Have you ever wondered what it will take to be the best highlife musician in the world?
Have you stopped for a minute to think ‘bout all the awesome things you could say with a piece of music?
If you have an answer to any of these questions (”No” is an answer) then read on.
The Nigerian music scene is unarguably one of the most lucrative in the world and one of the highest money spinning industries in Nigeria (especially when the likes of MI have a projected income of N360m this year alone).
Gone are the days when we had to depend solely on the NTA to catch our favorite music videos (which weren’t much by the way). But these days, with the advent of Youtube, Vuclip, Iroking etc. it is now easier than ever to hit the limelight. (oshey PHCN)
As been the practice these few days, I have to explain a couple of terms for the uninitiated.
Nigerian Music Industry: The location around the Surulere local government of Lagos state which produces close to 2500 music singles daily. Notable for producing the likes of Wizkid (singer), OJB (producer) amongst others.
Nigerian Music Video: A short motion picture containing an artiste and sometimes dancers (in semi-dressed ladies wriggle around in careless abandon). The top four players in this industry include Clarence Peters, Clarence A Peters, CAPital and Capital Dreams Pictures. (get it?)
The East: This comprises of any part of Nigeria that is not North, West or Southern Nigeria. Or for those who failed Geography, anywhere after the Niger Bridge with plenty of breweries and red caps. The most dominant language is Igbo (Ibo) and the food of choice is fufu and ofe .
Highlife Music: Also known as Flavour in certain parts of Nigeria. This is the highest form of musical artistry anywhere in the world (yep far above, Rap, Fuji, Hip Hop and Rothmans&Benson). It is the marriage of several sonorous sounds to produce melody that is only fit for kings. I could go on, but I’ve made enough points already.
We move on.
It is not known exactly when highlife music started, but sources close to the top have it that highlife music started somewhere in Enugu when people needed to solicit favours from the Igwe (Obi in some parts) and needed a form of worship to soften the heart of the king. In time,it spread like wildfire across the Eastern and Southern parts of Nigeria before finnaly becoming a part and parcel of the present Nigerian society. In Nigeria currently, there are only two high life musicians; Flavour N’abania and the others.
So you see from my little home keeping above, highlife music is the next best thing (since an igbo girl’s afang soup), and in the following paragraphs I would give you insights to how you can become the next Flavour (and possibly get a glo endorsement). So get your writing pads and start taking notes.
Attach a noun to your body: (a noun is the name of a person, animal, place or thing. This is very important for you to easily be identified. You could go to France, drink a bottle of Coca Cola and then come up with a compound-complex name like Oliver De Coque (Now you know how that name came about), or you could just look at your younger sister Favour and add L to her name – Flavour.
If you’re done with that, move on to the next one.
Learn how to speak igbo (or know someone who speaks): This you cannot escape as the lingua franca of highlife music anywhere in the world, is Igbo – Oliver De Coque used it, Jim Rex Lawson used it, Osadebe used it, Flavour is using it – who are you not to use it? If you can’t speak igbo and you really need to start off your highlife career, I suggest you start by making friends with Igbo people; Delta Igbos aren’t included here.
Know your current affairs and history: Highlife music is a tradition that has been passed on from generations to generations. That is what sets it apart from other forms of musical artistry. For example, during the Nigerian “Fuel Subsidy” holidays, Flavour came up with “Nigeria Ebezina” and yea, with similar instrumentals to Chief Osita
Iheme Osadebe’s hit song “Ebezina”. So basically, master your current affairs, all your songs would emanate from there.
Know the names of prominent politicians and chiefs: If you do not know the name of any Eastern politician at this point, I suggest you kindly close this page and start your research. It is even stated that you must know how to praise your politicians, if you expect them to give back to you, afterall, the bible says, “Give and it shall be given unto you.” In highlife, you are either praising a politician or your praising your Igwe – at every point in time make sure you’re praising something.
Beats by Wizzy: Nope, not Wiz Khalifa, Wizzy F or Wizkid. I’m talking about the real Wiz… Wizboyy (yup, with two Y’s). If you hitherto had no plans of going to the masters, listen to Flavour’s “Ukwu featuring Storm Rex” (or so,)
Patent a signature phrase: When you hear someone shout say, “Onye o’lima!” What comes to mind? Flavour. When you hear, “Kprokotom! Kom kom” what comes to mind?
Kelly Hansome Flavour. So yea, as part of requirements for entry into the highlife circles, patent your call.
Always make references to Enugu: Or somewhere in the East even if you’ve stayed in Lagos all your life. Like every good thing in life, highlife music is consumed best at a beer parlour. These are the people that will make sure you’re in the good books of politicians.
dada dreadlocks: Like you don’t know this already? Did you see how Flavour’s music exploded when he started keeping those pseudo dreads? Like I’m a prophet, yesterday at the #BestOfLagos event, after an artiste was introduced as the only female mainstream highlife musician, guess what she was rocking? That’s right, Dreads.
I think I’ve said enough for one day already, so please when you finally make that BOLD step to become a highlife singer, don’t forget to mention my name in verse one – Nteoniro Bertram Ikuru (MD/CEO, The Niro family, Importer and exporter, Pure Water).
Until next time, stay winning.
Now move over to the comments section and drop a comment 🙂