On Sunday 11th November 2018, the O2 Islington Academy in London was like a carnival of some sort as UK fans of Nigerian singer, Simi, her family, her celebrity friends and colleagues all turned up for her first headline concert abroad. The 02 Arena (across four London locations) is fast becoming one of the most utilized locations for Nigerian artistes with great influence in the UK. Early this year, Davido, Wizkid and Tiwa Savage performed at different event venues within the arena.
We also reported that the X3M singer who had a sold-out show had surprise guest appearances and performances by Wizkid and Mr Eazi whose attendance further drew the fans into a frenzy.
Just before the show kicked off, it was revealed that the tickets had sold out completely and dozens of fans were milling about outside the hall. Inside, the 800 seater arena was filled to the capacity, with many attendees standing at the gallery while the X3M Music songstress performed.
Indeed, it was an admirable feat for a debut concert and Simi’s team couldn’t be any prouder of her on that night.
— Steve Babaeko (@Steve_eko) November 11, 2018
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Another Surprise. Probably the biggest one. 😩 This mannn my dad told meeeee he wasn’t coming. Twice. He flew in because of meeeee. And I literally dropped to the floor when I saw him. Thank you. So much. Love you boss 💙 @stevebabaeko
A post shared by Simi (@symplysimi) on Nov 12, 2018 at 1:50am PST
Not only was it proof of the petite singer’s talent; it was also a justification that the investment in the London show- over N20 million by our estimates- was the right call for all concerned: Simi, X3M and the show promoter, London based Smade Entertainment.
Here is a breakdown of most of the expenses that went into the execution of the show.
The cost of renting the O2 Islington Arena
Completed in 2002 and the smallest of the O2 Academy Group, The O2 Academy Islington was designed to hold a maximum of 800 people. It was filled to the rafters on the night, making Simi’s team wish they had hired a bigger arena.
An inside source who spoke to us said “We are very excited about the turn of events. We saw people standing outside and we only wish we had taken a larger hall. We did not know that people here loved Simi this much that they sang all her songs word for word.”
A quick look at the website of the Arena reveals that it takes 10,000 pounds (five million naira) to book the Islington Academy.
Performance fees and flight tickets for guest artistes artistes
Although the relationship between Simi and her usual suspects Adekunle Gold and Falz is cordial, business transactions such this are usually handled professionally so that all concerned are happy at the end of the day. Adekunle Gold’s going rate is N3 million per show, same as Falz. Added to Mr Eazi’s 7 million naira, it’s safe to estimate that 13 million naira was spent on talent.
A further N4 million was spent on flights and accommodation for Simi’s crew, comprising label officers assistants and family (Simi’s mother inclusive).
Without a doubt, Simi’s record label, X3M, places a premium on her talent and ability to draw a crowd. The ten-year-old company has had a healthy roster of gifted musicians- Overdose and Etcetera in the early days and now Praiz, Simi, Sammy, D’Truce and Dapo holding forte today.
At the Headies in May, Simi stood toe-to-toe with Nigeria’s biggest acts and won three awards, including the highly coveted Album of the Year category.
Her London show may not have been a deluge by Nigeria’s “Eko Hotel in December” standards, but having fans fork over between £30-40 to see her on a cold Saturday night is a testament of her draw. No surprises then that she already has a show lined up in Lagos for December. Simi must be feeling confident of selling out that arena as well, with its five thousand person capacity.
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