(Braimah is a public relations and marketing strategist based in Lagos)
VANGUARD Nigeria. Saturday, March 23, 2019
Johannesburg, Cape Town, London, Toronto, Houston and Atlanta
Then I popped this question to no one in particular: who is your favourite Nigerian music artiste and why? My daughter, a keen music follower with her eyes on media arts as a possible future vocation, answered me and announced Wizkid and Davido because of the lyrics, beat, tempo and rhythms of their songs. Wow, I exclaimed! She explained further that their songs are popular and relate well with a youthful audience.
From Lagos to Accra, Nairobi, Dubai, Johannesburg, Cape Town, London, Toronto, Houston and Atlanta, just to name a few places, Nigerian music, sometimes branded as Naija music, has created a new culture of entertainment, excitement and enjoyment as popular dance hall music in those places. Be it a bar, nightclub, lounge or restaurant, music lovers gyrate to the beat coming out of the sound monitors that are recognised and celebrated as Nigerian music.
Two years ago in Nairobi, my host Uche and I visited Club 40/40, Kiza Lounge and Black Diamond where 'Naija' pop music is played steadily. I had the same experience in Atlanta, USA, last October when Ernest, Ralph and I visited Sage restaurant, Little Lagos restaurant, Buckhead Loft, Whiskey Mistress and Regent Lounge.
I'm told that new lounges and restaurants such as Blue Lagoon and Ace also celebrate Nigerian music by Wizkid, Davido, Run Town, Olamide, Tekno, Burna Boy and so on. The effect is usually spontaneous – you just get up and begin to shake your body without any prompting to the unmistakable beats in the songs. The beats give the songs a unique Nigerian identity - a product exported from Nigeria.
The artistes and their promoters fought back vehemently, challenging Dr Abati to a dwell in the court of public opinion and he had to publish countless rejoinders on the matter. Between then and now, the successes of our pop music stars have been remarkable and their achievements profound, thereby earning recognition globally.
Even if you do not agree with content and messaging strategy of the lyrics, the fact remains that the music produced is very popular, enjoyable and hilarious to the music consumer, and very danceable, too. There was a gap our artistes identified which they filled and the result was the big bang effect - they suddenly became popular and began to make waves, and they have never looked back since then.
Popularity and celebrity status varies among the music stars. Fame, which usually comes with a price, may come too early for some of our rising and well established stars, and when there is no consistency in their respective musical repertoire or when the successes achieved are not properly managed, it could spell trouble and declining fortunes may set in.
Stardom means experiencing a new world of bling bling, living in luxurious homes, making significant fashion statements, driving exotic cars and hiring private jets. For the male folks, women are never in short supply; being super stars actually means living life to the fullest. As the discussions continued over the late breakfast, my daughter revealed a Vanguard newspaper story where Mark Dayton, governor of Minnesota in the United States of America, declared October 6 every year as Wizkid Day. That's truly a big deal. It is remarkable.