In 2018, we can complain less as consumers of the art, and do something to ensure the quality gets upped.
There’s a lot to fix in 2018, and we’ll get there.
We’ve rung in the New Year in style. All across the world, people wined, danced and used fireworks to light up the sky. It is beautiful to see, almost made me cry.
2018 brings with it a renewed vitality and chance to improve, right the wrongs of the previous year, and plan for greatness within this calendar year. It’s a time of reflection strategy and contemplation. This life, after all, is the only one we have, and to live it well, we need the best of our efforts to ensure the journey gets sweeter, and we leave marks and a legacy in our passing.
Mayorkun is already in the New Year. After a great run in 2017, guess what the DMW star did? He announced a new album. Be like Mayorkun people, be intentional!
Debut album in 2018! 80% of the songs are ready.. Let’s fire down! ??
— MAYORKUN (@IamMayorKun) December 31, 2017
The Nigerian music industry in 2017 was interesting. From the start of the year to its end, we had one sound formation dominating the culture – ‘Pon pon’. This sound which Mr Eazi introduced from Ghana, was hacked by Runtown, and then Davido for some of the year’s most interesting music. It wasn’t until the final quarter of the year, did life outside ‘Pon pon’ begin to pop. And while we might all have our reservations and criticism about the trend, we will have to look back on that year as an example of the good (or bad?) that herd mentality can offer.
2018 offers something different. It’s a clean slate right now. At the time of writing this story, nobody has owned the year. It’s a clean slate, designed to be usurped by any act. There is no hit record of 2018 yet. Wizkid and Davido’s exploits are all in 2017.
It will be interesting to see who dominates this year, and what sound they use to achieve that top spot. Will highlife continue being a staple of our musicians? Will they finally unlock the potential of Salsa? Or give Trap a better representation within the country?
Much of this rests upon your shoulders. You, the fan and music enthusiast are a part of the reason why the music follows a pattern. You complain about the monotony of the country’s artistic efforts, but do nothing about it. You appear in comment sections and street corners to lambast the music for being too ‘dumb, but you never ask the magical question, “How can I be a part of the solution?”
Yes, you can be a part of it. Musicians in Nigeria make music after studying the patterns of the success of another artist. If a guy makes a record that bangs, you’ll be sure to find 20 other artists remixing that song. To change that, you have to ensure that the artists who make the type of music you love blow too. When you find a new artist making experimental stuff that speaks to your soul, be sure to promote that guy. Talk about him, share his art on all your platforms and ensure that it gets around. That way, more people get to experience it and you never know, he might just blow. That’s how you make a difference.
And how about the artists who don’t give their best to the fans when they go live on stage after you pay for their performance? The solution is simple. You have to reject mediocrity, and follow them up with that same energy!
This is because many Nigerians are not artists. They are simply hustlers; businessmen who are more concerned about increasing profit by cutting costs to the barest minimum. Artistry is a myth to this people. They take no pride in it, hence they only lean on their bank account balances as a validation of their work.
These people take no pride in performing. They simply have found the sweet spot where they can do the barest minimum, which would cost them nothing. They treat the emotions and expectation of the fans as an avenue to make money. Everything else is abstract.
And the Nigerian society helps them get away with it. The artists understand that a huge amount of Nigerians who attend these concerts have not experienced better. They are simply just happy to experience their favourite artist on stage. So the performers take advantage and deliver horrible performances.
Combine this mentality and the entitlement of our stars, and you would see why we have a system that perpetuates mediocrity. One very popular artist once exclaimed that the fans should be happy to even see them in person.
The only solution to this is for fans to view these artists as businesses who have promised to provide a service. When the service is of substandard quality, they should give the negative feedback. Call out these artists as you would a bank or a telecommunication firm. Create enough negative PR to convince promoters to not book these acts. If that happens, the artists’ business will be affected, and they will be forced to make changes by improving the quality of their service.
In 2018, we can complain less as consumers of the art, and do something to ensure the quality gets upped. You can have an impact, no matter how small. After all, this life is just one, and if we decide to find happiness in music, the art should be top quality.