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Kenny Ogungbe… Salute To ‘Big Man’ Of Naija Music At 60

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Kenny Ogungbe

Social media was agog earlier this week, as one of the leading lights in the country’s entertainment industry, Kehinde ‘Kenny’ Ogungbe, marked his 60th birthday.

But for the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought about new protocol, Lagos, the entertainment capital of Nigeria, would have hosted one of the biggest parties to celebrate a man, who played a vital role in the growth and development of the industry through Kennis Music platform.

Baba Keke, as he’s fondly called, might have just turned 60, but his strides in the showbiz industry would last for centuries to come. Kenny is no new name to the Nigerian music audience as his franchise of Prime Time Africa and his legacies, especially with iconic singer 2face Idibia, still hovers fresh in our memories. Alongside his partner, Dayo Adeneye (a.k.a D1), both men practically paved the way and created platforms for young talents to showcase themselves to the world.

The media mogul began his entertainment career 26 years ago with his record label, Kennis Music, which he founded alongside D1. Together, the duo charted a historic course in Nigeria’s music evolution, including taking Nigerian music to the Grammies.

Kenny has always been a man of bravery and refinement. In his humble beginnings, he has taken his craft with a certain finesse, from his broadcasting beginnings as a co-host on AIT’s AIT Jamz in the 90s, to blooming the talents of several current music veterans including 2face Idibia, Eedris Abdulkareem, Tony Tetuila, Sound Sultan, The Remedies, Oritsefemi and others.

Kenny had one goal in mind, which he touted with confidence in all he did, and it was to become Africa’s number 1 record label, and by extension, a music executive. Whether he achieved that or not is debatable on several sentimental levels, but whether he never stopped chasing that dream is crystal clear as a fact.

As when he started his journey into music, the cult culture of foreign playlists dominating our airwaves declined gradually as Nigerians started appreciating the emerging pop music from Plantashun Boiz, The Remedies and so many others.

In 1997, Kenny and his partner took the game to a whole new level, with their historic Easter Concerts. It was a jam-packed, serially sold-out music fest that ushered in a series of foreign artistes and promoted the local talents in Nigeria. Safe to say, it was Nigeria’s first major attempt at global commercial positioning.

Baba Keke’s industriousness catapulted him to a greater position as the Managing Director of Ray Power 100.5 FM. It was a position he cherished dearly and honed his broadcasting skills to a stellar level. It was no surprise that, four years later, he launched his own personal radio station called Kennis 104.1 FM.

“Kenny Ogungbe is a selfless and kind man whose ingenious thoughts and ideas have changed the way music is been consumed in Nigeria,” award-winning music promoter, Bankulli said, on a special birthday tribute.

Another music professional, Jide Taiwo, also described him as a pioneering legend, “who remains one of the reasons most artists are in the industry today.”

More streaks of adulations poured out for the music boss. Radio professional, Charles Alade also described him as “a pioneer in the music business In Nigeria and Africa at large.”

The records are clear and the impact is very evident. Kenny has continued his musical exploits, with artistes such as Eedris Abdulkareem, Joel Amadi among others still blooming under his roster.

As the world heartily celebrates the music icon, Baba Keke will always be remembered as one of the pioneers who gave the Nigerian music industry its global heartbeat.

Even at 60, Baba Keke shows no sign of stepping aside any time soon; he’s still very much active. Indeed, 60 looks cool on him. 

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