NIGERIAN RECORD LABELS AND FEMALE ARTISTES – WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS RELATIONSHIP?
For several nights I have slept over this nagging question, hoping when I wake up I will find an answer to the reasons why so many record labels in Nigeria are finding it hard to manage female artistes successfully without having a rocky end. To be sincere, instead of being closer to finding answers, I have ended up finding more female artistes either leaving their record labels unfulfilled or bitterly still locked down in a record deal they can’t wait to run out on and take the next exit. In a country blessed with several aspiring female musicians with lot of drive, how come few are standing tall to be counted? In the past one decade, I have witnessed several female artistes happily signed to a record label with lots of buzz but before we know it, their career takes a nosedive, they become grumpy and later exit the label or bid farewell to the music industry. Is there something the record labels are doing wrong in the handling of these talents or are there characteristics in the DNA of these artistes that is indirectly dragging them down?
It will be hard for me to psychoanalyze these artistes but with multiple cases over the years, I can’t wait to get to the root cause of this problem. How come the few female artistes doing well are indirectly signed to their own label where they are relatively in control of things? Does this prove that record labels don’t have the structure to effectively manage female artistes successfully? Is it that they don’t have the knowhow to understand how they want to work or be treated? There must be something wrong from either the side of the label or the female artiste.
In the past, I was a witness to when Angelica was signed to Kingsley Ogoro’s record label and a lot was expected of her but things went south. The soulful songstress Nnenna was once seen as the future of the music industry when she signed with Question Mark records but despite her major hit when she featured on the multiple Channel O award winning song ‘CRY’ by Modenine, she also disappeared from the music industry. The femcee Kel was everything you wanted in your female rapper but despite all the expectations, she fell out with Capital Hill records and vanished into thin air. Although the likes of Chidinma left Capital Hill after her record deal expired but the notion on the streets is that something went wrong with her relationship with the record label that halted her growth.
Artistes like Saeon, Mz Kiss, Immaculate and Niyola may still be under contracts with their respective record labels, but most are of the notion that these ladies could achieve more. I know someone will ask, what about Simi or Tiwa Savage? Except things have changed, Tiwa Savage was totally in control of her record deal with Mavin. As a matter of fact, as at when her deal was announced, Tiwa goes ahead to control her content. She also spends on her promotional materials and gets it back from her label. Yemi Alade as well has a level of control and balance on how her record label handles things. From all I could deduce thus far, from the angle of the artistes, I am of the opinion that if a record label is not ready to go the whole nine yards with female artistes, if they don’t have the structures that will understand and work with them effectively, they should not sign them or hold them captive.
Words by Sesan Adeniji
Culled from Mystreetz Magazine