With artistes’ rates moving from five to seven figures in recent years, it is indeed safe to say that the Nigerian Music Industry is growing.
This growth might not necessarily stem from the depth of lyrics as we have seen many Nigerian artistes move from deep, emotive lyrics like “Sweet Mother” to repetitive lyrics like “Pop pop pop Champagne” or “Take Banana till you go yo” which has an amazing record breaking 16 repeats intro to the song.
It is hard to ignore the fact that music today has moved from pretty simple lyrics to words that do not exist in the oxford dictionary talk more of Google.com. How do you explain the meaning of iyanaya’s “na na na na na na….your waist” or Flavour’s “Porokoto pokoro pakoroba”?
What has changed in the Nigerian Music scene? Is it the psych/choice of the listening audience or the mentality of the musicians? Or could we attribute it to the age difference?
With the type of lyrics that are being put out today by Nigerian artists, it would be pretty hard for an artist who sang “If I could runaway, I’d run with you faraway” to compete with someone who spills “Kukere I get money o” on the dance floor.
My years of experience in the Nigerian music industry as an onlooker, songwriter, bathroom singer and a beat maker, has given me an insight as to what sells in Nigeria. Trust me when I say I have cracked that code as to how you can become a successful Nigerian artiste just by releasing one single! Here are the 10 proven steps you must follow religiously to become a successful artiste in Nigeria!
1. Mugu Master 101
You might be asking yourself “Wait a minute is this guy telling me to lick boots” Well Yes! If you must also know, lick the sole and laces of your boss’s boots along. The reason I tagged this as Mugu Master 101 is because, if you can’t act as a JJC in this industry, then trust me you are going nowhere! When I say act as a mugu, I mean be humble and gentle, act like you know no one, you have nothing and your voice is “just there” be willing to put aside your ego and listen to what the big boss (Coughs Don Jazzy) says. Even if it takes you two to four years to complete the Mugu 101 course, do so. Trust me this makes for a good “Humble Beginning” story so that when you finally sing “Fly” as Tuface did to announce his successful graduation from Kennis Music, people would be drawn to you. Wizkid, Dbanj and 9ice did it, so you also can do it.
2. Use this music formula (beat, lyrics and tune)
Iyanya had to drop his “baby they don’t know how I feel about you” lyrics for “All my ladies… nze nze” after he had the privilege to listen to this advice you are reading at no cost.
The kind of beat you should use must be fast-paced; you will find it in Davido’s “Omo Baba Olowo” and in many of “Terry G’s songs”.
I’m assuming you are an average singer with no music experience, so I will advise you to stay away from P-Square’s beats if you don’t have the right tunes and sensible lyrics to back it up.
Worried about your lyrics making sense? That shouldn’t be a problem because it doesn’t matter as long as you’re able to form whatever words that pops up in your head even if it is “bla blab la bla”…that’s another form of expressing yourself. .
Ok, let’s do a simple practice on how to make up the perfect “meaningless” lyrics. Look at a chick (if you are a guy), what would you like to tell her? (You dey do me strong thing?) nah! Banky W has done that.
Think about something you love (food, blackberry) or something Nigerian (Koboko). It will be silly to sing something like “Your love dey sweet me like Koboko” are you for real? Koboko dey sweet for body?
Sing in tangent with the beat even of it means distorting the lyrics like “E dey pain me like Kobokoko kobokoko kobokoko”
For the tune, look for a famous foreign tune and morph it into yours. Remove the Doh-reh-mis and add your own. A Brick&Lace “Love is Wicked” beats can be morphed into many songs.
Imagine this was formed using the “Love is wicked beats”:
E just pain like Kobokoko
Day wey you pass for Amukoko
You and your friend on Okada…
Now doesn’t that sound just like it?
3. Keep in shape
This is already self-explanatory. You can’t be looking like Rick Ross and expecting your female fans to appreciate you. In order to be able to throw off your shirt at any given time, you will need to have the right 6packs (Please no hungry packs) but the right packs like Iyanya, Dipp and D’banj. Now if you a female artiste, then you need to shed off those unwanted fats around your stomach and reserve it for your hips and bust because this is what Nigerian men love and you need it for your photo and video shoots.
4. Show some skin
Now Nigerians love daring performances (You can trace this back to Fela’s days)). In order to have an engaging concert, you must be willing to show some chest on stage like D’banj and throw your shirt into the crowd like Iyanya.
A Disclaimer: Please do not attempt this if you do not have a six packs and your body is only suitable for a Michelin advertisement. (This is not a sub for special ed)
For the ladies, a little baring of the laps hurts no one. You can contact Tiwa Savage and Emmy Nyra for a few tips on how to bare it all and still look classy.
5. Hit the headlines (Controversy)
Denrele once said “Good publicity is good publicity. Bad publicity is good publicity. No publicity is bad publicity”.
Being in the news is key! Do whatever it takes to hit the headlines! You got to be kidding me if you need suggestions on how to achieve this. Ok, I’ll give you a few. Have several baby mamas, have several tattoos or date two popular celebrities, start a twitter fight by dissing another celeb or release a terrible song, breakup with your music label or have a groupie take a photo of you in bed while you pretend to be asleep.
Please follow these suggestions at your own risk because I do not endorse bad behavior.
6. Form a dance step
I’m serious about this. Let’s follow the trend of people who have their own dance steps. They get popular. Nigerians are always looking for new dance steps. Marvelous Benji did the “Suo”. Daddy Showkey brought us the “Galala”, and Iyanya introduced the “Kukere”. Ghana’s Azonto is still trending and we have found people like Wizkid doing their own version. 9ice had his own signature dance step. So did Tuface. MayD has this very unique dance step that looks like Azonto on both feet. P-Square remixed the Azonto step by giving us a hybrid version which they titled “Alingo”. You should come up with your own step if you are creative enough.
7. Get a slogan
You think Tonto Dike was dumb when she thought of #Poko?
We have seen artistes carve a niche for themselves with slangs that they use. Iyanya gave us “Your waist”, Durella would “Zanga” this, Dbanj is the custodian of “Kokolet, Labata and Lebete” while Tuface never fails to remind us that “Nothin dey happen”.
You can use something like “Jati-jati”. Just a suggestion though.
8. Pally with bloggers
You see yourself? After all the yanga and the blasting that you do on Twitter, you will still come back and beg the bloggers to publish and promote your songs for free. Bloggers can make or kill your songs o. don’t try us. Oh. I didn’t mention that I am a blogger too. Look for my Twitter handle @Naija9icevibes
9. Collabo with the right people
Nobody knows you and you want to collabo (record a duet) with an unknown artiste. Are you a learner? It is important to know your genre of music and feature the right people. For example imagine collaboration between Bez and Terry G? Or DBanj and Asa? Trying to imagine it gives me a migraine.
If you are an Afro-pop artiste like Tuface, consider doing something with a Waje, Tiwa Savage (for the voice) or an MI, Ice Prince (for the rap) or a D’Prince, Wande, Wizkid (for the style).
10. Stick to the elders (OAPs, Social Media publicists, events managers)
Your best friends and allies should be the On-Air-personalities, Social Media peeps, Events Managers and Music Producers. Consult these ogas at the top before you record. Ask the OAPs “What kind of songs do you callers like to listen to?”
Ask the bloggers “What kinds of songs get the most hits”. “How do I create hype for my song or get Eko Hotel to host my event?
Ask Clarence Peters “What kind of videos do people prefer to watch”.
I’m not trying to tell you to follow the crowd; I’m trying to provide you with the necessary guidelines to create your own strategy.