21st October, 2021
The Nigerian music industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the years to become the envy of the world. Nigerian music export, Afrobeat has moved from the shores of Nigeria to the continent of Africa and is currently making waves on the world stage. In a recent one-on-one session with our reporter, the big boss and founder of Bellyflow Entertainment, Bello Adebowale Yusuf, a record label brand based in Lagos takes a cursory look at the pros and cons of the industry and prescribes solutions wherever necessary.
On Afrobeat as a genre of music
Afrobeat has already taken over the world, now it’s beyond Africa and it’s here to stay. It’s a ship that has sailed, and the reach is endless just like the sea. One thing we have learnt about Afrobeats so far is its ability to adapt to other genres of music and create something novel, creating genres that in fact don’t exist as far as our prior knowledge of music goes. We have seen this play out in several cross continental collaborations of some of the biggest Afrobeat artists.
On messy artist-label relationships
There are many successful label-artist relationships. The relationships that went bad are just few, but they trend more than the successful ones. There are many labels that actually have good relationships, and that same label also has relationships with another artist that didn’t go well. I believe it’s an individual thing, some artists are content with their contract and want it to work, while some artists just want to sabotage the contract ( laughs). Sometimes it might be the label, they may be running at a heavy loss, and finding it hard to sponsor the artist projects , and sometimes it might be that the artist couldn’t produce good music.
Advice to artists signing recording contracts
The artist must be ready for a professional career and ready to drop hits back to back and be patient with the label. The artist must also work with a good professional PR team. The artist also needs to ask themselves administrative questions like; can this record company finance their marketing need? Does this company have other talents and how successful have these talents been? What is the overall reputation of the label Etc? At the end, is really about what the artist wants, what he is comfortable with and what is permissible within the laws of the artist recording contract
On payola in the industry
I think the radio, TV should please stop depending on payola for everything. They should have a platform and foundation where upcoming acts can get their songs played as long as it is good music, not everything should be money, money, money. The radio stations in Nigeria don’t even pay artists for playing their music like others abroad do, instead the upcoming artists and even established artists pay the radio stations to play their songs. It’s a very, very painful development that kills young dreams.
On Nigerian music getting more international collaborations
Just do good music, message in music doesn’t really matter to cut into international markets, good song productions help but good danceable music travels across borders with no visa. Quality music is a prerequisite to more international collaborations, the message on the other hand has little to do with the music. We have seen people and even music professionals enjoy music. They literally don’t understand the lyrics or what the artist is saying, but I think the message in this instance should be more about the emotions the artist transmits to his audience through his music.
Bello Adebowale Yusuf established Bellyflow Entertainment in 2015, primarily to create and bring pure, undiluted entertainment to the people.
“Our goal is to be the bridge between celebrities and fans,” he said.
Bello Adebowale Yusuf hails from Epe division in Lagos State.