Lagos seaports have done more for Nigeria since serving as the first line of contact between Europeans and people of the most populous black nation. Coupled with being the one-time Nigerian national capital, the center of excellence served as the first point of culture and economic transfer before the advent of public access to the internet.
International record labels like Sony looking for new foreign entertainment climes to A&R talents mostly chose to set up shop in Lagos. With clubs and concerts hosted by the same city against the backdrop of a booming city-wide economy and the constant influx of people from all over the world, Lagos easily became Nigeria’s center for entertainment, sharing similitude with America’s New York and Los Angeles combined.
Over the years, this entertainment subculture affiliation with Lagos has bloomed into expansive shopping malls, cinemas, exclusive night clubs, international standard concert arenas and highly rated hotels. But while Lagos’ place in Nigerian entertainment is no longer under question, the rush of every artiste starting out a career to snag a piece of the Lagos dream has over populated the music industry, thereby degenerating the scene into a dog-eat-dog survival of the fittest world, perpetuated by fans and artistes alike.
Artistes are constantly at each other’s throats for popularity, endorsements, record deals and top management, because fans feed on these irrelevant stats more than their actual music. Subsequently, the music is lost in all that cloud of industry drama, mediocrity is celebrated at the expense of art, and the artiste that makes it out is the most influential but not necessarily the most talented.
For upcoming artistes wanting to avoid having to constantly search for their own names to find the latest news about them, we offer good reasons to take the music out of Lagos.
Carving your own niche.
If everybody cannot relate to Shakitibobo despite its massive appeal, then it means everybody cannot make the same kind of music. While Lagos offers a wide array of music genres, many artistes have been forced to sacrifice actual content for mass appeal because that is what the industry forces them to believe. Yet there are exceptions like Asa, Beautiful Nubia, Bez amongst others, who have found success with genres outside the mainstream (and even somewhat outside Lagos).
Finding success in any city outside Lagos will mean having a clear physical and mental head space to attempt cropping a fan base and sound from. Perform as many small intimate events as possible and do extensive promotion in your city of interest. Both a sonic niche and a fan base will be built from the ground-up with undying loyalty. In contrast to attempting to break into the mainstream via Lagos’ radio airwaves where everyone else has submitted their numerous probably similar sounding demos.
Concerts and events.
Whether this is general knowledge or not, the fact is everybody cannot hold sold out shows in Eko Hotel. Though we currently have a poor touring culture in Nigeria, there are still corporate sponsored events like the Star Trek and MTN’s numerous campus tours many A-List artistes currently rake millions of Naira from. Corporate bodies and event organisers are often forced to tour A-List artistes at exorbitant fees because local cities do not offer their own home grown artistes. Hence, they are forced to parade an artiste who may not be as recognized in that part of the country or stand the risk of language barriers between the artiste and the audience amongst other possible problems. As we have seen with the brand of Falz. Who may not have kicked off his career in Oyo state, but styled his Brother Taju alter ego patios after Ibadan speak. He has since been invited to neighbouring Western-Nigerian states as a headliner. The same applies for Teknomiles and Abuja. So whether it is an open field in Osun or stadium in Calabar, as long as the cheques are coming in, you will be fine.
You won’t be really far from Lagos (or anywhere actually.)
It’s the information age baby, there are tons of social media accounts your fans should be able to reach you on. It shouldn’t really matter where you, as long as you stay connected.