Filmmaker and music video director, Kemi Adetiba is a woman with a digitally-enhanced vision. Her work with many A-list celebrities is a strong testament to Adetiba’s remarkable eye and conceptual mind. Here, she offers commentary on her life and hustle.
1 What is your educational background?
I have a first degree in Law from the University of Lagos and a Master’s degree in Filmmaking from the New York Film Academy.
2. What influenced your career decision?
I was already in the media industry while I was studying Law. I started off as an on-air personality (OAP) and a DJ working at Rhythm 93.7 FM. I’ve always been creatively inclined but kind of fell into my first job as an OAP. Then everything fell into place from there.
3. How do you cope working in a male-dominated field?
I don’t like to focus on it being male-dominated. I am busy, I get work, I’m able to make money off my career and no other side gigs necessary, so it being male-dominated or not doesn’t really matter to me. I hustle as hard or more than the next person if need be. Simple economics is that if I have a commodity that you need and no one else can deliver, you will come to me. So that’s what I focus on… That and perfecting my craft.
4. What do you love about your work?
I love the ability to create. I love being able to dig deep inside myself and pull out things I never thought I was capable of. Like I said earlier, I have always been creatively inclined. I was that weird kid that day-dreamed all the time, and listened to music by detaching speakers from boom boxes and cradling them round my ears like massive headphones, in the dark.
5. Describe some of the challenges you encounter in the process of doing your work, and how you address them.
I think the main thing is that I hate the business side of my work. I think I’m a bit of a recluse. I just want to create and do not want to deal with the other side of things but I have to even though it’s like pulling teeth. I’m also not a big fan of red carpets or interviews. They freak me out. I don’t mind being ‘noticed’. However, I’m uncomfortable with a lot of ‘attention’. But I understand that this is the business I have chosen and it pays to keep your name in circulation. So, I am definitely trying harder in this front.
6. Who would you say has most influenced you in the formation of your character and view of life?
My parents. I take specific and unique things from them. I get a lot of my fire and forcefulness from my mum. She is very strong mentally and emotionally, plus she is a go-getter and has this matriarch thing about her. I’m not your classic girlie-girl and I am not easily freaked out by things. She taught me from when I was little to be an asset to life and to my future partner. And that asset should NOT be beauty as it fades. My mum also taught me to be independent and hardworking. From my dad comes my creative side and humour… even from the way he speaks. I also have this uncanny ability to read people… I think I get it from him too.
7. How has the entertainment industry evolved in Nigeria?
It’s definitely evolved into this beast. When I came in, it wasn’t the coolest thing to be in the media. It had taken a turn from its glory years and it was a time when the good kids supposedly had nothing to do with singing, acting or presenting. The impression was that only the bad kids, rebellious ones, school dropouts went into the creative sector.
8. You hosted Maltina Dance All for four years, what was that experience like for you? Also, what made you leave the show?
It was just time to move on. There were a lot of personal projects I had wanted to get into but they weren’t favouring the Maltina schedule. Also I’m sure they (Maltina) also needed a change. But it was such a great time. We are all still so close and I miss and still talk to the crew and the brand company. They will always be family.
9. How would you describe yourself?
I’d say I am different, unexplainable – even I don’t understand myself sometimes. I thoroughly enjoy music. If I wasn’t in front or behind the camera, I think I would have been a music producer. I also love eating. Anyone that follows me on social media will know this. I am a whisky and rum collector. And travel is my weak spot. I love new experiences, people, and food – I rarely shop when I travel. Instead, I eat, drink, soak in the experience, the people and enjoy life. Did I mention I am a huge basketball ‘fanatic’?
10. Five years from now where do you see yourself?
The cliché thing to say would be married with kids I guess. I have resigned myself to my life, as it should be. Wherever I am in five years will be where I am. Would I love to have a life partner and children? Yes! But those aren’t things you actively seek. They happen only in God’s time. That also means keeping yourself open and accepting when the time comes. What I do have control over is my work and I am definitely trying to build some sort of a media empire.
Image Credit: Kelechi Amadi-Obi