By Taiwo Okanlawon
Over the last 18 months, TikTok has come to be regarded as one of the world’s biggest social platforms, entrenching a new wave of ideas, cultural tags, and viral global moments that have seen the world through some of the challenges – and limitations – of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Nigeria specifically, the role that TikTok has taken is even more impressive, helping to break new music and further the reach of these sounds among its audience.
In 2020, “Duduke,” a song by Simi took the app by storm while “Know You,” a Simi-assisted rap-sung collaboration with Ladipoe also made a big splash on the app.
As the times have moved forward, the efficacy of TikTok has moved beyond helping to further the appeal of music from popular acts, more rising acts are starting to benefit from the nexus between TikTok virality and the myriad of challenges that are attainable on the app.
In February of 2021, a drill song titled “Looseguard (I See, I Saw)” by Legendary Styles blew up on the app, giving the rising star a foothold in the mainstream that was furthered by a Falz remix of the song.
The appeal for songs with a unique perspective remains at an all-time high on TikTok. Presently, a song titled “Longé” by 22-year-old Festac-based singer, Bryann, is taking the app by storm, inspiring a dance routine based on its guitar-led section.
The #Guitairdancechallenge was started by Nigerian creator @softmadeit; it’s a no-frills guitar dance challenge as the name suggests and the challenge is being recreated by Nigerian creators like @Mcchemcomedian, @danceglitch, @Jennifrank29 and plenty more.
Speaking about the relationship between TikTok and music in Nigeria, Soft agrees that the app buys into the cultural appreciation of music in Nigeria.
“I’ll say the relationship between music and TikTok in Nigeria is very strong,” he explains.
“I mean from the beginning of last year till now TikTok has helped a lot of songs in not only Nigeria but even all over the world to have a large number of streams and attraction to the song and in some cases the artists have received help from creators on TikTok.”
As important as the pull factor of TikTok influence may be, a song has to have potential before it can conceivably fly on the app, and Soft reckons that Bryann’s song always had that X factor.
“First of all the song is a jam,” he says, “and when I first heard the song what drew me to it was the guitar melodies in the song especially at the beginning and funny thing I didn’t know the name of the song at that point until I saw the video on television and the artist happened to be a childhood friend of mine so that’s how the song got my full attention.”
By fate or happenstance, the challenge has picked up steam and once again showed the cultural power of TikTok as a place to test out all the cool stuff moving culture in significant ways.
The #Guitairdancechallenge has received backing from a cross-section of celebrities and app users, leaving even Soft surprised.
“What has surprised me about the challenge is that I haven’t even put my 100% into it yet and I’m seeing massive feedback from my followers, fans friends, and even celebrities they’re all in on it saying they love the dance and that type of thing is quite overwhelming and surprising to me,” the creator explains.
Over the coming months, a number of new exciting songs are set to make their way to the heart of the Nigeria mainstream by virtue of their ubiquity on social media and TikTok is poised to take the lead in bringing these songs to the limelight in continuation of its stated goal to elevate real people and real videos.