Holy Holla Interview: Deji Irawo talks on how X2D came into existence

On this week of the Holy Holla interview, we've got the brain behind the prestigious gospel entertainment channel Xclusive 2 Divinity (X2D) talking. On this episode, it was fun and inspiring having him in the studio and here are some of the questions we asked and his response to them.

Tell us what your childhood was like, your family, your education and so
It was a very interesting upbringing, I was born in lagos, bred in lagos, of course raised in a typical lagos environment where u have to generally describe there things happening for yourself. One major influence in my life was my mom, she's a perfectionist, a woman who gives her children relationship (give it up for all the mom) growing up was just trying to define yourself, trying to get direction- who you are- find expression and stuff like that.
At some point I got discovered by an uncle of mine who believed that I have broadcasting skills, the way I spoke stuffs like that, so he started encouraging me to come to the studio, go around with him, carry the camera, work around the light and that's how the whole journey started, but really basically it was just like a normal average Naija boy upbringing, you know stay within the context of your family, look at them and see what God will make out of you that kind of thing.

What talent did your uncle see in you?
I think he saw charisma and he saw ability to be able to communicate and connect with people that was basically what he saw in terms of the fact that 'okay you just talk, present yourself, what you are able to communicate' because I grew having friends who were way older than I am, my friends were ten years older, myself fifteen. I would sit down with people who were way older, and we were able to hold conversations, I think he was in there and he just said to me that
"have you ever thought of broadcasting" I said no.
He said "You are gifted, people will die for what you have, being able express yourself, being able to speak words, being able to command attentions, being able to interact with people"
So he put me on interview on the first day he took me out, I was making mistake like a dumb boy, I was just asking the wrong questions and I thought that he will just look at me and tell me 'NO' but he'd just kept laughing at me until I got it right, and that was a major point in my life he didn't tell me 'You can't do this, it can't work' all the mistakes have been on day one, he just left me alone to do it, pick it up from there and run.
So from there it just became harnessing those skills and generally giving expression to them, picking it up from there, getting more training, hanging out with my friends who were on radio stations and who worked in TV stations and do stuffs like that, we just carried on the skills until we got to a point I started spending more time with my friends in studio, we were doing various things -voice overs and things like that- that kind of built the very solid structure at that point.

What was your vision when you started X2D?
X2D rolled back to 2005 kinda, I think for me the journey started way back to 1998 when I came back for my NYSC and I started working at Star FM. I was presenting a programme called 'Grace Enough' something like you guys (Holy Holla) are doing, I used to play gospel songs on sunday mornings, the journey went back then, and at that point I wanted to do so much more, I wanted to interview gospel artistes like you guys (Holy Holla) are doing right now, I started doing it for about four years back to back. From there I went to NTA, and there was a major particularly strategic one that was quite important, when they were gonna set up Dove Media in Nigeria which is the Redeemed Gospel Entertainment platform, they called me in to set up a channel called 'Dove Music' and it was tough to do because they wanted me to create a gospel music entertainment channel and they were like saying:
"we've asked everybody and they say you are the only guy that can pull that off" and I said to them:
"Yeah, you're right"
So I had to go round my friends, sourcing videos and everything. I was amazed even as at 2005 what we could put together in terms of resources, videos, ideas, and concept. Put a few guys together, we started doing graphics doing great things, and putting stuffs together, it was at that point I think that I would say in retrospect that I actually built X2D, because I had like six month to do it, and we did it to the glory of God, so it was at that point I actually built the first gospel entertainment channel right here in Nigeria. What has become X2D now was actually birthed then. But when I left Dove media to go to ITV, there was still in me, I now have the responsibility to build the family friend, the gospel entertainment channel in ITV, it was stressful, because I didn't just get materials, I didn't have stuffs to buy. I think God just, you know hit me with a stick in the head like that lion king thing and said:
"You don't get it, you are suppose to be the one creating what you are looking to buy" and at that point, it just hit me that hey! You gonna sit down here and look for what you're supposed to be creating, so I had to resign and left the place and started putting ideas together, and because I've done it before in Dove music I had to just pick the ideas and generally extend it to what I'm doing right now. So its an idea that actually started in 1998 and evolved in to X2D right now.
Listen and download full podcast of the interview below

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