Sorry great singers of Nigeria. Singing is no longer a talent in this country.
This is a bold declaration to make. It is not supported by hard facts (we don’t even make toothpicks in this country), neither can we back that up with numbers and statistics. But we have on hand knowledge generated by years of experience in the music industry.
Music all over the world has one very essential musical instrument which everyone has in his/her possession – the human voice. Every human being is born with a voice which has a specific signature voice type or vocal range. That’s why no two voices are alike. Due to our societies definition of music, voices are classified either as ‘sweet’ (melodious) or not, and like most motor skills, singing can be learned and practiced to improved states.
In Nigeria, the voice has long been regarded as a crucial tool for music making. People with melodious voices are called ‘talented’, and are urged to take up a career in music. The society and the media correctly glorifies this and that has formed the basis for reality TV shows from Project Fame, to Nigerian Idol, to X-Factor.
But that is changing. The past decade and a half has seen the music creation process become diversified and easier, with technology playing a major role in this process. The insistence on pop musicians requiring a voice to become commercially viable are gone. Auto-tune became a needed finishing tool for music, and a brand of amazing, post-production finished vocal artistes invaded pop music as singers. See D’banj, Kcee, and half of your biggest stars in Nigeria. They don’t need to sing to be called singers. They have technology to partner with their vocal chords.
In the mainstream industry, the ability to sing makes a very minute part of the factors needed to project a star. Davido cannot sing to save his life. But his songs rule the charts every year. This is a man who is blessed with a raspy voice. But he is one of Nigeria’s biggest stars.
If singing is no longer a requirement to make music and be successful, what is? Money.
The Nigerian entertainment industry is wired, propped and prepped by money. Everything cost money, from transportation, to recording, to branding, to promotion. Everything has to involve the exchange of money becomes it comes at a cost.
But then, that isn’t to say pop acts don’t need to sing. Without a good voice, your music will be limited and you will be unable to perform on certain stages with a live band without music. The DJ can’t save you forever.
But you never can tell. Money helps that too. See more celebrity gossip below.