Olayinka Yomi-Joseph is a music writer and digital marketing professional. Earlier this year, he participated in, and won the inaugural edition of the Creetiq Challenge. We ran into him recently, and he had a few things to say about the critiquing process in Nigeria. Have at you:
BM: Congratulations on emerging winner at the inaugural edition of the Creetiq Critic Challenge held earlier this year.
We are of the wrong assumption you are publicity-shy but then again, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Yinka: Lol honestly, I still don’t know if I’m publicity-shy or not but I always try to hold my own, no matter the situation I have to deal with.
A bit about myself – I’m a music enthusiast; and that enthusiasm is what led me into writing. I’ve done a bit of sports writing too, but I enjoy writing about music more. I draw inspiration from a lot of things so I can definitely write about anything. I used to be a good rapper, but that’s a story for another time, I guess.
BM: What made it ‘Eazi’ for you to decide to review a musical album for the ‘Creetiq’ challenge? Did you think you were going to win after clicking ‘send’ on your entry?
Yinka: Nice one with the wordplay! It was super easy deciding to review an album because with all due respect to my education and little exposure, music is the one thing I’m really vast on. From the moment I saw the 5 topics (albums), I knew I had to review Life is Eazi. It was a natural choice because I felt like I had a story to it; I went to school with Eazi’s brother for a short while, so I knew the name and music before he burst into the mainstream. But I had to submit 2 reviews, so deciding the other one was tough, because I’d listened to 3 out of the other 4 albums, and I knew I could write a strong piece on them; which then led to a mental battle on whether to go for popular music or the less popular ones. I really wanted to review Cobhams’ “For You” because I was certain it was going to be a unique entry, but I eventually went with Ycee’s EP cos of my hip-hop bias….lol. Hip-hop for the win!!
BM: Looking at the recent Loose Talk podcast which generated a lot of uproar, what are your thoughts on the Nigerian cultural scene, as regards today’s content?
Yinka: I think writers and bloggers need to be more objective when presenting views & opinions, and most importantly, be unbiased in assessment of culture-related topics. An extensive research should be done into everything written, establish the facts & differentiate it from our personal opinions, make sure intentions are genuine for articles and not merely see them as opportunities to create a buzz for yourself. It’s okay to go for a buzzing article, but it should contain facts and not assumptions based on just opinions or feelings.
I also think creatives, and I’m using music artistes as examples, generally don’t like to receive negative feedback. I understand it’s natural human response to act that way, but a big part of being a creative is understanding that your works will come under constant scrutiny, so expect both the positive and negative feedback. Artistes should allow critics do their jobs.
BM: What do you feel about the conditions of acceptance for ANA’s prize for literary criticism?
Yinka: I’d like you to be more specific on the exact conditions because it seems a bit vague to me. I’m willing to definitely share my thoughts after I get clarity.
BM: What genres are your comfort zones to give an expert opinion on?
Yinka: Any genre, honestly. Great music can come out from any genre so I’m very open to every type of music. But I listen to rap music the most, so I think hip-hop should be my strongest genre for an expert opinion.
BM: What creative value do you think Creetiq is trying to contribute?
Yinka: It’s important everything about African culture is well-documented and Creetiq is definitely playing a big role. Also, Creetiq fills the gap of easily getting expert opinions and assessments of subjects by putting all these opinions in one place. You really won’t believe how much people rely on great reviews before they decide to buy an album, read a book or see a movie.
BM: Do you think art criticism, and literary criticism, is underrated in Nigeria?
Yinka: It’s terribly underrated, but I think in the last few years things have picked up on that front. We are gradually becoming more progressive and the internet is slowly making more people realize that objective criticism is a big part of the culture.
BM: What’s a typical day in the life of Olayinka like?
Yinka: I’ve got a day job I resume at 9am on weekdays. I’m pretty much a night guy, so if I’ve got anything to write about or research on, I usually do it between 4am -6am 0r 10pm -1am, depending on how I feel. I close from work and either stick around to do more work, write something if I get inspired, or grab drinks with my colleagues if it’s a Friday. On weekends, I play football or basketball in the mornings, then watch Premier League football or go for events (mostly music shows) with my friends, but some weeks I just stay home all day and try to unwind. Then, definitely going to church on Sundays.
BM: Thank you for your time.
Yinka: You are welcome.