In the past, the music of Nigerian artists barely appealed to a global audience. The few like Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti, and King Sunny Ade amongst others who leapfrogged this ‘barrier’ had to work hard to achieve their worldwide fame.
However, over the years, the new breed of young, energetic, ambitious and talented artists have appeared on the music scene and are seriously expanding their horizon to the global music audience. We now see Nigerian artists collaborating with international acts like Akon, R-Kelly, Snoop Dog, Rick Ross, and Meek Mill.
Despite this, not many of them have taken the international stage by storm like Wizkid. He has collaborated with A-list artists and the songs they produced have busted the music charts in America and caught the attention of music lovers all over the world. Unsurprisingly, the ‘One Dance’ single where Wizkid was featured by Drake is the most streamed song on Spotify.
Other international artists whom Wizkid has worked with are Chris Brown, Trey Songz, French Montana, Tinie Tempah and Kyla.
Interestingly, Wizkid didn’t get to where he is today by sheer providence. He didn’t pray from dusk to dawn like most Nigerians do. He had a strategy. His strategy was first conquering the Nigerian music scene before he veered off internationally.
In Nigeria, Wizkid introduced himself with Holla at your boy in 2010, thrilled with Don’t dull, Love my Baby, Ojuelegba and other back-to-back hits in later years.
What about awards? He has won some of the prestigious awards in both Nigeria and Africa as well as in different categories. He has won the Channel O music video, Mobo awards, Nigeria Entertainment Awards, MTV Africa Music Awards and Headies. It can only get better.
Still headlining newspapers and trending on social media (positively or negatively) and after being a darling of Nigerian music lovers, he switched his attention to reaching out to a global audience. You can conveniently say he’s now an international act.
Unquestionably, kudos must be given to Banky W for giving him a platform to showcase his talent. Nevertheless, Wizkid must be commended because he seems to know when to take or make the right move. He knew when to leave Banky W to set up his own record label, Star Boy Record and he also knew when to take his act international. This is something, not many Nigerian artists are gifted with.
Importantly, it must be said that Wizkid hasn’t lost his Afrobeat sound and style even though he has gone international. In other words, when you listen to Wizkid; you will know that is Wizkid.
There is so much both upcoming and established artists can learn from Wizkid. Going international without first appealing to your local audience may be a disaster. The rule of thumb for every musician should be- think global but act local. Even if you don’t go international, you have established yourself locally, to say the least.
With Wizkid’s current momentum, he probably has a better chance to win a Grammy award than 9ice who is yet to deliver on his promise of winning a Grammy.