“In Nigeria, an album is a business card”
We know how quickly artistes move from releasing one album to the next these days. The average life span of a Nigerian released album is perhas 15 to 18 months before a new one breaks out.
Now, this is regardless of the listing of the artiste: A list, A plus, B plus plus… Here Bankole Wellington aka Mr Capable, explains that an album is not worth more than a business card in the Nigerian system.
How do you come about your songs?
The way I work when I'm making albums is simply to tell the experiences that I have been through and to tell whatever is on my mind and heart at that time. In Mr. Capable, I had to pick from over 20 songs that I had at that time. I had to figure out what fits into the content of the album.
So why do you have to write new songs for your new album. Why don't you just simply pick the left over songs and record?
That is the problem with being an artiste. Yes, I do have a lot of songs Nigerians haven't heard but then you keep going through new experiences that you want to talk about.
There's always something fresh- a new song, idea, story… So, at the end of the day, maybe it's just one or two of the earlier written ones that one feels is strong enough to make the new album. Right now, I'm just focused on getting the new music in my head out. Plus, music changes just like sound changes and who you are as an artiste and a person evolves. So, I'd want to put out a new version of me.
How commercially successful was 'Mr Capable'?
It did pretty well. I'm grateful for the success. It was a challenge at first because people just assumed I was about re-mix but gradually with 'Capable' and 'Capable re-mix', 'Don't break My Heart', 'My regret', 'Till my dying day' and other songs in the album, I literarily worked the album and with each video and each performance, I kind of showed people more and more of myself to the point where it (the album) became one of the must-have albums that year, which I am grateful for.
I pray that I don't ever let people's expectations down but just continue to rise above their expectations. The W Experience will surpass everything that 'Mr Capable' was.
Have you recovered financially from the album?
In Nigeria, the cost of shooting an average video is about a million naira. So, you spend six to seven million naira to shoot 4 -5 videos. No marketer will give you N10m on your first album. So, you don't make that kind of money from your album sale because you only make about N10 per CD.
However, what having an album does for you is that it gives you a platform to do endorsement deals or to get shows, make tours or travel round the country and recover the money you've spent. In Nigeria, an album tends to be more like a business card. So, it's like 'this is what I do. If you like this, call the number here and tell me to come and do this (the song) at your show or for your company' and that's the way you work.
Are you surprised at the pace at which your career has moved?
I'm actually very humbled by where God has brought me and I'm very appreciative of the position I'm in. But I think for anyone doing something like this, you have to have the ability to dream big. I was raised to believe that it is possible to be the best. So, I did expect to be big.
Story by Lolade Sowolu - vanguardngr.com