You rarely see it. You seldom get an inkling of it, but the Nigerian music industry is a jungle where everyone eats everyone, and the battle to be ahead is fierce and many times, personal.
Music producer, Melvin Alli-Owe better known by his stage name, Melvitto has poured his heart out on Twitter, detailing how his career has been full of being burned by the biggest artistes in the country.
His revelations, which are gripping and sad, show the often-hushed reality of the music industry that never gets reported or covered by the media. Here he claims to have had his work used without credit, snubbed by Wizkid, Tekno and Iyanya.
You can read a transcript of it below:
“I remember when people didn't want to work with me cause my beats weren't "African" enough, now everybody wanna use xylophone and marimbas in their beats.
I remember when people used to say awon boyz were serious, always have critique but never solutions then commas got on fader and everybody wanted to know how that happened.
I remember all the times we opened up for free and we ain't even get to meet the headliner and all the times we shut the show down before they got on stage.
I remember all the times people wanted to "build" something special and really only looked out for themselves.
I remember the time we opened for Wiz, they told us come to soundcheck, waited for three hours and didn't get a chance to soundcheck.
I remember the time I went to MMG house to get a verse from Iyanya and I waited in the studio for two hours for nobody to show.
I remember the time we went to Tekno's hotel to get a verse and we ended up carrying his luggage, dropping him off, no verse.
Shit just last week, I went to sleep finding out a beat of mine's ended up on Mr Eazi's album with someone else's tag or the time when I was in the studio with Wande till 8am recording and arranging "Iskaba" and I ain't get one "S/O to Mel".
Or the time when the work I did lead to a deal and I wasn't even invited to the signing. All the times we help so many people out and all the times they left us in the dust.
Notice how a'won boyz always have features but we never got featured... When you're good enough to help people but not good enough to feature and people always ask me why I don't act like I'm famous and that's because for me it's always been about the music.
Everybody wanna be famous and important so bad they forget how to be people.”
What Melvitto says is just one story. There are millions of personal stories of tears, sweat and blood that involves both disrespect, theft of content, lack of credits and many more.
How many lesser-known artistes, producers, songwriters and creatives have been burned in numerous ways?
When you scratch the underbelly of the industry and peer through all of that finery and razzmatazz, then you discover that underneath the parties and ostentatious display of wealth, there is pain and sorrow, which is a by-product of unregulated and unhealthy competition.
He is winning now. But his is just one story that ends with hope. Others don’t make through the underground. They lose their soul, motivation, and in many cases, their talent.