Different artistes get to their points of a breakthrough at different stages of their careers. For some, they got popular from the onset. With some others, they had to toil day and night for scores of years to attain the feats that hunted them in their dreams.
Let’s put Rema into consideration. As of 2018, not many people knew there was a struggling teenage boy somewhere in the city of Benin in south-southern Nigeria that went by that name. At the time, he was just Divine Ikubor – the kid who was different from his peers in dress sense and mode of reasoning. He was most times seen with his equally different friend, Princewill Emmanuel (Alpha P) and both of them would spend hours, rapping in a tone very similar to that of the international pop sensation, Akon, and working on their lyrical and vocal powers.
But it’s a different story today. The names ‘Rema’ and ‘Alpha P’ have become very popular ones in the country and abroad. In just one year, these “Niger-Delta boys” have become global acts, taking over the industry, one step after another. People tie their success to them getting signed by big music labels which are true to a great extent, but at the same time, I hold the belief that what will be will be – record deal or no record deal.
1. Omah Lay
Take, for example, Omah Lay. Omah Lay was only a Port Harcourt songwriter and producer until he decided to stop helping others becoming stars while he played the background. He recorded ‘You’ and pushed it out. It didn’t gather numbers, but the few who listened to it loved it. Unlike Rema, Omah’s big break didn’t come because he got signed to a big label. KeyQaad was a rather struggling label as at when they signed a deal with Lay. However, after dropping his debut body of work titled Get Layd, this sex-centred extended play shot him into the limelight.
The year is not over yet, but Omah has recorded so many feats in his career, one of which is him being on a song with big names in Afro-Pop including Wizkid and Adekunle Gold. In 2021, we will see this champ sealing his space in the industry with more oomph works from him.
Scratch’s superpower is how he is able to utilize his baritone-themed vocals and apply it softly on Afro sounds like spread on bread. This is made obvious in his latest project with Oxlade (another vocal monster [the good kind of monster]) titled Plenty Lovin’. Scratch is predicted to be a force to reckon with in the Alté movement, give a few years.
3. YANG 21
“Pop vibe with some soul”, Yang is an Afrofusion/Afropop singer. His lyrical dexterity is something not many artistes (up-and-coming and established) can boast of having. With his debut EP titled Goosebumps, he showed the world how versatile he is with urban African sounds and how much of a lover boy he could be.
With a voice as his and a brain that formulates the best love pop lines, his talent is one any average young man would kill for as those two abilities seem to be the magic needed to woo the female folk. In his latest project, YANG 21 helps answer a question that lingers in the heart of undoubtedly every single young man in present-day Africa, What Do Girls Want?. He collaborated with super talented kid rapper, Lil O’self to make that EP a reality and it has been doing very well with numbers since its release.
Adelusola Ebenezer (popular, Olakira) never believed his In My Maserati would become a nationwide anthem. All he did was his usual songwriting and recording process, and nothing more.
“I always put the very best in everything that inspires me especially when making music ‘In My Maserati’ was not an exception. I think all musicians are hopeful of recognition with every release, it’s never part of the plan for release to go unnoticed.”
“Grateful to God Almighty and every lover of good music worldwide for accepting & appreciating hard work. The massive love worldwide within 4 weeks of release bursts my brain though,” he had said to Motolani Alake of Pulse NG.
There’s no stopping for this star and he is proof that hard work plays a massive role in attaining success.
“I wanna be a legend in my country” is a line off Orin, a single he did with T Classic in 2019 and YungAce is really on the part of making that statement a reality. YungAce is fast building himself a strong fan base and social media presence, and this tripled after his song with Oxlade titled Fall. He seized every opportunity that showed up at his doorstep this year and we can’t wait to see his manifestations in the future.
So regardless of the fact that the point of breakthrough came at different stages in their careers, one thing is similar to all the five stories aforementioned – readiness. These acts already had the skill set needed to become big names and were ready for greatness. All that was left was time and chance, and 2020 has provided them with those.
All that’s left is for them to shine and they are doing just that, in their own spaces and at their own paces.