The official launch of the PWR IN NUMBERS label is coming up on April 14th, set to be officiated by an all-star showcase from AAA as well as Brighter Days Family. The evening will be as much of a celebration of cultural and creative unity as it will be a launch of the label itself, so we spoke with the founders, Shola and Kodj. Read on as they ask each other five questions about the importance of community in music…

Kodj: What characteristics do you find most encouraging when working with new artists or producers

Shola: I find it encouraging when artist have humility to be in a room and not crave attention or want to be treated differently. I love artists who respect all people, whether it be facilities, staff, people serving food or cleaners. We are in a business with people so its great when someone knows the importance of treating people with care. This will more than likely reciprocate how the world receives you.

Kodj: Have you thought about what the community you’re building might look like when you no longer make music or fallback from the business?

Shola: Yes i think about this all the time, it will be similar to a youth club/workshop model, I hope it can provide infrastructure, safety and freedom for young people to explore their growth and find outlets of expressing themselves. I hope people can connect and build networks that serve them for a lifetime. I would love a sustainable model that does not require me to be there physically, it needs a life of its own.

Kodj: All we do is talk work more time these days, what do you do on your days off?

Shola: Luckily this is life’s work so a lot of what we do feels like play, however on my days off I get to focus on my own personal creative goals. I love writing in different forms, journals, music, books, annotations, poetry. If I’m not doing this then I enjoy conversations with close friends and family, self growth, running, HIIT sessions, boxing, football or discovering new artists. Self care is top of my list and that means mind, spirit, body and soul.

Kodj: What inspires you these days?

Shola: I am inspired by yourself, our elders, friends, family and strong stories. I love seeing the character building on people who face adversity, or people who have to overcome doubt. I find it highly relatable as I think the world can have you forgetting who you are and these people were daring to be themselves which pays off in a world where conform is the norm.

Kodj: What’s one thing you would fix if you had ultimate power?

Shola: If I had an ultimate power I would charm the rich into giving up 10% of their wealth to relieve people in poverty. I would ensure the money goes direct with no middle men to muddy the water. I would also hand deliver the money to participants to ensure they can start their lives instantly. I would give them mentoring along the way to help shift their mindset so they can sustain their new lives and enjoy at the same time.

Shola: Starting lightly, what does community mean to you Kodj?

Kodj: Well, to me, when I think of community I think about commonality. I think about a group or groups of people who are bound or connected through a defining characteristic or ideology or goal. That being said, I guess to me it means action. I see any thriving community as one that is fuelled through active-participation and once you have that you can gain momentum and strive toward the collective goal.

Shola: What are the key things that foster intimacy in a community?

Kodj: Intimacy??? [Laughs] thats an interesting one… I guess to foster a close-knit community though, it takes trust, accountability, teamwork – sports or games are usually a sick way to enforce teamwork, structure, organisation, collective mind sets, lack of ego – all that good stuff that sounds good on paper but no one actually tends to commit to.

Shola: How do you feel about Popular Culture vs Niche Culture?

Kodj: Both are necessary IMO, in a way they are just two sides of the same coin and we often see things transcend from niche to popular and visa versa the longer you pay attention. Personally, I like to not get too involved with the ‘popular’ side. I like to stay informed about mainstream, popular culture but trying to ‘keep up’ can feel soulless and void of a unique point of view – but equally, that’s just me being a bit stubborn at times. Niche, I guess has more of the ability to make you consider what it is you like about it.

Shola: If you could pick a location anywhere in the world to work on your last campaign, where would it be?

Kodj: Oooft! Damn, thats a good one. I’m really torn you know. I recently spent some time in Thailand, that was mad inspiring and great energy over there. I guess it depends on what the project is though and who for. If it’s for a particular artist or client where being in their native country helps to elevate the narrative then i’d go with that. I’d love to spend some time in Burkina Faso, Puru or Dominica, just being creative in general… yeah it’s a tough one. 

Shola: Finish the sentence, ‘Peace to me means ……….’

Kodj: Life. Life should be peaceful man, I think we deserve it. Imagine approaching anything in life, any profession or vocation through peace… damn.

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