression. His story makes me (and I know it’s just not me) question why the hell do we have music contests if the “winners” only end up as “losers” in real life? I use the term “losers” very loosely so don’t come for me. OK. Maybe I should explain what exactly I mean. Fans have such high expectations of these people, only for them eventually disappoint (musically speaking) when the contest is done.
In most cases, we have music contests where winners walk away with major record deals, a huge sum of money and sometimes brand new cars cars. It’s almost like winning the lottery, but with fame as the bonus. Whether you were rooting for the winner or not, you cannot wait to see what they do with the kind of blessing thrown their way. And then you wait….wait…..wait…..One year down the line, a mediocre song from them to remind you they still exist and are still “chasing the dream” . If you’re lucky enough, you could get a second mediocre song and then they’re gone. That’s the last you ever get to hear from them.
Now don’t get me wrong, not all music contest winners fall off the face of the earth. I am pretty impressed by Sanaipei Tande, Yemi Alade, Ruth Matete and Alpha Rwirangira careers post- contest. Now someone explain to me whatever the hell happened Valerie Kimani, Davis Ntare and Tekno Own The Stage’s maiden winner, Shapeera. Where the hell are they? Do they still sing?
Away from music contests Olawale’s story is one that should inspire more than it should shock you. He knows what he wants, he’s doing whatever he can with what he has as a means to support his dream. I see absolutely no wrong in that. He’s legit and self employed, which gives him flexibility that would otherwise not have existed with a 9-5. What more do we want from him? Many of us end up stuck in jobs that we hate, unfulfilled and miserable just because we were/are not brave enough to chase our dreams. Then when we find someone that is bold enough to do it and we hate on them because they remind us that could be us, if only we could be persistent enough.
I hope that this story inspires you to chase your dream (if you haven’t been doing that already). I hope you are reminded that it’s never too late and that even as you try to survive, keep working on your long term goals.
Have a great remaining part of the week.