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An insight to AKJ MUSIC AFRICA return mega concert

By Gladys Fred Kole

Days are trickling down for the massive return of AKJ Music Africa, one of South Sudan’s most noticeable music brands, who has been mute in the country’s entertainment arena for quite some time.

Agele Joseph Kennedy, aka, AKJ of “Ana Wodi” hit maker has been off the limelight, yes, but out of sight doesn’t mean the end of it all.  Great surprise, he is back with a big bang in a mega music concert, slated for September 2nd, 2023, at Bros Resort riverside Juba.

AKJ is stepping a big footprint back on the stage with a new single, dubbed “My personal person.

AKJ MUSIC AFRICA’s resurrection back mega music gig, prompted No. 1 Citizen Daily Newspaper’s Gladys Fred Kole and Kidden Stela to hold an interview with the musician for some insights over the event.

Gladys: Can you briefly tell us about yourself? Who is AKJ?

AKJ: My name is Agele Joseph Kennedy (AKJ), an artist who started music way back in 2011 after bouncing out of the church choir. So being in the church and coming from a humble family background, let me be proud of where I came from. I started making music way back in 2011 with my single album titled “That Girl Is Mine.” Amaka, Ana Wodi, and so much more are some of the songs I released that exploded in Africa and South Sudan at large. Currently, I’m still working at the record label, AKJ Music Africa.

Gladys: You have been off the music industry for quite some time; what exactly incited that?

AKJ: It was all about taking time off to plan myself strategically. How you set yourself up is so important. Music is a bit complex; you need to at least identify areas where you can lean on, especially in our country.

We don’t have promoters who are really looking at the aspect of pushing an artist’s talent; they are looking at the aspect of also making money from the artist. So nevertheless, you need to sometimes plan yourself as an artist and depend on yourself.

I want to be in the music industry forever, and I want to be a flag bearer of South Sudan’s music around the world. That’s why you see things coming out in an organised manner, not like before.

I kept silent purposefully. I was planning strategically.

Gladys: Are you trying to tell us that you have made enough money to stay in the industry forever?

AKJ: It’s not only the money. But I also look at current trends in music, fashion, and business to fix myself and position myself as one of the characters that can be seen by the world. And of course, I have a lot in store.

Stella; Assuming God did not open ways for you to succeed, what were you going to do to sustain your music as you came out as AKJ to the public?

Akj: it is clear, like I mentioned earlier, that I have not been out of the industry, but I only sat down to plan, and those plans are to sustain me forever, which is why every month or two I will be releasing a new audio or video.

Gladys, apart from music, what are you doing now?

AKJ: I own a company called “ANASU VENTURES LIMITED” It’s a fumigation company that deals with fumigation and the integration of pest control, cleaning, waste management, and general business services.

Gladys: What has prompted you to set up a concert at this time of the year?

AKJ: I’m setting up a concert to, first of all, interact with my fans. It has been a long time since I’ve held a concert as a one-man show.

I’m trying to see how to activate my fans, how they feel about my comeback, and how they will look at it.

The concept is basically to connect AKJ Music Africa and the rest of the artists to the fans, and it’s a good meeting place to connect and interact with business ideas because there are a lot of companies that are coming in to support the concert. They’ll be talking about their products, and people will also get an opportunity to interact with them.

Gladys; What inspired you to come up with the “My Personal Person hit song?

AKJ: Well, artists work like journalists. I always tell everyone in the house that I talk to that we normally collect data and digest it, and we look at the larger hand, the upper hand, and see which one works better.

My personal person, yes, is a trend in the country, and it’s going beyond parameters; that’s how I came up with it based on collective efforts.

I’ve been moving around and seeing common happenings in terms of relationships and family at large, and I realised that women tend to show us a character of not being satisfied with the love their spouses give them.

I’m trying to urge men outside to be that soft, and sometimes it doesn’t mean that we need to be the decision-makers in the house. Maybe that’s the reason why a woman sometimes gets hurt and doesn’t show her best side.

As men, we need to give women the freedom to ask their men how they want to be loved so that there is peaceful coexistence in the family. Peace starts in the house before it comes out.

Gladys: Are you trying to confirm the rumours that you sang that song for Neetah Baibe?

AKJ: Nevertheless, everyone has a story that happens in life. We are like the clergy; like people in the church, whenever I tell my story to someone, it might be the same story of that person to someone else. You get it.

In other words, yes, it might be true to another extent because it’s a common happening; I experienced it by myself, and it has to go to my fellow men and women who are also within the cycle of love.

I’m trying to tell you that it might be absolutely right because these are things that happen in every relationship or family setup.

I’m not trying to dodge you, but I’m trying to tell you that absolutely, it might be right because these are things that happen in every relationship or family setup. Okay, so at the same time, that’s the reason why this song happened.

Gladys: Do you think social media has an impact on celebrity culture and celebrity obsession in the country?

AKJ: That’s the reason why so many people think AKJ Music Africa was quiet because I was not into social media.

In a simple definition, the media plays a very big role in society in terms of bringing out current happenings and trends.

The media plays a very positive role in terms of bringing up celebrities and even other channels.

Gladys: What is your take on the current music star’s beef on social media platforms?

AKJ: Well, I will have two sides. I don’t care who will take it outside in terms of the larger extent or the smaller extent.

There are those big-ish kinds of beef that I don’t encourage where it ends up in reality like people really parting ways, but if they are planned beefs like to sell their brands, then that’s cool; I would encourage the healthy ones.

One thing that I want to say is that we need to at least sit down and monitor the words that we are trying to bring out for public consumption.

I have never seen those who are involved in the writing; I don’t know if they have their editors or something, and the language sometimes is not friendly. It ends up harming society; it is very vulgar. My advice is that, however much we are doing this, let’s think about the words or what we bring out for public consumption.

Gladys: Who are the celebrities that you follow on social media?

Akj: You know, music is all about coexisting, coming together, and seeing that something works. At most, I follow legends—people who have been together in the game for a long time.

 WJ the King is one artist with a unique character; you will never hear him being involved in negative beef like whatever is going online, and I never hear anything bad from him that maybe he has insulted someone.

Isaka No. 1 is a very professional musician who has done a lot for this country in terms of gender. Let’s talk about promoting women and liberation.

Emmanuel Kembe, who has been fighting very hard to identify a music junior for South Sudan,

CJ Oman and Hard Life Avenue Stars—these guys are doing really well.

Not forgetting John Frog, who is also a good artist because he’s trying to expose us to the world,

Gladys: How many artists are slated to perform during your concert?

AKJ: To mention but a few, WJ the King will be performing alongside the Jams of Africa: Isaka No. 1, Hard Life Avenue, Jero ov Hardlife, Neeta Beibi, and Talia Fisher. It’s an all-star kind of thing; we are coming together as South Sudanese artists to show love to our fans.

Gladys: With a few days left, how is the progress of the ticket sales so far?

AKJ: We have just declared that the tickets are already out with a positive response from companies, telecommunication companies, and individual fans that are showing interest in buying the tickets, and a few have already started selling.

I want to change and break the record of not even collecting money at the gate because we are selling the tickets in advance.

I’m looking at selling the tickets early in order to meet other costs and performing early as well because the money that is collected from the gate sometimes causes congestion, and that’s where theft comes in and a lot of other things.

Gladys: What should your fans expect on September 2, 2023?

AKJ: First of all, they need to come and see the new KJ Music Africa. As I’m looking now, they need to see how one of their old legends used to do his things. So that’s one of the things that people should expect on that very day.

Gladys: How far have you come with your drama with Neetah Beibe that rocked the internet?

Akj: I don’t look at it as if it’s a drama; both of us are celebrities. Anything that triggers, and anything that happens more so in our celebrity world, is always blown out of proportion. We do not have issues. We are fine.

Gladys: Which celebrity do you look at as an authority figure?

AKJ: There are several of them, but I like the way Nicky Prince of Hard Life Avenue Stars parades himself in public. He has respect, and he’s someone who works for a living. He doesn’t look at the aspect of only putting himself out there as a celebrity. I love being around him.

Secondly, Isaka No. 1 is also an element that needs to be respected; he is one artist who has graduated from several faculties, including music. I look at him as someone who has leadership qualities.

Gladys: What advice can you give celebrities who beef on social media?

Akj: Music is not all about being vulgar or pornographic in order to attract attention from the world.

I always have a slogan that whenever you do a good thing, the good thing sells you more than the bad aspect of it.

Bad, dirty deeds can hit very fast, but they die very fast in a short period of time. And secondly, they have an attachment to fake fame. You might be famous, but, in other words, you’re worthless.

My advice to our celebrities is to let them try to be leaders in society because they are mentoring a lot. Our music has been promoted in the acquisition of the peace process in this country, and we need to look at that aspect.

Let’s be positive because kids are listening and learning from our songs, as are adults, teenagers, and all kinds of people because music is consumed by almost everyone.

Gladys: When should we expect an album?

Akj: My personal person is a concept that introduces what is going to happen in the near future with my personal person album.

Gladys: Ahead of your concert, what words of encouragement do you have for your fans?

AKJ: They should not lose hope in AKJ Music Africa because I’ve been encountering a lot of questions. Like, what is happening? I always keep on giving them courage. I am not gone; I am there to live forever. All I was doing was positioning myself strategically for them to get consecutive songs.

I am promising you today that every two months I will release a new song.

Gladys: What kind of performance are you going to display?

I am a mature artist who has studied a number of instruments, and it won’t be fair for me to announce a concert and perform on a CD like I am going to mimie; that would be total theft. I am doing it professionally in the form of playing my instruments; I will even demonstrate which instruments to play as I sing.

Gladys: Are you married?

AKJ: Talking about my marital status, marriage is normally something that you bring out and the public has to notice.

If I stay with someone illegally, I don’t consider it marriage; I need to bring it to the public’s attention and say, Pop, I’m married.

Stella: You said that when you marry publicly, that is what you count as marriage; do you want to tell us that you don’t have any children out there?

AKJ is a father. I have to start with the fact that I have children, and they are handsome boys.

Stellah: If you have children, are they with the same mother?

AKJ: Yes

Stellah: Now that you are in a relationship with another artist, who are you going to marry?

AKJ: In life, we have a dream woman or a dream man; that is what I always tell everyone, but due to happenings, one or two things might occur, and to remove yourself from the path, you feel like it is still not what you want, and you intend to come back to where your dream is, so I go for my dream.

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