How Davido, Olamide And Wizkid Are Breaking Boundaries And Rewriting Rules


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Three of the most successful pop
stars today are not exactly self-made
men. But they’ve done it their way. How do you make it big in the
Nigerian music scene? Forget what
you heard, there’s no blueprint. But
how do you stay on top once you’ve
gotten there? How do you smash
walls and scale fences and grab prizes? How do you remain relevant
and powerful? How do you move
you brand from back streets to
mainstream; from local to national,
continental and global? Wizkid would
know a thing or two, what with his rising international profile fuelled by
a dozen and one collabos, sold-out
concerts and the likelihood he’s now
waiting to grab a Grammy
nomination, at the very least? The
former EME singer has always wanted this. From being a studio rat, to gig and
label hopping, before eventually
settling at Banky W’s EME. He left EME when it didn’t make sense
to many, stayed put in England and
the US when he was wanted back
home, he worked like a slave – from
cars, from hotels, from airport
lounges, from back stages, from anywhere, making the music that’s
now taking him global. Wizkid wanted it badly. And he went against every rule in the
book – breaking PR rules, switching
sounds, and managers and agents,
and using drama and controversies
to create the image he wanted. Wizkid had a mind of his own;
bordering on stubborn and naughty. And it’s worked surprisingly well for
him.

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Olamide, Wizkid & Davido Performs
On Stage At Star Trek Davido is not
anywhere close to where Wiz is
currently chilling. But pundits say it’s
only a matter of time before he gets
the break. He’s friend-turned- foe- turned-friend with Wizkid, and one of
the few African pop stars Europe and
America are likely to embrace. But while he’s yet to hack the outside
formula, he remains a powerful force
back home, sitting comfortably at top
5 in terms of earnings, hits,
patronage and popularity. Many say the big risk for Wizkid, as he
continues to shine abroad, is that he
could lose the local Nigerian market
to rivals like Davido if those remain
grounded here. Olamide is yet to show any signs of
going global, and pundits say he
stands a thin chance, because of his
preferred language, Yoruba. But, in a country of almost 200 million
people, Wizkid and Davido will work
hard to outshine Olamide anywhere
in Nigeria . You agree? Olamide has used his
struggle on the streets of Lagos,
juxtaposed against his dreams of a
better life to build stories millions of
consumers can relate with. He’s used a clever strategy: the irony
of lyrical braggadocio and physical
humility, to win everyone: fans, critics,
executives, even the media. Most importantly, unlike Wizkid and
Davido, Olamide has in about a year,
proven he’s a leader to watch, by
pushing two of his label acts to super
star status. Lil’ Kesh (who has now left the label,
with Olamide’s blessings) and
Adekunle Gold are the only Artiste-
led label acts to make it big in recent
times. And just like Banky W, Olamide pulled
all the strings, putting his own career
on the line, to make it happen. The music scene is desperately in
need of direction, with many asking:
what’s next? That answer will
depend on what these three do next.
And everyone’s watching.