SNY SPOTLIGHT: Demola Lawal (Latchenko)
Demola is one of the most hardworking and resourceful Gen Z you’ll ever meet. He has conceptualized social media and digital strategies for music and entertainment brands as well as small businesses. He continues to transcend the digital space while maintaining a dependable, reputable and long-lasting personal brand. Demola horned his skills over the years and now he runs his own boutique PR firm ‘Athen Media’. In this interview, he shares his experience working with brands like Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, Don Jazzy and many more.
- Tell us a little background about yourself
My name is Demola. I’m from a Muslim family. A family that had my father with 3 wives where my mum was the 3rd wife before they divorced when I was 5. I and my sister are the only children my mum had with my dad out of 9 children. I spent most of my life with Mum since my parents separated, I grew up learning compassion, resilience and consistency from my mum. With the little time I had with my dad, he appeared to be a calm and patient human. I can say I see some of my parents attributes in me, after all, I was made out of their genetic makeups.
- One of the many way people caught on to you was by you influencing and promoting for MAVIN Records. How did that come about and what was the experience like?
The experience with Mavin records was superb. It was more of me learning than working. I wouldn’t let my statement look like I wasn’t playing my part and undermine my contribution. I was recruited into a fresh label ‘Mavin Records’ in 2015 by Don Jazzy himself. I wouldn’t want to go into much details but I must say Don Jazzy can never do wrong in my eyes. He placed me on his personal account, not the company’s account/pay roll, starting from 100 level till my final year in medical school. My addition to the Mohit Records turned Mavin records was to be a social media strategist, manager and promoter. The social media push for promotion part is what we know today as influencer marketing. I played my part in Tiwa Savage, Korede Bello, Reekado Banks and Di’ja’s projects. I acquired other skills like Project management from Tega and the entertainment business side from Jazzy and Bizzle as well as strategy and execution from Peju. I can’t end this note without noting how Don Jazzy’ humility and patience have influenced my character.
- How did the journey start for you as an Influencer?
The journey as an influencer started when I met a friend at a cyber cafe in my 100 level year at Olabisi Onabanjo University. I went to research an assignment when my friend “Tola” started talking about twitter. It caught my attention and we shared same views as to how social media is changing narratives. He introduced me to posting promo materials for MTN and some celebs for N600 per 10 tweets then. I hard 3 thousand followers on Twitter, just some months before Instagram launched. I’m a big picture thinker, before I get involved in anything, I think of where it will take me in 2-19 years. Over the years, I gained followers from social media tags from celebrities and the likes which made me realize at some point there’s a lifestyle to the services I render. That was how I started including my projects, personal hobbies and endeavors to my social media shares.
- The world wide web, social media and blogosphere are filled with influencers. What does it take to be an Influencer? what does that entail?
It’s as simple as; If you can influence anyone to take an action, you’re an influencer. Anyone can be an influencer. Where it gets narrowed down to being a respected and reputable influencer is when you are known for a specific craft or in a specific industry. For instance, the influence Tony Elemelu has in the finance sector can’t be driven in the art industry where we have Joke Silver. It’s important for an influencer to be known for a particular skill or occupation.
- Many of your followers, fans and supporters are enamoured by your personal brand through your online persona. What is Latchenko really like offline?
Offline is the hardest to represent the life people know your for online. Reality is what you can never be prepared for. You attend to what comes your way as they appear, compared to online where you can copy and paste or delete and re-act your mistake. I try as much as I can not to act or present what I can’t defend offline. With my experience meeting people, be it socializing or official gathering, Latchenko online is as pure as Latchenko offline. It appears people prefer the offline Latchenko.
- You have worked with a lot of famous faces. Tell us some of the celebrities you have worked with and what was that experience like?
My earliest experience has always been my favourite until I worked on Burna Boy’s African Giant album. It’s okay to always be the face behind the buzz but the narrative is changing so it’s fine to say I played a role in digital strategy and implementation on the African Giant album through BukiHQ Media & PR Agency and I should count myself as one of happiest persons on earth when it got nominated for Grammys in 2020. I am also proud to have been privileged to work on big and successful projects like Tiwa Savage’s Celia album, YCee vs Zahir album among other international artistes’ projects that I’ve made an impact through my services as a PR and Marketing consultant and it is not limited to the entertainment space alone. I have worked in finance, art, food, agriculture, governance and culture.
- Prior to starting your own media company ‘Athen Media’ you worked with other industry PR experts like BukiHQ who represents Burna Boy. What were some of the things you learned that you have carried on to your own practice?
My experience with Mavin Records coupled with my experience from BukiHQ placed me on pedestal of furthering and narrowing my knowledge as to what part of media I want to focus on. I learned and was blessed with team work, administrative and resource management experience.
- What does Athen Media do?
Athen Media Credente is an online-driven PR agency that render services for celebrities, public speakers, entrepreneurs and investors. We have been in operation since 2016 with a team of 6 persons. Our PR and Marketing goal is to help individuals, businesses and brands manage their online/digital profile (websites, social media) as well as traditional advertising (media relations – TV and radio) in order to create a global and befitting brand identity.
- Tell us an unknown fact about you
I don’t like being around people for a long time. I’m a moving star that often rushes back to my safe space – that is my apartment.
- Where is your favourite spot?
I have a long list of favourites; the ones at the top of my list are Ofadaboy, Simsteak House and Xhale Lounge .
- What advice do you have for upcoming Influencers?
My advice is for them to find what they like doing and develop more knowledge around it. Upcoming artistes would have to be in a registered profession and career path before you can build a sellable product. What differentiates a publicist/ PR practitioner from an amplifier is relative. It’s also a thin and wide line.
Photo credit: @latchenko/Instagram
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