In this article, you are going to learn about the 27 things you must do to blow as an upcoming artist in Nigeria.
Every big artist you see in Nigeria today began as an upcoming. And if they all relate their stories you will realize that there were challenges they all faced, as well as strategies that helped them to overcome those challenges.
Even Davido, the son of a rich man has always been relating his challenges to us. First, he had that resistance from his father who never wanted him to become a musician.
But then, with all the money Davido had, he still had to follow a road map to make it to where you see him today.
Therefore, no matter how wealthy you are, if you do not know how to enter the Nigerian music industry as an artist, you will never become successful in it.
And the reason I wrote this article was to show you those things you must do if you want to blow as an upcoming artist in the Nigerian music industry.
But before we look at the 27 things you must do to blow as an upcoming artist in Nigeria, we are going to first and foremost see who is an upcoming artist in the Nigerian music industry and also what it means to blow as an upcoming artist in Nigeria.
Who is an upcoming artist in Nigeria?
An upcoming artist in Nigeria is a musician who has developed an interest or has a dream of entering the music industry in Nigeria.
Though most of these kinds are not really talented, so long as they are making one move or another to become successful in the music industry, they are still classified as an upcoming artist in Nigeria.
What is the meaning of ‘blow’?
“Blow in the music industry” is an idiomatic expression that is used to refer to becoming successful in the Nigerian music industry.
To blow as an upcoming artist in Nigeria, therefore, means to become a successful musician in Nigeria.
What it means to blow as an upcoming artist in Nigeria.
To blow or succeed as an upcoming artist does not literally mean to have a song that becomes a hit in the country.
Because we’ve had so many instances where an upcoming artist gets a hit song, only to disappear forever from the music scene.
So when we talk about blowing as an upcoming artist in the Nigerian music industry, we are talking about a continuous process of remaining a successful musician in the country.
And that means dropping hit songs from time to time and remaining relevant in the Nigerian music industry.
What is trying to say here is that, if you make one hit song, never take it as you have succeeded as an upcoming artist until you have subsequent songs that become a hit in the country.
Because there is no point in giving us that one hit song, and while we are eager to hear the next one you are going to drop; we never get to see you again.
Having seen what it really means to blow as an upcoming artist in Nigeria, let’s now move on to learn about the 27 ways to blow as an upcoming artist in the Nigerian music industry.
27 things you must do to blow as an upcoming artist in Nigeria.
Below are the 27 things you must do to blow as an upcoming artist in Nigeria.
- Confirm you are musically talented.
- Learn and improve your musical skills.
- Know your musical genre.
- Create a brand.
- Compose your first 3 songs.
- Raise funds to support your music career.
- Get legal representation.
- You need an artist manager.
- Build a team.
- Look for artists to collaborate with.
- Join at least 3 social networks.
- Optimize your social media accounts.
- Belong to a music forum.
- Record your first 3 songs.
- Your promo package should be set.
- Your artwork is very crucial.
- Harness the power of music promotion.
- Distribute your songs to digital stores.
- Perform in shows and concerts.
- Join music contests and competitions.
- Shoot a music video.
- Network with music industry people.
- Build and grow a loyal fanbase.
- Be humble and kind to those you meet in the industry.
- Get press coverage on blogs and media houses.
- Reach out to record companies.
- Pray and wait on God’s time.
1. Confirm you are musically talented.
Never expect to blow in the Nigerian music industry as an artist if you do not have musical talent.
Musical talent is your ability to make and perform music. And it involves composing, recording in the studio, and performing your music in Infront of an audience.
I have witnessed many an artist who paid for a studio session and left without being able to sing on a beat.
Also, an artist might escape the studio craft only to mess up on stage because he cannot move the crowd.
This might not even be a result of a lack of confidence, but simply the inability to sing and demonstrate to the audience applause.
And for this reason, you must ensure you record at least a demo, and perform in a local bar or even 10 people; listen to people’s comments or reactions about your music and performance to confirm if you have musical talent.
2. Learn and improve your musical skills.
Some artists get carried away by the fact that they are talented and so refuse to make a move toward improving their musical skills.
But according to popular proverbs ‘practice makes perfect, you must practice your musical skills every day to make improvements.
You can do this by listening to music done by popular artists in your genre and looking out for those things they all seem to be doing.
When I began composing rap music, I made the mistake of making all my words at the end rhyme.
But constantly listening to the way other rappers were doing helped me to realize and correct that mistake.
3. Know your musical genre.
Music is classified or categorized into genres. And when starting out as an upcoming artist, you need to discover your own genre.
It is a great error to try and do music randomly. That is a mix-up genre in your songs.
This is because every individual has their own preferred genre, and they chose musicians they listen to based on that.
And worst still, they do not seem to listen to music from other genres.
Because of that, you should not give any music lover a reason to stop listening to your music simply because you are also doing music from a genre they do not like.
The most popular genre in Nigeria is AfroBeats or AfroPop.
4. Create a brand.
A brand is that one thing people are going to use to identify you from the crowd.
It could be your name, something you say in your song or even the topic of your music.
It must be something that’s easy for people to memorize and say every time.
For example, 2baba made a brand out of his song African Queen.
That song really had public appeal, and that was why it brought him into the limelight.
5. Get your first 3 songs ready.
By now your first 3 songs should be up and ready.
If you are not good at composing your songs for now then you can buy them.
What you should focus on in your first 3 songs composition should be your topic or theme.
Boasting songs is a no go when you are starting out as an upcoming artist. But love songs and dance tracks are the ones that sell most.
Another thing you should do is look for things that are trending and what the majority of people are going through in life at the moment and make a song about it.
6. Raise funds to support your music career.
I always seize every slight opportunity to let upcoming artists understand that music is business.
And there is no way you are ever going to succeed in business if you don’t invest money.
And the same thing applies to music.
In business you need to have a product, that is goods and services that you intend people to buy; your product in the music business is your song.
And the musical production will require you to invest in a quality audio recording of your song, and from there do real marketing to make the song get to the right people who are going to consume it.
I hope you see why money is very important if you want to blow in the music industry.
If you are not financially buoyant, then you must look for ways to raise money to finance your music career.
Some of the ways may include:
- Reaching out to family members and friends for support.
- Arranging a fundraising ceremony.
- Looking for someone to sponsor your music career?
- Taking on a job or hustle to raise money.
7. Get legal representation.
If you want to become a professional musician, then there are moves you will make that will involve signing documents.
For example, you need a music manager who will benefit from some of the profits he is going to mastermind into your music career.
This will involve agreements that must be signed into law.
And for that reason, you need to get a lawyer to legally represent you and your music career.
8. You need an artist manager.
It is not right for a professional artist to deal directly with people, that is why they need a representative.
And in the music industry, it is the music manager that represents the artist.
And as we mentioned earlier on in a recent point, the music manager is going to get a percentage cut from the profits he masterminds for the artist to make.
Therefore, if you want to blow as an artist in the Nigerian music industry, you must get an artist manager.
9. Build a team.
A musician who wants to become successful must have people around or surrounding him at all times.
This person will also make it a point of duty to promote the artist everywhere they go.
Sometimes your team can even be people you don’t even get to know or see, depending on how you are building the team.
You can create it as an online group and come up with criteria that people must possess to belong.
Give a name to your team and delegate tasks to them, and you will be surprised at the length some people will be going to promote you.
An example of a music team in Nigeria is Davido’s 30BG.
10. Look for artists to collaborate with.
Music collaboration has been one great avenue that brings upcoming artists to the spotlight.
Collaborating with a well-known artist can get you easily noticed as an artist because you will have the artist’s fans already on the ground listening to you.
But music collaboration has its downsides, and it’s simply in the case where you let the artist you feature perform better than you.
So you must look at your goal of collaborating with an established artist as an opportunity to show you are also good, and even better than him.
Another downside to music collaboration is that it’s very expensive.
But considering the fact that we made mention of your raising funds to finance your music career, I don’t think this will be a problem for you.
So check for an artist who is currently making waves and go online to find his contacts and negotiate how you are going to pay to collaborate with him.
11. Join at least 3 social networks.
In this digital era, social networks are one place that brings together and connects people all over the world.
When you join a social network, you will have the opportunity of becoming friends with people who are far and near.
And you can grab that opportunity to make people get the awareness of you and your music.
What you need to understand most at this point is that you should not try to join every social media network.
Rather do research on social media networks for musicians and join at least 3 of them.
12. Optimize your social media accounts.
Your social media accounts should portray you as an artist.
And you can easily do so by means of your artworks, short musician bio, uploading viral and freestyle videos, etc.
The trick here is to make people easily spot you as a musician when they are viewing your social media accounts.
13. Belong to a music forum.
A music forum is a place where artists can interact with each other on matters relating to music.
When you join a music forum, you will avail yourself of the opportunity of meeting people with music-like-minds.
You have to be very active in any music forum you join by answering and offering solutions to people’s problems.
This will help you gain the trust of others who will want to keep the connection they have established with you.
14. Record your first 3 songs.
As I said earlier, your song is the product you are going to showcase for people to buy.
And no one in this world is going to settle for a product he knows is not up to the quality he demands.
And when it comes to the music business, people are always going to avoid any song that comes from you if the first one you gave them was not good.
For that reason, you must ensure you make a high-quality production for your song.
To do this, look for a good recording studio and experienced music producer.
My advice is to go for a popular music producer.
15. Your promo package should be set.
Your promo package should include your artist name and title of the song, a logo if you have one, a short musician bio, stickers, banners, polos, or T-Shirts with your artwork printed on them, etc.
This is what you will be sent to the blogs and media houses you will approach for your music promotion.
And once they receive it, they will be able to use it and gather all the information they need for the coverages and promotions
16. Your artwork is very crucial.
This is the first thing that will attract people to your music, whether on or offline.
If your artwork is dope, it will make people want to check what’s on the inside.
And to get the best artwork for your music, you need to take a clean and nice photo shoot.
Please never attempt to do this with your phone, rather go to a photography studio and they will give you a quality photo shoot.
You can then collect it as soft in your SD card or flash.
The next thing you should do is get a professional graphics designer and together come up with a concept that will fit the topic of your song.
17. Harness the power of music promotion.
Music promotion is simply the means by which you make your music available to people who will consume it.
Music marketing is another name for music promotion.
There are several ways of achieving music promotion.
18. Distribute your songs to digital stores.
Your main aim is to make your music available everywhere, both online and offline.
And in this digital era, there exist online stores that enable artists to upload their music for their users to stream.
To upload your music to these stores, you must pass through a third party known as the aggregator or distributor.
Some of them will charge you a fee, depending on the percentage cut from your revenue. But there are other free ones you can use, again these will also depend on the percentage cut they are going to retrieve from your revenue.
19. Perform in shows and concerts.
You need to start from the local shows in your area and walk your way up.
One important thing you should do is always ensure your promo package is always shared during or after your performance.
This is where the team you built earlier on is going to be very helpful. As they will be sharing those promo packages in the house.
20. Join music contests and competitions.
Music contests and competitions have been one great way for upcoming artists to enter the Nigerian music industry.
Iyanya and Chidinama became popular through a music contest known as project fame.
So find one of these and audition to join.
21. Shoot a music video.
The music video is capable of putting an artist directly in front of the audience.
The secret is that so many people feel the artist is really what they see him do in music videos.
Thus, music videos create that connection between the artist and those who are watching them.
And for that reason, you should try and shoot, at least a music video for your song.
22. Network with music industry people.
Networking is one of the things you should be doing if you really want to blow as an upcoming musician in Nigeria.
This is because it will help you get acquainted with people who can be instrumental to your musical progress.
Music industry people are everywhere, most especially on social media platforms.
Once you dig them out, send DM’s and your promo package to them, telling them how much you will appreciate it if they help update your songs to their audience.
23. Build and grow a loyal fanbase.
Loyal fans are those people who are always eager and ready to listen, stream, download and above all else share your songs anytime you drop them.
They are those kinds who will stop at nothing to help promote your music.
Once you find them, you are halfway down the road to becoming a successful musician.
There are several measures you are going to take in order to find a loyal fanbase, and you can discover them here.
24. Be humble and kind to those you meet in the industry.
‘Pride usually goes before a fall’ I think this proverb applies so much to becoming successful in the Nigerian music industry.
To blow into the Nigerian music industry, you need support and recommendation from notable people in the industry.
And stepping on people’s toes will rob you of that support and recommendation.
Even that gateman you meet in a record label location or cleaner in a record store can be instrumental to your becoming successful in the music industry.
So as much as you can, try and be humble to every industry person you meet, whether it is online or offline.
Because someday, the person might be the only recommendation you need to enter the music industry.
25. Get press coverage on blogs and media houses.
So many artists have become successful in the music industry because blogs and media houses wrote about them.
And you don’t have to wait for these blogs and media houses to do so.
For that reason, you have to reach out to them. And you can do so through their social accounts or websites, where you can find their contacts.
Send emails, DM’s, and make calls across to these blogs and media houses, and seek press coverage.
26. Reach out to record companies.
You must take this step only when you realize you are halfway through your music career.
There are lots of record labels looking for upcoming artists to sign. And you need to look out for them.
27. Pray and wait on God’s time.
As a Christian, my scripture helps me to understand that there is time for everything.
And when that time comes there is nothing that is going to change it.
If you are not a Christian, there is definitely a part in your own scripture or belief system that also talks about the time for everything.
And for this reason, you must pray to the God you serve that your time to blow as an upcoming artist in the music industry should come.