This article is going to list and explain the 29 things you must do to become a successful musician in Nigeria.
I am writing it for upcoming musicians in Nigeria to utilize the ever-increasing opportunity the music industry is offering for them to become successful.
But before we move on to list and explain the 29 things you must do to become a successful musician in Nigeria, we are going to look at what success in the Nigerian music industry is as well as why you need to become a successful musician in Nigeria.
What is success in the Nigerian music industry?
Some might think that success in the Nigerian music industry entails having a song that becomes a hit; not knowing that there is a way your song becomes a hit but you gain nothing from it.
I have witnessed so many artists in Nigeria have a hit song but in no time fade away.
Artists like Sky B once had a song titled “my baby” playing everywhere in Nigeria, and today we are not hearing about him anymore.
We cannot even begin to count the various artists who had one hit song or the other and in no time slip back to the underground.
So from this point of view, we all need to understand that success in the music industry entails not only having a song that becomes a hit but staying relevant and making an honest living from your music.
Artists like 2Baba, P-Square, Wizkid, Davido, etc can be termed successful musicians in Nigeria because they are still giving us hit songs from time to time and living off of the money generated by their music.
Why you should become a successful musician in Nigeria.
Looking at the music industry in Nigeria today, there is no doubt that artists are making so much money and living that flamboyant life as a result of making music.
International collaborations and concerts have been the hallmark of Nigerian artists. Recently Davido sold out the 02 Arena while Burna Boy sold out Madison Square.
Shows, endorsements, record deals, business opportunities, etc have fetched Nigerian artists so much money and we can evidence it from the houses, cars, investments, etc, they showcase to us every day.
Thi, therefore,e makes it a very good idea for anyone who is musically talented to pursue a career in the Nigerian music industry.
So long as you have the talent, the success you evidence every day from the successful artists in Nigeria should motivate you to need to work hard and become a successful musician in Nigeria.
Now let’s look at the 25 ways to become a successful musician in Nigeria.
29 things you must do to become a successful musician in Nigeria.
Below are the 29 things you must do to become a successful musician in Nigeria.
- Be sure you are musically talented.
- Raise money to fund your musical career.
- Stick to a particular genre.
- Develop your musical skills.
- Learn a musical instrument or how to produce music.
- Create a brand for yourself.
- Join social media networks that benefit musicians.
- Also, join music forums.
- Compose or buy your first 3 songs.
- Feature another artist in your music.
- Secure a good studio and producer for your audio recording.
- Design your artwork.
- Compile your promo package.
- Begin to promote your songs.
- Perform in gigs.
- Join music contests or competitions.
- Build and grow your fanbase.
- Get press reviews on blogs and media houses.
- Distribute your songs to digital stores.
- Connect with those that matter in the Nigerian music industry.
- Shoot a dope music video.
- Record snippets for your music.
- Arrange a listening party.
- Do a musical launch.
- Be consistent online
- Do giveaways.
- Sell merchandise.
- Build your own official website.
- Pray and hope in God.
Now let’s try to explain the above 29 points one after the other.
1. Be sure you are musically talented.
There is no magic that will ever make you become a successful artist in Nigeria if you are not musically talented.
The bedrock of every musician is their musical talent.
If you claim to be an artist you must show it by how you deliver your vocals on beats in the recording studio, as well as the confidence you put up when performing in front of a huge audience.
One way I like to advise upcoming artists on confirming if they have the talent is to make a demo recording of themselves singing.
You can do that with a downloaded beat you play on an mp3 player while singing and recording into your Android phone.
After the recording, play this demo with friends, family members, and industry people and ask their honest opinion on whether you are fit to enter the music industry.
2. Raise money to fund your musical career.
If you want to become a successful musician in the Nigerian music industry, you must possess that business mindset.
This is because music in itself is business. Becoming a musician means you are going to produce a song for people to buy and listen to or play.
Your song in essence is the goods and services you are presenting to the public in the hope that they patronize you in buying it.
To succeed as a business person you need to have the capital, that is money you are going to invest, likewise to succeed as a musician.
From your studio recording to promotion and all that, you are going to invest money. And for that reason, you must raise the money that will enable you to fund your musical career.
There are various ways to do so, and some of them are:
- Find someone to sponsor your music career.
- Reach out to your family members and friends to support you financially.
- Get a job or side hustle.
3. Stick to a particular genre.
Trying to mix up two or more genres will make you end up a Jack of all trades and master of none.
No matter how good you are in all the genres, trying to carry them all along will not allow you to focus on producing the best in a particular genre.
Besides, it will make it hard for fans to fix you on their preferred genre.
Everybody does not listen to every piece of music, and if you give them a reason to doubt which side you are on; then you are going to lose a large proportion of fans.
So the trick here, therefore, is to stick to a particular genre and focus on becoming the best in it.
And if you ask me what genre is selling in Nigeria at the moment, I will quickly tell you it’s AfroBeats or AfroPop as some call it.
Rap music does not appeal much to music fans in Nigeria, which might be due to the reason that they don’t readily understand what the artist is seeing.
This might be the reason two top-shot rappers in Nigeria, Olamide and Phyno, recently switched to AfroPop.
4. Develop your musical skills.
You have the talent doesn’t mean you are naturally going to know everything.
That is the reason why you should learn, train and practice to develop your musical skills.
If you have the money, you can enroll in school to study music or better still enroll for a master class online.
The important area you are going to concentrate on is voice training to help you master voice control and know the notes and keys that are fit for your voice in music.
You can even discover through voice training that you can sing multiple keys, and in so doing be the backup singer yourself.
5. Learn a musical instrument or how to produce music.
Scores of successful artists in Nigeria today are very good and great at playing one instrument or the other.
I recently saw Davido playing drums and I must really say that this guy is very talented in that area.
Also, some artists in Nigeria became successful because they are music producers.
Being a music producer will increase your chances of becoming successful in the music industry because you can blow an artist and in so doing easily find your way into the music industry.
6. Create a brand for yourself.
The brand is the one thing that will make people easily identify you in the enormous crowd.
It could be your name, hairstyle, popular tattoo, signature tune, a word or phrase you say often or in all your song’s intro and outro, etc.
Naira Marley became popular because he gave the name Marlians to his fanbase.
Davido is most popular because of his nickname OBO and crew name 30BG.
Burna Boy called himself African Giant, and this name has fetched him an international presence in the music industry.
So whatever you think people will identify you for it, create and adopt it into your music career.
7. Join social media networks that benefit musicians.
There are social media networks that are going to give you the opportunity of creating content to engage users who are likely going to become followers and dedicated fans in the long run.
The two social media that works best for artists are Instagram and YouTube.
Instagram will help you to upload short viral videos and tag celebrities and those that matter in the music industry.
While YouTube will help you to upload snippets, freestyle, and viral videos for your music, and if you are able to meet their 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hour, you can monetize it.
So you have to learn about the best social media platforms for musicians and join in if you want to become a successful musician in Nigeria.
8. Also join music forums.
Music forums are also a great way to become a successful musician in Nigeria because they will give you the opportunity to interact with other music industry people.
You can even build a dedicated fanbase via a music forum.
When you join this forum, you have to be very active and don’t focus more on promoting your music there, rather try to provide answers to questions people ask and when you build enough trust in them, you can then introduce your music to them.
That way you will be able to get people to listen to your music as well as become your fans.
9. Compose or buy your first 3 songs.
Now is the time for you to get your first 3 songs ready.
The three songs must each have its own theme and it’s wise to start with a love song and dance track.
Don’t make the mistake of beginning your musical career with a boasting song. That is telling people how rich you are when you are not yet a celebrity.
No matter the big people you may seem to connect with, don’t make this the topic for your song when starting out. Rather, find the kind of song that relates to what people are going through every day, and you will get them right where you’re supposed to.
If you are not good at composing songs, you can buy it from those who are professionals in doing so.
You can find these kinds by going online.
10. Feature another artist in your music.
Music featuring or collaboration is one great way for an artist to become successful in the Nigerian music industry.
Aside from helping you to get connections in the music industry, it will also help you get to understand the skills other artists are incorporating into their music careers.
However, collaborating with top artists will require you to spend a big sum of money as some of them charge very high.
But if you can afford it, you will avail yourself the opportunity of becoming easily known in the music industry.
The most important thing you should keep in mind is to let the artist you feature deliver more than you do.
If you create a chance for this to happen, then you will be killing your career too fast because you will open up an avenue for criticism.
And for this reason, make sure you put in all your best in any song you feature an artist.
Lest I forget, if you cannot afford the cost of featuring a very big artist, you can look out for an artist that is slowly making progress in his music career and feature.
Because peradventure that artist blows is going to go a long way in helping you to become a successful musician in Nigeria.
11. Secure a good studio and producer for your audio recording.
Your music is your products, that is your goods and services, and if the quality you are putting up is a mess it is going to ruin your musical career very quickly.
For this reason, ensure you secure a good studio and producer to do your audio recording.
I always like to advise upcoming artists to find a popular music producer to produce their songs because this individual has had much experience in the music industry and has blown a lot of artists before.
He will know the selling point at the present time and give you the kind of high-quality audio products that will meet up the standard of music people are consuming in the country.
12. Design your artwork.
Think about your music as a product that is concealed in a cartoon or pack, since people cannot see this product, it is the label or design on the pack that is going to attract them.
It is rather unfortunate that so many artists make the mistake of using anyhow artwork or album cover for their music promotion.
If your artwork is not attractive and of high quality, people will feel your music is too, no matter how high in quality it might be.
And to get dope artwork, you need to consider what your music is all about; that is the title of your song, and think of a concept that will fit in.
Now use that concept to visit a good photography studio to take your dope photo shoot.
After the photo shoot, look for a professional graphics designer who is going to design your graphics to fit the concept you created.
Once your artwork is great, it will attract people to want to listen to what’s inside it, that is your music.
13. Compile your promo package.
Don’t just throw your artwork and audio tracks online and expect people to jump on it just like that. No matter how dope your song or artwork might be.
You need to adopt other side attractions into your music promotion.
It could be things like a viral video, a freestyle cover of the audio song, or a short musician bio.
14. Begin to promote your songs.
Music promotion is the most important factor in every music career.
If you do not promote your songs, people will never get to take the necessary actions that are going to make you become a successful musician in Nigeria.
As a matter of fact, your song needs to be everywhere; people’s phones, clubs, pubs, bars, hospitals, prison yards, etc.
But it’s rather unfortunate that upcoming artists take music promotion for granted a lot.
They think it’s all about uploading their songs on Audiomack and sharing the links for people to go and stream.
Some of them think that offline music promotion is no longer relevant because online music promotion has swallowed it up.
But am here to let you know that you need to take possession of both online and offline music promotion if you want to become a successful musician in Nigeria.
However, there is no set of one way to achieve effective music promotion.
What works for Mr.. A might definitely not work for Mr.. B; so all you need to do is to develop a strategy to promote your songs.
Money plays a major role, therefore you need to know the cost of music promotion in Nigeria in order to figure out your budget.
Once you get everything in place, you can then decide on where to really start and walk up the ladder from there to achieve an effective promotion for your music.
15. Perform in gigs.
So many artists have met their luck while performing in one show or the other. Because performing in a gig will give you the opportunity to meet and build rapport with music industry people.
Aside from having to share the same stage with top artists and get connected if you impress them, record label owners and sponsors often attend shows with the aim of meeting talented upcoming artists they can work with.
And as you can see, you will be increasing your chances of signing a record deal or getting a music sponsor for your career if you perform in more gigs.
16. Join music contests or competitions
Music contests or competition has paved the way for lots of artist in the music industry.
Inyanya and Chidinma are products of MTN Project Fame, one of the biggest musical contests in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Most of these music competitions always have a record deal as one of their star prizes.
And if you emerge the winner, you can imagine where that will place you in the music industry.
So make sure you audition and join any ongoing music contest or competition.
17. Build and grow your fanbase.
No artist can ever succeed in the music industry without a loyal fanbase.
Your fans are the people who will stream, download, play, and above all share your music to help you get more fans.
You can coin a unique name for your fanbase, for example,, Naira Marley has a fanbase known as the Marlians.
So many people will really want to identify with your fanbase simply because of bearing that name.
If you have your own official website, you can put in an email subscription form to enable people to sign up and join your fanbase.
18. Get press reviews on blogs and media houses.
Press review simply means that blogs and media houses are writing about what’s going on in your life and career.
As an upcoming artist, you should not wait for them to start digging you out, rather approach them and seek your press review.
You can simply go to their official website or social accounts and look for contact details.
19. Distribute your songs to digital stores
As a means of making sure your music is everywhere, you need to distribute your songs to digital streaming platforms.
The good thing about doing this is that it will enable you to make money from your music when people are streaming it.
20. Connect with those that matter in the Nigerian music industry
Online and offline music promoters, marketers, record label executives, agents, established artist, and even gateman and cleaner that works in a record label are people that matter in the music industry.
And connecting with one or more of these kinds will increase your chances of becoming successful in the music industry.
And you can find them everywhere, especially on LinkedIn.
21. Shoot a dope music video.
People tend to be carried away or drawn to something they can see.
It has also been found that people watch more than they listen.
Because visuals have a lot of side attractions than audio productions.
And for that reason, you need to shoot a music video and promote it if you want to become a successful musician in Nigeria.
22. Make snippets for your music.
Sometimes you don’t have to give people your whole musical content to attract them, all you have to do is cut a part that is very interesting and that’s your snippet.
If it’s from your audio track, you can use video content like football highlights, stunts, and even memes as visuals while the audio plays in the background.
Upload and share this across several media networks and link back to the main track so that people who are interested can follow the link and play the full track.
23. Arrange a listening party.
A listening party will give you the opportunity of inviting people and bring them to awareness of your music.
The most outstanding thing is that the listening party will make it possible for you to solicit funds from friends and well-wishers.
The trick is to get a very good DJ who will be able to talk and move people to make meaningful contributions to enable you further your music career.
24. Do a musical launch.
Same to a listening party, a musical launch will help you to invite people who will in turn support your music career financially.
Don’t wait to finish your album before you do the musical launch, as you can launch even a single.
To achieve this, scout for a venue that will be easy to locate, fix a date and print enough envelopes you are going to give people as invitations.
You can select a few influential or well-to-do people as the chairman, vice chairman, chief launcher, special guest, etc, and print their names on the envelope.
Seeing these people’s names will move so many people to attend the launch.
You can then utilize the turn-up to source funds that will help you push your music career forward.
25. Be consistent online.
In my years of experience as a music promoter, I’ve seen scores of artists who seldom come online.
And I always see these kinds of unserious artists.
So if you want to become a successful musician in Nigeria, you must be consistent online.
Be active in the forums you belong to, and post every now and then on your social accounts.
26. Do giveaways.
Giveaways do not necessarily have to be thousands of naira or a car, as you can even do so with a 500 Naira recharge card.
You never know how a 500 recharge card will go a long way to help someone make calls or purchase a data plans
This will then make people follow your platforms and keep a date with your updates so they can be lucky winners someday.
You can then figure out how you will use the giveaway to draw people to your updates every now and then.
27. Sell merchandize.
As a musician, you can choose one product or another and showcase it for sale, and this will become your merchandise.
If you have the money, you can customize caps, t-shirts, badges, etc, and put them up for sale on your official website.
One advantage of doing this is that it will help you to customize your prize, and make lots of profits from the sales.
The high point is that people will feel the product is dope because it is recommended by an artist.
28. Build your own official website
Nigerian artists do not yet know the advantage of having their own official website.
And above all how it can really help them to become successful musicians.
There are lots of advantages including the fact that your website is going to help you organize all your musical content in one place where a user can navigate and get all the information they need about you.
For example, through your official website people will readily get to read your musician bio on your About page, get your contact details on your contact page as well as get access to all your content; mp3s, viral videos, freestyle videos, official music videos, etc.
Though it’s expensive to build a responsive and optimized website, our web agency can help you get a fully optimized website for as low as 10,000 Naira.
So never fail to make use of this wonderful opportunity.
29. Pray and hope in God.
Whatever your religious belief, I believe you believe in the same God that everyone else does.
And there is a means of approaching God in your religion.
As Christians, we believe that through prayers and fasting, we can approach or consult God for whatever we need in life.
I personally hold the belief that the spiritual influence the physical. Hence, one must first seek spiritual success for it to be manifested in a physical.
The holy scripture assures us in several places that if we ask anything from God, we will receive it.
For that reason, you need to take your music career to God and ask Him to grant you success.
And you also need to understand that, though it will not manifest that quickly, you need to have patience and hope in God until you are successful in becoming an artist.
Please share this article to help other upcoming musicians understand the things they must do to become successful musicians in Nigeria.