Beyond Music: How to stay relevant as an artist

Beyond Music

Beyond Music

Beyond Music – If nobody talks about you then you’re nobody…

Portable arguably has one hit song to his name to date. That hit song was accompanied by a slang, a dance step and a signature elbow puffed up insignia.

ZaZoo Zehh pervaded every social platform, became the chant in the streets. Even children became accustomed to the craft of Habeeb Okikiola.

What followed after ZaZoo Zehh musically? Were there any more hits after ZaZoo Zehh? How did Portable remain relevant in the Nigerian musical scene; and now global?

Portable remained the talk of the town. Initially for bad, probably still.

I recall some guys lambasted him for almost turning his Instagram handle to a ‘WhatsApp Status’ because he was posting too often.

He was, however, entertaining. Got embroiled in a few controversies here and there. In fact, the release of his viral hit, ZaZoo Zehh, was controversially courted.

Poco Lee was the primary artist on that release. Portable appeared as a featured artist. Hence, the real introduction of Portable to Nigerians was accompanied by the ‘na me get ZaZoo Zehh’ saga.

Beyond Music

The release strategy was intentional – to court controversies. That actually put Portable in the spotlight. Since then, he hasn’t stopped.

Portable masterfully found the mojo to remain in the news, making the headlines more often than most A-list artists. He was indeed the talk of the town.

Beyond releasing music back to back, Portable entertained, found his way to the news headlines, rinse and repeat.

Today, we can only imagine that Portable’s collaboration with Skepta, one of UK’s most renowned rappers, was truly inspired by his relevance and social influence much more than his musical abilities as an artist, without sounding disrespectful.

Portable demonstrated that to WIN in today’s music industry is beyond releasing and promoting music, but to entertain and harness opportunities to get people to talk about you, good or bad.

Staying in the news and making the headlines from time to time could pave the way to more musical sales, collaboration with other artists, endorsement and performance deals.

Portable Skepta

What cue can most upcoming artists take from Portable?

1 Entertain, entertain and entertain. Aside from constantly churning out good music back to back, find a way to entertain. Being very entertaining can get your audience and fans hooked to your craft. This is how you build a cult following.

2 Find a story to accompany major releases. Storytelling is a big part of musical and digital marketing. Work with PR brands who can craft interesting stories to go with your releases – compelling stories that could get an audience hooked to your music or brand.

3 Explore controversies. Controversies are usually widespread. The media space and blogs are eager for sensational stories and gossip to fill their columns. Feed their curiosity.

4 Be the talk of the town. Be the talk of town by every necessary means. If nobody talks about you then you’re nobody.

5 Be bold. Most popular people are bold and decisive. I have never seen a shy musician. In pursuing your goals as an artist, you must act without fear or favour in order not to squander the goodwill in sight.

Best wishes for the future.

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© Francis Onyema of Off the Street Music.

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About Francis Onyema

Francis Onyema is a passionate writer, blogger and digital marketer.

View all posts by Francis Onyema

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