YVONNE AZIGBO popularly known as EVE grew up and schooled in Nigeria. At the age of twelve, her family moved to Switzerland where she was discriminated because of the color of my skin – at most cases where the white people see her as black and black people see her as white –. “It was a tough but it turned me into a warrior as I have been fighting my entire life”, the Business Manager/Analyst at Credit Suisse in Zurich, Switzerland told us during this interview. This open minded character who is free-spirited at heart plus treats everyone equally, runs her radio show called, ‘Eve Knows Best’ – a show which has been a blessing to many African artistes in Switzerland. EVE (the founder of the Afro Summer Jam, the very first Afro Openair in Switzerland) is in Ghana to celebrate the festive season as well as connect with the movers-and-shakers of the entertainment industry. For our cordiality, we started the conversation with…
…Akwaaba, so far what has been your impression about the Ghana?
Thank you! The country is beautiful in every aspect. I love the culture, the art, the nature and especially the people! I will definitely move here. It’s awesome and I feel at home!
You are more into Afro-culture promoting out there in Switzerland, has coming to Ghana by anyway gingered your need to do more for this continent?
Well actually my father is Nigerian and my mother is Swiss so I was already inspired to do a lot for this continent but Ghana definitely added some more ginger into my movement. In fact a lot of great artists have been inspired here. Even Fela Kuti the founder of Afrobeat was inspired in Ghana back in 1967, just to name one of them. There must be something in the air!
You are a Radio Presenter out there, you do more African programs and publicity – how is the acceptance by first the African Communities and secondly by other non-African nationals?
African communities love it and support me 100%. The love is huge both from Africans in diaspora and also here in Africa, they appreciate what I’m doing for the continent. It’s awesome! I do also have a lot of non-African supporters spread all over Europe. Some fans can’t even wait for my next shows as they use it as a source to hear what’s new in Afrobeats.
Off tape, we talked about how most of Ghana Artistes aren’t known out there; what are some of the reasons why they aren’t known and what’s the way forward in getting these acts incorporated into that system?
Unfortunately the commercial radio/TV stations don’t play your music as they are very U.S orientated so whatever is big in America becomes big in Europe. WIZKID, BURNA BOY etc., have already gained recognition in the U.S so they are also known in Europe but what about all the other talents? They are so many talented artists all over Africa – especially in Ghana. To answer your second question: Ghana’s entertainment industry, such as your radio and TV stations should find ways to expand to Europe, to be aired abroad. In addition we need more radio host like me, who are willing to play your music. Not only from the known artists but also from the promising new artists. Most important is to find ways to showcase Ghana’s talents abroad so that even the commercial stations like MTV etc., have no other choice but to play your music.
Music, Art, Lifestyle as a whole in Ghana is moving at a quick pace, do you think that from what you have seen, read, felt so far – the country’s entertainment industry is moving in the right direction?
Oh yes absolutely! Especially the lifestyle here is crazy and the nightlife is incredible. I beg, give me a break; I’ve been partying every day since I’m here. In that aspect Ghana is even more advanced than Switzerland but the media in Europe likes to put Africa in in a bad light so it’s unfortunate that no matter what we have to offer, it will take a while until people abroad will change their perspective.
You are one of the most sought after event promoters of an African decent out there in Switzerland, tell us about the maiden show and how successful it was.
I’m the founder of the Afro Summer Jam, the very first Afro Openair in Switzerland and it was absolutely mind blowing: For once we had the opportunity to showcase the beauty of Africa and our talents. We had visitors from all over Europe at the festival. It was very important to me that all stand owners DJ’s and Artists were Africans as we usually don’t have the privilege to have a platform out there.
There were no Ghanaian acts involved then, why do you now feel that they need to be part of the 2021 Edition?
When I first started in 2019, LIVFORIT a Ghanaian Artist based in Switzerland was our host, so Ghana was already a part back then. My first step was to see how people in Switzerland will respond to an ‘Afro Openair’ before bringing artists directly from Ghana. So I focused on big African artists from Europe and it was very well received. That’s why I had already planned to onboard artists from Ghana to the festival this year 2020 and had the arrangements done accordingly but due to COVID-19 the Openair got cancelled. The next Afro Summer Jam in the year 2021 will be fabulous, not only was I able to gain some major sponsors but also new collaboration partners here in Ghana.
Let’s not be blind to the truth that most Ghana acts are sometimes treated second fiddle on the pecking order, how do you intend using your event in 2021 out in Switzerland to correct some of these notions?
Yes it’s unfortunate but this is exactly one of the reasons I even created this platform. I would like to give everyone an equal opportunity to showcase their talent to the world especially to Europe, regardless of the nationality or background it’s all about music. Music is an international language which is capable to break down the walls of hate/discomfort between races and to unite people. We will create history and I’m in collaboration with the press in Zurich, Switzerland to make sure that we are the ones to tell our story to the world.
You look forward to start telling the people out there about the beauties of Ghana, it’s people and the artistic bliss, so who are some of the Artistes you have falling in love with their works and would love to have them on your podcast and as well on the forthcoming event in 2021.
Well so far I had the honor to meet MzVee in person and she is very humble and down to earth. I met her before I had the chance to check out her music. She is just fantastic and she just released her new album ‘Inveencible’, so make sure you check it out. Another artist that I met is Samini, wow what a charismatic person, only positive vibes! Love it. But honestly I fell in love with so many outstanding artist from Ghana, that’s the whole reason I’m even here to discover them.