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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I went to school in a desolate land. It was a hard and dry place. It is still a hard and dry place. It had perilous paths and teachers who barely taught you anything. My school never graduates students, not like it mattered to the students at all.
In my school, if you listened closely enough, you’ll learn few virtues and more vices. The only way to be good is to close your heart and your ears. In my school, good deeds are a punishable crime and evil is celebrated.
My school had seniors with no conscience. People who ran the affairs of the school on behalf of their fellow students with no regards or afterthought. Promises were made in the open but when it’s dinner time, the lion share of it is devoured á deux. We, the junior students, would have loved to report them to the authority but we fear the terrible reprisal that awaits us.
My school had broken windows. It got terribly cold in the mornings and nights and when it rained(it hardly did) it drenched us all. The sandy breeze met no barrier as it smites us meanwhile our seniors take classes in the recently renovated dining hall. These broken windows were good only for one thing. They provided an escape route whenever the seniors wanted to punish a class en mass.
My parents do not know of all these things and I do not intend to inform them because one day I hope to be a senior student too. I want to do to those unsuspecting and innocent students what had been done to me. It wouldn’t feel fair if after all that I’ve been through my parents just pulled me out of this hell hole. I wouldn’t leave. I would stay and terrorize them as it was done to me.
Who are you to judge me. Would you be any better? Would you try to change the system? Would you look at evil in the eye and defy it? Would you? I seriously doubt it. Yet you sit in the comfort of your homes, reading this from an expensive piece of equipment and swearing within yourselves that you’d be better. That you will forgive. That you’d oppose the evil system. That you’d PROTEST!
The sad truth is that you wouldn’t fight the system. You are too tolerant. You have no resolve for things of this nature. You pay thieves monthly to renew services that are pitiable at best, outrageously exploiting by default and you do this without even raising a decibel of your voice in protest. Shame on you. Shame on you all!
I shall neither graduate from this school nor oppose it’s laws rather I’ll transform myself into the MEANEST MURDAFUCKING SENIOR! In the wise words of Guru Kanye West: “I’m a murdafucking monster”.
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Imagine me oh! I promised that I’ll write more often. Not only that I’ve broken that promise, I broke it for a very lousy reason. I should be stoned(or flogged) for being so inconsiderate to people who live by my every word. I can imagine the agony of the wait(I’m feeling myself too much right?).
I have been busy chasing a misty dream in the guise of music while my peers have been pursuing more noble professions. Not that I’m saying that music making isn’t noble(oops I just said it), it’s just that if you are not making the “Tuface’ish” money it seems like an awful waste of time and energy. Many of my friends are either bankers(with outrageous monthly targets if I might add) or lawyers(ish) or doctors(I know two and they both rap by the way). Many more of them are currently employed at one firm or the other, making big bucks, while I sit in my studio daily, hoping the next beat is going to be my “Oleku” beat. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m just wishing I had been a bit more sensible and taken up a normal job.
Come to think of it. I’ll really be better off with a normal 9-5. I fancy myself a computer genius and can envision myself working for a telcom company. I’ll have to work long hours and I’ll have to give up my nasty habit for waking up when it suits me(who’ll want that sef?). I’ll have to wear a tie everyday and answer to a very nice man called “Boss”.
Life can be all the more fun if I had chosen the normal route, just like my friends did. None of my friends work throughout the night(maybe with the exception of my telcom buddies) like I do. Does it matter that my nocturnal work usually takes place in nightclubs and GOSH! Who’ll want to do all that socializing I find myself doing with drunk people every now and then(I promise, I don’t end up being one of the drunks). Who’ll want his/her work place littered with naughty celebrities being themselves in the absence of an all seeing camera? And all those fine chickZzzzzzz… No, I’ll rather stay home, pressing my shirt and tie in preparation for the next day’s work.
I really fucked up. Now I have to make sure that I make a national hit song and have nasty scandals in the news to be very good at my job. I have to be in several countries almost simultaneously to get promoted and I’ll have to charge outrageous sums to upcoming artistes for beats. How else are they suppose to know that I am a very good badt guy eh?
I’ll have to live an idiotic life to excel at my job. Oh well. My name is Thompson Edolo and I am a confirm IDIOT!
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A friend of mine once told me of a beautiful young lady. This lady was a bombshell. She had grace and style and she had charm.
This lady was an icon of everything that can be good and a beacon of hope for her peers. She radiated with prosperity and grace.
The woman also had a deadly secret that gnawed through her soul. She was piss poor. Even though she had a fat bank account, she did not derive any satisfaction from wealth. In fact, she has not been properly happy for as long as she can remember.
This emotional poverty was of the result of her past ventures in life. A life filled with beautiful lobbies and huge hairy bellies and carelessly “forgotten” envelopes.
This life had brought her so much wealth. This life had taken the life of the only person she had ever loved. Now this life has had her living in small towns for the past five years.
Her name always changed with every telling of the story(not that I cared much. I knew my friend was lying anyway) but the core of the tale remained the same. For the sake of this iteration I’ll call her Sarah.
Sarah had a deep yearning for success. She was highly ambitious but had a reckless conscience. She’ll do about anything.
Sarah graduated from the university with a second class upper degree only because she knew that she couldn’t defend a first class degree if she was required to. She served in Abuja and quickly found herself working for a top commercial bank. That was when she fell in love.
Richard was his name(also for the sake of this iteration). He was your normal guy, slightly comfortable. He was dependable and loving. He wasn’t wealthy. She loved him anyway. Oh how he loved her! She meant everything to Richard and the poor fellow would do anything for her. Little did he know that everything was being done for her by some other people.
This little complication grew to be a major hassle as Richard started doubting the authenticity of Sarah’s stories. In the end, when everything was apparent, Richard left Sarah. She was heartbroken and so was the US economy.
She did not survive the recession “sack”. As soon as she was out of work, her lovers suddenly had a new yearning for someone younger. She had lost almost everything. Somehow though, she was convinced that Richard would take her back. Only then did she find out that Richard had died of AIDS. She had the virus too.
This story is not about Sarah or Richard. It’s more about me/us. Maybe we should take a recap on what is important to us every five minutes.