A Nigerian music icon, Fela Kuti, describes music as a spiritual thing that should not be played with. According to him, the high forces gave us the gift of music and it must be used for the gift of humanity.
As stated by HistoryWorld, music hides toward the edges of regular life. Empty items make notes when struck. Reeds and bamboos and shells cry and groan when one blows into them (and at times notwithstanding when the wind does). Anything extended tight goes twang when collected – an irresistibly well-known sound once seekers have bows and bolts (from around 15,000 years back). Also, the human voice has a delightful capacity to go all over voluntarily.
Music is currently made all over the world. American music, Latin music, Irish music, British music and so much more.
Nigerian music, on the other hand, is currently fast growing; CNBC Africa named the Nigerian music industry as the most dominant in Africa. It stated:
The industry produces over 550 albums of different kinds of music annually, record sales have more than tripled in the past five years and industry stakeholders have projected that the country’s entertainment industry would hit one billion dollars by 2016.
According to jaguda.com, for each big artists in Nigeria, there are potentially a million other obscure yearning Nigerian artists. This statement is very true, as there are so many good Nigerian underground artists that so many people have not heard about.
Osarumen Osamuyi, a sound designer, and synth programmer in Nigeria said:
An underground artiste in Nigeria (and really anywhere) is a musician or any other creative whose music caters to a very niche audience initially. That is, a small, very dedicated fan base who aggressively promotes said artistes cause until major players in the music space notice the person.
After this happens, the artiste often has to make changes to their sound to appeal to a larger demographic, and this is when they are said to have ‘gone mainstream’ or ‘commercialized’.
Based on the above definition of an ‘underground’ artiste, I will be sharing the 5 Nigerian ‘underground’ artists that I discovered on SoundCloud.
Falanamusic was raised by Nigerian parents in Brampton, Canada, Falana’s sound began falling together in her home. Despite describing her parents as “non-musical”, they introduced her to the sounds of Fela Kuti, and King Sunny Adé. Noting pop’s prevalence at the time, she recalls writing love songs in the “traditional pop” style that she often heard on the radio. But it was upon listening to Lauryn Hill that her powerful and honest writing style really began to take form. As she got into high school, her musical tastes expanded. Sade, Maxwell, Amy Winehouse and Erykah Badu were added to her playlists alongside Nina Simone, Etta James, and Duke Ellington.
Muyiwà Bodun Akhigbe
Lindsey Abudei‘s cover of Fela Kuti’s Trouble Sleep Yanga Go Wake Am song was a soundtrack in an episode of Gidi Up, a Nigerian series created by Ndani Tv. The Nigerian singer and songwriter was born February 6,1987, is said to be one of the few artists in the music scene,who has taken a turn away from the most popular genre(s) and has found her own in a genre she tags as Neo Soul/Alternative.
Dami Onuri is currently Signed to Chase Music which is a Record Label founded by Jinmi Abduls. Dami says that her music style is RnB or Afro RnB but is also looking into exploring other genres of music like Alternative. She added:
Music is a way of life for me and I’d love to share my music and different sounds with people, I just want my music to put smiles on people’s faces, brighten up their days and bring tears of joy if possible.
In addition to exploring other genres of music, Osamuyi talked about how important networking is for an underground artist:
If you’d asked me 3-4 years ago, I’d have said the artists should work on their craft, but that’s not as important. The most important thing is to build a strong network. Talent will only take you very far.
Consistency and a smart distribution strategy (through that network) will do the trick. It helps to have patience because most people don’t make the underground-to-mainstream transition in anything less than 6-7 years. If they’re lucky.