So you’ve hustled the streets of Lagos and discovered that there is a growing affiliation towards Nigerian music – you hear it blasting from the cars with lowered windows as the drivers try to conserve fuel (cheapskates) and you also see it from the number of CD singles being sold like hot cake for N150-N200 (street hawkers) . You can’t quite understand this because you remember a time when you stormed into a club with ‘Return of the Mack’ to welcome you, followed shortly by ‘This Is How We Do It’. But this is NOT how the clubs are doing it now.
Out goes the American hip-hop & RnB and in comes the Nigerian pidgin-pop & PnP (Peter and Paul, commonly known as PSquared). You’ve seen D’banj do it, Wande Coal do it, M.I do it, Davido do it, and Darey do it (though he’s arguably not as rich as the other artists) but nonetheless, a ludicrous idea starts to brew in your dandruff-riddled head – If I can record one hit song I can stop eating Indomie noodles for life!
Whilst this couldn’t be further from the truth (with zero singing experience, zero credibility and zero myspace fans to your name), miracles abound when you consider the following valuable tips:
1. Craft a cool stage name for yourself:
Don’t call yourself ‘David’; call yourself ‘Davido’! Don’t call yourself Dapo Oyebanjo; call yourself ‘D’banj’. If your real name is Alex Poopoo (which has already gotten your singing career off to a terrible start) then get creative and transform your name to ‘Lexi-P’ – you get my drift? Boring names in the Nigerian music industry don’t get you very far e.g. Dare Art Alade, which was subsequently transformed to ‘Darey’, now looks and sounds much cooler.
2. Use Autotune: You don’t have to know how to sing – that’s years of sore lungs and ear-deafening you don’t have time for. Do what the veterans are doing – synthesize your wack voice and you will soon be sounding like T-pain, Lil’ Wayne, Wande Coal, 9ice and Wizkid, just to mention a few.
3. Make your chorus catchy with keywords (and repeat them throughout the song): The best part about this tip is that the keyword doesn’t have to be an actual word that exists in the English dictionary. For example, just say words like ‘ti-ko-ko ti-koko’ and explain in your song that this the sound your heart makes when your dream girl is around you. Also, make as many exclamations as possible. Beyonce’s ‘Crazy in love’ track is laced with the ‘Uh-oh’ sound which sounds like she’s made one to many blunders but works like a charm. Rhianna cleverly adds the exclamation ‘eh-eh-eh!’ to her platinum track ‘Umbrella’ and Banky W can testify to its success.
4. Infuse pidgin into every track: Remember, this is the Nigerian market you’re trying to penetrate. If you sing completely in English then you will NOT be relating on the same level with the average Nigerian. In fact you’ll probably be seen as being a stuck-up, arrogant, returnee from the UK or US who’s trying to impress those who’ve got ZERO chance of getting VISAs to travel out of Nigeria in the foreseeable future. E.g. While Darey’s ‘Not the girl’ was a hit among the hip Nigerian community, it wasn’t churning the kind of public interest and cash that D’banj’s ‘Ogbono feli feli’ was doing effortlessly. Today, Darey is attempting more club bangers and lacing them with generous helpings of pidgin English (The song ‘Ba Ni Kidi’ is not exactly a work of art but definitely a work of Art-Alade).
5. Quality Is important
Quality is probably the most important aspect of your music. Most upcoming artists have no idea of quality:
Their rhymes are crappy, their mixing and mastering sucks and their overall music just doesn’t sound professional. The easiest way to stand out and make a serious impression is to step up and handle your audio quality. Get yourself a studio with a decent condenser
microphone, a better sound card and find someone who will mix and master your songs at least semi-professionally. If you sound professional, people will
think you are professional. This single step will put you ahead of most other upcoming artists in this game.
6. Keep in shape
This is already self-explanatory. You can’t be looking like Rick Ross and expecting your female fans to
appreciate you. In order to be able to throw off your shirt at any given time, you will need to have the right 6packs (Please no hungry packs) but the right packs like Iyanya, Dipp and D’banj. Now if you a female artiste, then you need to shed off those unwanted fats
around your stomach and reserve it for your hips and bust because this is what Nigerian men love and you need it for your photo and video shoots.
7. Show some skin:
Now Nigerians love daring performances (You can trace this back to Fela’s days). In order to have an engaging concert, you must be willing to show some chest on stage like D’banj and throw your shirt into
the crowd like Iyanya.
A Disclaimer: Please do not attempt this if you do not
have a six packs and your body is only suitable for a
Michelin advertisement. (Just kidding )
For the ladies, a little baring of the laps hurts no one. You can contact Tiwa Savage and Emmy Nyra for a few tips on how to bare it all and still look classy.
8. Hit the headlines (Controversy)
Denrele once said “Good publicity is good publicity.
Bad publicity is good publicity. No publicity is bad publicity”.
Being in the news is key! Do whatever it takes to hit the headlines! You got to be kidding me if you need suggestions on how to achieve this. Ok, I’ll give you a few. Have several baby mamas, have several tattoos or date two popular celebrities, start a twitter fight by dissing another celeb or release a terrible song, breakup with your music label or have a groupie take a photo of you in bed while you pretend to be asleep.
Please follow these suggestions at your own risk because I do not endorse bad behavior.
9. Get a slogan
You think Tonto Dike was dumb when she thought of#Poko? We have seen artistes carve a niche for themselves with slangs that they use. Iyanya gave us “Your waist”, Durella would “Zanga” this, Dbanj is the custodian of “Kokolet, Labata, Lebete, Eja nla and so on” while Tuface never fails to remind us that “Nothin dey happen”. You can just think of something unique and make it yours!
10. Make Yourself Official
No matter how upcoming and unknown you are, to really stand out you have to look official. Make sure to get that official look of the pros. If you look like a pro your listeners will assume that you are a pro. It’s as simple as
that. Here are some tips on how to get a more professional look: Contact a good graphic designer and get a neat, authentic and customized logo. Make sure to get an official website (www.yourartistname.com)
Always use the same logo,
pictures, name, domain and format in all your internet appearances. If you post YouTube videos, make sure to
use the same or a similar format for titles and descriptions every time.
And also create official profiles on social networks for your music, i mean an official facebook fan page and twitter handle this will create a corporate
identity and give you an official look. And lastly Get a good promotional body to potray your talent for you
11. Feature a Well-Known Artiste
Getting on a track with a well-known artist makes you stand out like crazy. Most self-proclaimed upcoming artists will never do that: They are simply too afraid, don’t believe that it’s impossible and last but not least they don’t know how it’s done. This is a huge opportunity for you. Nothing will boost your credibility more than a collaboration with a medium well known artist. There’s no doubt that this is one of the best ways to stand out.
12. The best things are not for FREE!
Dont be reluctant when it comes to spending, in the present Nigerian music industry if you can’t pay the right people I’m sorry to say your music will go nowhere, Producers, OAPs, Social Media publicists, Radio/Satellite channels, Magazines, Top DJs, Top bloggers, music promotion companies, dont joke with the services of those people, consult them to work for you even if it requires paying them huge amounts for the publicity you need just for you to get to the top.
13. Use our social media
online promo plan to create all the awareness and publicity you might ever need on the internet, it is tested and trusted!
We will work for you beyond your imaginations!