Every year has its own flavour, its own style, its own highs, its own lows! I mean, this is the year that saw us lose so many interesting names in showbiz. How do you measure which loss was the hardest? How do you quantify losing Patrick Swayze for example? How many tears do you shed for Brittany Murphy? What do you do to effectively mourn Farah Fawcett? And where do you start to say goodbye to Michael Jackson?
And, is it me, or is the way we absorb and appreciate music, changing? I personally blame it on the internet, technology, reality shows, and the general fast pace the world is now moving at! I mean, think about it, with information at our fingertips, reality shows churning out talented and non-talented contestants, and with technology making it easier for everything to b done, and the internet making it easy to distribute said material, isn’t it more difficult to build a more consistent, and more fanatical fan base?
One day we are listening to Kid Cudi, then its Drake, then its, Jason, then...
And here in Nigeria, just as we are getting used to J Martins, there is Jah Bless, Jay won, Ja Mix...
I therefore think, for you to be hold the audience’s attention the way music is going, you must be very talented or very talentless, branded, distributed, and prayerful!!!
Music enjoyed a lot of quality in 2009! SO many artistes struggled to be heard. See, in showbiz, you have to be an extreme. For movies, be beautiful or ugly, but not in-between. And in music, be really good or really bad. Anything else, anything average, gets you tossed! When they were good, they were really good! But when they sucked... or my!
Another plus for music this year was that it became more about the actual talent and maybe some packaging, and not the looks. Something music had suffered from in the past. This was the year of the short black boys, the plump fashionistas (Beth Ditto anybody?), and the little face that didn’t matter (SuBo!)
And in Nigeria, while Naija Pop became more entrenched (thanks to K Solo and Terry G), more genres were explored! We actually gave people like Ibiyemi, Nikki Laoye and more, a fighting chance. And boy did they fight!
So, when all is said and done (and more is said than done), which artistes, producers and songs caught our attention in 2009? And which artistes are on the fringe and should be anticipated in the year to come?
We bring you 5ve of the best ladies and gentlemen! Enjoy!
SPEECHgirl’s Artistes of 2009.
- Wande Coal
We may not have official sales figures yet, but it would be hard to contest that Wande Coal dropped one of the biggest and best selling albums of 2009 in Nigeria. And it was not just that he dropped the album and people loved and bought it, it was also that, it really was a good album! You could say it was a BUMPER package, that made you want to SOPE TIE and go BANANAS, while asking, SHEY NA LIKE DIS WE GO DEY DEY? Abeg o! Its not a TABOO to like an album o!
Might not love all the songs equally, but doubt there is one song on that album i didn’t enjoy
If you were to move on from the album itself, there was also, all those performances, and appreances! Every show had to have Wande on its flier, and the biggest shows had him performing!
And then there were the interviews on television, radio (not Top Radio yet sadly), Magazines and Newspapers!
Wande Coal deserves a yes boss this year mehn!
His album was released in December 2008, but it might as well have been released this year because the impact was felt all year round!
With ‘SAFE’, M.I secured himself generous air play, and then continued to keep it with ‘Teaser’, ‘Area’, ‘Anoti’, ‘Fast Money Fast Cars’, ‘Money’ and ‘Jehovah’. By the way, ‘Jehovah is on that very short list of songs for and about God that do not sound like tokens.
As if the album itself was not enough, M.I had so many collabos this year, that it was sometimes impossible to listen to some songs without M.I speaking, rapping, singing, or producing!
Omo Naija, Love, Know, Heaven Please, Rock Me, Ile, Sitting on the Rooftop, Must Be....
These were just some of the song titles that had M.I on them!
Performance wise, M.I was a firm favourite. And the good thing about M.I was that you could see him on big stages like the Arthur Guiness concert, and then on smaller more intimate stages, like at Swe (HipHop Love) and more.
M.I hosted one or two shows, including Henessy Artistry and Dynamix All Youth Awards, and was a big winner at award shows himself! From mainstream awards, to niche ones, he was a fixture on the nominations list, winning a few.
If there is one advantage Kel has over her peers, it is that she is simply, one of the hardest working females in the music industry.
I dare you to dispute that!
Before the album dropped, Kel had been this not yet well known artiste, rapping her way to the limelight. Then there was THAT video, for THAT song...
Does one hit single make a career? Vanilla Ice would probably say no. I daresay if Kel had sat on her sexy behind, and rested on her oars, she probably would have been just another artiste!
But no o!
Featured on shows like Advance Warning.
Performed some more
And in 2009, she took that that up a few notches
With performances at shows like MTV ZAIN Road to MAMA’s concert, nominations for awards like Hip Hop World and MAMA’s (plus a surprise nomination as upcoming actress for Best of Nollywood Awards), videos for some singles like ‘Too Fine’, interviews on radio, television and print, appearances at events and television shows like ‘Celebrity Takes Two’, and a well-received album, Kel was everywhere, and i daresay, not in that annoying ‘but what does she do’ way.
Female artistes in Nigeria might still have to unfairly depend on being tokens, also-rans and mentions, but Kel is playing right up there with the big boys!
Another hardworking person who combines grit with a lot of talent!
We first saw Omawumi on a reality show where she sang and performed her heart out, and she became a cult favourite. But could she translate that into more?
I think the answer to that is a resounding YES!
Her album might only have come out towards the end of the year, but we saw and heard her all year long!
The video for ‘In The Music’ kept her single on air consistently, and we got introduced to the other singles one show at a time. I remember watching her at Thank God its Thursday and seeing people give a nod of approval. Diva they said, but in a respectful way, with a lot of awe and love.
Omawumi won a car at the Hip Hop World awards, for a category reserved for artistes without albums but with a presence. And that’s saying something!
She also had interviews and appearances locked down, with her humour and down to earth nature winning her more hearts per day!
By the time the second video (for TODAY NA TODAY) and the album came out, she had well and truly secured her place in our hearts, and was now confirming why!
- Rooftop M.C’s
One is calm, the other is... well the other is... well, you see.
One is now a proud dad, the other is... well, not? Yet?
One stands on stage and performs there, while the other... well.. the other.. you see... Really? You SEE him? Cos he is on the ceiling somewhere o!
Speak with the ROOFTOP M.C’s and you will never ask how they manage so well when on the surface, they are so different. It becomes clear there is a lot of mutual respect and understanding, plus just two sides of madness... sorry, creativity!
In a country where people put Gospel as a genre of music as opposed to a message, and where said Gospel then takes a back seat to everything else, Rooftop M.Cs is one gospel group that has gone mainstream.
Their songs interviews, nominations, awards and videos are not saved for only Sunday mornings or gospel categories, and they can be seen performing (swinging from speaker to speaker) at some of the mainstream shows.
What makes this even more interesting is that their album hasn’t even been released yet!
We wait with bated breath to see what 2010 will bring!!!
SPEEChgirl’s Producers of 2009.
- Don Jazzy (again?!)
- Terry G
- J Martins
- K Solo
- Knighthouse/Cobhams/Rhycthus Era/Suspect/Dr Frabz
SPEEChgirl’s Most Loved Songs of 2009.
- Practically every song on Wande Coal’s album
I mean, how am i meant to choose between BUMPER TO BUMPER, TABOO, SOPE TIE, YOU BAD, SHEY NA LIKE THIS, WHO BORN THE MAGA, KISS YOUR HANDS... Gerrit?
- Strong Thing
Thank you Mr. W for showing how a song is written. Thank you Mr. Capable for showing you are not only a capable singer, but a very capable writer. Thank you Mr. W for having a name that rhymes with ‘trouble you’.
- Igboro ti Daru
Klever J combines the Naija Pop sound, with a message about dancing, singing, partying, letting go and not caring!
- The Finest
Knighthouse will have a fantastic mixed tape... i am telling you in advance. The finest features Sauce Kid (you should follow him on twitter for his total randomness), Teeto (aka, please perform with your teeshirt off!), Mo Cheddah (hip Hop Princess/The voice that rocked the world) and has a beyond catchy hook! Beri jo!
- Yori Yori
My guys, Bracket, somehow found a song that is.. a song! When a song can be played at weddings, on radio, at clubs, and in a car, then it is a song. And if this song doesn’t win awards next year, i’ll start an awards show!
SPEECHgirl’s Artistes to Listen Out for In 2010
- Timi Dakolo
Now that the shackles of winning a reality show are no longer on his feet, Timi Dakolo is ready to deliver!
Timi will make you cry when he sings ‘Cry’, will make you beg when ‘Heaven Please’ comes on air, and help you fall in love with ‘Everytime / I love you’.
The thing i heart about Timi, is the simple simple fact that he does not need half-clad dancers, a choreography, an amplifier.... Timi’s voice was created on a special day i swear!
I can’t wait for that album, and to see him at more shows!
Some know them as a production outfit, or as the winners of TEAM OF THE YEAR Future Awards 2008. Others know them as the producers of 2010’s must-have album!
Why wouldn’t you want an album that has Sauce Kid, Teeto, eL Dee, Rooftop M.C’s, Mo Cheddah, M.I, Kel, Terry tha Rapman, Ill Bliss, Ayeesha, Othello... with skits by everyone, including some girl with 5ve or so personas?
‘Purple’! ‘Hate’! ‘The Finest’! ‘We are Number One’! ‘Ijinle Pam Pam’!
Need i say more?
- Bez Idakula
I hate comparisms, and the writers and presenters and people that compare one artiste with the other.
So i hate myself in advance for saying Nigeria has a John Mayer, and the male artistes now have their own asa!
O how annoying that i did that.
Forgive me, i just needed to be able to explain the genius that is Bez.
Listen out for ‘Zuchiya Daya’ and ‘Stop Pretending’ on radio stations, but look out for him at the next show... and especially at Taruwa!
If banky stops singing, he can sit in his office and count his money for one big gift that makes you money is being a talent spotter!
Banky W, Osagie Osarenkhoe and Segun Demuren spot talent, and grab it!
So please, listen out for S.K.A.L.E.S and Whiz Kid, and of course, the first E.M.E signed artiste- Banky W!
Look, we s.h.a.r.e the same body! If i didn’t put her name on this list, i would have to pay!
On the real though, Miss CON.tra.diction has been rising, falling, rising, stumbling, rising and falling for a while now, but it now seems she is ready to stand again! Or so she says in her new single, ‘DREAMS’.
Catch her at a venue near you in 2010!
SPEECHgirl Special Mentions
Thank you 2009 for the music! O the music rocked! Everyone from Darey to Terry G brought their A Game, however they interpreted it! Loved the drama (Kelly Hansome .v. Mo Hits, AY.Com .v. Terry G, Timaya .v. well, Timaya, etc), loved that when the music was good it was good, and when it was bad, well, it was...
Here is to 2010!