American singer-songwriter, Johnny Gill and other international stars such as comedian Bill Bellamy, burlesque beauty Immodesty Blaize and celebrity chef, Aldo Zilli are in Lagos, Nigeria for the inaugural edition of the Butterscotch Evenings organized by Michelangelo Productions.
These international acts will perform alongside Nigerian acts including Waje & Praiz and will also see TV presenter Yvonne 'Vixen' Ekwere as host. The Butterscotch Evenings is holding today Friday 17th May, 2013 at the Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites; it will feature world class entertainment in an atmosphere of romance and glamour.
Read our exclusive interviews with Johnny Gill, Bill Bellamy, Immodesty Blaize and Aldo Zilli as they each tell us what they are bringing to the concert this evening.
Johnny Gill is an American singer, songwriter and actor. He is the sixth and final member of the R&B group New Edition, and was also a member of the group called LSG; with Gerald Levert and Keith Sweat. He is famously known for his hit song “My, My, My”.
OB: Tell us about your music, how do you get inspired to do your music?
JG: Well, I write some of my songs while people write some others for me because we live in a world with different experiences so I like to sing about these different experiences.
OB: We are a big fan of your hit song back in the day “My My My”, what were you going through when you made that song?
JG: At that period in my life, which was a very long time ago, I was just having fun with no cares in the world and that song hit home with a lot of ladies which made it a special song for me and women really connected it with it.
OB: There was a 15years gap before you put out your most recent album, why did you have to wait that long?
JG: I tour all year round with LSG and New Edition and it’s a lot of work on my shoulder and I didn’t feel the need or get inspired to sing about anything as I didn’t have anything to say. I was just waiting until I had something to say.
OB: Are you working on any projects, singles or albums at the moment?
JG: Yes, I am working on an album and currently four songs into it. I am inspired now and it’s exciting to work and re-work on it.
OB: This is your first trip to Nigeria, can you tell us what we should expect from you at the concert this evening?
JG: I am looking forward to this evening and I am excited about it, everyone has been lovely and beautiful to me and I am leaving it to my performance on stage tonight because I know everyone is going to have a beautiful time. Everyone should come ready with their dancing shoes.
Comedian Bill Bellamy has made us laugh out loud for over a decade with his playful brand of stand up and smooth big screen antics in classic film favorites like ‘How to Be A Player’ and ‘Love Jones’.
We sat down with the funnyman to ask what projects he is working on and what he hopes to bring to this first edition of the Butterscotch Evenings and here’s what he had to say!
OB: How was your trip down here?
BB: It was really nice, no problems at all. I flew from Los Angeles and switched over at Atlanta where I flew to Lagos.
OB: What was the first thing you noticed about Nigeria?
BB: The first thing I noticed is that there are a lot of black people here, this is a black country, am so proud, I felt like I got my own nation. Everywhere I go I see my people, am so happy. Black people do everything here, we got photographers we black, we got security we black the interviewer is black, everything is black black. (Everyone laughing).
Well, I haven’t tried the food yet so am going to try the food and also I’ll get a chance to go out and see because I just got here and I didn’t get a chance to do anything yet.
Where should I go to? (OB: We have very nice restaurants, go to the Lekki Arts market and we have very nice beaches here!)
OB: Can you tell us on any projects you might be working on now?
BB: Right now in the States I have a new TV show called ‘Mr Box Office’, that is syndicated in a 104 markets right now and its on BET and Centric as well. I have two comedy specials our right now, one is called ‘Crazy Sexy Dirty’ and the other is called ‘The Ladies Night Out’ tour which I am doing in the US now so I am touring the country.
OB: How are you going to adapt your act to the Nigerian scene?
BB: I don’t know, am going to figure it out.
OB: Have you heard about Nigeria prior to you coming here now?
BB: No no, not really. I didn’t know I was coming until recently maybe three weeks ago and I started going on the internet to find out more. I am just so excited to be here, I have always wanted to come to Africa, I thought the first I was probably going to go will be Ghana or Ivory Coast from what people told me so this is my first stop in Africa.
OB: We have a lot of comedians here, do you think you can match them up?
BB: Yea, I am a good comedian.
OB: Are you going to give us some Nigerian comedy?
BB: I might! If not, I’ll get a Nigerian comedian to help me.
British born Immodesty Blaize, (real name Kelly Fletcher) is not your average burlesque dancer, she is also a writer, producer and director. She has been performing since the early 90s, haven quitted her film production job in order to perform full time for fashion, celebrity and art events.
She brought mainstream profile to the burlesque dancing in Britain, garnering extensive press coverage for her elaborate theatrical shows and extravagant costumes. According to her, her art depicts the strength, courage and independence of the female gender. She has been crowned 'Reigning Queen of Burlesque' and has written two novels set in the modern showgirl world, which are published by Ebury, “Ambition” and “Tease”.
OB: As a burlesque dancer, what are you bringing to the Butterscotch Evenings?
IB: Basically a burlesque show is funny man, sexy women and its entertainment. It’s theatre – it’s titillating but it’s theatre. For me as a burlesque dancer, I will be dancing in folk 1950 Hollywood glamour, very extravagant costumes covered in rhinestones. As for my music, I will have my live drummer with me, often if I can’t have a full band, I travel with my drummer and he plays the track. I love beat and I love being very dramatic and this is what my music reflects, I like to have a very Amazonian presence on the stage. A lot of my audience is women in Europe because they love the glamour; they also love the positive representation of femininity so I’m really hoping I can win over the women of Nigeria with my performance.
OB: Is this your first time in Nigeria?
IB: Actually, this is my first time in West Africa and Nigeria. It’s been a great experience so far and I’m really looking forward to the performance.
OB: Have you listened to any of the local tunes in Nigeria, do you plan on infusing them into your performance?
IB: Well I’m a huge fan of diversities; I’m hugely into world music. One of my best friends founded Trans-global underground so I listen to different kinds of songs but for my performance, I like to keep it very classical so I’ll be doing something that is very beat heavy, I love brass and orchestra as well.
OB: What are the costumes you intend to wear for your performance?
IB: My costumes, I had a costumier make them so I have a lot and I can get my waist down to about 20 inches in the corset. It’s going to be very uncomfortable and I cannot wear it for a very long time but for stage… yeah.
OB: Without a corset, what’s your regular size?
IB: 27 inches, without a corset and I have a big bum (laughs) though they look smaller in my dress, so I like to exaggerate the curves. With burlesque, it’s all about exaggeration that’s why my costumes are very expensive.
This particular show that I am doing, I’ve been inspired by a 1930s illustrator so it’s very femme fatal and dramatic.
Introducing himself, Italian-born celebrity chef Aldo Zilli goes “Hi my name is Aldo Zilli and I will chop your chilly”. Born in the small seaside town of Alba Adriatica in the central Italian region of Abruzzo, Aldo moved to England in 1976 where he has been resident ever since.
He specializes in Italian cuisine and holds a record for flipping a pancake 117 times in a minute. He has appeared on television programmes including The X Factor, Through the Keyhole and Lorraine Kelly’s Big Fat Challenge.
He owns various restaurants around London, all with Zilli in their title.
OB: How was the experience coming to Nigeria?
AZ: The experience coming to Nigeria, from dropping off the airplane… great! I’ve never felt so famous in my life! I was greeted by the best security in the world and they wouldn’t even let me even pick my bags up, everything was looked after. Then, we got into the car and that was where the challenge started. I never realized there can be so much people at half-past-four in the morning – on the road – going to work, because I don’t come from a country where people actually go to work that early. It was very interesting, in that sense. There are certainly a lot of people in this country but I didn’t see any stress or violence but having so many cars, it’s bound to happen. We were escorted all the way to the hotel and the driver was interesting… scary but interesting.
OB: As the chef for the dinner/concert event, can you tell us what we should expect from the food?
AZ: Actually we started with one menu but now we are doing two, because we want to give people choice. What I’m bringing to Nigeria is flavours of my childhoo. I am Italian and I cook Italian food so the feel, the fish, the meat, the vegetables… it’s all going to have a lot of Italian flavours with the local ingredient… which has not been easy.
OB: What exactly are the different foods?
AZ: We are starting with an array of pasta, and different kinds of breads, cheeses, biscuits, so when people come they already have what to eat. My mum used to call nine of us to eat and she already has it on the table before we get there but it’s my dad that leaves first, if you leave before him, you will never come back to eat so we had to have that hash training and that’s how we were brought up so I took that with me and adopted it till now. We are going to be having an evening event so let’s have it already on the table, when people come, they can just sit down and start eating and then we can start serving all the other items.
OB: What exactly are you serving?
AZ: There is vegetable soup with pasta and then there will be bisque with shellfish, those are the soups. There also will be some of the local fishes and also spicy chicken which is also common here (Nigeria), then we’ll have the local vegetables to go with all of it. Then we have the desserts amongst which one is very Italian so you should be happy because you are coming to dinner (laughs).
Date: Today, Friday 17th May 2013
Venue: Eko Convention Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos
Tables: N150,000 | N1.5m & N2m
For more information contact Sophia on: 08068805213
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