The Nigerian music industry is one that has evolved over the years. Within this time, there has been a huge influx of artists, some of which are still relevant today. On the other hand, there have also been some artists that hit the lime light and then faded out with the outro of their hit songs.
Today, we examine some of the ways to stay relevant in the Nigerian music industry, we will look at what works, and what upcoming artists should look out for if they want not only to become renowned but also stay that way.
- Creativity: Music is art and with every art is the need to create something out of nothing. Apparently, an artist should be able to see the beauty in the ugliness and this holds true for music artists too. The artist should be able to create art with his music and make it sound beautiful to the hearers. Think out of the box but always stay in the boundary of what works for you. The legendary singer Fela, whom we all know and respect, was able to always create music even from the seeming terrible situations surrounding the country at those times. He could literally make music from anything – from the relevance of water (Water no get enemy) to the political struggles of the Nigerian economy (ITT).
- Consistency: Most artists have no problem creating a song, but to stay relevant in an industry with so much competition, you must be ready to consistently deliver creative content. An attitude of one track in one year isn’t going to cut it. You must be ready to constantly dish out content. This puts pressure on artists but in the end, it’s your job to make the music. As loyal as your fans are, most of them will move on when there is nothing new forth coming. We see the consistent ability to create music from legends like King Sunny Ade, Pasuma, Tu face and many more artists that are still relevant even to this day.
- Know Yourself: There are a lot of expressions to music and knowing what best suits your voice and communicates your message to your audience would go a long way in helping you stay relevant. This means you must also know your audience. You must creatively present your sound so it doesn’t come off the same way every time. Every musician is unique and brings a unique flavour to each song. Trying to imitate others would only hamper your creativity. We have different genres of music and different legends have thrived in their own fields, owning it like they invented it. The likes of King Sunny Ade who did juju music, Chief Osita Osadebe who made highlife music, Onyeka Onwenu and a host of other brilliant acts that made Nigerian music what it is today.
- Your music is bigger than just your sound: The music industry is an industry where artists get as much attention as the art they create. This creates the need for branding. You must view yourself as a brand and market yourself that way. Over the past few years, we’ve seen different brands thrive. The branding helps for marketability and your brand appeals to your audience as much as your sound does. One of the greatest brands of the last century in Nigerian music is the Fela brand. He created a style so unique to him and he upheld it and it still stands till date. Many artists of recent have taken a thing or two from his style in a bid to build their brand.
- Talent: This is arguably one of the most vital tools for getting on the music industry scene. Most people who are today’s A list artists would tell you that their talent paved a way for them to come into the industry. But while talent might get you into the music industry, it surely would not be enough to keep you in the music industry. But this one thing is true, you would not even have a place at the table, talk less of retaining it, without ‘Talent’
Other factors that can greatly ease your rise and sustain your relevance, especially in the modern-day industry would be your team. Your manager, record label, Online PR managers, etc. These people keep you in touch with the fan view of your brand and help you serve them better.
Truth be told, there is no express way to make it in the music industry but the above are pretty vital for every musician to have at the back of their mind in building up to a long stay in the music industry.
The presentation is also very key. For instance, if you do not have a serenading voice, it would be disastrous for you to focus on a vocal centred genre of music like RnB or jazz, instead, the ideal thing would be to do music that allows for your raw voice to be presented as a part of the art. Rap or rock or any other genre of that nature will find you blossoming in no time.
Always learn from the greats.