It is not unusual to see an artist feel slighted after getting overlooked for an award he/she feels they deserve as it is the case with Peruzzi and the SoundCity MVP Awards.

So on Sunday, January 6, 2019, DMW artist, Peruzzi took to Twitter in a now-deleted tweet to announce his displeasure at losing out on the 'Best New Artiste' category which was won by Teni.

In his words, "Personally, I'd say I worked the hardest last year than any other new act, same way I made more money than any other new act in the country. There's a way I see myself, it's MY race, there's a way I'm running it. Focus on yours. Facts over hype. It's really simple," he tweeted. 

Peruzzi's tweet has gotten everyone talking [Twitter/Peruzzi]
Peruzzi's tweet has gotten everyone talking [Twitter/Peruzzi]

It was a category that had 10 artists in contention with Peruzzi and Teni clear favorites leading to the day of the awards and while the organizers of the Awards got a number of things wrong on the night, not also forgetting that this was a ''Voters based'' category, they did get this one right.

Teni's win was highly expected and thoroughly deserved, although it is understandable to see where Peruzzi's pain is coming from even if it is in no way justified.

Late in 2017, Peruzzi had pitched camp with Davido's DMW after making an impression on the super star with a number of his previous records and ever since then, it has been a lot of persuasive work for the artist who made the move from Abuja down to Lagos, that has seen him in the forefront of pop discussion over the year.

The early success of the DMW's group singles like 'Aje' and 'Mind' in 2018 were largely attributed to Peruzzi's creativity and influence. He was the missing piece in the puzzle to make the powerhouse more than just a rich ensemble.

Peruzzi putting pen to paper with Davido's DMW in 2017 [Instagram/Davido]
Peruzzi putting pen to paper with Davido's DMW in 2017 [Instagram/Davido]

Then at the 2018 edition of the Headies Awards, Peruzzi earned his first notable recognition as he was nominated in the 'Rookie of the year' category where he lost to Teni. At this point, the two had begun an unplanned race and for Peruzzi, he had only one mission, ''work till I can't be ignored.''

I remember having a chat with him sometime in May 2018 alongside his producer, Speroach and Peruzzi had confidently assured me that the gbedu was coming, ''You guys have not even heard anything yet'', he said.

And true to his words, 2baba's 'Amaka' was to become a viral hit in the coming weeks with Peruzzi making yet another solid impression with his guest verse and has followed it up not just with a number of other featured verses but with the release of his debut body of work, ''Heartbeat'' and major concert performances including his recent show in Ukraine.

My take

Teni on the red carpet at the SMVA 2019 [Pulse]
Teni on the red carpet at the SMVA 2019 [Pulse]

First, while it is okay to criticize Peruzzi for his comments, we must be careful not to discredit his efforts or condemn him for doing features.

It doesn't work that way, there are several routes to success especially in a competitive industry and cosigns or features are essential especially for upcoming talents.

Hence, it is by no coincidence or twist of fate that Peruzzi and Teni are the most-talked about young talents in the industry for almost two years now, building their profiles from the very scratch, albeit, through different approach.

They are the new hit makers that are leading the golden age of this pop generation and while the shortlist of both artists in both the Headies 'Rookie of the year' and SoundCity 'Best New Artist' with the same likely to reoccur in this year's Headies 'Next Rated' category is an approval on Peruzzi's work-rate and consistency that compels that 'sense of extraordinary', victories comes from something more than that and when you look back at the year critically and everything else that happened, you will be hard picked not to call 2018 the year of Teni [If you take out Burna Boy, that is].

As 2018 dawned upon us, Teni released the early single, 'Wait' and soon followed this up with other singles including 'Askamaya.'

While the first was a love song that showed a slightly different and ambitious side to her singing, it was the follow-up single, 'Askamaya' that wielded a landmark in our soul. The song resonated more with music lovers as it reflected that playful and streetish character that we have come to know and love through her Instagram pages as she wowed listeners with the Fuji inspired song.

From this point, the trajectory of her career further changed as she delivered more brilliant singles, and also importantly, more timely pop anthems.

In the heat of the drama surrounding the Super Eagles World Cup jersey, Teni released the freestyle, 'Fake Jersey', with the latter part of the year providing the pinnacle moments of her 2018 with the massive singles, 'Case' and 'Uyo Meyo' upon whom the range of her talent was further mined.

And when stacked against these, you tend to understand why people demand that Peruzzi delivers with his own singles and not just on features. Features/collaborations may open the doors, but individual singles/projects is the genuine chord that ultimately seals your place in history.

For all of Peruzzi's good works, it is hard to separate his success from that of Davido or his DMW team. By contrast, and despite having a more established sister in Niniola, Teni has been able to fly on her own wings. Her artistry has grown with every record, her infectiously enjoyable music continues to cross boundaries, while her joyous person appeals to a lot more span of listeners.

While I mentioned the importance of timing with Teni, that is one area I think Peruzzi suffers from with his EP, ''Heartwork,'' released on December 21, 2018, which I have reviewed here. As much as I admit that the project could have been much better, especially based on his talent, the time it was released also affected its impact.

Except you are releasing a Christmas themed album or a really exceptional project, it doesn't really make marketing sense to put out a body of work that late in the year when it will be lost in the pool of concerts and end of the year compilations.

So let's be clear, Teni fully earned the award and the loud cheer that rang through the hall even before her name was announced as the winner.

She has taken her career full circle in 2018 without losing a step and as it's peculiar with awards, it is impossible to have two winners, one person's win will have to come at the expense of someone's loss and sadly this time, it has come at that of Peruzzi and all that is left is for him to simply take up this challenge, and channel his frustrations into more vocal greatness, this time, on wax.