In an interview with Sunnewsonline where he shared his opinion on the current state of the Nigerian music industry, Reggae legend Ras Kimono said the current Nigerian music artistes are doing worse than Majek Fashek. According to him, there is nothing to celebrate in an artiste who releases just a single and declares himself a superstar. He says back in his days, they produced 12-tracked albums for their listeners who would then determine how many of the songs in the albums were hit songs. He says things have changed.
He also said most of the hip-hop stars today smoke and drink to stupor because they think that it is a way of being inspired. He warned that they should be careful about indulging in such as the Nigerian music industry gives an artiste only one chance and that once an African artiste falls, he is dead and buried. Find excerpts from the very interesting interview after the cut…
As a veteran musician, what would be your advice to young musicians that are traveling for the first time?
It all depends on your mission. If it is for a show, just know that you are going to play for people who know your musical background, but do not let that bother you. Apart from international promoters, all other Nigerian artists who travel abroad to play music, play for Africans. None of them travel for the purpose of playing in a pure concert.
They do not go to play in a pure concert, rather they just travel there to play for some group of Nigerians and Africans abroad and nothing more. When I travel abroad, I play in a pure concert. Though a lot of them are Africans, but then when you go for concert, you have to try to play in concerts that are not filled with known faces. They should play more in concert where there are no known faces from home.
Those artists I know that travel abroad to play in concert that way are Sunny Ade and Fela. I consider it a great way of selling the Nigeria’s kind of music. By so doing, more people will get to know you. Now, if you are playing for a crowd of people who do not know you from back home in a pure concert, then your fan base and size is growing. You will gain more grounds.
Nigeria music sell everywhere in Africa. If you visit Cameroun, Ghana, Abidjan, everybody wants to come and see the Nigerian musician who did a popular song. That is the kind of concert I am talking about, not the one being organised by those who know you well back at home. Even when I was back there in America, I did hear of some of them coming to play and when I go there, I see Nigerians take over the hall, jumping up and down. There is no promotion in that of tour. Rather, you are just recycling, not growing or selling yourself to new fans, who have never met you before at home. After they have finished playing in such Nigerian concerts, they come home to boast that they played in a concert abroad. Whenever I hear that, I just laugh and say balderdash.
My advice to the young artists is that they should keep their head cool and humble so that they will grow. Another thing they do is the single-track thing. In our days, we did no such injustice to our fans. Rather, we always do 12 tracks and above in one album. Then, music lover do get good deal for their money, not now that you spend money just to buy a single for same amount for 12 tracks.
Even then when you drop an album comprising 12 tracks or more, we still look out to know if five of them are hit tracks. It is only when you hit such height that you can score yourself good. Artists worked harder then than now, you know what I mean. I see a lot of them who do singles, and it makes waves and then you will see them parading themselves as super stars. I just say, you guys do not know the foundation of the industry.
A lot of our musicians today are doing even worse than Majek Fashek did. I will say this to those who care to know; show me one hip-hop artist who do not smoke or drink and I will show you five reggae artist who do not smoke or drink. Check all the hip-hop artists, they smoke and drink to stupor because they think that it is a way of being inspired.
I am one, but I do not do any of such things before and after going on stage or any time…
A close friend of mine used to talk to me and he said all this hip-hop stuff, Zaaki started them. But I said to him, who cares. Do the young ones of today care to recognise such a person or even his efforts? You see, we do not keep history, so nobody knows. These young once just spring out, make some wave and call themselves kings and champion of a particular music.
Now, because of the pride of these younger artists, they fail to humble themselves and learn from the mistakes of the older once.
Yes, because they believe that they know it all…
Oh, you need to see how they smoke. They smoke and drink their senses out, but I keep telling them that the latter will be greater. If they do not take care now, they will regret it in the future. One important thing they must know is that the Nigeria music community is not like that of Europe where they give an artist two or four chances to rise again when you fall. Here, it is once. Once you fall, just forget it. It is all over for you.
Over there, artist like Bobby Brown sang, fell, sang again and fell many times. So did most of them. But here, you have just one chance. Africa does not give such luxury to artists. It is just one chance for you and once you fall, you are dead and buried.
Source: Sun News Online