Do you want to Become a Successful Musician in Nigeria? If yes, read this post to discover. The definition a of a musician to be used in this article is a person who sings and/or plays a musical instrument as a profession. Also, since success has many relative renditions, success here alludes to fame and wealth.
Having clarified that, the number of musicians coming out each day in Nigeria is indeed high. Sometimes I wonder whether the music industry is big enough or very resourceful to handle such a number. But as I consider this, the fact that not all musicians will become successful hits me. And that is true. It may not necessarily be because they cannot sing (which is actually a determining factor), it is because other factors relevant for success were or are not being considered.
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Be that as it may, being a successful musician in Nigeria is very possible. Any musician with such aspirations just has to be strategic about it and before long they’ll be the next best thing.
Here’s how to work your way up the ladder of success in the Nigerian music industry:
1. Hone your skills: This is primary. I’m not going to assume that you already know how to sing or play an instrument pretty well, that’s why I suggest you develop yourself in those areas.
Singing well in your bathroom may be good enough for you but that does not mean it is good enough for listeners out there; or being the main soloist at church or school choir does not mean you already have what it takes to take the music industry by storm.
You may be good but won’t you like to be better? I’m sure you will. So take the challenge, start a course, offer to sing at events and have people give you feedback, rehearse more often and occasionally try things that you could not do before – like singing on a particular pitch. All of these will shape you to become the star you are aspiring to be.
2. Have another job: This is where some musicians fail woefully. They cast all their eggs in one basket that is likely to take a long while before the vision materializes.
Hence, they struggle everyday to foot their bills or even push the music. It is better to have an alternative source of income to accommodate and compensate you for any losses you make in your drive to become a successful musician.
To this end, the need to first get an education and a degree that is useful to you. Don’t relegate education for music on the grounds that some other musician did it and made it, you are not that person, so there is no guarantee that you will make it.
Get a job so when you need to record songs and pay for studio time, the whole neighborhood won’t have to organize a crowdfunding project on your behalf. Nothing reeks of discipline like independence.
3. Record Hits: With your understanding of the Nigerian market, record hit songs. Everybody knows already the kind of songs that sell and become popular in Nigeria.
So forget about doing blues, classical or any other genre of music not making waves in Nigeria, opt for hip hop, afro beats, and so on – that’s what Nigerian music is all about. And in case you have not noticed, Nigerians like to dance and tap their feet to any music with moving beats.
So get to work in that area, always ensure your songs are danceable. Once you get that right, be sure you are on the right track. Having (in)decent and catchy lyrics is a plus but that is still valued less in comparison to groovy instrumentals.
You may also want to carve your lyrics around usual themes such as love/lust, passion, money, party, beef, life story etc.
4. Do a brilliant cover: Note the word ‘brilliant’, there is a reason for it. If for any reason you intend to follow through with this point, do not record a whack cover especially if the original was a hit.
That would drastically undermine your ability to make good music. A typical example of a brilliant cover (which incidentally announced the singer) is Ebute Meta by Banky W. The original was Under my Umbrella by Rihanna.
Banky W adroitly adopted that song to the Nigerian scene and made it his own. Everything was on point. His trumpet was blown and everybody appreciated the sound. That could be your own testimony too if only you do a brilliant cover. So get creative.
5. Get signed: This would be a serious boost to your music career. Record labels help manage and set you up for opportunities that you alone wouldn’t have been able to discover or create.
But to achieve this, you must have started out already, and the more talented you are, the more likely a reputable label will sign you. Take for instance the duo – Reekado Banks and Korede Bello – these two were signed from oblivion but today are well-known celebrities.
Obviously, they had paid their dues and got recognized for it. Pay yours and keep doing it diligently and some sponsor or label would spot you and that will be the beginning of fame and wealth for you.
6. Get controversial: To grow your fan base or get more famous you can also tap into this lucrative idea of being controversial.
Some musicians are widely known today because of one beef or another or what they said or wore; the catch is to do something that triggers widespread commentary.
You may decide to yap a fellow artist in your song which is likely to incite a war of words between you two in subsequent record releases. You may even decide to dress weird to an event, rest assured it will spur discussions on various media.
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7. Network: Networking is not meant for only those in the corporate world, it works for musicians too. It is high time you started seeing music as a business.
Advertise yourself, not just in words but with music, especially when you are just starting out. Do free shows so that your fan base will be increasing – this is vital for career growth. Also network with fellow artists because tomorrow they may be the ones to bring you up.
For example, some artists have come into the spotlight through collaborations. You too can. Networking makes this possible.
Follow all these pointers and surely you should become a successful musician in time.