Sunday, May 14, 2017

P-SQUARE: THE NIGERIAN R&B MUSIC SUCCESS STORY

P-Square: Peter & Paul Okoye

Peter and Paul Okoye are identical twins born on 18th November 1981 to Pa Moses & Mrs. Josephine Okoye of Ifite-Dunu Town in Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria. When their parents relocated to Jos, Plateau State, North-Central Nigeria the twins were enrolled in a Catholic owned St. Mulumba’s Secondary School. Their talents started to manifest when they joined the school’s music and drama group where their passion for music and dancing were developed. They developed a great love for R&B music genre with Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown and MC Hammer as their role models.
The professional music journey of P-Square began in 2001 when the twins won the prestigious “Grab Da Mic” show which was a talent hunt show sponsored by “Benson and Hedges”, in the same year, the group secured their first major record deal and released their first album titled “Last Nite” under Timbuk2 Music label. This debut album was a success.
The duo won a 2003 Amen Award for “Best R&B Group”
In 2005, P-Square released its second album titled “Get Squared” under its own record label – Square Records. The video for the second album held the No. 1 position on the MTV Base chart for four straight weeks!

In 2007 P-Square released its bestselling album so far, “Game Over” on T Joe Entertainment label. It was a smash hit that sold 8 million copies worldwide!
In 2009, P-Square released its 4th studio album, “Danger” on Square Records label. The album featured collaborations with 2-Face Idibia, J Martins and Frenzy. The first single “Danger” is a hip hop song with cutting synths and a frog bass baseline like an Eminem song.

In 2010, the group won the Best African Act award at the KORA All African Music Awards held in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. 
In December 2011, they were signed to Akon's Konvict Musik label which has enabled them to reach a worldwide audience. Their 5th Album “The Invasion” was released in 2011 on Flytime Music.
In May 2012, they also signed a record distribution deal with Universal Music of South Africa.

In August 2012, P-Square released a single titled “Alingo”, it became a monster hit that took the whole of Africa by storm. The video shot which was co-directed by their elder brother Jude “Engees” Okoye and Clarence Peters of Capital Hill Production was rated as the best video in Nigeria that year.

In June 2013, the twins released another smash hit “Personally”. The video was a tribute to late Michael Jackson who inspired their musical career till date. The video and song was such a hit that it got the attention of Jermaine Jackson, late Michael Jackson’s brother who commended the stars for doing such a tremendous job and hoped to meet with them.
In 2014, P-Square released its 6th Album “Double Trouble” on Square Records.
Childhood to Adulthood: Metamorphosis of P-Square

P-Square is the highest paid Artiste in Africa in terms of performance fee, endorsement fee, contract fee, and album sales. The duo is one of the most successful African acts, and this is evident with the massive success of their numerous concerts in the continent. Over the years, the three time MTV award winning group has made an enviable impact in Africa, doing sold out concerts. And till date, the demand is still waxing stronger. 
In 2015 P-Square were involved in a very devastating dispute that nearly torn them apart, the world thought it had seen the end of the duo, but they made up after a few months.
Bank Alert Video 2016

In September 2016, the duo again released another hit single titled “Bank Alert” on Square Records label. They have also released a single titled “Away” February 2017 and the song is already making waves on the Nigerian airwaves.






Sunday, April 23, 2017

THE RICHEST & MOST SUCCESSFUL AFRICAN MUSICIAN ALIVE: YOUSSOU N'DOUR

Youssou N’Dour of Senegal is the most trilling, fascinating and successful African musician alive! This Grammy-Award winning artiste is an intelligent businessman who owns a nightclub, a record label and a television station.
He was born in Dakar to a Wolof mother and a Serer father on 1st October, 1959. He started performing at age 12, and was performing regularly with the Star Band, Dakar's most popular group during the early 1970s. He is one of the most celebrated African musicians in history.

N’Dour’s mix of traditional Senegalese Mbalax with eclectic influences ranging from Cuban Rumba to Hip HopJazz and Soul won him an international fan base of millions. His work absorbed the entire Senegalese musical spectrum, often filtered through the lens of genre-defying rock or pop music from outside Senegalese culture.

Youssou N’Dour wrote and performed the official anthem of the 1998 FIFA World Cup with Axelle Red "La Cour des Grands". Folk Roots magazine described him as the African Artist of the Century. He toured internationally for thirty years. He won his first American Grammy Award (best contemporary world music album) for his CD “Egypt” in 2005.

N’Dour is the owner of “L'Observateur” one of the widest-circulation newspapers in Senegal, the radio station RFM (Radio Future Medias) and the TV channel TFM.


In his four decades career in music recording and performance, N'Dour has collaborated with several great world renowned musicians such as Peter GabrielAxelle Red, Sting, Alan StivellBran Van 3000, Neneh Cherry, Wyclef JeanPaul Simon, Bruce SpringsteenTracy ChapmanJames Newton HowardBranford MarsalisRyuichi SakamotoDidoLou ReedBruce Cockburn and others.


CITATION FOR YOUSSOU N’DOUR
In 1979, Youssou N’Dour formed his own ensemble, the Étoile de Dakar. His early work with the group, in the Latin style, was popular all over Africa during that time.
In the 1980s, he developed a unique sound with his ultimate group, Super Étoile de Dakar featuring Jimi Mbaye on guitar, bassist Habib Faye, and tama (talking drum) player Assane Thiam.
By 1991 he had opened his own recording studio, and,
In July 1993, Africa Opera composed by N'Dour premiered at the Opéra Garnier for the French Festival Paris quartier d'été.
In 1994 N'Dour released his biggest international hit single, the trilingual "7 Seconds", a duet sung with Neneh Cherry.
By 1995, he established his own record label, Jololi.
In 1998 N’Dour wrote and performed the official anthem of the 1998 FIFA World Cup with Axelle Red "La Cour des Grands".
In 2002 N'Dour was honoured with a Prince Claus Award, under that year's theme "Languages and transcultural forms of expression".
In 2006, N'Dour played the role of the African-British abolitionist Olaudah Equiano in the movie Amazing Grace, which chronicled the efforts of William Wilberforce to end slavery in the British Empire.
In 2011, N'Dour was awarded an honorary doctoral degree in Music from Yale University.
From April 2012 to September 2013, he was Senegal's Minister of Tourism.

In 2013, N'Dour won a share of Sweden's $150,000 Polar music prize for promoting understanding between faiths as well as for his music.

Friday, March 31, 2017

FUNKY HIGHLIFE MUSIC


The old generation of Highlife musicians are 90% gone giving rise to the new generation of highlife artistes who have successfully funkified the music genre, which is very popular in West Africa.
Funky Highlife is a computer-generated music with a combination of danceable beats, scintillating guitar riffs and keyboard melody. The lyrics is based on contemporary issues, love and current affairs.      
Singers like Flavour N'abania, J Martins, Bracket and Wizboy have popularised funky highlife with their recording successes and acclaim for their renascent diverse styles which unlike the original highlife incorporated a wide range of neoteric influences outside of the West African music scene. These artistes exhibited more urban feel encompassing a mixture of hip hop, R&B, techno, reggae, dancehall, and calypso, making their music commercial success worldwide. In Nigeria and most Anglophone African countries, these artistes, especially Flavour N'abania has remained in high demand at concerts and on other social events.
With the genre's rise in mainstream appeal, many emerging MCs particularly from around the Southern Nigeria and other neighbouring areas began integrating local highlife sounds. Artistes like Mr. Raw (formerly Dat N.I.G.G.A. Raw), Slow Dogg, MC Loph and 2Shotz helped establish a much stronger link between indigenous rap, and the new funkified highlife by providing verses to several hit songs and would often hire Igbo vocalists to sing the choruses of their own songs. 
J Martins made headlines around the continent and beyond when he collaborated with Cabo Snoop from Angola and Fally Ipupa from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The songs titled "Good Tym" and "Kele Papa" drew plenty of attention that year, and would later go on to become fan favourites.
By 2012, J Martins had evolved into one of the most recognized West African, internationally known music stars. His soukous-tinged approach to record production further gained him additional fan following and respect.

In 2014, Phyno's introductory album No Guts No Glory was released. Featuring two high-profile appearances by Flavour N'abania contributing vocals to tracks "Multiply" and "Authe (Authentic)". The album has received generally positive reviews since its release. It earned Phyno a City People Entertainment Award nomination for Best Rap Album. Phyno's song "Fada Fada" was a smash hit!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

SECULAR VS GOSPEL MUSIC, WHICH IS MORE LUCRATIVE? EBENEZER OBEY... ANSWERS

Did you start your music career at a tender age?
Yes, I started playing music in primary school. I became a member of the school band, then choir leader and member of the community band. I was the youngest but the most important to them as I played all percussions and performed the vocals.
When you started as a teenager, did you ever envisage that music was going to fetch you an international recognition?
Yes, I knew. The reason is, because right from school, every time I entered the school premises, the mood changed. People kept shouting my name. My mates and those even older than me and the teachers admired me.
In the ‘70s and ‘80s many believed you and King Sunny Ade were rivals. Don’t you believe that?
No! We were not rivals. People only thought we were. My name is Ebenezer Obey-Fabiyi and I can be identified by what I stood for. I am a very good composer with good songs and meaningful lyrics. That is my talent. When people listen to my songs, people can’t just get enough. That’s why people still talk about my old records. I have more evergreen songs than anybody else and that has been proven.
So, you never saw King Sunny Ade as your rival?
No, I only see him as a brother and a colleague who God has given a unique talent like me. Obey is Obey and Sunny is Sunny. No controversy!
Don’t you think that if you hadn’t left secular music for gospel music, you could have been richer today, knowing full well that secular music is lucrative?
Anybody saying that doesn’t know the value of God. Falling is not a problem. Anybody can fall. 
But would you rather accept that you could have been richer as a secular musician?
No, no, Ayo, I disagree. Listen, that’s where people miss it. Who knows where money is? Only God knows. The one who commanded that money should be available in the belly of a fish. I lean on God always and depend on Him always for my provisions. The cars I have today are all gifts. Just a single man has been buying my cars for me. He knows when my cars are due for replacement and he has taken that as his responsibility. I have a car that I have only driven for five times and I got it over a year now. Just from one man, not two.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as someone that came to the world, played music with so much passion and did everything according to God’s plans.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

GOSPEL MUSIC ORIGINATED FROM AFRICA!

Do you know that Gospel music originated from Africa? Yes, it started with the conversion to Christianity of West Africans that were enslaved in the southern part of America. The West African slaves in their agony due to the subhuman treatment meted out on them by their slave masters usually resort to singing away their sorrows as they labour in their masters’ plantations in America.

Notably, these work songs were medley of the Protestant hymns and spirituals they sang in church. The greatest characteristic of early days of Gospel music was its emotional and jubilant nature, stemming from the call-and-response singing between preacher and congregation, which became common in black churches.


Gospel lyrics in the early days were strictly inclined to preaching of salvation, consolation and comforting of the faithful; they were also inclined to the celebration of God's love. Gospel music style usually makes use of choral singing in unison or harmony, often, but not always, led by a lead singer or singers. The songs are most often performed with fervent enthusiasm, vigor, and spiritual inspiration, with much ornamentation in the solo vocal lines, which has been the trade mark of Gospel Music till date.
www.emeksmusic.com

Saturday, January 21, 2017

WILLIAM ONYEABOR, 1946 – 2017 (His Life and His Music)

William Onyeabor was a celebrated Nigerian Musician, Producer, studio and label owner who pioneered Afro Synth-Funk in the late 1970s. He was born in Enugu, Nigeria on 26th March, 1946 into a poor family, but became financially successful enough to travel to Europe to study record manufacturing. A classic case of grass to grace story.
William Onyeabor composed and self-released nine albums between 1977 and 1985 on his label, Wilfilms Records. His songs were often heavily rhythmic and synthesized, occasionally epic in scope, with lyrics decrying war but encouraging love, good friendship and good living. William Onyeabor sang his songs himself with some female backing vocalists.
William Onyeabor’s most popular songs include “Atomic Bomb”; “Tomorrow”; “When the Going is Smooth and Good” “This kind of World”; and “Hypertension”. His full discography is here:
  • Crashes in Love (1977)
  • Atomic Bomb (1978)
  • Crashes in Love – Volume 2 (1979)
  • Tomorrow (1979)
  • Body & Soul (1980)
  • Great Lover (1981)
  • Hypertension (1982)
  • Good Name (1983)
  • Anything You Sow (1985)


William Onyeabor was awarded West African Industrialist of the Year in the late 1980’s, and given the honorary title “Justice of the Peace. In the early 1990’s, he became the President of Enugu Musicians Union and Chairman of the city’s highly reputable football team, The Enugu Rangers. He was also given a chieftaincy title by his home community for creating many opportunities for the people in his community.
Upon his popularity as a songwriter and a recording artist in Nigeria, William Onyeabor has not performed live on stage! Surprised? He was also not known beyond the shores of Nigeria until recently, 2013 to be precise, when Luaka Bop record label released “Who is William Onyeabor?” which was a compilation of William Onyeabor’s songs, his music and story took the world by storm.
The release was featured in major newspapers, radio and television stations all around the world. Time Magazine listed him as number 4 on a shortlist of that year’s best albums. In 2014, the film documentary “Fantastic Man” followed, as well as a touring supergroup called the Atomic Bomb! Band who came together to play William Onyeabor's music at a series of concerts and festivals around the world. The group is led by Music Director Ahmed Gallab and his band Sinkane and includes David Byrne (of Talking Heads), Money Mark (of the Beastie Boys), Damon Albarn (of Blur and Gorillaz), Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange and Lightspeed Champion), Alexis Taylor (of Hot Chip), Charles Lloyd and Amadou and Mariam.

William Onyeabor died peacefully in his sleep following a brief illness at his home in Enugu State on 16th January, 2017 at the age of 70. May his gentle soul rest in peace. Amen.

Emeka Okeke www.emeksmusic.com
Port Harcourt, Nigeria 
January, 2017.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

IS COMPUTER KILLING MUSIC TALENTS? (DIGITAL VS ANALOGUE MUSIC)

As the argument on digital versus analogue music rages on between the new and the old generation music artistes, producers and studio engineers, a Nigerian guitar maestro Sir Victor Uwaifo has this to say “In computer you don’t need to have a band, one man can record, he goes to the studio, lay down the track, play the other instrument, get the other musician to lay down his track differently, just like a tailor making a shirt. He cuts them into pieces and sews them together.
So, for our young ones today, it is not that they understand music but they play music and the computer is arranging it for them. The computer will concise the bad voice and put it in line and shape and the producer helps a lot. The producer has an idea but the computer is supposed to be a model to have an idea of what a song should sound like but it is not music itself. You still have musical instrument. People must learn how to play musical instrument because once you know the rudiments of music, you can play several instruments”.

However, this anonymous musician tried to balance the argument this way “Digital and physical instruments both require the same amount of skill depending on how much time and effort you put into your composition, practice, etc. The only downfall of creating digital music is that it can be very easy to fake. Downloading loops/sounds takes seconds to do, while creating new ones can take very long or short amounts of time, depending on what you're making. On the contrary, with a physical instrument, the only way to fake it is to play a recording. So basically, both instruments require skill, it just depends on how you use them”.www.emeksmusic.com