Some songs achieve a cataclysmic level of success that takes the artist, the listeners, and the industry by storm. Its fame and appeal spread across borders and consumes everyone in sight and leaving them stunned in its wake.
Goya Menor - 'Ameno Amapiano': The making of a Global Hit [Pulse Interview]
"I directed the first 'Ameno Amapiano' video myself. My friend and I shot the video with 20,000 naira..."
An example of such a song is 'Ameno Amapiano' which rose to fame during the pandemic and as the world was recovering from the shaking impact of the pandemic, the single became the new pandemic taking the world by storm.
In this Pulse Interview, I sat down with Goya Menor the rapper behind the global hit single 'Ameno Amapiano'. We talked about the rise of 'Ameno Amapiano' and its success, the song getting pulled down from DSPs, and his ongoing world tour. Essentially, he told me how the thing goes.
The rise of 'Ameno Amapiano' started from Tik Tok where it first gained traction and found its way to different corners of the world. What looked like just another sound on the Gen Z-dominated platform quickly became a potential hit that couldn't be ignored. I asked Goya Menor when he knew he had a potential hit single on his hands, and he tells me it was when he began hearing his songs from random places and persons.
"It was when people started reaching out to me that your song is moving and I was also seeing it with my eyes. I was seeing videos on Tik Tok and I was reposting on my Whatsapp and then it was becoming so much I couldn't keep reposting." He said
"The moment I knew my song might become a hit was when I was in a hotel in Benin and I could hear someone at the receptionist playing my song. Then I open the window and a car blasting my song drove past. After, I just packed my bags and headed for Lagos."
'Ameno Amapiano' blew to a proportion that exceeded the expectations of the artist who when clearing the Eric Lévi sample had negotiated a modest stream limit. After the song gained traction, the single rose to global success and when it hit a whopping 500 million streams, it was swiftly pulled off streaming platforms. I asked Goya if any part of him was ready for the song getting that big. He tells me he never saw it coming.
"At the time it was pulled down, it was not because Eric Lévi was angry because the initial sample was cleared. However, it was cleared on the basis that it must not exceed a particular stream. So, after it got pulled down it was at that point that Sony Music came into the picture and we then worked together to get the song back up."
The swift rise of 'Ameno Amapiano' to global fame unfolded before our eyes. Goya tells me that he directed the first video with a budget of 20,000 naira and the assistance of a friend. When the single got a new music shot by Moe Musa and which had star Tik Tok influencers showcased a new height for the single.
"I directed the first 'Ameno Amapiano' video myself. My friend and I shot the video with 20,000 naira. The second video was shot by Moe Musa in Nigeria and we flew in the brothers from Tik Tok who won the Ameno challenge."
The subject matter of 'Ameno Amapiano' wasn't a usual topic for club bangers. Goya's global hit shined the light on the dangers of cultism which was a bold song for an artist who resides in Benin, a City with a notorious reputation for cultism. I asked him if at any point he had doubts about putting out such a daring single. He tells me he didn't care for what anyone felt about the song.
"I schooled in Ambrose Ali in Ekpoma and I always maintained a strong stance against cultism. So I wasn't bothered about the possible repercussion of putting out the song. After we were done recording, my friends said "Do you hear yourself? Are you sure you want to put this out?" I told him I was ready and the rest is history" he said with a confident smile and a glimmer of victory in his eyes.
With a global hit comes global success. Goya Menor arrived at Pulse Office in a Range Rover Evoke which was visual proof of the life-altering success of his song. I asked him just how much his life has changed since the song became a hit and he tells me he couldn't possibly find the words.
"I have lost count of how many countries I have performed the song. I'm currently chasing the song around the corners of the world where it has reached. I'm traveling to the US soon and with that, I think Asia is the only continent I am yet to perform the song."
In a rather unexpected revelation, Goya told me he was yet to get a dime off the streaming of his song and I was visibly surprised. My follow-up questions were answered cheerfully by Goya who told me that he's currently focusing on shows and when he was ready he will turn to the streaming largesse. That's a big bag I teased Goya.
"If you say so" he replied laughing "I have a deal with Sony and I know the money is there somewhere."
Goya is set to release a new single 'Grace' featuring Lade on 25th August 2022 and I asked him how he handles the pressure of the expectations to create a song that measures up to the success of 'Ameno Amapiano', and his answer was simple.
" 'Ameno Amapiano' is my song and people can't expect me to be competing with my song," he said. "I owe the success of 'Ameno Amapiano' to God and it's he who will decide the song that will top it. My job is to keep working hard and putting out music when I'm convinced it's the right time."
At the forthcoming 2022 Headies Awards, Goya's 'Ameno Amapiano' got a nomination for Best Street Hop and I asked him if this was his first nomination and if he was looking forward to the award. Goya isn't one to despise his humble beginning and he tells me he has won an award for a rap collaboration with Erigga back in the University.
"I will be going to the US soon and I will be there waiting for the Headies before they arrive," he says laughing.
Before the interview ended, Goya Menor was kind enough to teach me how to say the electrifying intro to his global hit. I made a mess of the pronunciation of the Benin dialect which had Goya in stitches. After delivering a superstar shout-out to his fans, the interview ended and Goya Menor returned to entertaining the world with his special talent.
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