The dream of every up-and-coming artiste is to seize being just a prospect to actually becoming a superstar in reality. The idea of blowing up has always been the grandest fantasy fueling the passion of these music prospects, but then the dream is always a long shot from actualization.
Being an indie artiste can be very difficult and tasking especially for any up-and-coming music star. The music industry is quite capital intensive anywhere in the world, in fact the work only got a little lighter with the advent of social media. Even so, the traditional record labels are still very important to a large extent for newbies or those seeking to break out. That explains why anyone who offers something next to a recording contract to an up-and-coming act is immediately perceived as an angel aka destiny helper.
That again explains why many up-and-coming singers throw themselves before A-List acts, industry executives and just about anyone who seems to offer hope.
The greatest tragedy these days in the music industry would be the debilitating legal battles between signed artistes and their erstwhile record labels. A situation that arises when many up-and-coming artistes rush to sign above the dotted line without understanding the terms of a contract.
While hustling a recording contract is pertinent, dear up-and-coming star don’t be eager to commit your infant career to a fellow artiste who at the time is only bigger than you are. It’s a risk that most times it’s not worth taking. Getting signed by an A-List artiste is cool but its is not a surefire thing you’ll get the big break you deserve. As much as possible try avoiding contracts from a fellow artiste like you.
And here is why.
The music industry here is set up with a mentality that nobody owes you anything. It is a corny winding food chain where the bigger predator feeds on those lower down the chain. There are tons of cases where aspiring music acts get signed by bigger colleagues and the journey quickly turned out sour than expected with only a few exceptions here and there.
Out here in the music industry everyone is basically looking out for themselves only whether as an A-List or Z-List. Nobody really has your interest at heart like you do. Your boss and senior colleague is out there watching his back and making a killing without a care in the world about how your career takes off. The thing is, no senior colleague would put his career on hold to oversee that your career gets needed attention and exposure. You only get lucky everything checks out naturally for you once you are on a bigger platform. There was no time 2Baba took a break from his music to push Dammy Krane’s career to higher levels. Olamide never stopped releasing music just so Lil Kesh or Adekunle Gold would have an audience.
Then again there is the subtle competition you are in when you get signed by another bigger artiste. Nobody says it, but it is what it is. An up-and-coming artiste always gets cut into size or severed from the label immediately they become a direct competition to their boss who is an artiste too.
Sometimes these signings are only a ride to cheap publicity by the A-List musician. A typical example would be Olamide signing on Picazo Rhap, Yomi Blaze to YBNL. Surprisingly, many months down the line the boys haven’t gotten bigger than their viral song cover they put out on social media. The fanfare about some boys getting signed by Baddo set the internet off at the time. Fast forward to today, those boys don’t have more than two songs released under the label yet Olamide drops new music every other day he likes. Lyta after exiting YBNL confirmed he really did not have a contract, which begs the question what was the fanfare about? This apparently is the fate of many others who were once rumoured to be signed to YBNL, like Temmie Ovwasa, Davolee, Limerick, Picazo Rhap, etc.
A recording contract from a senior colleague might just stifle an up-and-coming artiste chances of even getting bigger than their sign on publicity. Does anyone remember sometime ago Yung6ix signed LK Kuddy to his record label? Do you know 2Baba signed a new artiste named Otike after Dammy Krane left? There are many more examples of many promising music talents who entrusted their careers to bigger artistes and it became stagnation afterwards. It feels like getting aboard an aircraft and it crashes 5 minutes after take off.
Sometimes it is an outright slavery in the form of a record deal. A promising young talent is seen as a cash cow or retirement plan by some senior colleagues. Oladips cried out in his latest single ‘Maybe‘ about how things went from bread to stone while on Reminisce’s Les Roses Rouges (LRR). He mentioned he parted ways with LRR with his bank balance at #23,000. Barry Jhay talked about getting rescued from an illegal record deal with Kizz Daniel, Demmie Vee had to part ways with Fly Boy Inc. too. These papers are the new ship to sail into slavery and regret. They aren’t as juicy as packaged.
There are more tales of regret and frustration from artistes signed to A-List stars than there are success stories. For any up-and-coming artistes it a better deal to have a record deal from non-artistes than an idol, role model or bigger colleague.
Are record deals bad? Not at all but don’t go seeking one from an artiste who isn’t committed to seeing you get bigger than he is. Don’t get it from an artiste who is still very active with his music career.
Getting things done with a non-artiste feels right. Why? There isn’t any room for a competition. That’s why artistes getting hinged to Don Jazzy find things easier because he isn’t in direct competition with any of his artistes.
Dear up-and-coming music star always ensure any label you’re signing on to has some form of structure that isn’t dependent on a celebrity status. Systems and structures get things working longer than getting associated to fame would do.