Music is a universal language with the tendency to break barriers, travelling across borders to disseminate messages to diverse audience. Nigerian music will continue to achieve this despite emerging trends and challenges, Ogechi Okorondu writes.
In recent times, Nigerian music has come under attack from some stakeholders in the music industry who are of the opinion that most Nigerian musicians have lost touch on content and relevance while focusing on style in the production and release of songs.
Some even recounted that Nigerian artistes have lost a sense of identity when it comes to the kind of music they make.
“Actually, in Nigeria we have lost our real identity in music as a style. Most Nigerian artistes today claim they are afro-hip hop artistes. Musicians from other countries have been able to carve a niche for themselves. If you listen to the Beninoise and the Cameroonians, they have a style. For example Cameroonians are known for Makossa music, the South Africans have been able to identify their own style called ‘Kwaito’. If you travel to any part of the world and ask, what is South African style of music they will tell you, it’s ‘Kwaito’. The latest Kwaito hit, ‘Kona’ from South Africa is currently making waves in Nigeria because it is truly African from the lyrics to the beats. Nigerian music that I know from the beginning is Afro-beat and that was what Fela was promoting until his death. Nigerian musicians have lost their bearings,” a fan explained.
Despite the fuss most of our new generation musicians are facing back home, they are being celebrated in music industries in Africa and the world over.
“Many Africans on the streets of Harare and Nairobi know Nigeria perhaps more for its dynamic and growing entertainment industry which has been driven in large part by digitalisation and new technologies than for its petroleum industry,” narrated Mr. Kasirim Nwuke from United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
The exportation of Nigerian music to foreign lands has not only increased Nigeria’s touristic potentials but it has been of great influence on the home industry with many artistes from the West diving in for music collaborations.
Prominent amongst these collaborations is that of Nigeria’s dynamic duo, Peter and Paul who took their fans by surprise when they featured American singer, Rick Ross of Maybach Music in the video for “Beautiful Onyinye”. It did not just end there with Rick Ross as they also featured Senegalese singer, Akon of Konvict record. This version is way better than the original.
“Beautiful Onyinye” is a song by Nigerian R&B duo P-Square, released as the third single from their fifth studio album The Invasion. The song features American rap sensation Rick Ross. Upon its release, the song was met with positive reviews. The music video for the single eclipsed the 13 million views mark on YouTube. P-Square recorded the song shortly after signing partnership deals with Akon’s Konvict Muzik and Universal Music Group
In 2011 Kanye West penned a deal with D’banj onto his G.O.O.D. Music label in the USA. D’Banj also signed with Mercury in the UK. In the course of his career D’Banj has worked with Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Jay Z, Kid Cudi, LA Reid, TinieTempah and Rio Ferdinand. As a recording artist and performer D’Banj has won lots of awards including Best African Act at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2007, Artist of the Year at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2009, BET Awards of 2011 for Best International Act, Best African Act, Most Gifted Male Video of the Year.
He also signed a deal with Sony Music, a partnership which has been considered strategic and a catalyst to change the business and face of Music across Africa, especially in the key areas of quality, distribution and content management.”
Managing Director of Sony Record, Chidi Okeke, said “This deal represents a major breakthrough in achieving our vision of delivering quality music across the continent on diverse platforms. The immediate benefits include the improvement in the distribution value chain, quality control and direct economic benefits to individual parties and the continent at large. We are positioned to create the necessary support platforms and initiatives to drive this partnership to the maximum, and the long-term plan is to fully penetrate the significantly untapped African market for music and content in general” he added.
One cannot also forget in a hurry, Davido and Mafikizolo collabo on the track, ‘Tchelete’. The song is acollaboration between South African pop group Makifizolo and Nigerian pop sensation Davido, and was facilitated by South African music producer, Oscar ‘Oskido’ Mdlongwa. In South Africa, the song will be called ‘Tchelete’, which means money, and in other countries as ‘Good Life’.
The song is being distributed via MTN Callertunez, which is available via MTN Play across MTN markets. The collaboration has also been released as a music video to further showcase the musical talent on our continent.
This initiative focused on promoting local content on the world’s entertainment platforms with being an important part of that strategy. It also sought to provide artists with channels to deliver content to their fans in an innovative and secure manner.
Rihanna recently did collaboration with Wizkid, one of Nigeria’s finest artistes and the music shall soon be rocking the airwaves. While many fans doubted the collaboration rumours because Rihanna is considered to be on a whole new pedestal, her social media posts brought forth assurance.
“@wizkidayo is amazing” she tweeted.
This was soon followed by tweets from Wizkid, who announced that he was excited to have worked with her and their fans should look out for much more. It seems that Nigerian artistes have stirred international recognition as more artistes like Chris brown, Rick Ross and Akon seem eager to land African collaborations too.
Also in the line-up of foreign artistes collaborating with Nigerian musicians is Rebecca Acheampong with the stage name ‘Becca,’ who is arguably Ghana’s most popular female artiste. She has made hits with her works titled “You Lied to Me”, and “I love You” featuring the South African maestro, Hugh Masekela.
Her soulful music was nominated in 2008 Kora Awards and Channel O Music Video Awards, while her single; Sugar, won the Record of the Year at the Ghana Music Awards.
She got her break into Nigeria entertainment industry and caught international recognition after featuring Nigeria’s Tuface Idibia and M.I. in songs titled “Bad man, Bad girl” and “No Away,” respectively. She recently released a new music video which featured Uhuru of South Africa.
Timaya also caught the attention of American hip hop act, Sean Paul who featured in his hit song, ‘Bum Bum’.
Nigerian acts have dominated not just the African entertainment scene but they have also succeeded to carve a niche for themselves on the entertainment world map.