Sierra Leonean rapper and Ambassador for Special Envoy for Investment and Entertainment, Kao Denero has made his first interview since his appointment. The interview was done in Dubai with a Ghanaian presenter, Clara on Armani Zigy TV.
Presenter: Kao Denero, how do you find Dubai?
Kao Denero: First of all, my people out there, this is Kao Denero, the entertainment Ambassador for Investment Sierra Leone. Dubai has been so great. I was here for a show, a boat event and during that I took advantage of the opportunity and shot a music video for one of my songs. I have met so many great people. Shout out to Ziggy Armani, Junior Alpha. They have been very cordial and everything has been smooth. Is a beautiful city with a lot of potentials. I love it.
Presenter: Would you say have accomplished your mission by coming to Dubai?
Kao Denero: This is my first time here and I am looking forward to more trips. I believe that there are a lot potentials here and there is so much to gain. Definitely I think there is more ground to govern in Dubai. I have met a lot of great people that are interested in Africa in entertainments, tourism, mining and different things. I feel like 50%, things are going great for me.
Presenter: As an Ambassador for Entertainment, what do you expect the government to do for you to achieve your plans?
Kao Denero: As an artist, I have had some great ideas. Things that I know if we establish these ideas and bring them into reality, there will be more of good for our industry. I have confidence in our president because for the first in history in Sierra Leone, entertainers have been recognized. It used to be the way like the entertainers will just come in groups and people give them money, go out there and share it. But now it is a new day. This is the first time in history for a sitting president to acknowledge the entertainment industry by creating an office, a Special Envoy for Investments and Entertainment and I am the first artist to occupy that position. On its own, I think that is a great sign. To show that he is committed and ready to make things happen.
Of course, I have my agenda. There are so many things I am trying to accomplished. Some of the things are tracing the Mano River so that smaller countries can be recognized. The TV will be called Trace Mano that will be servicing Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and The Gambia for the explosion of their musicians in Africa.
Doing Back to My Root Festival where all the Caribbean’s, Africans Americans can come to Sierra Leone, having festival. We have rich beaches in Sierra Leone, beautiful country to where we can host them at the beach and have performances. We will have like 2 or 3 guests’ artists from the Caribbean and Americans to come and perform. That will rebrand Sierra Leone as most people are thinking about Sierra Leone negatively. If an international media covers the festival, it will take us a long way.
We need an auditorium in Sierra Leone. That is why I am in Dubai and travelling to the States to seek investments to where we can have a 10,000-capacity auditorium. We don’t have to do our shows in the stadium, we can have our own place where we can host our events.
We need a national studio that can be accessible to all the artists in Sierra Leone. As long as you are promoting the good image of the country, you can come there and record and shoot the video with a Red Camera.
I am trying to do workshops in sense of having professionals come to Sierra Leone like big producers, big Engineers, great DJs and people that have social media marketing strategies to help our professionals get to the next level. In the long run, that will change the landscape of the entertainment industry. Those are just some of the things.
Presenter: What are things you have accomplished after being an ambassador?
Kao Denero: I have accomplished a few, I have setup a board that comprises of professionals from the movie industry, comedians, DJs, Producers.
There is also a peace committee that settle all the differences in the industry as we have a lot of differences in the industry. Unfortunately, it has been like that throughout the years. That committee is responsible to go out there and settle all the differences.
I have a content review committee. That committee will be reviewing contents as we don’t want anybody to just get up and release a song that represent Sierra Leone. There has to be of quality, well mixed and mastered. This committee is given that opportunity to go through the songs and it comprises of producers, sound engineers, DJs, people that are more professionalism, that know sound will be analyzing the songs before they go out to the public.
I have set up a Data Collecting Committee. That committee is will be collecting all the data of the studios in the country, entertainment hubs, record labels, radio stations. Once we get that, we know what are we are dealing with, then we will be able to operate with a know-how because we don’t want to come and start working vividly without knowing what we are dealing with.
Presenter: Have you face challenges in accomplishing these things?
Kao Denero: I have heard a few. The problem that is disturbing the industry is unity. Artists have ego. It is hard for them to be united. People are misunderstanding the position of a Special Envoy. A Special Envoy is actually to go out there and seek for investors, bring investors that will turn things around and help the economy grow whether it in entertainment, tourism, agriculture or whatever. So, my responsibility is to go out there and seek investment, bring them all so we can do the changes that is needed. But the artists in Sierra Leone are more thinking of the title. Why is he the one chosen? Why is he the one above us? Are we under him? Is he, our boss? I am nobody’s boss. I am not All Stars president.
Presenter: Have you had any challenges in being the Ambassador for Sierra Leone Entertainment?
Kao Denero: Most definitely! There has been challenges but I have been going through challenges throughout my career. So, I have been used to it. It just that in dealing with artists, you have to deal with them with egos. There are a lot out there thinking why is he one chosen, there are a lot of people that have been dreaming to be where am I. They are crazy for this position. But it is about having the experience and having the track record. I have proved that you can stand a test of time and having all those great ideas, I am not the boss of anybody. The role of a Special Envoy is to go out there to seek investment, bring back to the country, bring change. To whatever you are representing, whether you are representing entertainment, tourism, agriculture, trade, that what your role is. I am not the boss of anybody. So, I am not the boss to any artist. It is just something honourable for me to do to see if we are all united. We all see that it is very useful and important to work as one. Because if you guys come together, you will achieve things fast. Even though I do believe that I can still get result without engaging them. No disrespect, I am very focus in my goal. The problem in Sierra Leone is that most of artists are politically affiliated. They are loyal to a lot of political parties. So, seeing Kao Denero succeed, is seen that Mr President – it is politicized. So, they are very reluctant to work with the Ambassador or to see great reasoning in making sure that their agenda succeed. But I think due time with result, when people start seeing the national studio, people see the construction of the auditorium going on, people Trace Mano happening, workshops happening, all these things’ happening, nobody will want to leave behind because all these artists need a Red Camera to shoot great videos, all these artists want to record in a top-notch music studio. So, once they see these things happening, trust me, I believe they will fall in line and things will get easier.
Presenter: Do you think that you have people that are hating on you or you have colleague musicians that are snitching on you?
Kao Denero: Definitely, my background is hip hop music and hip hop is very confrontational to where the next man feels like he is better than you and you have to be very strong. In that process, you create a lot enemies just base on your music and lyrics and the back and forth with other artists. As time goes by, we all grow. Is time to grow, its time for progress. All the people that we had bumps along the way, they should see like sensing just coming together to work with Kao Denero to see how best we can push our industry. We all have time for beef and controversies, that is hip hop, that music, that is understandable. But now it about leaving a legacy for the kids and the generation unborn. There are things that they will point at. These are the guys that creates all these policies, that all these great ideas, they came together and work as one and they achieved it. So, it is inevitable jealousy is going to be there, envy is going to be there. You can’t stop that but people have to start thinking beyond politics, thinking beyond petty things, thinking beyond grudges that they held from the past and just move on. It’s a new day. That comes in any music industry for the world as whole.
Presenter: Do you think the government have the plan to do delivery in all of your promises?
Kao Denero: For me to make this transformation to really deal with the president like President Bio is because I have in faith. I feel like he is very honest, I feel like he is a very simple president that you can have a conversation with when you don’t feel like he is trying to be a politician to you. Because most politicians are just trying to manipulate you to gain their own interest accomplished. I don’t feel that way about President Bio. He is an honest individual, very straight forward, he has a military background. He gained power when he was young. So, I do have believe in President Bio. I believed that for him to take the step to acknowledge our industry as people take entertainers as dropped outs, people that are not serious, people that are just nonentities in the communities, but for him to acknowledge and give us that opportunity. You know first, to prove ourselves, I think it goes a long way, that can just remind us that he wants to have a conversation, he wants to have a dialogue to understand what is affecting us. What would be detrimental if we can’t get ourselves together to make sure we have our policy that govern their rules, policy that have a playlist system. Because right now in Sierra Leone, I would say 60% of the music that is being played is foreign music. The local artists are not being played on the radios. We are going to change that. How we are going to change that, they will create a playlist that will have 30 well mixed and mastered songs for every three months that will be presented to the radio stations, entertainment hubs, clubs, restaurants, hotels. These are the songs they should popularized in the country. And anybody that falls such on that, you are liable to face a fine or probably you might not have a relicense. These are the policies we want to put and we are not enforcing it to the public but we are going to talk sense to them so they could see that, it is valuable for them to support our industry, support our contents to make sure our artists grow. So much things that we are trying to put on this policy and I believe once it is done, we present it to the government, it goes through parliament and will become law. Then, we want to have our Secretariat or Ministry as Entertainment Ministry that will be dealing with entertainment.
Presenter: Should we expect more music from you?
Kao Denero: Most definitely. Music is in me; it will never leave; I think it is very natural. No amount of appointment; even if I become a president in the future, I am going to be like Opong Weah. Opong Weah still performs, he plays soccer or Bobbi Wine of Uganda. So, music is always going to be in me. I don’t think if I am going to relent in doing music. It will just be motivational contents, it will be respectful contents, it will be something that will inspire the youth, think better than what they are thinking. Most people in my country are expecting less because they have not seen any big things happen. If you have big dreams, big goals, they think you dreaming too much. They don’t feel like its achievable because they have never seen it done. I believe that if you dream it and you work towards it, it is achievable. When I started doing music, everybody said I am just wasting my time.
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