Music is a spiritual force. Stronger than the forces of war, battle and even death.
No one truly knows how music started – who made the first beat? who wrote the first lyrics or who sang the first rhythm, but what we know is that music has lasted as long as man. With Music, many have survived the ravages of war, recovered from broken hearts, kept warm on cold night and faced the forces of failure all by themselves, coming out triumphant.
Music is life. Music is right. Music is mankind. The question really is, how is music made and what are those forces that makes it one of the most commercially viable industry today. Who are those playerscritical to making Music incredibly and widely acceptable or the commercially successful venture it has now becomeAll over the world, many assume music to be sounds. This is primarily so because many people enjoy music they can’t understand due to language or cultural infusion, yet they can relate with the sounds, beats and rhythm.
In Nigeria, commercial Music making in the 60s and 70s was the forte of performing artiste who typically spend anything from between 2 to 10 years learning about the fundamentals of sounds, instruments and musical arrangements. From Fela, to Segun Buknor, Ikay Diaro, Haruna Ishola etc, sounds have been at the foundation of great music.
Over the years, music have further evolved to accommodates technology, rhythms, foreign culture and influences and many more. An exciting revolution in the Nigerian music industry was birthed exactly 10years ago in 2009 when Banky W introduced Wizkid and Skales to the music industry on the platform of EME, it brought about the introduction of teenagers to the Nigeria music sphere.
Until then, most artiste never really turned commercial until their 20s. From TuFace to PSquare, DBanj and MI, the 20s was the magical age for commercial exploitation and success for Nigerian artistes. Shortly after their emergence was a relatively unknown rich kid popularly known as Davido, who made a name for himself withhis first hit track “Omo Baba Olowo.” From 2009 till date, Skales appears have somewhat dwindled in fame whereas Davido and Wizkid have gone on to becomeinternationally recognized superstars, from singing around campuses to shutting down the 02 arena in London. Wizkid fans have even gone extra to create a day which they tagged “WORLDWIZKIDDAY” on social media in recognition of his feat in the industry.
Indeed, lots of things have changed in the Nigeria music industry that has contributed to the success of some musician and led to the downfall of others given substance to the saying that change indeedis the only constant thing in this world.
There is a change in the norm in the way artiste rose to stardom. In the ’90s too early 2000’s the norm was for the artiste to get signed by a properly structure and well known record label, as the chances of getting to stardom were pretty slim or non-existent outside that framework. Looking at the present music industry however, it is evident that there is a shift from that norm as talented artiste can now leverage on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram to rise to stardom.
Three leading example of artiste leveraging social media is Mayorkun, Picazo, and Yomiblaze.
Mayorkun, a banker, rose to stardom after doing a cover of Davido song and posted it on Twitter which caught Davido’s attention and got signed to his DMW record label without having to go through the long and stressful route of sleeping outside established acts record label to get signed.
Mid-last 2018 Chinko Ekun sang a song titled “Able God” which became a super hit, as parties were never complete without jamming to lyrics and beat of Able God.
Picazo and Yomiblaze leverage on the popularity of the song by doing to a cover to it that went viral, this got them signed to Olamide’s YBNL record label as more record labels were not yet ready to take the risk of signing unknown acts to their record labels.
Indeed, the power of technology and the trends of the times noow means that young acts can do themselves justice by leveraging on the advent of social media to increase their popularity and change the narratives of them running after record labels by making the record labels chasing after them. Another trend that tended more towards negative newscycle was what may be called the curse of Music Manager as the reputation and earning power of artistes was grossly affected due to manager’s neglect, bad management or the dishonesty of their managers. Of a truth, some artiste literally went off the ladder with their exit from their record label, prominent among them was Kelly handsome whom little, or nothing is heard from him after his departure from Kennis Music.
In the past 20 years, D’banj, in my opinion, was the first Nigerian artiste that put Nigeria name on the global map of world music after he quit Mo’hit and joined Sony music.
His relationship with Kanye then opened the door for Nigerian artiste internationally.
Following in his footstep was Psquare who also had a collabo with Rick Rossand Am In in a globally acknowledged hit that enriched musical content of Nigerian origin to global audience. Dbanj later went on to sing at the closing ceremony of the 2010 world cup in South Africa where he performed his famous “On top of the world.”which was a first for any Nigerian act on such a landmark stage.
Since then, Nigerian acts are now being invited to global festivals, the latest being Mr.Eazi and Burna boy to the Coachella festival, one of the most respected music carnival globally
Finally, the digital revolution also found its way into the music industry. The distribution of music radicallt changed from the traditional Compact Disk (CD) to being available on digital platforms like Spotify, Boom play, Apple store, and blogs.
The virality and instantaneous nature of social media has also enable our music acts leverage on singing on the latest trending songs, thereby etching themselves into people’s consciousness rapidly and in a widely acceptable manner.
Wizkid for example leveraged on this when he sang Azonto, Olu Maintain sang Yahooze, Davido sang skelewu, Mr. Real sang lagbegbe And Zlatan used Zanku dance step also to rise to stardom.
In addition, Tuface, considered today as one of the leading lights of the industry has been able to maintain his relevance in the Nigerian music industry by being able to adapt his songs to the latest trends in the country, years after his hit “African Queen” when many of his contemporaries have long left the music scene, he is still dropping jams like “Amaka.” Which remain one of the super triggers on the Nigerian music scene
The late Dagrin, before his death contributed towards revolutionizing indigenous rapping, his verse and flows in Yoruba endeared him to the heart of many due to the lyrical rhymes.
Olamide as his primary successor took up from where he left, and that has opened the way to a lot of indigenous rappers. Phyno is presently leading the pack in the eastern region, with many others following the pattern.
Many record label has come and gone, some due to clash with artistes such as kennis and Mo’hit. A lot of Duets also broken the famous being that of the Okoye brothers “Psquare,” the hottest presently is DMW owned by David Adeleke aka Davido.
There is no doubt a lot of revolution has happened in the music industry, and more are expected to happen if the preceding trend is anything to go by.
Undeniably, Davido and Wizkid are presently the biggest acts in Nigeria or maybe Africa, but the game looks very matured for a new kid on the block.
Just as DBanj and Tuface once ruled music across the continent, just as Davido and Wizkid are doing, might we be welcoming our new pair of megastar later in 2019 or in 2020?
We are curiously and almost impatiently waiting….
James Taiwo Elizabeth – 69Entertainment