What Makes You Stand Out?
I have always loved music. All kinds of music; and I have an adventurous and wide-ranging palate, as a radio presenter and also as a listener. It’s probably a product of when I grew up. Every song on the radio when I was a kid sounded wildly different from every other song, and I grew up with a mother who loved and played different genres of music.
It was a great experience. Every song – and every artiste had a distinct and unique personality. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly like that anymore. As I observe the present day crop of artistes in the Nigerian Music Industry, I see them all obsessed with emulating very precisely a particular style or sound or, worst of all, a specific artiste.
The truth is, Dear Artiste, if other people are achieving success with a certain sound, that translates to you having LESSER chances of succeeding with that same sound, not more.
The more generic and like everyone else you sound, the less chance you have of your music being listened to by anyone outside of your core group of friends and supporters (Especially if you’re a poorly financed act). Why should anyone pay attention to you when you already sound like a bunch of other people?
The Nigerian music marketplace is becoming saturated with recordings that all have essentially the same sound. Music fans are hungry for something new, something fresh and totally different from other regular sounds.
Music industry heads are always looking for a unique factor that sets itself apart from the pack. And trust me; the true fans don’t need a record that sounds like another record they already own.
If an artist says to me “My sound is like Wizkid. My first thought is, “Oh, I should listen to that new Wizkid song!” Because why would I want to listen to a cheap copy of an already-popular artiste, when I could just go straight to the source?
Let me make this clearer; we don’t need another Wizkid, we already have a Wizkid! The industry doesn’t want more of what it’s already got.
What the industry needs is your unique voice.
Don’t be tempted to record anything because “that’s what’s on the radio right now.” Trust me, I understand the impulse. But if something’s on the radio right now, it’s already yesterday’s news. It’s stale already. Just give it a few months and you’ll see.
Audiences don’t want more of the same – they want what’s next. You don’t want to sound out-dated, do you?
Approach your career like a business; because it actually is! You should be constantly thinking about how to differentiate yourself in a crowded market.
What’s going to make people prick up their ears? What’s going to call attention to what you’re doing?