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The need for change in Nigeria music industry

Starting this piece was the most difficult thing to do because there is no way I can finish it without implicating my best friend who is a musician. The best I can do is render my apologies as a license to say this hard truth he might never hear before the industry eventually folds like a mismanaged company.

I never believed homemade contemporary pop and hip-hop could woo me any time until I noticed the creativity in songs like African Queen by Tuface, Originality by Faze, Delicious by 2Shotz and Biglo, I go yan by Eldee and other artistes who pioneered the new generation music industry that existed before what we have today.

I have always never been a fan of hip-hop music especially rap music until I realized some people were bringing fun into it. I basically hated the language of the genre which always talks about drugs, women, alcohol, guns, and violence as if they are the only subjects anyone could sing about in the whole world.

 I stayed away from it, facing genres like pop, country, blues, soft rock and sometimes hardrock as long as the message is outside the subjects I have mentioned earlier.

I often wondered where people like Kenny Rogers and John Denva, Dolly Parton, Anna Murray and Jim Reeves got all their stories and also laugh when I realized that Smokies lived 24 years next door to Alice, a girl they loved without telling her and I’ve also wondered what could be the meaning of hasta la vista, the statement made by the ‘Mexican girl’ that prompted a kiss. These guys were great poets who knew words as if they invented all of it.

That was when one could play a whole album without pressing skip on the remote control of the CD player. I am sure that will never happen now, we must skip certain tracks in an album asking ourselves what the artiste was thinking when he recorded that track.

If there would ever be a thing like rapture in Nigeria Music Industry, what would be the many sins that will leave some artistes behind in the industry that would be without form?

Lyrics

I am pretty sure that someday Nigerians will get tired of dancing. A good music so far has been the best beat and I was watching a guy who requested that a song be transferred to his phone just because the beat was okay for the Azonto dance step. He never wanted to hear what the artistes was saying, all he wanted was to dance and that was just it.

While growing up, we were buying lyrics books to perfect on our favourite songs, and today you will surely agree with me that there are some songs in Nigeria you will never be happy to see their lyrics on paper because they will never have any since as a statement. You will also realize that the artiste has lost his poetic license, if ever there is anything like that issued by an agency to the artistes.

Music used to be a medium for people to say something. Is it still a medium today? Or have we just lost it? I am so sure that every artiste who has fallen short in this area might wake up one morning to realize that he is no longer a musician in Nigeria, especially if the revolution I’m seeing happens when he is asleep.

Creativity

No artiste wants to be original again, everyone wants to take it from where the others have stopped and no one wants to start on a new part until the existing style has been exhausted.

On a certain day on twitter, the hash tag #ThingsGoogleDoesNotKnow was trending and while most people were busy added things like ‘the day Nigeria never had power failure’ and ‘the phone number of the girl beside me’, I simply added ‘the number of songs with the title ‘Go down low’ in Nigeria’

Just because a song became a hit with that title, most artistes now want to have the thing on their list of tracks. Is this how music is supposed to be done?

I was in a studio few weeks ago  and after listening to a beat made by a producer for a certain artiste, I realized that a certain area of the beat has been made in such a way that only ‘go down low’ can fit into it. The producer and the artistes were happy to sing it on the beat, but I do not think that I was happy to see such foolishness (remember I apologized earlier) from an artiste who wants to be known beyond the borders of our irregular shaped nation.

We call it trend. To me, in arts, there is nothing like trend, the right word is style which is why artistes like Fela will be providing materials for today’s artistes to be remixing even when those songs were done many years ago when most of them have not been born.

Without style in music the next thing left is shadow and such artistes will spend their hard earned money on studio fees making songs that will never be enjoyed beyond the walls of the studio.

You are just the shadow of another star when darkness comes, you will vanish like you never existed.

Inspiration

Some people forget to look at the origin of music; they just jump into it and do whatever they can on any beat they stumble upon.

The truth is that music is spiritual, it has always be a medium of worship or communication between beings in different realms and till date, a lot of people still believe that the devil is using music to take over the world.

Music used to be a medium of battle, where musicians sing songs that force the government to change. Some artistes did it but now, you can find a whole album without a single message that can impact positively on the listener. All we hear is ‘baby girl’ ‘shake that thing’ ‘go down low’ ‘drink and get high’ ‘follow me to my house’ ‘spend my money’ ‘you de scatter my dada’ and all of it that has never helped the society positively.

Could this be that we need a regulatory body to checkmate our lyrics or do we just wait till these words that adorn most of our lyrics are exhausted for us to start thinking of what to do.

Asa in the song ‘fire on the mountain’ said “Who is responsible for what we teach our children, is it the internet or stars on television”. She also said “one day the rivers will overflow, and there will be nowhere else for us to go, and we will run, wishing we had put out the fire”.

There is really fire on the mountain and no one seems to be on the run.

Money

If there is anything that will take all the blame, it should be money. Artistes are willing to sing anything for money. Even the one that is walking into the studio for the first time still tells you ‘money on my mind’.

Where is the era of hard work?

Should we just blame it on artistes alone? The whole country is infected with the money-money syndrome.

Politicians, businessmen and people in all works of life do whatever they can to make money and the system mostly has no respect for the talented guy, it only respects the guy who has the money. He commands the liquor and women which are the two major things that revolve around the life of most artistes in the country.

Another fact is that the talented artistes have also been caught in the money-money syndrome and they have left the real music which they were called to do for the so called ‘commercial songs’ all in the name of making money.

How can someone trade his talent for money? To me it is inferiority complex and such persons are not worthy to be artistes.

Music requires talent, pure inspiration and calling. Not just money inspired persons who do what they like with the resources at their disposal.

There could be several other things, but the truth is that if we do not work on the trends in our music industry today, one day we will just realize that we have nothing, especially when we look back and see that we have played enough of the copycat role in this drama called ‘Nigeria music industry.

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