WINNING THE GRAMMYS – The Illusion and Priorities of the Nigerian Artistes
‘..But as huge as the number of awards dished out during the Grammy award night is, the ‘World Music’ category is the only category to be competed for by the very best from Africa. To be sincere, your music and performance must be exotic to stand a chance of being called one of the best in Africa/World..’ – Sesan Adeniji
They say if wishes were horses, beggars will ride. Should I start
counting the number of Nigerian artistes who have said in their songs they wish to win the Grammy someday? I say to them, wishing won’t win you a Grammy. Having the know-how and strategy on how it has been won for years and how it could be won today is the only option to actualizing that dream. We should also not set our bar so low by hoping the Grammys will finally come with any of our artistes featured on a Grammy winning song. That is just one slim option. There’s no doubt that the Grammys is the highest honour for any hard working artiste whose body of work has found a way to capture significant attention of a fragment of the world stage. But as huge as the number of awards dished out during the Grammy award night is, the ‘World Music’ category is the only category to be competed for by the very best from Africa. To be sincere, your music and performance must be exotic to stand a chance of being called one of the best in Africa/World to secure a slot. It’s never a category for a one hit wonders, artistes that are not consistent, not vocally grounded and those without a unique sound. Only a few can even beat these criteria and this is just the start on the road to winning a Grammy.
Over the years, history has recorded that some of the best artistes from Africa that have won this award are of the francophone connection. That is, artistes with record or management teams based in France. Outside Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela who had recording or management teams in America when they won, others have been from the francophone base. So what does this tell us? First, some of these artistes are exceptional vocalists, instrumentalists, performers and most importantly have the best management/recording companies behind them to help them stand a chance at entering the World category at the Grammys. Doing pangolo music, not embracing the sound and culture from your region, will never win you a Grammy. Your wishes are just mere illusions. The best among us must stick to their unique sound and expand their horizon by connecting with the best recording and management companies in the world who have their interests at heart.
– Sesan Adeniji