In this post I’ll try and tell you some of the basic steps you need to take on your road to stardom as a musician. This is by no means a definite guide but rather a pointer to some of the proven steps you’ll need to take if you want to be noticed as a musician. One thing you have to put at the back of your mind is that music is an art form and no one style appeals to the general populace. That being said, I think it would be wise to warn you that making music can be extremely tedious and expensive in terms of your personal time and resources so please DO NOT USE FUNDS MEANT FOR VERY IMPORTANT ACTIVITIES TO FINANCE YOUR MUSIC CAREER. There are no guarantees in making music so please avoid spending your school fees or rent or money set aside for health purposes in making music. With that out of the way, I’ll jump straight to the first step.
Isn’t it obvious that to make music, as is with other art forms, you have to have at least the basic understanding of music itself? Do not kid yourself. Not every Tom, Dick and Harry can make music and to make music that will appeal to a wide range of listeners you need to have a solid grounding on the fundamentals. Get some education. There are a lot of schools that offer solid musical education in Nigeria, one of which is the Muson center in Lagos. Get enrolled and take advantage of their vast resources to better yourself as a musician. If that route doesn’t suit you, you could enroll with a church choir even if you do not get to sing always with them. You’ll benefit from the experience of older choristers. There are also private music coaches available to you if you so desire. If you have difficulties locating them you can leave a request on my contact form and I’ll respond with the contact details of some of the coaches I work with.
When you are sufficiently educated, you’ll need to have a song. This step is tricky and you’ll need to explore your strengths. Making a good song requires some experience. It is not enough that you have a few words strung up together, you need to have a certain knack for conveying emotions with words. After all you are dealing with a certain type of poetry here. Like with the previous step, you can enlist the help of professionals here too. There are songwriters available to help you at a fee. If you have some confidence in what you have written yourself, you can sing it to your friends and family to hear their critique. This can be very helpful as their opinions would be an early indicator of your progress.
When you are satisfied with your song, then it is time for you to find a producer to produce your song. It is worthy to note that at this point, you should start accounting for everything you spend on. It is absolutely important that you have a sizable budget as recording a song can be expensive. Your choice of producer should be based primarily on his ability to make the kind of music that you hope to make. It is also important that he has a vast knowledge on how songs are made. I think I should also elaborate on the difference between a producer and a studio engineer because these two are often confused. A producer is largely responsible for the sequencing, arranging and directing the song. He can work with other producers and/or instrumentalists to achieve this. The producer often has the final say on a song. The studio engineer on the other hand handles the actual recording and probably mixing of the song. He takes direction from the producer. It is not uncommon to find a producer that seconds as a studio engineer though. So when you secure a producer for your song, make sure he/she understands what you aim to achieve with the song.
When that is done, it is now time to hit the studio. This is when it starts getting exciting. Choose a studio that is best equipped in your price range. Most studios offer per session and per song packages. While it’ll be more expensive to opt for the per song package, it is more rewarding than the per session package because the per session package often comes with a time limit of an average of eight hours. This time is not very reasonable if you are not sufficiently prepared or if the song has a complex arrangement. It is also not the best package for you if you have a lot of musicians involved in your song as it would be required to take multiple instances of their performances. Making a song like every other art form requires patience and the per session package does not allow for that. My advice to you is that you should always opt for the per song package.
On the day that you decide to record make sure that you are well rested. Contrary to urban legends, alcohol consumption can be detrimental to your overall performance. Try to abstain from alcoholic beverages if you can. It will do you a whole lot of good if you have rehearsed the song thoroughly but try not to strain your voice. You’ll also benefit from light exercises, especially ones that strengthens your diaphragm. Swimming and light jogging are very good.
In the next post I’ll elaborate on the actual process of making a song.
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The other day, I indulged myself to some classic ragga and R&B from back in the days. It was such a sweet period in time when we had Diana King et al dictating the tune in every party. I remember how people used to have proper fun then. I was that kid that mimed in school so naturally I knew all the latest songs. That earned me cool points too. You will always catch me and my buddies singing along to Heavy D or Snoop Doggy Dogg… I miss those days jor.
One thing that struck me in my moment of reminiscence was the memory of how we used to dance back then. Remember Patra? Can you remember how you grooved to her tunes? I’ll remind you. The dance was always very sensual. It was either ‘the butterfly’ or any of it’s variants. The point is that we danced SEXY!
One might argue that the songs from that era were by far slower than most dance floor aimed songs released nowadays but I think that those old songs had more substance and that matters to me. I remember the feeling I used to get anytime “Shy guy” was played in a party. It was more than the catchy chorus, the verses were drop dead sexy. The beat got you grooving with an absolute stranger in ways that might offend their better halves. But in all that, it was still about having fun.
With the exception of Gyptian’s smash hit, most party songs have either had idiotic content best suited for retards(insert Soljaboi and niko gravity here) or the tempo of the song would have triggered a heart attack. Big ups to Kas, Wizkid and Tuface(I liked implication but I’m in love with only me) for bringing the tempo down a bit. Kas came with a mega hit, although he said absolutely nothing in it. Wizkid proved that a club hit didn’t have to sound like Terry G.
If you’ve noticed, I’ve made little mention of foreign songs. The truth is that the Americans are not making quality music right now, Smh. I pray they find their way back to the dance floors soon.
Back to sexy. Now, what a song does to you is it either turns you to a retard(alanta) or a workout instructor. If you are fortunate, then you’ll get to dance with someone who wouldn’t poke you in the eye in the name of “Yahooze”. Then a popular complain amongst ladies now is that they can’t dance with a guy and not expect their breasts and backsides to be senselessly assaulted. Where did all that come from. I’m not saying that rockers from back in the days were saintly, we just had more class. The music was better, the attitude was a whole lot more mature. In all, parties were grander. We danced on and had sex off the dance floor. Period!
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