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Usually when the phrase “Comfort Zone” is mentioned, it comes off as negative majorly because we have always been admonished to “break out of our comfort zone” and all that business. But for the purpose of this article, I say to everyone reading this (especially the young music artistes); find your comfort zone… before you even think of breaking out of it!
Artistes on NG, GET IN HERE!
Technically, your comfort zone is a place or situation where you feel safe or at ease and without stress, which viz a viz music talks primarily about the style and genre that comes natural to you as a music maker.
On the radio or while reporting for several publications I have worked with, I have had cause to interact with celebrities, especially music artistes, and usually when the question of what style of music comes natural to them always finds a way of creeping into the conversation. While some of the answers I get are laughable, the others are usually downright disappointing to say the least.
You hear answers like “I do fuji R&B” or “I do apala hip-hop”.
The one wey dey pain me pass na when person go open mouth on top live radio tell you say “I do all types of music”. I am fully aware that it is possible for an artiste to be versatile and multi-faceted, but then when you tell me you do ALL types of music, it just exhibits your level of ignorance as an artiste. For goodness sake, even musical greats like Wolfgang Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, King Sunny Ade or Fela Anikulakpo-Kuti didn’t do ALL kinds of music, bikonu!
Here are two of the several keys to finding your comfort zone as an artiste:
- YOUR PRODUCER: As a novice in music matters, or as a fresh artiste with so much passion and energy bubbling with you to burn, you are very likely to make very poor musical choices and costly blunders, especially if you’re working with one of those music producers who are just looking to make money off you without giving a hoot what becomes of your musical career. Find a producer who, first of all, you have a friendly relationship with. Then you can now go on to find out if you can strike a musical synergy with the fellow. If you don’t have the slightest relationship with your producer or he (or she) is one of those producers who allows you do absolutely anything you want to do without any meaningful suggestions, take your money and run!
- FIND YOUR GENRE: This is one of the reasons why you find almost every artiste doing the same thing, the same way on pretty much the same instrumental. It is also one of the major reasons you have controversial nominations at award shows. For example, when you think about Wizkid, you think afro pop. When you think about Cynthia Morgan, Patoranking or Burna Boy, you think dance hall music. When you think about Banky W, you think R&B and you can’t talk about contemporary Nigerian high life without mentioning Flavour’s name. There are some artistes that are so gifted that they can jump on a track, infuse their style into a song and almost own the song, some others just make you wonder why the artiste wasted money, time and effort trying to get them on the song in the first place.
While my fingers are burning to damn all consequences and mention names of some “well-known” artistes who have failed to find their comfort zone, I am sure my smart readers would be able to mention a few. Let me give you a clue, some of them fell out of reckoning as soon as they ended the relationship between them and the producer that brought them to the limelight.
Some were lucky enough to score one “hit” but are still unable to replicate the magic that brought about the first miracle. Some started out doing R&B but are now tilting towards makossa and galala. I could go on and on, but the truth is that when you start dabbling into unknown musical territory simply because you’re looking for that hit song, chances are that you would end up looking confused to music lovers. Plus your music would be hardly reckoned with because of your lack of consistency.
On the other hand, while versatility and musical flexibility is allowed, if you stay true to your musical brand and style, you would gradually carve a niche for yourself. I am of the opinion that it is better to be very good at one thing than be average at many things. This is the major reason why the likes of Banky W, Adekunle Gold, Flavour, Olamide, Phyno and even Wizkid will be around for a very long time.
Stop the unnecessary experimentation. Instant hits are not necessarily a validation of your musical ability or prowess. Find your sound. Find your niche. Find you!
Chuks Asoegwu – A political scientist by degree, a writer, OAP, event host, lyricist, sports lover ,social commentator and radio junkie. You can connect with him on social media where he shares his “explicit” thoughts on issues spanning across entertainment, sports and politics.