Nothing in this world is free. This is a statement that should be hammered into the skulls of upcoming artistes. A lot of them piss me off. Why? They think it’s all easy. They think it’s all a game. They think its a walk in the park, all fun and cotton candy. What annoys me the most is that they think they can get all the fame and fortune in less than a year they become professional recording artistes.
I keep telling them it takes hard work, dedication, patience and understanding. The stupid ones (majority of them are) scuff and say “bros abeg forget. Look Wizkid na. He dropped ‘Holla Boy’ two years ago and he blew from there’. At this point I don’t know if I should slap them or kick them where it hurts. This has to be the most stupid statement of all time (in Kanye West’s voice). Wizkid was practically living in studio for years before he made it. He was in OJB’s studio when 2Face recorded his debut and sophomore albums, please know this.
So you wan hammer like Wizkid abi? Let me break it down for you proper. Let me school you freshmen You gon get that work!
Have A Wonderful Talent- As cliche as this sounds you really need talent. Yes we know that your mother says you can sing and the neighbourhood slut has listened to your song over 500 times, that doesn’t mean a thing. You must have the potential to sing or rap well. And we are not talking monkey bars or singing in the shower- this is the real deal. You must have raw talent that must be ready to go through fire before you can be a gold rated artiste. Most of you patch a few rhymes together and think you are better than Mode 9 or M.I- pathetic. Before you enter a recording booth, seriously ask yourself if you are talented in music. The reason why there is a lot of trash out now is because a lot of upcoming artistes don’t have talent. Simple.
Talent isn’t about having the best voice, you just need a voice that can be worked upon. And work you must ‘cos talent is just 10% of it. Hard Work is the remaining 90%.
Hard work- You are lazy. Yes you can sing. Yes you can rhyme but how hard have you practiced at it? There are 24 hours in the day. If you cannot devote yourself to practicing your craft at least 8 hours a day, trust me you will fail. You might have a hit or two but you can’t be great. Truth! You should be consumed with burning passion of how to attain perfection. Adele didn’t get that voice by eating cookies. Beyonce isn’t up there just by breastfeeding Ivy Blue. Kanye isn’t a global pop phenomenon by slapping Kim’s ass. The people on top have gotten there because they have sacrificed their time and energy for the attainment of perfection. Most upcoming artistes spend their time buying clothes that will make them look more ‘artsy’ and hangout at events such as Industry Nite than at the studio. Greatness can’t be achieved this way. Wizkid with all that he has achieved is still a studio rat. The Universe will have no option than to bless all the hard work he has put in. Yes you might have a better voice than him but if you don’t work as hard as him, sorry he will nack your girlfriend. Rihanna isn’t the greatest of singers but you can’t deny that she puts in work. 7 albums in 7 years is not ewa agoyin.
Ability To Spot Future Trends- To be relevant for 5 years in the music biz can’t be achieved by luck. You have to be calculative. Sounds and trends come and go. Today its Azonto and Etighi, do you know what the next thing is going to be next year? The ability to spot future trends will make you go far in this industry. Know the next sound, pounce on the next trend before it becomes cliche. If you are planning on dropping an Azonto song, forget it and look for something else. Chances are you can’t do a bigger song than Olamide’s, Wizkid’s or Sarkodie’s Azonto anthems. These dudes spotted this early. Put your ear to the ground and find out what’s bubbling. Sometimes when the music scene gets too saturated with a sound or trend do the opposite.
Have A Solid Team- You can’t get to the mountain top all by yourself. You need a dedicated team whose sole aim is to make you number one. You can be the best rapper or best singer out there but if you do not have a team dedicated in making you an A level artiste, you will continue to feed on crumbs.
Building a team isn’t cheap that has to be said. People have to earn salaries. My suggestion is to start small. Hire a manager (not your guy who you smoke weed with or an industry groupie). The manager might be new or might be a seasoned hand. What is paramount is that both of you are on the same page and have clearly established goals that must be attained. What do you want to achieve in your first year as a professional recording artiste? What do you have to do to make this happen? What does your manager have to do make this happen? After a year re-evaluate. As time goes on, you can begin to hire a PA, business manager, publicist, stylist etc.
Written by @GidiExclusive’s Chief Blogger- @ItsReginald