Duke of New York: Why it took us two years to get Apollo Theatre for Burna Boy

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THE promoter behind Burna Boy’s sold-out concert at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York, on April 5, titled: ‘African Giant’ Tour, Osita F. Ugeh, has revealed that it took two years to secure the venue.

With a small dream that begun in Nigeria where he began organising shows in cities around the country, Ugeh relocated to New York in 2011, where his career in showbiz kicked off fully, earning him the nickname, ‘Duke of New York’.

“Selling out the Apollo is something I have always wanted to do,” said Duke, who is the CEO of Duke Concept LLC.

“It actually took me two years to get approval for a concert at the Apollo theatre and on April 5th we sold it out. Burna boy is in the history as the First Nigerian Artiste to sell out a show at the Apollo. This is really a big deal.”

Apollo Theater has hosted few African artistes like Fela and Mariam Makeba.

But Duke said, “selling it out is a whole different story. It is exciting and I am happy to play a part in the moment of history.”

Among African acts that Duke has worked with include Davido, Olamide, Iyanya, Kizz Daniel, Runtown , Phyno, Mr Eazi, Flavour, Teniola, Kcee, Harry Song and Jamaican star Movado.

Duke is a graduate of Engineering, from Madonna University and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

“It started during my college days in Nigeria,” said Duke as he recalled his journey into the entertainment industry.

“Organising college parties, theatre plays and all. I was even the Choir Master of the school at some point. So, it has always been my thing to organise and get people together. In being creative, I find my passion.

“My first event was in May of 2013. The guest artiste on the bill was D’Prince of Mavin records. He was one of the hottest musicians in Nigeria at that time and so it was really a big deal putting up that event.”

Duke, unapologetically considers himself the biggest African promoter in America, “I seem to be the only African promoter in the United States that has hosted successful artiste tours, concerts and parties respectively.”

He said, “I don’t see anyone that matches my energy. I am someone that always wants something better. So, when I do something and it is successful, the next goal is to beat my own record. My goals motivate me and the quest for perfection is what drives me.”

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