MEGA Music Workshop 2013

On Wednesday, December 4, 2013, in spite of the busyness of Lagos life, some enthusiasts of Nigerian music gathered inside the well-appointed Prince Hall in Anthony Village area of Lagos, to explore pathways to greatness for those who are called to be musicians, singers and allied vocations.

Below is a three-part summary of the five-hour long discussion graciously facilitated by First Bank of Nigeria, and supported by Prince of Anthony Hotel.

Kindly go through and find your range within those thoughts. We are also working on getting the audio and/or visual material online for easy streaming and fuller grasp of all the perspectives. You shall receive further info on it ASAP.

Many thanks, as you join us in strengthening what we have so we can be what we ought.

Femi Akintunde-Johnson

Session One

Title: Composition and Production: Creating and Sustaining Eternal Music

CHAIRMAN/MODERATOR:Chairman of Session: Laolu Akins.
DISCUSSANTS: Ayo Bankole, Tolu Gaye, Temitayo Ibitoye and Uche Chikwendu
RACONTEUR: Emedolibe Ngozi

Laolu Akins opened the session by recognising that the workshop was timely, considering the interactive nature it has assumed, and the interesting topics it has chosen to treat. He explained that the process of making music in the world has changed due to technology, which has left a lot of artistes breaking into the trade without adequate training. According to him, training on how to use certain instruments for the musicians is important for anyone who wants his music to be eternal, harping on the fact that eternality of any song should form the major consideration of the musicians even before the song is recorded.

Ayo Bankole:
He opened his discussion by explaining to the audience that there was a gulf of difference between a classic song and a classical. To buttress his point he played three musical pieces by Yusuf Olatuji, Asa and 2Face to buttress what he meant by classics.

He listed the factors that point to a particular song as eternal to include:
· Presence of remixes or different versions of the song which he illustrated with Bob Marley’s song
· Seasonality, where songs are made to suit particular seasons or events
· Presence of style which he illustrated with Asa and 2Face
· Also ability to play a musical instrument, which he urged all music artistes to endeavor to learn in order to make lasting impressions.

Finally he tried to justify that eternality translates to more income for the artistes by relating how remixes earn incomes even after the original composers have passed on. This, he said by far outweighs the idea of making a hit and vanishing in a flash.

Tolu Gaye
Spoke from the perspective of a gospel artiste and literally limited her discussions to the goings-on in the gospel music sector, where she urged gospel artistes to sing to edify God and avoid the use of profanities in their works. She castigated the works of artistes in the gospel genre who in an attempt to appeal to the market introduce unedifying lines in the name of singing gospel. She maintained staying glued to the tenets of gospel song can make one’s song remain relevant far longer than normal.

Temitayo Ibitoye
Identified that most songs coming out do not have any message, and blamed it as a reflection of the society. This he said is the reason why some of the songs do not have any message. As a producer he said he has had to tell the artistes that their songs do not make any meaning because it lacked message.

He however heaped the blame on not only the artistes whom he accused of trying to make a hit in order to live a fancy life style that appeals to their teeming fans; but also on the media, which most times do not critique the works but dwell on the hype that make some of the artistes instant celebrities.

He also maintained that poetry has turned out a better message-driver than what some artistes are presently doing, meaning that efforts should be directed to the area of song writing.

Uche Chikwendu
Spoke philosophically and itemised the factors that lead to eternality of songs to:
· Purpose
· Process
· Perception

He explained that for a song to be eternal it must have value and that value of a song can also stem from the source. In Chikwendu’s views, the source of the song must be eternal for it to remain eternal.
Another factor he identified in achieving eternality in songs is originality, corroborating Ayo Bankole’s views.

- Prepared by Ngozi Emedolibe

Session Two

Topic: The Artiste As A Successful Brand: Fame, Faith & Fortune

DISCUSSANTS: Mr. Godson Ukaegbu and Mr. Mark Redguard
RACONTEUR: Tope Olukole

"Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:18–20

Paul encourages the Church at Ephesus to be ‘Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord’. Ephesians 5:19. Singings of hymns and spiritual songs have been customarily identified with Orthodox Churches. If the Word of the Lord is living, its potency and testimonies are evident in our day to day life, and then the instruction from Apostle Paul to the Ephesians is relevant now! That is to say, if every word of God is to be received, believed and acted upon, this particular exhortation is not to be neglected.

This session was opened by Ms Gloria Rhodes with a brief introduction of the topic for discussion, emphasizing on the need to know how to manage our brand in other to become successful as an artiste.

Godson Ukaegbu, Editor in-Chief, Mania Magazine and one of the discuss ants, in his presentation saw brand as a perception and medium for artiste. He opined that artiste messages rest greatly in his/her environment.

Suggested the following:
1. See yourself as a mirror of what you are doing
2. Have a standard for yourself
3. Put out faultless albums
4. Get a perfect synergy in both vocal and instrumentation of your album
5. Don’t underrate the power of the media
Mark Redguard, the American major gospel music label owner and MD of Spinlet (Nigeria’s top on-line music distributor), believed the artiste should have strong songs and know his/her target audience. And that many still struggle to identify themselves.

Suggested the following:
1. Good promotion.
2. Proper distribution network
3. Take your work round through platforms like facebook, twitter, youtube, etc.
4. Get a meaningful message with emotional connection
5. Good financial back up for public relations.
6. Don’t take your brand for granted.
7. Trade emotion with people to build your brand
8. Have a strong budget
9. Get a good fans club/base
10. Let your fans support your activities
11. Realize the importance of social media

It was agreed that we should project a good brand, in other to get good returns in term of fame, faith and fortune. "We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer." -- President J. Reuben Clark Jr., in Conference Report, Oct. 1936

- Prepared by Tope Olukole

Session Three

Topic: Developing a Business Consciousness In the Management of the Creative Process.

DISCUSSANTS: Mr. Olufemi Awoyemi and Mr. Mayo Ayilaran
RACONTEUR Mr. Remi Adelowo

The Report
At the third session with the topic ‘Developing a Business Consciousness of the Creative Process,’ Mr. Funmi Onabolu, the Group Managing Director of Cosse Ltd, who was the Chairman/Moderator, set the ball rolling by frowning at the absence of notable artistes whom the workshop was primarily intended for.

Straight to the business of the day, Onabolu began his speech which was delivered extempore by identifying vision, a well articulated plan and a good team, as the three basic fundamentals for any artiste to succeed in his or her career.

Dissecting vision as the ability to have a clear understanding of what an artiste intends to achieve in his career, Onabolu added that the second fundamental which is having a good plan, is basically about formulating good tactics and strategies on ways of achieving an artiste’s vision.

The marketing communications guru added that for the first two fundamentals to succeed, an artiste must put together a good management team comprising of ‘a damn good’ entertainment/intellectual property lawyer and a good accountant, who will be saddled with the responsibility of keeping tabs on the inflow and outflow of funds.

While harping on the need to be disciplined, Onabolu urged Nigerian artistes to show more restraint and moderation in their lifestyle choices. “I see everything wrong in an artiste who still basking in the euphoria of making some money after the release of an album, goes ahead and buys himself a Range Rover. It just does not add up,” Onabolu admonished.

To avoid indulging in extravagant lifestyles, the Cosse boss advised artistes to, among other things, receive a sound financial education; place him or herself on a salary; cultivate the habit of saving; learn how to invest and develop other streams of income. By putting all of these into practice, Onabolu said life after retirement will be a blissful one for an artiste.

Next to speak was Mr. Olufemi Awoyemi, the Managing Director of ProShare Nigeria Ltd. In his dissection of the Nigerian music industry, Awoyemi said Nigerian artistes are yet to have a full grasp of the environment in which they operate.

By having a clear understanding of the demography of his or her environment, Awoyemi noted, an artiste will be able to understand the needs and tastes of his fans and also consolidate on his or her fan base. Elaborating on this, Awoyemi said, "An artiste does not have to be heard everywhere to be successful. It all depends on having a target market and satisfying the needs and music preferences of that market."

While further expatiating on Onabolu’s advice that an artiste must receive a good financial education, Awoyemi said, “I think what our artistes need is not just financial education but having a good financial adviser who will be able to properly advise him on his spending." Finally, he called on artistes to employ the services of a publicist who will be in charge of media relations and image building.

Taking the last baton was Mr. Mayo Ayilaran, the Regional General Manager, MSCN, an international royalty collecting organisation. Ayilaran started off by taking potshots at most Nigerian artistes who he said "are just out to be heard on radio, watched on television or perform on stage without taking care of the other fundamentals that will guarantee success."

Against this backdrop, he advised artistes to "properly determine their worth and not be carried away by stipends thrown at them.” Ayilaran cited masked musician, Lagbaja, as one artiste who has successfully elevated his profile and worth by carefully considering where he goes and/or performs.

He recalled Lagbaja's grass to grace story: "The first major concert that Lagbaja performed, he was practically booed out of the stage. But he went back to the drawing board, and much later, people were paying heavily to watch him perform. That is the power of branding."

To address the present situation where most creative talents have failed to market their talents properly, Ayilaran advised Nigerian artistes and other allied professionals to seek counsel from professionals who will formulate a plan of action that will take into consideration the personal and professional lifestyle of the artiste. This plan, if well implemented, will catapult an artiste from obscurity to superstar status.

- Prepared by Remi Adelowo