An Interview with Art Meets Music Founder Ade Sanusi By Remina Nair (Dream Nation)

Fusing the world of art and music together, Art Meets Music founder Ade Sanusi is changing the landscape of modern art exhibitions by showcasing it to a whole new demographic. Introducing the streets to mainstream art, Art Meets Music organise art exhibitions where emerging artists and musicians can showcase their talent. Ade speaks to Dream Nation about his inspirations, the lessons he has learnt and what has driven him to pursue his dream.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

The highlight of my career so far has been developing Art Meets Music. I literally thought of the idea two years ago and didn’t know how I was going to obtain the money to actually get the venue, pay the artist(s), pay for any form of travel. Working in the industry, you are developing a lot of relationships and sometimes you have just got to ask the question and they will say yes. I just asked several artists to perform, several artists to exhibit their work, one person is the host, someone is the DJ. Through my relationships, I ended up finding a venue that allowed me to use their venue for free and from there it create an epic event for the first one. It [has now] grown to such a level [that] we are now talking to people about doing the show in Amsterdam, America and Germany, so it has grown to a larger situation. We get to take our time with the event now and focus where we want to pin point it.

What attracted you to this craft above others?

Music-wise, looking at entrepreneurs such as Jay Z, Puff Daddy, Pharrell Williams and Kanye West. I am looking at all these guys like ‘how did they execute all this stuff efficiently and amazingly?’ They are so creative. I read the book Do Youby Russell Simmons, [and] as soon as I finished reading that, I started finding that I had to get into the industry. Labels weren’t accepting at the time but I then found myself doing an apprenticeship scheme called Music 4 Good and they said ‘come aboard’ so I ended up working at Polydor for nine months and enjoyed my time there. I then progressed to working for my mentor and then left the label My-Ish and started my own music consultancy group. Throughout, I wanted to develop a brand that brings talent together and brings fans together, so that’s when I thought Art Meets Music. As much as we are bringing music artists  together, brands [now] want to get involved because they are like ‘we want to connect with this persons fan base’. I have to thank social media for that because the artists that I obtain have like two thousand [or] ten thousand followers so collectively, we are reaching out to a lot of people.

When it felt/feels like your dream won’t materialise, what has kept/keeps you going?

What kept me going more or less than anything was the belief in myself. I think when I find myself comfortable is when I am like ‘I [have] got to disrupt the situation’. Disrupting myself i.e. leaving my job and trying this thing on my own literally forced me to become creative and gain new skills. It’s more of a survival thing in humans- once we are uncomfortable we always figure it out. We are not going to sit in our seats and think there is nothing happening or there is nothing we can do, we always react. It teaches you to react, but then also learn so you are not falling down on your face at all times, you are literally acting on each piece. Books kept me going, podcasts kept me going, I got a great circle of friends, I have got a great family that support me, so those have been the positive reinforcements has kept me alive in this thing.

What advice would you give to people that have been in your situation and get caught up in that comfortable stage and want to try and get through it?

My advice to people is literally if you feel comfortable know that you have got to step up and challenge yourself. If you are happy then you are happy but if you’re after legacy and you want people to recognise you for your talents, always step it up because the higher you step it up, the person behind you is going to be like ‘wow he stepped up to that level I want to know if I can go higher’. You are always extending it, there is no ceiling, there is always another level. Jay Z took it to the biggest heights of heights and now Drake could possibly take it [higher]. Dizzee Rascal took it to a certain point, now Skepta is going to take it to a higher point. These are the examples that are out there to show people that you have to keep going, every day is a chance to step it up. There is no point of being in a comfortable position- if you are happy, you are happy, but if you want to keep elevating and showcasing the level, keep stepping it up.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt about yourself and others in the relentless pursuit of your dream?

I have learned the art of patience. I can get frustrated sometimes when things don’t happen and people don’t pay attention to things the way I want them to. Patience is a new skill I have acquired because if you don’t have patience, you have lost. If you keep being anti about things, you are always going to make mistakes and I made a lot of mistakes by not being patient. Now every time a situation happens and it doesn’t happen my way, I’m like ‘cool’, ‘patience’, ‘wait a couple of days, re-evaluate and then go for it again’. Being patient allows you to succeed in things in slow motion and get to now pick what you care about and what is important and leave what doesn’t matter anymore.

If you ruled the world, what, if anything, would you change first?

I would change perception and beliefs. I think a lot of people think insecurely if that is such a great term. They believe that they are not worth it or worth anything and they believe that they are never going to make it. I want you to feed the fuel when that fuel is in your stomach and you have to believe, go for it. Social media right now is a great tool. I love social media because I use it as a tool but it is crippling a lot of people and destroying beliefs because people believe in people’s perception. What you have to understand is that it is not real. I would change peoples beliefs because once people believe greater things can happen, people will do more daring things. There will just be a boom in stuff, the economy will be better because people will be doing more daring things and will be believing in themselves in such a way it’s like ‘oh wow, I built this idea and I believed in it’, then you can create the following because social media and people power enable that.


What practical advice would you give to Practical Dreamers?

Keep learning [and] read books. Read books that not only cater to your career but affect you spiritually. I usually read spirituality books like The Alchemist and The Four Agreements that get your faith and your beliefs in check. Start reading stories about people who have done it before because it can essentially be a blueprint, but you just got to tailor it to yourself. Keeping a good head, having the right people around you and once you have those things create a positive routine every morning that enables you to keep achieving. If you don’t start [your] morning right then it always kind of goes left at the same time. I think that is the main thing that you would want to focus on.

If you had to describe yourself as an animal, what animal would you be and why?

I would say a lion but not at it’s full stage yet, a lion that is trying to be king in the process. I say because I am still learning what it is to be a leader, what it is to have team, a team of lions and to galvanise them and teach them how to hunt, how to survive, how to understand the environment. I have just obtained the team and we are learning how to be better business partners, learning how to manage, learning to have a PR person, learning how to have a photographer. Taking that team and pushing them to their highest point as well as developing myself. That’s why I compare myself to a lion- once I am fully developed I will essentially be the king of the jungle, not in an egotistical way but to know that I am here to lead my lions and my people into better situations and teach them who to survive on their own and come together as they do.