In the Nigerian music industry, anything can be sold as far as there is a proper structure in place to market it, and the publicity for it is tight.
There is no denying the fact that there are people in the industry right now who are so far below in the ‘talent’ conversation when it comes to making great music but who enjoys the fame and the goodies of the industry while there are those who have the talent but can’t seem to find their feet.
Time and time again, we come to see artists who sing songs we can’t even catch ourselves listening to on a regular day start building a fanbase, and then the topic of promoting mediocrity starts amongst other issues addressed as to why talents are shunned but mediocrity is promoted.
One thing that is obvious in all of these cases is that Nigerians just want to be entertained. Sometimes, it is not about the good lyrics or mind-blowing beats. It can also be that people just want to ‘catch cruise’ as they call it these days and the artists considered to be mediocre give them that.
A perfect case study for this is the fast-rising Nigerian singer, Portable, the Zazoo Zeh crooner who became popular by making Instagram videos of him freestyling to beats and repeating ‘Zazoo Zeh’ throughout his freestyle.
Portable gradually built a small fanbase on Instagram and eventually got discovered, prompting a collaboration with Olamide, one of Nigeria’s top indigenous rappers.
Watch the video of Portable’s Zazoo Zeh with Olamide and Pocolee below.
So far, Portable is on the mainstream radar, but the valid question is for how long?
As valid as that question is, one cannot just simply reach a conclusion and answer the question but looking at the singer’s personality, his type of music, and how he’s been managed, one can assume that he is a one-time hit artist and his fame might not last long.
Nonetheless, there are artists who have been assumed might not last long in the industry but are still here and doing good for themselves. Looking at the things they did to stay relevant and remain in the spotlight, here are things we think Portable can also imitate to remain relevant and in the spotlight.
When Portable is mentioned anywhere right now, the only thing people can say about him is ‘na me get zazoo.’ Slangs however get old, but consistent efforts at creating never does.
The argument with everyone now is that he would wear out in about 18-24 months, but the only way he can prove everybody wrong is to continue creating and releasing new songs.
Properly leveraging on the fame he has right now can help him get people to continue listening to his songs, should he decide to release more and not milk ‘Zazoo’ till the well runs dry.
Stay away from controversies
Some people will tell you that ‘no publicity is bad publicity’ but what they never tell you is that there should be a limit to how you get involved in controversies. In the actual sense of it, there are some that are hard to recover from.
Portable seems like someone who enjoys controversies or who is not skilled enough to avoid them, and this might be good or bad for him depending on how it is used to favor him.
There are budding artists who got hit with controversy or two and their career ended there, and with the way Portable behaves in shows, with people close to him, and even on social media, that fate might be unavoidable for him.
Get a good management
The advantage of good management for an artist cannot be overemphasized.
Even with a proper understanding of the music business, artists all over the world still use a management company simply because it is better to have a professional run the show than just moving around aimlessly.
If not for anything at all, a good management company will look into his everyday activities, schedule them, and monitor what gets out to the media and what doesn’t. For an artist like Portable, that is a big step towards staying in the spotlight without issues.
Focus on a specific fanbase
Every artist has a unique personality that people like to see, and most of the time artists fade out because they focus so much on pleasing fans who are not within their target range.
For Portable, this might be a challenge as demands for him to make other songs apart from ‘street songs’ will come and if he is not careful enough, he might try it and lose those fans as well as those who he already built.
Get a proper PR team
With a proper PR team, you can sell anything, and with a proper PR team, you can sell what people don’t even expect can be sold.
This has been proven with Portable’s collaboration with Olamide on Zazoo Zeh gaining traction across all streaming platforms and doing great numbers. It has been proven in the case of several other artists alike.
With a proper PR team, Portable can build a brand around his personality that people will come to accept.
Staying relevant and in the spotlight in the Nigerian music industry can be a difficult task to handle, especially because there are many aiming for fame in the industry. Mapping out strategies and building a proper structure, however, can be the beginning to the solution of that problem.