After many years of working for others’ radio stations, TinTin Medsoul utilised his 28 years of experience within radio broadcasting, to eventually set up his own digital radio station in Nigeria. It’s called iGroove radio station. Now almost five years old, iGroove Radio has seen a lot of ups and downs. Despite the regular challenges in Nigeria with regards to infrastructure issues such as power / electricity shortages, they are still grinding and will continue to do so.
Is TinTin your real name? What is your actual birth name?
TinTin is actually my nickname. And the nickname comes from my name Augustin. So I was born Augustin, then as a baby I immediately got this nickname and it just stuck with me.
And you used to work with one of the biggest radio stations in Nigeria, tell me about that
Back in 2008 I was actually asked to help set up three radio stations that belonged to one company- Classic FM 97.3, The Beat 99.9 FM and Naija FM 102.7. So my role there was basically to recruit and train on air personalities to make sure that programming was of a very good quality and to ensure we stayed entertaining. Once complete, I actually took over as Programme Director on my own show, because I’ve been on the air for so many years as a presenter in Italy, the middle east and then again in Nigeria. So fun. Good fun.
What are you working on at the moment
I enjoy myself producing African house music even though my background musically is soul, R ‘n’ B plus a lot of hip-hop. I was very well known as a hip-hop DJ in the 80s and 90s in Italy however I’ve always loved the Afro House vibes and sounds. Now Afro House has come full circle because it embraces different genres from different parts of Africa it makes people dance!
I’ve just released a new single featuring a kid called Chicky Cheesy who is a new producer, but now people are beginning to hear his name all around Nigeria. He’s a producer who actually likes to sing, so I asked if he’d like to feature on a song that I was producing and writing and he said, yeah. I sent it to him and next thing he voiced it and … magic. So the song was officially released yesterday, I’m hoping it will create a new wave of Afro Beat and Afro House synergies between commercially famous Nigerian artists such as Whiz Kid & 2 Face. I want them all to enter into this electronic dance music taking over the world.
You live in Nigeria?
I live in both Nigeria and Kenya. So right now I’m in Nairobi, Kenya where I have a totally different business. I’m also an “Agri-preneur” i.e I invest in agricultural projects. Right now I’m a partner in a huge Agri-Cooperative. It’s totally amazing and basically helps fund my music.
Tell us more about your Agri-preneuralship.
I’m in partnership with three other people in Kenya. We have a website mianofarms.com. It’s a very simple website because our target market are farmers, basically people just want to see things in black and white, nothing fancy. We started a few months ago and now it is huge- 70 acres!
So that is phase one of our Agri-partnership. Phase two is 120 acres, but we concentrate on the first one where we farm for our clients. Basically if you’re a client who wants to go into agriculture, we do it for you, we have the team and we lease land to you. You don’t even need to be regularly farming, we can hire an acre to you and we give you a green house where you harvest fruits and vegetables. So we have a whole bunch of clients buying into this. Once they grow it, they are free to sell it all on through their own networks or they have the option to sell it through our network and the profits are shared.
What made you want to combine house music and afro beats?
Well house music really is African. Because the beat comes from ‘high life’. Even when you watch old-school films and documentaries from places like Congo, Kenya, Ghana, Cameroon- you will hear that there is a steady 4/4 beat in their music. That beat is ‘high life’. What has happened over time is this… that 4/4 beat got refined and the tempo got increased to allow people who don’t really know how to dance, to have a beat that keeps the tempo for them when they are dancing. That developed in Detroit, Chicago with the likes of Frankie Knuckles who helped house music blow up in the 80s. I’m happy to see that we in Africa have re-embraced this music and put our own flavours to it.
I feel that it is important that we want to maintain that ‘high life’ flavour, give people some good feelings with melodies and lyrics that people can actually relate to. I’m talking about music that will make you think about the wide vast plateaus of land in Africa, landscapes, animals and trees.
You met singer, Amerie?
We met in Dubai. A lot of Nigerians and Africans in general go there frequently to network and she happened to be there when I was spoke. I see she’s doing more things with fashion and blogging etcetera but I’d love to collaborate and work with her musically.
Where were you bought up?
I was born in Nigeria, then my family and relocated to Italy. My early school years were done in Kenya and Italy. I’m also a proud alumni of Warwick University (In the UK).
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