Tekno Miles: Why 'cancelling' him in 2019 is allowed
There was a time when Tekno Miles' releases were anticipated and his music echoed from North to South, but all that now seems to be in the past, a relic of a once golden moment.
One ritual that has become a part of my writing career is my wish-list of expectations from the music industry at the start of every year, which includes albums that have been reckoned for release.
In 2018, I made a list of albums I was expecting including that of singer Tekno Miles. While he was not the only one who failed to deliver within the year, his was a notable miss for certain reasons; more especially because he had in the year before announced his album title and even announced a change in the title.
At this start of this year, another list was created and again, despite a number of critics expressing cynicism, I included him on the list, but that was done halfheartedly rather than with sincere expectations as I now agree that it is perhaps time we neglect him from the conversations of artists that would bring anything great to the soundscape.
In 2016, I was on my way to Benin City for an assignment, so I had booked one of those well-conditioned GIG buses that had screens to keep you occupied all through the journey.
Midway in and the driver slotted in a selection of Nigerian videos, and while passengers tiredly sang along in bits to a number of the popular videos that were played, nothing prepared me for the noise and mushiness that was to play out the moment Tekno's 'Pana' came through the speakers.
Majority of the passengers, those well awake and even the ones sleepy-eyed all join in chorusing, ''Baby Pana'' and holding pockets of conversations about his music long after the song had ended.
In that minute, one couldn't help but again appreciate how powerful the artist can be and why you see people faint at concerts at the sight of their idols, but that like they say is a topic for another day.
Close to six years ago, we were introduced to the clearly talented voice of the 20-year-old Augustine Miles Kelechi, better known as Tekno on the single, 'Holiday'.
Even though he had the song 'Onye Ne Kwu' and a number of covers out already, it was 'Holiday' featuring Davido who was a rising star at the time that helped his climb to fame.
The single reminded music lovers on different levels of a young Wizkid on his debut single, 'Holla At Your Boy', 'Holiday' was a pure vibe, a good stage for his vocals, dexterity and talent to come forth.
His pop reputation won him a legion of fans as people were instantly attracted to his creative persona and fluid style.
2013 was the moment when he started to break beyond the ceiling and took a major step into the upper echelon of pop music leading to his nomination in the 'Best New Act' category at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards.
Not too long after, the young star got signed to Made Men Music Group in October 2013 and began churning out back to back hits, both on his own and other times with a featured guest with 'Duro' released in 2015 becoming a number one single, one that ultimately shaped the concept of his sound.
"I found my sound: connecting with the ladies. It's more love songs now than anything else" he told Billboard in a 2017 interview.
Keeping to his words, he followed it up with more singles like 'Maria', 'Wash', 'Pana', 'Diana' with the conscious 'Rara' finding its way occasionally.
He was soon referred to as the 'third force', the next in line to Davido and Wizkid who were conquering not just Africa but taking their music to the global stage. He was the one I ran to once in a while when I needed to listen to something not too serious and definitely not rap.
He was the one I tipped to actually be better than the other duo, framed as the next pop idol, ticking every trademark accessories box; young, smooth vocals, had the looks and was blessed with the dance moves.
But all that has faded away, while the others have soared, he has become noticeably 'lost'. His perceived laziness has allowed many other third forces to emerge, now instead of contending with two, he has the likes of Kizz Daniel and more added to the list.
In 2017, following the emergence of images of himself in the studio alongside Drake and his deal with the international label Columbia Records for the single 'Pana', the year he also got nominated in the BET ''Best International Act' category, Billboard published an article titled ''Will Tekno Be the Next Nigerian Pop Star to Break In North America?''
In the piece, they opined that ''Tekno's connection with Columbia is the latest step forward in an inch-by-inch acknowledgement of the commercial viability of Nigerian pop in the U.S.''
That was also the year he inspired Davido's global domination with his production on the smash single, 'If.'
He also announced deals with Sony Music and Universal Music Group, Island Records, which happened in 2018.
From 2013 to 2017, Tekno reveled under the adoration of his fans, mostly females as well as enjoying incredible musical success both within and outside the country.
From needlessly joining the Davido vs Wizkid beef which was later settled to calling out the organizers of the Headies , his career has not been short of controversies.
In 2018, Tekno released the single, 'Jogodo,' but its success was overshadowed by allegations of copyright theft by the Danfo Drivers, which eventually saw the song fizzling out faster than it should.
With his authenticity further questioned with his involvement in Ciara's single 'Freak Me', which contained reportedly uncleared samples of Tiwa Savage's song, 'Before Nko.'
Chart position has always marked, especially in the last decade, a sign of an artist’s positional power, that is why Davido came back home in 2017 to prove to his international label that he had the numbers to renegotiate his deal, likewise Wiz the following year.
But since 2018, the sweetly addictive bangers from the Slim Daddy has largely ceased with only his social media presence providing some of his best moments in the year.
His Instagram page is a reminder that he is still one of the cool pop kids, with the comical visuals, dance moves and charming sense of humor that cuts the character of someone who never takes himself too seriously.
It was also the year he cracked his voice, supposedly from touring the continent, and couldn't hit the stages like his contemporaries during Detty December.
There is some kind of transition expected at some point into the serious creative artist territory and that may have informed his announcement of his indie platform, CARTEL early this year, while also releasing his new single, 'Woman' which took a slightly different route, celebrating rather than objectifying, but he somehow ends up at the same point where he is not really saying anything motivating.
But many are still of the opinion that he has failed to fully take advantage of the buzz, and fear he may in time be falling into irrelevancy.
Why cancelling Tekno Miles at this point makes sense
For all his moves, endorsements and affiliations to different labels, the question his fans continue to ask him is, where is the album?
Six years since he scored his first hit and Tekno unlike those he is competing with cannot boast of a solo body of work to his name.
While the streaming era may have watered down the importance of albums, it's symbolism remains intact. Albums define an era, albums seals legacies and act as reference points to the growth and story of the artist.
More so, he has struggled to show real sign of growth and maturity in his music.
Another of his major shortcoming over the past years has to do with his lyrics, which has been a constant topic of conversation on social media in the past. While he has the melodies and makes hit singles seamlessly, the question of 'What exactly is he saying?' has been raised overtime
Again, there is that vacuum waiting to be filled, especially as the global eye is on Nigerian music, now more than ever, but that golden flame that he once carried seems to have waned into bronze, the music has trailed into the unanimous path and only few look forward to his songs excitedly these days.
All hope is, however, not lost in Tekno, I wish he somehow reads this and goes ahead to shut me up.
He could easily go ahead and prove me wrong this year with a mind-blowing body of work, but for now, it doesn't seem like he takes his music career that seriously, his Instagram videos show that he is doing just fine, so I guess it is quite fine for me to also move on and pay more attention to those who truly matter and are willing to put in the work.
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