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The Dean who changed the face of Nigeria Music Industry from the 70s to the 90s

The profile of Dean Disi, the Dean who changed the face of Nigeria Music Industry from the 70s to the 90s

 
PRLog - June 14, 2012 - The history of show business in Nigeria will not be complete without the mention of the name Dean Disi, the "Kongi" of the music industry.It was Dean Disi as a music journalist who brought music alive in his popular weekly entertainment page "Band Wagon" in the Punch newspaper at its inception in 1973. It became the bible of show business with its incisive reports covering all areas of the music industry from live and recorded music reviews to the business of music. The awareness he generated brought a new consciousness to music as a business and a performing art and galvanized the entire industry into national reckoning.That was in the early 70's


Moving on, Dean Disi became an impressario managing and promoting groups like Ofo The Black Company and BLO. He later moved to London and, in partnership with Patrick Smith (who later married Oby Onyioha), set up a label called Boom Records and a music publishing company, Oracle Music that recorded and promoted artistes like, Kiki Gyan of Osibisa fame, Ozo, T-Fire , Wandile Piliso, C.S.Crew and an asortment of punk rock groups.


While in London he met the late Chief Abioro who invited him to Nigeria to head his TYC Records, the label that had Sunny Ade as its lead artiste with others like late Ayinde Barrister Wonder, Idowu Animashaun, F.S.Olowokere and Tunder Nightingale to name but a few.


In 1982 or thereabout, he founded Time Communications Ltd in partnership with Paul Aifuwa and recorded Oby Onyioha and Lemmy Jackson as the label's debutants. The partnership was short-lived. He was invited in 1987 by Keji Okunowo(Mrs) to head the Artiste & Repertoire, Marketing and Promotions Departments for CBS Records where he unleashed his creatve genius on the music scene signing and breaking such acts as Mike Okri and Shina Peters amongst others. Till date, the release and promotion of Shina Peters' "Ace" album sign-post Dean Disi's public relations savvy yet unparalelled in the history of music promotion.


His knowledge and experience of and influence in the industry grew so phenomenally that the music press of the nation labelled him "Kongi" - a sobriquet that stuck with him throughout like a leach. Artistes from rival companies sought after him as they became envious of those under his company's label. It was not long before the biggest record company in the country, PolyGram, went after him as CBS took over from them the crown of "Record Company of the Year" - a title which hitherto had been their exclusive preserve.


He joined PolyGram in 1990 for a record-breaking seven-figure salary as the A&R and Promotions Manager and won back the "Record Company of the Year" from CBS. He later became the General Manager of the company from where he resigned after four years of glorious service. During his stint at PolyGram he tended the careers of such artistes as Ras Kimono, Oritz Wilkey, Victor Essiet's Mandators, Evi-Edna, Alex O, Charley Boy and launched the careers of others like Blackky, Edmund Spice and Segun Arinze amongst others.


Along the line, he mentored the likes of Elder Zeetei Debekeme, the former Press Secretary to Governor Alamesiegha of Bayelsa State; Tony Alenkhe , the former Promotions Manager of Sony Music and the former Promotions Manager of Premier Music Dayo Olomu


Dean Disi, now 68, actually started his working career as a banker with Barclays Bank DCO in Lagos and rose to become the Foreign Exchange manager in the Akpakpava Branch in Benin from where he resigned to pursue his love and passion in music journalism and music business.


Earlier he trained as a journalist in the defunct West African Pilot under the tutelage of Stephen Iwuanya in the mid 60's. After his escapades with the national press, he moved on to distinguish himself as an international music journalist of note. He was the showbiz editor of INDIGO Magazine. He served as columnist to Africa Music magazine, London and was appointed West African correspondent to America’s Billboard magazine, the world’s No.1 music business authority.


Now armed with a degree in Economics and a post graduate diploma in management, he currently works in London as an associate director of Mabkon Securities Ltd, an asset management company.


PATRICK MAYNARD-SMITH

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