If Akon was a nigerian what would have happened to his career in music????
I have noticed with disdain that Nigerian music is taking itself to another level…mind you I did not say next level.
What do I mean you may ask..? Simply put, the art of copying each other's sounds is now the norm with Nigerian artists, both up-coming and established ones, by my observations
Most Nigerian hip hop, Ragga, dance hall or any other imported genre of imported songs are now sounding the SAME.
At our offices in bluemoonCONSULT Lagos Nigeria We have an influx of upcoming artists local and those based abroad hoping to promote their various promo singles/videos in Nigeria and what do we get?. Songs, rhythms and beats sounding just the same.
The Nigerian artist will tell you that they need to produce music which is commercial as their first single that's when Nigerians will like it. Even though its crap!!!
I mean you listen to most current Nigerian songs they resemble 9ice, Tu face or any other a-class artist from Nigeria. You hear “don Jazzy again” again and again I mean this is the in thing.
The most painful aspect of it all is the fact that Nigerian artists who have access to the best studios to produce their various songs/videos abroad come back home and tell us that they have been advised to infuse the Nigerian feel into their music before they can “make it”.
So they look for “local rappers” to do collaborations with or people who can infuse vernacular into their songs so as to get the ear of the Nigerian listening public. Sometimes it works but in most cases it comes out sounding like crap..pls excuse my choice of words.
Now this trend is not limited to promo audio music but what about the Nigerian music video. I give the crew of NIGIZIE kudos for being the first Nigerian music 24/7 production on cable TV. I have to give them the thumbs up for trying to pick the best out of a thousand and one videos looking the same or just plain stupid.
Let's not talk about “Music Africa” that's one program which is doing a lot of disservice to the Nigerian Artist and the Nigerian viewer. They play just about anything. Good or BAD as long as the Artist PAYS thru their noses to get airplay. Now that's what I call “commercial
This brings me to the issue of music video productions. Listening to “don jazzy” again on a lot of audio productions is tiring enough but which one be the issue of an artist paying outrageous sums of money to the likes of DJ Tee and Clarence Peters only for the name of Dj Tee or Clarence Peters appearing first on the video.
Why on earth should an artist who paid over a million Naira to shoot a video allow the A director of photography(DOP) or an Editor advertise himself FIRST on their videos the answer is simple.
The artist has the belief that once the names of the DOP and editor are on the video it guarantees them instant airplay on MTV base or certain music programs on Nigerian television. Which maybe true actually?
Watch music videos on Nigerian TV and most of them look alike. The same concept no imagination. It just a simple trend of joining the band wagon. This video was done by Dj Tee, this one was done by Clarence peters or whoever. This I hear most of the time like a “skipping CD”.( “broken record” it was termed back in the day)
How many a Nigerian artist have heard of two words called a “story board” or production personnel apart from the camera man, director of photography and an editor. Where are the producers, directors script writers etc in the typical Nigerian video?
A couple of months back I wrote on the topic does “Nigeria have an international mega star” I received a lot of comments and quite interesting ones too. However I still maintain my stand that we don't…period!
Why?? Because most of our productions are wacky
Now to the issue of if Akon was a Nigerian what would have happened to his musical career????
I had a heated argument with a couple of my friends on the issue of a Nigerian artist who have somehow made it thinking that it's ok for them just to capture the local Nigerian market and the interest of Nigerians based abroad.
The point is, what is the yardstick of an artist making it internationally?? I must let you know at this point that I usually bow to superior argument. However in this case I was not totally convinced… why?
Simple, artists all over the world take it as a great honor to win the Grammy award..even the first black American president won a Grammy for just talking. Go to www.bio.com/barackobama to confirm.
Now in the Grammys there is a category for world music, where does the Nigerian artist fit in??? I mean for the artist who does not play afro beat, highlife or juju music even Fuji music in world music category of the Grammys ??? or maybe I should write the board of the Grammy awards to create category called “confused music” so that a Nigerian could win one.
Please note. Professor Wole Soyinka a Nigerian I presume did not have to write in vernacular to win the prestigious Noble prize
This is not to say that you Can't win a Grammy if you don't speak or sing in English (world music)
The Nigerian Artist by my standards should strive to win a Grammy by doing better productions putting all the best they can into it
Hmmm, is AKON an African? YES HE IS..I think…!!! I KNOW he is from Senegal.. “I honestly hope I am right” …don't let me kid you. I know as well as you do that I am right Akon IS from Senegal a state in the USA??? Oops! Just pulling your legs.
I am of the belief that if Akon was a Nigerian and he came into the country with a track called “locked up” the average Nigerian listener would have wanted him locked up and the keys thrown away which one be locked up?? “I beg this no be music O! Dj flavor Play me “shake something” by Jazzman Olofin”
Some of our inexperienced A&R people would have told him nice song but this isn't for our Market, you have to get “Konga” or “Lord of Ajasa” to have an impute so that the average Nigerian will dance to the song..??? and eventually buy the Album
Akon as far as I am concerned strived for perfection. He was not looking at his humble beginnings he was looking far ahead. As of today he has done collaborations with almost every award winning artist in the world including Michael Jackson.
In short..If Akon was a Nigerian he would have been frustrated out of the industry and may have taken up a blossoming career in Nollywood if he refuses to go by Nigerian standards to win a “make believe” Award like the NMA ( a topic for another day) because the NMA recognizes the presence of Nollywood than the Nigerian Artist(singer)
In others words, so I have been led to believe, of which I don't. No matter the arguments, that without infusing “gutter sounds” into Nigerian music it won't sell
Do we believe that Nigerians are not intelligent enough to appreciate good music and the world has looked down on Nigerian artists and their music that there is no way they can compete on the international scene?
I don't think so..I need a D'bang or a Olu Maintain or any other A-class Nigerian Artist to look beyond Africa and go rule the world. and stop parading as “local champions” I am not calling them local champs O!
As for our Nigerian artists based abroad I expect them to believe in what they are doing and believe in themselves and to stop listening to some fake A&R people or promoters who just want to rip them off of their hard earned Dollars, Pound Sterling, Yen even French Francs in the name of they will make them superstars… but only recognized in Nigeria.
I would have given you examples of artists based abroad who have tried to make it in Nigeria but failed..if I did it won't be fair on them because a lot of them thought it will be a lot easy to break into the Nigerian market only to be ill advised on the kind of music they should bring in.
My argument lays on the fact that ASA was not recognized by many In Nigeria until she was signed on to an international label.. I may be going deaf but I don't hear any vernacular in her top hits “Mr. jailer” or “Fire on the mountain” and her sound is not the usual Niaja beat do you get my flow?
I would have also given you examples of crapy videos and songs Nigerian based artists bring out on a daily basis but I won't. Because they just don't get it. They don't see beyond the Nigerian community around the world.
Well the solace for the Nigerian artist is the fact that as a Nigerian local mega star they are making a lot money. Which is quite ok for them and the listening public. If I start mentioning names they will term it “ bad belle” I don't have any problems with artists making money at the stage they are I only have a problem of them not trying to get better.
I know the Nigerian music industry can be one of the best in the world because we have some of the most talented singers, composers, producers, directors etc if only they could experiment. Bring out productions which will appeal also, to the average “oyinbo who hasn't heard of Nigeria before.
I can tell you one thing for sure..every American of voters age now know of a country called Kenya courtesy Barack Obama
On a last note. “I love my country Nigeria I no go lie inside it I go live and die” and I will always want the best to come out of Nigeria musically. So where ever the Nigerian Artist is… “at home or away” they should try to do their own thing. They should just not follow the trend or they won't last long in the industry strive for professionalism and perfection
Kindly understand that these are strictly my personal views and I am subject to corrections.However if you think this write up is “Coo Coo” don't mind me it must be the Hennessey lol lol!