Tolani Shobajo aka Tolani Baj, and ex-Big Brother Najia housemate has spoken on her relocation to Lagos.
Born in the early 90s in Chicago, Illinois, U.S, Tolanibaj runs a modeling/event staffing agency called 234nextgen. She relocated to Nigeria in 2018 after finishing her studies in the US, before going into the Big Brother Naija house, she worked as an A&R. Some of the organisations she worked with include; Universal Music Group, Aristokrat Records, Tooxclusive, Pulsetv, among others.
In a recent interview, Tolani Baj disclosed that she had always dreamt about being a boss, and that dream can only be actualized in Nigeria because she has always had the gut feeling that that she would be great in Nigeria .
In her words, “I did not see myself building anything in America from start to finish. It was only Nigeria that I believed that if I want to have a house, I can build it myself, if I want to build a brand, its Nigeria that I can start from scratch and be somebody and I just always knew that it is Nigeria that I would become great. I got connected to people quickly, people ready to work with me, people ready to build something with me. So I’m just like I can come here, leverage on it and become someone successful so I took the chance, took the risk and here I am today.”
Explaining how she got into the entertainment industry, she said: “I would say showbiz started for me December 2016. That year, I made the many connections I have in the industry today. I took detty December more like a networking time. I would party with the coolest people, we’d vibe organically and viola! We become good friends. Energy is very important I always looked forward to December, from the beginning of the year soley to catch the next flight to lagos. I’m happier here because I have access to the resources that I need. That’s why I moved back home.”
Tolani Baj has had her own fair share of controversies in the industry too. At age 21, she was arrested in the US for driving on a suspended license. She was also fired from Universal Music Group Nigeria for misconduct when she called out their apparent lack of direction.
Speaking on how A&R started for her, “I started consulting upcoming acts while in America via Instagram and email. I would A&R for free because I enjoyed it so much.
Then I developed a passion for presenting, I wasn’t able to secure a job in Nigeria because I needed to be on ground, so I decided to start a Youtube channel. This is where the era of Tolani Baj began. On YouTube, I would talk about new music, celebrity gossips & the nigerian culture.
After a year of consistency on youtube, I was recognized by bellanaija and tooxclusive. I became a tooxclusive affiliate without having to be on ground creating playlists on their platform. Fast forward to December 2018, I summoned the courage to relocate back to Nigeria after 9 years, to pursue my career in the entertainment industry, I took the risk, moved to Nigeria and flourished”.
On being a female in a male dominated profession, Tolani Baj said “The entertainment industry is fickle. Women have to prove themselves twice as hard in order to be respected. I believe I can acheive anything and everything I want in life If I put my mind to it.
Being a female in the industry is definitely challenging because you are being underestimated on a constant basis. All my skills work hand in hand thankfully, my personality makes it all easier because I am able to adapt to any situation. I also have a strong passion for entertainment hence it doesn’t feel like a job. I consider my vlogs more like an open diary.
I document my journey transitioning from living in America to living in Lagos Nigeria. I create insightful content for Africans in the diaspora to watch most especially because some of them are not able to visit Nigeria. I keep them updated with the Lagos lifestyle. I also have videos portraying Lagos, Nigeria in a positive way. You can watch my Detty December series on there and be entertained. I also would like you to view my videos as a documentary for my future kids. They get to see how fun their mom was as a youth/adult”.
Tolani Baj who is also in the healthcare line, and would probably have been into that if not for her passion in entertainment spoke about some of the challenges she faces in the entertainment industry, and her view on Nigeria and the music industry.
“The game is the game. Anybody can switch up on you at any given second. Always be on your toes because loyalty is non-existent. I know the importance of providing value in the industry. The more valuable you are the more access you have in the industry. We are all using each other in the industry one way or another – Record labels in Nigeria has a lot to learn. We have so many inexperienced music executives in Nigeria who are running labels with no direction.
Artistes are silently depressed because of their labels. Some labels are hindering the success of their artists due to negligence. Companies will owe salaries and will terminate your contract as an employee if you voice out”.
Tolani Shobajo loves to travel, listen to music, dance and scout for new talents. The reality TV star has been featured on Ebonylife, Hiptv, to mention a few. Her modeling/event staffing agency, “234nextgen” is fast becoming a force in Nigeria. Some of the clients Tolani has worked with include Universal music group, Aristokrat records, Tooxclusive, Pulsetv, among others.
Tolani spoke on her relationship with her love interest Prince in an interview. She revealed that she loves chocolaty men and interestingly, Prince is someone she can have intellectual and intelligent conversations with.
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