Monday, 11 January 2016

Nigerian music industry records phenomenal growth * Why young artistes should have mentors


It is a known fact that the Nigerian music industry is one of the fast growing industries in Nigeria and one of the fast growing music industries in the world.
With different genres of music including Afrobeat, Highlife, Hip hop/Rap, Rhythm and Blues/Soul, Jazz, Reggae, Classical, Rock, Fuji and so on, many artistes have continued to win awards and collaborate with international stars. There was a time Huffington post released a list of its own version of 10 Richest African musicians with 2Face, P’Square, D’banj and Banky W making the list. Nigerian artistes have been winning major international awards while some of them are brand ambassadors to many companies.
A peep into the past music scene revealed that there were lots of Highlife musicians with few Juju and Apala singers then, but from the 1940s to the late 1970s, Highlife, Apala gave way to Juju, Fuji and Afrobeat dominated the scene.

Majek Fashek
From late 1960s to late 1990s, musicians including Ebenezer Obey, Sunny Ade, Dele Abiodun, Segun Adewale and Sir Shina Peters, Orlando Owoh, Ayinde Bakare and Prince Adekunle run the juju scene. Others are: Late Ayinde Barrister, Kollington Ayinla and King Wasiu Ayinde (K1 De Ultimate). Basically, Afro- beat is Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s creation and after the popularity of Highlife dropped in Nigeria, the love for Afro-beat rose so, Fela and his band became popular among Lagosians. His Afrikan Shrine then at Empire around Jibowu became fun seeking place for some lovers of Afro-beat music.
Many other musicians who made in the industry interesting in the past comprised: Haruna Ishola, Celestine Ukwu, Bobby Benson, Osita Osadebe, Late Oliver De Coque, Victor Olaiya, Roy Chicago, Eddy Okonta, I.K Dairo, Tunde Nightingale. Some Highlife singers of the late 1960s till the 1980s were Bongos Ikwue of Maryam Fame, Late Nico Mbarga, among others. Then came Evi Edna Ogoli, Onyeka Onwenu, Late Christy Essien Igbokwe, Daniel Wilson, Stella Monye, Late Sunny Okosun, Esse Agesse, Orits Wiliki, Majek Fashek, The Mandators and Charly Boy who ruled the scene in the 1990s and 2000s, followed by Daddy Showkey, Blakky, Junior and Pretty, among others. Today, the sounds that are emanating from Nigeria’s music industry range from traditional highlife, juju and fuji to afrobeat, hip-hop, jazz, reggae, rhythm and blues and gospel, among others.
Like their predecessors, Sunny Nneji, Timaya, Tunde and Wunmi Obey, 9ice, Duncan Mighty, Weird MC, Ara, Ayanbinrin, Azeezat, Sani Danja, Late Dagrin, Bez, Timi Dakolo, Flavour, Chidinma Ekile, Omawuni, Cobhams, DNMT, Moeazy, Zaaki Azzay, Asa, Waje, Chuddy K, Brymo, 2Face, D’Banj, Tiwa Savage and many others too numerous to mention are making waves in the industry.  Inspirational gospel artiste such as: Lara George, Tim Godfrey, Nikky Laoye, Chimere Emejuobi, Funmi Aragbaiye, Frank Edwards, TY Bello, Kunle Ajayi, Midnight Crew, Panam Percy Paul, Tope Alabi and so on, have continued to nourish people’s souls with inspirational songs.
Notably, Nigeria’s music industry has experienced a phenomenal growth and transformation to the extent that many talents have won several international awards including MTV Europe Music Awards, World Music Awards and Channel O Music Video Awards. Also, more acts are being discovered on a daily basis to showcase their artistic prowess and this has boisterously increased the flow of many artistes’ resources and income. Most of them have become multi-millionaires within a short period of time. They have become the toast of their fans as their profiles soar higher. Presently, there are many top record labels founded by Nigerians that are nurturing top acts in the industry and these are: YBNL founded by Olamide have artistes signed under it including Adekunle Gold, Lil Keshi, Viktoh , Xino Kuti and Chinko Ekun. The label has produced popular songs like: Shoki, Shakiti Bobo, Falila Ketan, MeloMelo, Confam Ni, Matters Arising, Lagos Boys, Orente, Gbese, Efekoju and so on.
Five Star Music has renowned artistes such as Kcee, Harrysong and Skiibii has produced hit songs like: Limpopo, Reggae Blues, Ebeano, among others.
Mavin headed by Don Jazzy with artistes like: Tiwa Savage, Dr. Sid, Korede Bello, Di’ja, D'Prince and Reekado banks has songs like: Dorobucci, Godwin, Eminado, Surulere, Yaro and so on.
960Music Group with Hypertek Records and Aristokrat Records Ultima Productions are labels under and its artistes are:  with Victor Uwaifo, 2Face, Dammy Krane has given Nigerian many albums: The Ascension and The Enterkraner (albums), and songs like: Amin, Let Somebody Love You, Dance Go, among others.

K1 De Ultimate
Chocolate City established by Audu Maikori in 2005 has Femi Kuti, Panshak 'Iceprince' Zamani, Jesse Jagz, Victoria Kimani and M.I signed under it. Its hit songs such as Oleku, Can I Talk, Sunshine.:
Made Men Music Group (Triple MG) with Ubi Franklin as the chief executive office and artistes such as: Iyanya (Onoyom Mbuk - Executive producer), Baci, Tekno and Selebobo with Ur Waist, Kukere, Duro.  
HKN by Davido with songs including: Aye, Gobe, Dami Duro, Skelewu. Other record labels are: EME Music owned by Banky W; Star Boy by Wizkid.
Commenting on different issues concerning music industry in Nigeria, a music enthusiast, Mr. Kaycee Delgado Oguejiofor, said: “I have heard people call Nigerian Music crap (including me), we always try to compare them with western music. In as much as we are made to believe that, Adele, John Legend and the likes make good music, the one question I want to ask is which music is bad music?
“Each culture has what appeals to them. You can't sell pop or Rhythm and Blues to someone from the Bahamas when he has his soca/calypso and maybe reggae music, or sale an Indian hip hop when he has his Punjab music.
“I think what we lack is proper packaging of our music. It's like calling garri razz food and embracing pasta international or standard, we see pasta the way we see it because the Italian packaged it right. Music can mean anything to anybody, but I dare say, I grew up listening to the best Nigeria had to offer, what I listen to these days break my heart. Times without number I sit down and ask a couple of young musicians I meet what they know about music in Nigeria, which artiste did what, and I dare say, 90 percent of the musicians of these generation lack a proper historical knowledge of the industry. How can you talk of building a better industry and hope to be celebrated when you don't even celebrate those who were there before you?
“As children, we danced to great artistes’ music like Evi Edna Ogoli, Daniel Wilson, Mike Okri, The great Majek Fashek, Lijadu Sister, Monomono, Bala Miller, Blackky Inyang and so on. But it’s funny how the American's will appreciate our past better than us, sample and repackage what was ours and sell to us.
“A lot of hiphop artistes from the Wu tang clan, to Jay Z have sampled our sounds, not because they want to sell in Africa but, because our sound is a sound very pure, genuine and original. Wonder why Wizkid's Ojuelegba is the biggest sound to come out of Nigeria in 2015? Listen to it again and tell yourself the truth.”
In the same vein, Aka’anam nkwe crooner, Princess Anne, has called on the young artistes to have a mentor in the industry. “I call them people whose music inspires me. Number one was Late Mariam Makeba. She influenced me and if you listen to my music, you will know that it has traces of South African rhythm. I love her personae and carriage. She used music to talk. We can pass vital information across to Nigerians through music. Preaching may last for a moment, the next day, the congregation may forget what was preached but music sticks. In fact, Nigerian music, both gospel and secular has gone international. It is progressing.”
The primary functions of music are to inform, educate and entertain its listeners. Some analysts believed that only a few artistes have toed the lines of the veterans mentioned above by releasing songs that impact on their listeners’ lives. A man who spoke under anonymity while analyzing a song has this to say: “Share the gala share the booze” and asked: “have you seen anyone eating gala and drinking booze? Does gala have anything to do with booze? Another person, Yaw whose real name is Mr. Steve Onu, in one of his radio progammes queried a line in a song: “Ma ko ile, ma ra ile”, meaning, “I will build a house and buy land”. He then asked, “Have you seen someone who builds a house before buying a land?”
There is controversy to the fact that many music fans listened to music primarily to get entertained, but, some music enthusiast have called on artistes to make more meaningful music and also endeavour to follow their mentors’ footstep so as to leave a lasting legacy in the music scene not only in Nigeria but in the world.

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