Last updated on September 4th, 2023 at 03:54 am
How do I become a popular musician in Nigeria? In other, for you to become a popular musician in Nigeria, you need to write songs, sing them, market them and then enjoy the reward.
but it is easier said than done right!
Do you know that more than 50% of aspiring musicians quit because of the challenges at the very beginning?
I know you are not a quitter otherwise, you won’t be here looking for a blog on how to become a popular musician in Nigeria 2022.
So today, I will give you my checklist of how to become a popular musician in Nigeria that you need to follow if you are truly serious about becoming a popular singer in Nigeria.
but first here is an outline that this post will follow to make sure you are able to implement everything you learn today.
Here are some facts!
After reading this post, you need to take action implementing everything you read otherwise it won’t mean much.
- Have an income source
- Pick your audience
- Set realistic and achievable goals
- Develop your talent
- Build relationships with people (aka networking)
- Build your brand from the beginning
- Have a team
- You need copyright knowledge
- Promote and distribute your songs
- Treat your music career as a business
- Have a strong mentality and Deal with criticism
- Bonus: how to collect royalties for your song
So now you have an idea about what this post will cover right?
There is more!
I will take each of the above bullet points on how to be an artist in Nigeria and then expand on it to show you how to become a popular singer in Nigeria.
So come, let’s get into the details step by step so as to provide you with everything you need to know.
Step 1: Have A Source Of Income
So you love music and you want to do it full time but you do not know where to start because you only know how to sing.
Well, singing is good but to succeed especially as an upcoming artist in Nigeria is not as difficult as every article online wants you to believe.
So my first tips for upcoming artists to really devote themselves to music is a source of income.
but why do you need a source of income-you may ask right?
Well, it is because everyone has bills to pay and since you decided to become a musician, you will have to start buying some music accessories to simplify your work.
For example, you will have to invest on a microphone for recording, a laptop, a headphone, and even studio fees.
If you don’t have a source of income then you can kiss your journey to fame goodbye realistically.
This is because some of the things I listed above are the necessary tools you need.
So what type of job can you do huh?
Well, that will depend on if you have any skill set that will bring you money.
but if you do not have then you need to start working for someone and get paid monthly.
The Nigerian system does not have hourly payment like when you live in the USA or UK, so working for a monthly salary is the way to go.
A good rule of thumb is that you work in places that can help you gain more knowledge about your career.
Step 2: Pick Your Audience
When you asked the question about how to become a popular musician in Nigeria, your second thought after you have found yourself a job should be who are my audience.
It is because when doing music, it’s important you know who you singing for.
You have to ask yourself questions like:
- Where does my audience hang out
- How can I get their attention?
- What type of music do they listen to
- What is their age range?
- Are they single, married, or working class
- How do they like to dress etc?
The reason you should do this is that it gives you the perfect understanding of the people you want to listen to your music.
Plus it will help you come up with content ideas to satisfy their desire for good and quality lyrics.
Step 3: Set Realistic And Achievable Goals
The dream of becoming a superstar is very intriguing and often times we set the bar too high.
The problem with this is that when you are starting out, it is challenging and there is so much to do.
A realistic and achievable goal could be u saying I want to buy a laptop in 5 months’ time for my music career.
Now that you have this goal set, all you have to do is work towards your goal to be able to buy yourself the laptop that will make your work easy.
Another example of a realistic goal would be I want to perform at a local event in 3 months’ time.
So in other to achieve this goal, you start looking for local events such as marriages, birthday parties where you can perform to gain local popularity.
What realistic goal setting does for you is that it forces your mind to work within the set time frame.
This in turn helps to increase your productivity which is a key factor in owning your skills.
Step 4: Develop Your Talent
I will divide this section into subheadings because I know it’s broad but I will try to simplify it for you.
So my next for you on how to become a popular musician in Nigeria s for you to develop your singing talent.
So how do you develop your talent as a singer? The simple answer is you practice and practice and practice.
Look Davido who is currently one of the best musicians in Africa today, didn’t just get there without practice.
If you are serious about how to build your way up to fame then you need to practice and practice.
Here are a couple of steps you can take to develop your singing skill while building confidence.
- Practice singing all the time
- Pay for a course online
- Discover your selling point
- Perform on a local stage
- Leave your comfort zone
- Have a backup song you fall to when things go wrong
- Have lots of cover song
- Write your own songs
Practice Singing All The Time
In the course of trying to develop and own your singing skills, you really want to sing different songs.
This will show you where your strength lies and your weaknesses.
The purpose of practice is to make you confident in your ability to sing well.
Do not overlook this step because it is important you do this as it will prepare you for the music world out there.
This step also helps to strengthen your vocals and gives you solid ground fame to master any song.
Take for example you love Wizkid’s verse on Smile featuring H.E.R and really want to do that song in a local event somewhere in Lagos.
So what will you do?
The first thing that comes to mind is to get your headphone strapped to your head and then listen to the lyrics.
Once you get the lyrics and the type of voice used whether tenor, soprano, alto, or bass, your next step is to practice toning your voice to match his.
After constant practice, you will find that you now get the lyrics and also how he sings and take his chorus.
This is just an example but hopefully, you get the point why you need to repeatedly practice before singing.
Pay For A Course Online
Another way to develop singing skills is to pay for a course online assuming you have some cash for this purpose.
I consider this step on my how to become a popular musician in Nigeria steps to be important (very important).
The benefits of doing this cannot be exaggerated you know because if you take the actions outline in the course, you will notice you are getting really better and better.
Now, here are some of the things you can achieve by taking an online course or even having a private tutor.
- You will be able to master your vocals
- catching your breath while singing can be difficult, with an online course, you can learn how to breathe properly when singing
- A private tutor or online course will also help you build your confidence
The list goes on and on but this can be a topic of its own so if you need to learn how to breathe properly when singing then take an online course or read this article here.
Discover Your Selling Point
In the course of developing your skill, you will start realizing your strength and weaknesses.
Maybe you are good at Afro-pop, Afro-fusion, Afro-house, or even dancehall.
The key to discovering yourself is to know what you are all about and what you are not.
Ask yourself questions like what my lifestyle is, what I like to do in my spare time, and what type of songs I listen to pretty often.
Now what these questions help you discover is a well of golden opportunities for you to stand out from the crowd.
Take, for example, Burnaboy is viewed as arrogant but very lyrical and he created his own genre with which he sang about government oppression.
When I say discover your selling point, I mean discover what makes you different from other musicians out there.
Why should they listen to your song when there are singers like Omah Lay, Joeboy, and Fireboy who are delivering hit songs.
For example, Fireboy’s selling point is singing about LOVE and a vocal that no one else in the industry has.
Your selling point could be that you know how to switch from tenor to bass to soprano and back to tenor.
Or just maybe you love playing the piano while you are singing or maybe you love to switch from the guitar to the piano.
Perform On A Local Stage
In the course of trying to become a popular artist in Nigeria music industry, you need to build confidence.
Take for example when you see Davido’s live performances, you notice how electric the audience looks.
His stage performance is why he gets such a reaction from the audience.
At some point in his performance, you hear him ask the audience what is my name, and thousands of people present shout Davido.
So if you are serious about how you could become popular in the music industry then consider studying Davido’s stage performances.
As someone aspiring to become a popular musician in Naija, you really should start from the church.
You can join your church choir which will cause you to sing in front of the church members.
Usually, a church provides you with that friendly background to help you own your local stage performance skill.
You also need to try to secure a singing gig at a local marriage invent, you can do this for free because you are trying to build confidence.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
I find it absurd to perform only in a particular environment that you are familiar with.
This limits your ability to explore different angles of really owning your stage performance skills.
Since your goal at this stage is to develop your singing skill sets, getting out of where you feel comfortable is a must.
I know so many local musicians who can’t leave their locality to perform, I feel sad for them actually.
This is because you can’t learn anything new if you are stuck in the same local circle year in year out.
If you live in LEKKI Lagos then look for a way to land a stage performance in Delta State.
You will meet a different type of audience and how you adapt to thrill the people listening to you will further help you build more confidence.
If you don’t want to leave Lekki then look for a local restaurant that does a singing gig to entertain customers.
You can even offer to do it for free because you want to own a certain skill set.
As an entertainer, you can’t be shy, I take that again. As a musician, you cannot be shy because a person who is shy cannot control the audience.
So in branching out of your locality to perform on stage helps you master how confident you are on the mic.
Have Backup Song For Unexpected Circumstances
It is important you have that one song that you fall back on when things take an unexpected turn.
For example, maybe you learned about a music competition at the last minute and you have just one day to prepare so what do you do?
Well, that is where having a backup song comes in handy.
Now, your backup song should mostly be a popular song that many people know in your locality or across the country.
It should also be interesting and pick the attention of the judges or whoever is listening.
Plus it should be able to showcase your vocals and not to forget you should also be able to sing it well even when someone wakes you from a deep sleep.
Have Lots of Cover Songs
When first starting out and trying to be popular in your locality, a good rule of thumb would be to have more than 11 cover songs.
Essentially you really want to master them well so that they can showcase the strength of your vocals.
You may not know this but people pay attention to vocals these days most especially if you are new in the industry.
For example, Mayorkun Nigerian musician was signed by Davido simply by doing a cover of his song.
That’s how powerful doing covers can be, so get 11 to 20 cover songs and drill down so that it helps show how talented you are.
If you really need to get noticed on your cover, then I suggest you try as much as possible to alter the sound of the original version while still sounding like it.
This alteration process could take the form of either the instrument, the tone, or heck even the tempo of the song.
Write Your Own Songs
Writing your own songs isn’t always easy for so many artists you know.
but hey what you typed into Google is how to become a popular musician in Nigeria, so songwriting is part of the steps.
So let’s get into that briefly shall we?
There is no shame in not knowing how to write a song, a lot of artists use songwriters.
The thing is you are new and you are trying to become popular so it is good you know how to write your own songs.
This is because you do not have the finance to start paying songwriters unless maybe I am thinking differently.
Having said that here are some of the basics you need to know when writing a song.
- Have a theme for your song
- Have a title for your song
- The traditional pattern that Nigerian songs follow is verse-hook-chorus-verse-bridge-chorus
- Answer questions in your verse and your chorus
- Connect verse and chorus with a smooth transition
When trying to write your very first song it is important you have a theme for the song.
A good example that you can follow is Ed Sheeran Perfect mp3 song.
The song explores the theme of love. two friends fell in love when they were just kids.
It started with a verse, hook, and then chorus, although in some cases you can use a bridge too.
If you need more in-depth knowledge on how to write a song then I suggest you try this course online.
It should help you stay grounded on the basics of songwriting.
Build Relationship With People (A.k.a Networking)
When I started digital marketing, I didn’t realize the importance of building relationships.
If I had implemented networking and building relationship in my locality i.e community, chances are I won’t have struggled at the beginning of my digital marketing career.
So here is what I want you to do after reading through this subheading.
Go out there and make friends with people that know more than you but also have the same goal as you.
This is because how far you are going to go to reach your goal will largely be dependent on the people you know.
Now I understand you wish to ask me where you can go find these people right?
Well, you can find such people to network with both offline and online.
For example, you should visit all the studios in your locality to find other artists, producers, and songwriters.
Go online to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok and look for music groups or entertainment groups.
Hang out there because that is where you will meet most of the people you can network and build relationships with.
Mind you, I don’t want you to just hang out, also make yourself useful by providing answers to questions regarding music.
This way you will come off as someone with knowledge in that field. The more you do this, the more people start to notice you.
Step 5: Build Your Brand From The Beginning
Another tip I will give you on how to become a popular musician in Nigeria 2021 is that you need to consider your brand from the early stage of your career.
but how do you do this?
One of the easiest ways is to take a pen and a sheet of paper to write out your personality.
Ask yourself questions like Who am I, how do I like to be perceived, what makes me different from other artists out there, what is my lifestyle like, what type of hobbies do I like, how was I raised, etc.
If you answer these questions honestly, chances are you know yourself well enough to get your fans to love your music.
but if you cannot answer these questions then you can start by knowing the type of person that you are not.
For example, you can ask yourself questions like am I a smoker, do I like going to nightclubs, do I like getting drunk, do I hate on people’s success, etc.
If you answer some of these questions honestly, chances are you know yourself.
All of these questions will reflect on your brand hence it’s how fans can easily resonate with your brand.
Now let me give you a human example from one of Nigeria’s big names in the music industry.
Davido’s brand is DMW also Davido Music Worldwide, right?
Some of his brand identities are he is rich, loves to help other artists who have not achieved his level of fame, didn’t grow up in the ghetto, and his mother died at an early age.
All these people can easily resonate with hence why he has a loyal fan base.
Still, on brand building, you really need to have an online presence in the course of trying to build your brand.
The Internet has become the place where everyone in the world hangs out so it’s better to get on there for your brand building.
Make Your Brand Known Online
Making your brand known online revolves around social media platforms.
Essentially what you want to do is establish your brand online and make it as human as possible.
but how do you do that you may ask right?
It is through creating social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.
If you do not know how to create any of these accounts then I will link to each of those accounts below to help you start the process.
- How to Create a Facebook Account, Step by Step – Cyberclick
- How to create an Instagram account: step by step | Metricool
Also, make sure you use quality photos and graphics to come out as someone who is a professional.
From experience, people do not like anyone who doesn’t look like a professional in his or her career.
Take good photos, and use tools like canva.com to make good logos for your branding.
Also, you definitely need a website, this is also another way you can increase your brand identity and become a famous musician in Nigeria fast.
I won’t go into how to get a website up and running but I have a link here that you can read.
With that said, another account you should set up is a SoundCloud account, this is because you will post your songs there.
All these above will help you come out as a professional and people will start taking you seriously.
Step 6: Build Team
This step may not be very important considering you are just starting out your career.
However, as you begin to implement these steps for upcoming artists, it is important you understand that no man is an island.
You can’t do everything yourself and that is why you need help.
Although right where you are now, I suggest you get your hands dirty a little as this will give you an idea of some of the areas where your strength lies.
but as soon as you start growing in popularity, you want to have a team.
This will help you focus your time on the areas that you know you are good at while your team focuses on other aspects.
Having said that, I have made a list of each team member you will need.
Here we go;
- Marketing strategist
- entertainment lawyer
- Booking agent
I know you don’t have money for all that yet but you can definitely add this step to future plans.
Step 7: You Need Copyright Knowledge
When I was putting together these tips for upcoming artists I was literally struggling with whether to include this part.
Finally, I decided it would be good for you considering this post is about how to become a popular musician in Nigeria.
Now, copyright is often overlooked by artists but you need it if you want to protect your songs or beats.
Where I come from in Africa, I know about an artist whose song was stolen by a very popular musician.
but I won’t mention his name because I don’t want to get involved in any trouble.
Having said that, you can read this article on how to protect your songs online from intellectual property rights infringement.
Step 8: Promote And Distribute Your Songs
When my brother started his singing career, he thought it was just about posting it on Facebook.
Little did he know there were companies that specialize in handling such parts of the music business.
If you are really focused on how to become a popular musician in Nigeria then I will suggest you take a look at some music promotion sites in Nigeria.
In that regard here are some of the best music promotion sites in Nigeria that will get your songs in front of thousands of people.
All you have to do is go to the sites above get their contact and call them to schedule a business.
At the beginning of this post, I said have a job, this is because it will help in times like this when you need to promote yourself.
Also since you are just starting out I will recommend that you create a YouTube and SoundCloud account.
You need both accounts to get started with dropping your songs online.
Assuming you did that, now it’s time to go to each of your social media profiles to spread the word about your album or single.
Finally, if you want your music on Apple Music, Spotify, Audio Mack, Pandora, Google Play, or Shazam then you need a music aggregator.
Simply put a music aggregator company or music distribution company is what allows you access to upload your songs to Apple Music, Spotify, and the rest listed above.
Now here are some of the most used among musicians.
- CD Baby
One more thing you have to realize is that each of these platforms costs money.
- To start posting your songs through Distro you will need to spend roughly 100 dollar
- To start posting your songs through CD baby you will need to spend 35 dollar
- Finally, to start posting your songs through Tunecore, you will need to start to spend roughly 200 dollars
I will suggest you pick from the above 3 options based on their pricing model and how efficient they are in their services.
With that said, here is a step-by-step guide you can take to start posting your songs on Apple Music.
Remember to follow each of the steps you will find in that post as the knowledge is unmatched.
While this article is mostly centered on how to become a popular musician in Nigeria or how to become an artist in Nigeria if you may it won’t be complete without this nugget of tip.
Step 9: Treat Music Career As A Business
Everything you have learned so far from the beginning of this post can be summarised in this one subheading.
As a music artist in Nigeria, you need to know the business aspect of your brand.
And there are lots of different approaches you can take as you grow.
However, I would advise you to take some courses online on the business aspect of your music career because this post is strictly on how to become a popular musician in Nigeria.
So I really can’t elaborate on the business side of this if I aim to keep this simple to the point.
This will help you to be better informed when hiring the people you need to run your business.
Let’s face it, you can’t do everything by yourself, if you try that what you will find is that scalability is almost next to impossible.
and growth will be stunted because you are taking on too much responsibility.
Speaking about the business aspect of your artist career you will want to;
- have a lawyer that will help you to review contract terms to make sure you are not taking contracts that are not beneficial to you
- Remember the copyright laws I spoke about above, well, you need to know them well
- In the world of today how your brand is perceived have a direct impact on your finance so make sure to build a strong brand
- Implement marketing strategies that will help you reach your ideal audience
- Spend money on ads on social media to build more followers because the new currency is an audience
- Have a really good team, one that you can rely on to help you reach your goals
- As for the financial aspect, you need a financial accountant to help you manage the funds you generate from ticket sales, digital sales, and endorsement in general
- Have a strong business plan (this could be anything from reaching a broader audience or reaching a particular milestone)
Step 10: Have A Winners Mentality And Deal With Criticism
It is very important you understand that all of the success you have imagined in your head will take time especially because you are trying to become an independent artist in Nigeria.
Some days you will feel like quitting but you have to develop that strong mentality to keep aspiring to reach your goals.
As you learn how to become a professional musician in Nigeria on the go, you will encounter criticism.
You will do well to know that whether you are good or bad people will always criticize you.
So, adopt The Ronaldo Mentality which helps him to become the best in soccer history.
While Ronaldo may not be the perfect example I find his mentality of handling pressure and critics very interesting.
You can gain a lot from just watching him every once in a while when he hits the pitch.
As people criticize your music, look for aspects you can work on to continue growing.
This will come in handy but your critics will have no clue that they are giving you tips to help you continue to grow.
Step 11: Drop Singles Consistently
You may have heard the popular saying that artists that don’t perform die, to be replaced by someone else.
Well, this is true so you want to avoid complacency by staying consistent.
An example of an artist that has been very consistent is Olamide.
Did you know that since coming into the Nigeria music industry more than 8 years ago, he has consistently dropped an album in each of the years?
That’s consistency and it has kept him relevant all these years.
A Better way to stay consistent is to drop singles regularly while connecting with your fans on social media.
If you run out of ideas, you can organize a challenge that can trigger your fans to come up with musical ideas.
Bonus: How To Collect Royalties For Your Songs
As you take this journey on how to become a popular musician in Nigeria, you also want to learn about how you can collect royalties.
The simplest way you can collect royalties from your songs is by signing up for publishing administration.
What these organizations do is help you collect royalties for each of your songs.
It includes those that you went to the stage to perform and those that you performed digitally.
Some of the services I recommend are Songtrust publishing administration, TuneCore Publishing Administration, and CD Baby.
On Songtrust you can pay $100 as a one-time fee and then after that, you pay just $15 of all your royalties they helped you collect.
It makes the process of collecting your royalties very easy hence why I added it as a bonus.
However, if you choose not to use Songtrust then you can pick from either the TuneCore Publishing administration or CD Baby.
Just do a little Google search to discover what works for you.
Assuming you read this post on how to become a popular musician in Nigeria, you are well underway to a famous performing artist.
but there is a caveat and it is that you will constantly need to learn and grow yourself into a professional musician like Wizkid.
Should you follow these steps, you would learn how to be a successful independent music artist faster than you could have thought possible.
Good luck to you as you explore opportunities to perform live and showcase your talent to the world.
It’s over to you now!
What other steps to become a famous artist or better still what other steps on how to become a popular musician in Nigeria have you tried?
Leave a comment below with your thoughts and I will be sure to follow up with you.
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