There’s every likelihood that you don’t know who Grace Ladoja is. It’s unfortunate, but I understand. I am not
here to judge you for it. I am here to enlighten you. To some, she is simply Skepta’s manager, but if you look closely,
you’ll see that Grace is far more than that. At the start of the year, the British-Nigerian creative was awarded an MBE by the Queen of England. Grace is also a filmmaker who got her start in that space, directing concept video for none other than FKA Twigs. Grace has been working with the award-winning Grime superstar, and newly minted Chief, Skepta, since 2014. In that time, he released what has easily been his most successful album with perhaps the most crossover appeal, Konnichiwa, which earned him a Mercury Prize in 2015. With the surge in international interest in Nigeria’s music scene, we’d all be remiss not to mention Grace’s name as a key catalyst in the bridging of these worlds. Grace is a straight-shooter. She speaks with a sense
of urgency and purpose. It makes sense because she’s stating present-day facts that need to be acted on immediately. I admit
that I got to our meeting not knowing a lot about Grace Ladoja, but by the time I left, I was a fierce campaigner for every idea she had to improve,build and include Nigeria’s
music industry on the world stage.
– SONIA IRABOR
Excerpts from the interview below
For the benefit of people who aren’t familiar with you or your work, what do youdo aside from being Skepta’s manager? How did you get started in music?
I was born and raised in London. I started off in film making – as a director. I’ve worked on many coming-of-age and cultural documentary films. I [directed FKA Twigs’] first video project, and sort of broke her to the world through that. It was really exciting. I’ve worked with Skepta, and [in many ways] that was my introduction into music through that filter. I worked for [streetwear brand] Supreme, as an ambassador and consultant for everything in Europe. Alongside that, I’ve been doing these little things for the London Takeover. I did one in New York, one in Berlin. I took people like FKA Twigs, Palace Skateboards, Rocky, to different places and we’d take over the city. I think that that’s where the thought for Homecoming aligned with what was important to me: to have this cultural exchange. I’m not Skepta’s manager, we work together as a partnership. We have a really clear goal to take the music worldwide and spread the culture through that story and we’ve managed to do that, and change or impact the music industry. So, Homecoming came about from that thinking and we thought to do our own show, in the right way, and make that work. I hate the idea of going [to a different city or country] and doing “your own thing”, it’s about exchange and making sure that we’re building [or supporting] a sustainable industry. So, that was the thinking [behind Homecoming]. To create a hub.
To read the full interview, purchase the May Issue HERE