Learning how to start your music career in Nigeria and become successful is very important, as music is the main world entertainment.
Lot of talented youths and upcoming artists want to become professional musicians in Nigeria and make it in music.
Are you one of them?
Do you want to be the next big artist in the Nigerian music industry?
If YES, then this article is only what you need to read today.
The Nigeria music industry is the biggest in entertainment in the country and it gets more competitive daily as the number of upcoming artistes coming out each day is high.
Truly, not all musicians will become successful in the long run and it may not be because they cannot sing; it is because other factors relevant for success were or are not being considered.
I want you to know and believe that being a successful musician in Nigeria is very possible.
There are already a lot of successful Nigerian musicians who are known worldwide, so you can be among them in months to come.
You just have to be prepared and strategic about your music career and soon you’ll be the next best thing in the world.
Today in this article, you’ll learn actionable tips, guidelines and answers on:
- How to be a successful artiste in the Nigeria music industry
- How to become a famous musician in Nigeria
- How to become a good rapper in Nigeria
- How to join the Nigerian music industry
- Signing with a record label contract
How much musicians make per song in Nigeria
- How to join a musical band in Nigeria
- Ways musicians and upcoming artistes make their money in Nigeria
- How to make it in music in Nigeria
- Ways to promote your songs as an upcoming artiste in Nigeria
- How to make money as an upcoming artiste in Nigeria
- Writing and recording your first song
So, ensure to take your time and read this post till the end to know the best plans to make and steps to take this year.
Who is a Musician?
A musician is someone who is talented at playing one or several musical instruments.
A musician could also compose, conduct, sing, perform, orchestrate and arrange music in a variety of different styles.
The music can be recorded in a studio or performed live.
Musicians may perform on their own or as part of a group, band, or orchestra.
Musicians specialize in a musical style, and some musicians play in a variety of different styles depending on cultures and background.
A musician who records and releases music can be known as a “Recording Artist”.
A musician will spend a significant amount of time learning and practicing to become known within the music world, or to play in a band with other talented musicians.
They will also prepare for auditions, attend rehearsals, and learn new pieces of music.
Hottest Nigerian Musicians Now
- Adekunle Gold
- Ayra Starr
- Bella Shmurda
- Buju BNXN
- Burna Boy
- Fireboy DML
- Kizz Daniel
- Mr. Eazi
- Mr. P
- Naira Marley
- Omah Lay
- Seyi Vibez
- Tiwa Savage
- Yemi Alade
- Young Jonn
Steps to Becoming a Successful Musician in Nigeria
Here are the right steps to become a musician/artist in Nigeria successfully and earn money:
1. Choose and Know Your Genre
What genres of music interest you?
Is it Fuji, Gospel, Rap, Afro beat, Hip Hop, R and B, etc.?
As a prospective singer who wants to pursue a career in music, you must first look inward and discover yourself.
You need to discover your preferred music style, which should be in line with your talent and skill set, build on it and do it right.
For instance, Patoranking started with and is known for Reggae Dancehall.
He’s even loved by Jamaicans so much.
After becoming consistent with his genre, he now sometimes alternates between Reggae, Afro Pop, etc.
Also, Chike and Simi are known for R and B.
They are dropping hit songs, making money, getting endorsement deals plus a lot of fans love.
So, stick to a genre that what works for you.
Stop being versatile to your own detriment.
Only try new genres once you have become consistent and successful e.g., Flavour Nabania who switches from R and B, highlife, gospel, afrobeat etc. and still makes hit songs.
2. Perfect Your Music Skills
After you have decided on the genre of music you want to go into, you need to practice music regularly because practice makes perfect.
Write your songs as the creative spirit directs you. You can always edit later.
I suggest you develop yourself by singing and playing any musical instrument of your choice.
Find quiet spots where you can practice voice presentation.
Practice playing your chosen musical instrument.
Always train your voice for you never can tell when you will sing on stage.
Hang around the studios often, read musical books, study and learn from your music mentors, do all you can in all the ways you can to sing fantastic songs.
When you’ve reached the point where someone can listen to your song, love it, then you have successfully crossed the very first bridge to being a successful artiste in Nigeria.
3. Have a Good Job, Side Hustle or Profitable Business
This is where some upcoming artistes in Nigeria fail woefully.
They don’t make financial plans and hence; they struggle every day to foot their bills or even push their music further.
The cost of becoming a musician in Nigeria isn’t cheap.
You will invest money in:
- Feeding and transportation
- Music banners/designs
- Hiring music producer
- Internet subscriptions
- Social media management
- Song promotion
- Studio sessions
As an aspiring musician in Nigeria, it is wise for you to have other income streams to finance your music career.
You can try getting an education and a degree that will be useful to you in understanding the music business.
Also, get a good job or profitable business so that when you need to record songs and pay for studio sessions, you won’t have to keep begging friends and families, because it can lead to see finish, multiple rejections and/or depression.
4. Be Unique
The Nigerian music scene is cluttered with too many artists releasing wacky songs with poor lyrics and the same beats.
If you can become unique and carve out a niche for yourself, you’ll be popular and successful.
You can see Patoranking, Bella Shmurda, Omah Lay and Adekunle Gold with their unique sounds.
See Phyno, who took to rapping in “Igbo”.
See Umu Obiligbo and their Igbo cultural music style.
Rema has also created his own style with his unique voice and sound.
You can get beats and styles inspiration from other countries, come back and infuse it into your music e.g., Amapiano of South Africa.
You can sing about the good things of your state or people – just like Duncan Mighty, who sang “Port Harcourt Boy”, MC Galaxy who sang “Nek Unek” ft Davido and Mish with his “Akwa Ibom Ayaya” song.
With this method, your song will be played all over your state.
You’ll also be booked to perform at your state’s government house, political gatherings, top nightclubs, parties and events.
You can also get honoured and empowered by your state governor or big boys.
But try not to do this often, because too much of everything is bad.
Also, be releasing out other great songs not necessarily with a patriotic or political praising, else you may slip down that height you climbed.
Creating a unique dance step, slang or style might also be the fundamental change for you as an upcoming artiste.
For instance, Zlatan Ibile came into limelight with the “ZANKU” (Zlata Abeg No Kill Us) Dance and “Kapachumerimericubanko”, “Aiye” intro.
5. Try Doing Good Music Covers
Doing a quality cover or remix (your own version) of any trending hit songs of top musicians (from Nigeria or not) can become the major step to catapult you into the limelight.
A typical example of a brilliant music cover (which fortunately got the singer signed) is Mayorkun’s cover of Davido “Money” ft Olamide using a piano.
Everything was on point and everybody appreciated his music cover.
That could be your own testimony too if only you do a brilliant cover.
So, get creative when doing this and ensure to share it on social media – you can also tag the artiste (song owner).
6. Write and Record Your First Quality Songs
As an upcoming artiste, you must have a good idea about quality music production.
Before any record label will work with you, they want to see that you have taken some personal initiative to move your music career forward.
One of the most obvious ways to show this is by releasing some songs or EP (Extended Play).
When a music company sees that you have already released a finished product of your music, they will consider you much more seriously as a potential partner.
Once you have successfully written your song, get yourself a standard recording studio with a decent condenser microphone, good beats, a better sound card and find someone who will mix and master your songs at least semi-professional.
Your rhymes shouldn’t be crappy, mixing, and mastering and overall music should sound professional.
In case you don’t have enough cash for studio and recording sessions, you can download beats and instrumentals for free from millions of online websites.
Also, to get some beats on some sites, you’ll have to buy from the artists that made the instrumentals or beats.
If you’re also a producer, you could save money by making the beats yourself.
There are several application software that you can download to create your own beats, the apps are usually equipped with the ability to create track beats from hundreds of instruments.
Artistes that got signed in good record labels after writing and recording some quality songs include Victor AD, Mayorkun, Peruzzi, Ayra Starr, Rema, etc.
7. Make a Video
No matter your budget, each time you make a song, ensure it has a follow-up video of some sorts.
That is what most people will stream online.
You can put out animated video first before the main video, just like Joeboy “Beginning” and Bella Shmurda “Cash App”.
You could get videographers from photography studios, then hire an experienced video editor to edit the video for you.
8. Create a Brand
From the moment you record music to sell to an audience, you understand that you have ceased to be just a person.
The audience sees you as a brand and all your work as a product.
You must consciously build a brand identity and image that fits the brand of music you make and how you want to be perceived as an artiste.
Adekunle Gold is an example of a great artist who has created a consistent brand image that supports his fusion of contemporary highlife, juju, and folk music.
9. Build a Personal Website/Blog
In recent times, having your personal website as an artiste is vital because it extends you and your brand.
Via your website, you’ll be able to share your music, tickets, albums, tours venues and dates, product sales and always keep your fans updated.
For as low as ₦50,000, you can build a website where you share exclusive content and build relationships and a core fan base as the years go by.
10. Promote Yourself and Your Music on Social Media
Open official social media accounts, share your music files and videos with fans on your social media accounts and on your website.
Try not to overlook YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, as we will find you really fast there.
Several big names in the music industry today emerged from social media.
Rema was found by D’Prince (Jonzing World) on Instagram, freestyling to some beats while in a car.
Same thing with Ayra Starr and Don Jazzy, Mayorkun and Davido, Fireboy DML and Olamide, Cheque and Phyno.
The aim is for you to tell the world that you are a talented musician and you have something they will love.
So, carry your market on your head.
Study and learn from other artistes on the way they promote their songs, e.g., Blaq Bonez is so good with social media promotion, marketing and publicity of his songs.
Ways to Promote Your Songs in Nigeria
You must get your music out of the studio and bring it to the ears of the people, whether you have money.
These are some of the smart ways to promote your song as an upcoming artiste in Nigeria.
- Share your new song with friends and families.
- Upload your song on top music/video sites such as YouTube, Instagram, Naijaloaded, 9jaflaver, JustNaija among others. Some are free and some require a fee.
- Take your song to radio stations to broadcast to a wide range of audiences.
- Reaching out to social media influencers such as Poco Lee, Nasty Blaq, Sydney Talker, MrFunny (Oga Sabinus), Mc Ezegetive, Tunde Ednut for a shout out, comedy or dance video of your song is also a good strategy for song promotion via social media.
11. Look for Local Gigs around You
Try performing live at Nigerian bars, nightclubs, carnivals, community festivals, school events, etc.
Meet with the organizers of such events and offer your service at a relatively affordable price or out-rightly free.
You can never can tell who is listening – it could be a record label boss.
Skales got signed to EME after Banky W saw him perform at a show in Kaduna. You could be the next signee.
Tekno Miles was discovered and signed by Ubi Frankiln while performing at an event.
Performing at top events could also earn you recommendations for a well-paid performance.
12. Audition for Top Music Talent Shows in Nigeria
The music industry is a wild place and they are usually watching out for new confident acts catching the headlines.
Top Nigerian musical auditions/contests have brought many artistes out of nothing to lime light.
Most of all these shows are annual, which means you can get auditioned for any of them every year.
- MTN Project Fame introduced Iyanya, Praiz, Omawumi, Chidinma and Yemi Alade.
- The Voice Nigeria introduced Chike.
Enroll for any of these music competitions all over the place.
Go out and battle with other contestants. You could get lucky and become the winner.
If you perform very well, aside the cash prizes for the winners and the runners-up of all these events, you get exposure and recognition to a wide range of audience nationwide and getting signed under a record label won’t then be a problem for you.
13. Network with Top Musicians in and Outside Nigeria
Network with your fellow artistes because tomorrow they may be the ones to bring you up.
When you connect and hang around the big boys in the music industry, be loyal and faithful, you’ll learn a lot from them and little by little you’ll start getting updates and contacts in the industry.
When starting, Bella Shmurda and Zlatan Ibile are always seen with Olamide, Davido, Burna Boy, Wizkid etc. learning from them and making good connects.
14. Power of Features
Feature a big name or get featured by a big name in the industry.
Your continued alliance with the big boys in the industry might earn you a free collaboration with one of them.
But if it doesn’t, pay if you have to.
Fame is not cheap.
Sacrifices are needed as cash, sweat, and time.
Although as an upcoming artiste we know it’s difficult, but if you are willing, you can.
So, if they ask you to give them some bread, don’t run away, look for the money, pay.
Some artistes have come into the spotlight through collaborations.
Getting a track with a well-known artist will grow your fan base, take you to the limelight, and enable you get pleasant streams and downloads of your songs.
Plus, you might even receive free sound mixing and other additions that will make your song sound pleasant.
List of Nigerian Musics/Musicians That Blow Well After Features
- Bella Shmurda feat. Olamide – Vision 2020
- Kizz Daniel feat. Davido and Tiwa Savage – Woju (Remix)
- Larry Gaga feat. Wizkid – Low
- MC Galaxy feat. Davido – Nek Unek
- Patoranking feat. Tiwa Savage – Girlie O (Remix)
- Pepenazi feat. Olamide – Illegal
- Runtown feat. Davido – Gallardo
- Umu Obiligbo feat. Phyno and Flavour – Culture
- Wizkid feat. Tems – Essence
- Zlatan feat. Davido – Osanle
- Zoro feat. Flavour – Ogene
- ASAKE feat. Olamide – Omo Ope
- Portable feat. Olamide and Poco Lee – Zazoo Zehh
15. Build a Core Fan Base
A label wants to see you’re the complete package and you’re about to take the world by storm.
Then they’ll invest in you. No label wants to sign a cheap version of another band; they want someone striking.
The size and passion of your fanbase ensure you’ll constantly be gaining new fans, as your old, ardent audience shares your songs with their friends, and so on.
More fans equal more people willing to stream and buy your EPs, your Mixtapes, and your t-shirts.
Label wants underground Nigerian artistes that are already locally recognized or already making moves.
It’s not just enough to be talented, they want you to make waves in your zone because they are business people with an eye for a product they can sell.
16. Connect with Legit Nigerian Music Record Labels
Record labels put out their emails and contact addresses from time to time whenever they need to add a new face to their roster.
Do yourself a favor and stay attentive to industry news in case there is any new opportunity to send your song.
It’s not a crime for you to go on social network and start conversations by sending direct messages with the big names.
Many of them will not reply, but those who do will be worth it.
When contacting a record label, you need to package your stuff correctly with all your songs, links, past performances and reviews well arranged.
Many superstars today used this proven method to meet with their destiny helpers.
Mayorkun, reportedly met with Davido via Twitter as his cover of Davido “Money” ft Olamide using a piano, eventually got listened to by O.B.O himself.
Rema and Ayra Starr also met with Mavin Records boss, Don Jazzy via Instagram.
There are different ways you can approach some of these Nigerian record label owners.
- Connect with them (Record label CEOs) through their social media handles. Most record labels owners, e.g., Don Jazzy, are very active on the social media.
- Contact, book for meeting and get approved before visiting their record label studios/offices (mostly in Lagos), and submit your song for review.
- Send your song as attached MP3 file via email to record label management email addresses, which you can easily get on their social media bio.
17. Sign a Record Label Contract
This would be a serious boost to your music career.
Record labels help manage and set you up for opportunities that you alone wouldn’t have been able to discover or create.
But to achieve this, you must have started out already, and the more talented you are, the more likely a reputable label will sign you.
Take for instance – Rema, Ayra Starr, Ruger, Ladipoe – these guys were signed from oblivion but today are well-known celebrities.
Now that your song has been reviewed and passed the background investigation test, the next step, of course, is signing an agreement/contract with these companies.
One of the greatest mistakes, commonly made by young upcoming artistes is accepting “slavery” contracts from talent “poachers”, who have dominated the Nigerian music industry.
We’ve heard many cases of brutal separations of some top Nigerian artistes from their record labels.
Typical examples in this case are Kizz Daniel and G-Worldwide Entertainment, Cynthia Morgan and Jude Okoye, Ycee and Tinny Entertainment.
We gathered that in August 2015, that Kiss Daniel despite all the hits, he had only collected a paltry salary of 50k monthly.
This, as gathered, was what eventually resulted in the separation of the two parties.
Cynthia Morgan stills drags Jude Okoye over unpaid allowances and payment.
No be small fight at all.
You should get a lawyer and a relative to thoroughly review a contract before putting pen to paper.
Doing this right will guarantee your sustained growth and eventual success in the Nigerian music industry.
18. Start Recording Hit Songs
After signing a record deal, and with your understanding of the Nigerian market, start recording and releasing hit songs.
Once you get that right, be sure you are on the right track.
You may also want to carve your lyrics around usual themes such as love/lust, passion, money, party, beef, life story, struggle/liberation.
Victor AD blew with his “Wetin We Gain” hit song because it was unique, meaningful, and relatable to every Nigerian and African striving hard for a better life.
Kizz Daniel equally blew with his “Woju” and “Laye” hit tracks because they were unique and danceable.
When you make hit song(s), it can get played by a lot of DJs at top events, parties and shows.
For the first time, I heard and listened to AV – “Big Thug Boys” and Lojay and Sarz “Monalisa” on Big Brother Naija Season 6 (Shine Ya Eyes).
If these songs were wack and not catchy, there won’t have been played in the best and most-watched Reality TV Show in Africa.
19. Get Interviewed
People connect with the music more when they connect with the artiste.
Interviews at top media shows/stations will provide you a platform to tell your story and promote yourself to fans and anyone who cares enough to listen, watch, or read.
Every interview count, open yourself up to the audience and they will open up to you.
20. Put Your Music on Online Streaming Platforms
Nigerian music artistes earn a lot of money daily from music streams and not only shows and endorsements.
Put your songs on all streaming platforms you can find e.g., Boomplay, Spotify, Audiomack, iTunes, etc.
You probably won’t make as much as already established artistes like Wizkid, Davido and Burna Boy but that kobo-kobo change can become a river of cash in time to come.
21. Always Focus
As you become more familiar with the music industry and all its frivolities, it is easy to get distracted.
Some musician’s careers have been shortened because of distraction and inconsistency.
As an upcoming artiste, remember that everything you do is a function of your art and your career.
Keep our eyes on the goal.
You must be patient enough to remain hungry and consistent despite all the setbacks and challenges that are bound to come your way.
One song will probably not do it, even two EP might not.
So, sit down, work hard, and be humble.
How Do Musicians Make Money in Nigeria?
Here are the best ways upcoming artists and musicians make money in Nigeria.
1. Digital Sales
A good way Nigerian musicians earn money per song is through digital sales.
Introducing advanced technology has opened ways for the marketing of songs over the internet.
There are some superb music streaming platforms, such as Boomplay, iTunes, Spotify, that could even earn you some cash.
Because of this medium, you could now sing and transfer your songs onto the web.
Through this, many people will get to either stream your tunes or they download it.
In any of this case, your cash will actually get back to you.
Also, with the digital means, you can transfer your music and individuals will then download, add to their library, and also get to know much about your songs.
2. Sell Tickets for Live Shows
Being invited to performing on stage at a live event is yet another way by which musicians make money in Nigeria.
When you are popular enough, and you think your fan base is big enough, then renting a concert hall or event hall for the night might also be the next big thing as it will increase your popularity, especially if your songs are good and trending.
The fee Nigerian musicians charged per show is not static and differs for every performer.
On average, musicians in Nigeria get paid between ₦200k to ₦25 million per show, as a performance fee.
It’s then up to musicians to have confidence that they would bring in cash in the long run.
You might need help with this from others engaged in the business for long.
Your producer should be able to help with this.
3. Brand Endorsements
A lot of brands connect with musical artist to advertise their items through support deals.
If you have developed a fan base, you will now be open to sponsorship by top organizations and companies.
They will support these musical artist to gain fame from their colossal fan base.
Sponsorship can go from money to free items, administrations, and stuff.
These will augment to your earnings in the music industry.
4. Appearance Fees
Fees charged for appearance is also one way to bring in money as a musician.
Many Nigerian top musicians get paid to show up at occasions, clubs, red floor carpet and many more events.
These appearances by the musical artist give the social event a demeanor of class, which will bring in cash for the advertisers.
5. Product Sales
Selling of products is also another way of bringing in money as a musician.
These products need not be only songs.
Wizkid made a lot of sales from the sales of his StarBoy merchandise (polo and so on).
Lot of Nigerian musicians get paid by YouTube monthly in dollars and this cash depends on the number of video views.
Film’s producers pay some money to musicians before they can make use of their songs in entertainment like films.
8. Music Royalties
Royalties is another way musicians generate money in Nigeria.
These are expenses paid to artists at the point when their music is being played on radio and other media platforms.
Sovereignties are additionally being paid for live shows and we call this Live Performance Royalty.
The richest musicians in Nigeria make their monies as royalties when any of their popular songs are sampled or interpolated by another musical artiste, when a movie tries to use their music.
Music, just like any other professions requires a certain level of know-how which can then be geared with the skills and equipment.
Don’t be like many people who cannot realize this; jumping to music just because it is lucrative and people are making money from it.
Ensure that all your songs are on google search and YouTube so that interested persons can always have easy access.
Make sure you have a video before looking for a record deal, if you need a better result.
Music artists emerge every day as the old ones who dull become irrelevant.
It might take months or years for you as an upcoming artiste to become successful and remain relevant in the music industry, as only a few achieve this feat out of the army of singers marching on every day.
Put in a lot of hard work to go up there, and when you get there, double your efforts to stay up there.
Hope you enjoyed this article?
Please share with your friends and don’t fail to comment expressing your mind concerning this article.
I wish you success.