On several occasions, I have written essays that dissect burning but hidden issues in the Nigerian entertainment sector and judging from my addictive fixation on the goings on there, someone may accuse me of being a bad belle, but such accusation can only hold water if the reader is yet to chance on my other essays that shed light on the wins of our music ambassadors.

So, one of such issues I wish to address now is that of artist signings. Meanwhile, I must admit that I have been listening too much to Rudeboy’s “Audio Money” and that song reminds me of eLDee The Don’s “Wash” both of which expose our habits of living fake lives and making fake promises. These songs are the foundation muses that led me into this very line of thought.

I do not want to start going deep into this table-shaking, so I’d just relax on the periphery and unleash few tips of the iceberg while hoping that readers would fix other victims of my worry in perspective and begin to talk about them too.

What am I even saying? Ehen, I am talking about audio signings in Nigerian music industry, where a label executive would announce the signing of an artist and they take pictures of the signing with their fine clothes and blings and post on Instagram, that’s all; the artist vanishes into thin air. Sometimes if these label executives are kind enough, you’d hear one single or two and that would be all. This is common among label executives who are also musicians. I don’t know if it is the fear of being overrun by their protégés or the fear of investing wrongly that is making most of them do this, but at risk of guessing too much, let’s just say that most of them do this for clout chasing. 

I am talking about Timaya, Mr P, Wizkid, etc. I am focusing on these three because the acts they flashed before us as their artists came with remarkable promises that would have made an impact in the catalogue of Afro beats discography. So I ask: where is King Perryy that was signed to Timaya’s Dem Mama Records? Where is Singah that was signed to Mr P’s record label? And where is Terri that was signed to Wizkid’s label? These acts came with singles that made sense but alas, promotion was a big deal for their handlers and so they never bloom to their fullest potentials. 

I am not saying that all hope is lost for these guys, they still have time on their sides but judging from the time their labels announced them as acts under their companies, they have wasted too much time in coming out. I know that sometimes the artist in question may not be hardworking enough to impress his or her managers into further investments but I am also certain that if a label has invested a certain amount of money on an artist, such artist whether lazy or not would have to work to make the money that was invested. 

On the other hand, if these guys weren’t actually signed but were brought under such labels to hustle their way out, then their handlers should desist from saying they were signed. There is nothing wrong if you tell us that you brought someone close to you to hustle but if signing someone would leave that person “suffering behind” like Vector would say, then why sign them and keep them in positions where their peers with same or even lesser talents go on to blow.  

Since these three labels announced the signing of the aforementioned guys, we have heralded the coming of Rema, Fireboy, Joe Boy, Blackbonez, Lyta and many others, yet the others are nowhere to be found. “The money wey we no see na audio,” says Rudeboy in “Audio Money,” suffice it to say that they artist wey we no hear na audio signing hollam.

This article was written by Ifesinachi Nwadike

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