New Sony deal opens another level of competition for Nigerian stars Wizkid & Davido

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You know those moments where everything you
have ever done, keeps leading to you to the same
spot. Things like meeting the girl you secretly
crush on 5 times in your life, being hounded by
recruiters for the same job, avoiding a career in a
chosen field, but it keeps finding its way back at
you. Or worse, finding out that a particular brand
of beer is your favorite, because every time you
want to get high, that’s the only drink your
favorite vendor has stocked.
Those moments, are what it is: Fate has finally
found you. A force higher, mightier, more powerful
and cosmic, has grabbed the reins of your
existence and placed you squarely in a situation
that you can do nothing about. In some fields, it
is called Force Majure, the hand of God, or maybe,
Karma. A reward for your efforts.
It’s hard not to think that Davido and Wizkid
aren’t being played by the hand of God. Fate has
dealt them the same professional cards. Heaven
has handed them lemons at every point in their
careers, and so far, they have either made
lemonade, or Magarita, or Martini Lemon Drop.
(Margarita is still the best). They have used all of
their cards and scored winning points, moving the
music, the culture, the money and the hits to
greater heights, and being rewarded with more.
That’s why the fans sense a competition. That’s
why the media pits them against each other.
That’s why they have fought, made up, and found
new ways to debunk every iota of competition.
They feel the pressure in their bones, and
constantly push themselves to surpass each
other, but in public, they avoid the conversation
like a plague.
But heaven said no. Davido and Wizkid are two of
a kind; young Nigerian pop stars, hit-making
machines, designed to lead, sing and push past
continental music and achievement ceilings. They
are to be compete against each other in this life,
and perhaps in the afterlife. Greatness needs the
push of another great force to produce more
greatness, as iron sharpeneth iron.
The duo, young Nigerian kids with different
journeys to the top, find themselves currently
occupying the highest spots in the continent’s
pop music space. Although with young careers,
their experiential overlap and clashes have
brought many joys for the fans, with the news of
their rift treating fans to tabloid gold, and the
perceived competition that the media has
generated and sustained over a period spurring
them to harder work. These works have given
everyone singles, which has been memorable
moments in the life of Nigeria music enthusiasts.
The two artistes have projects out, cornered a
well-deserved share of the pop market, developed
a core following from around the world, covered
magazines, and most importantly, keep making a
truckload of money every year, from record sales,
appearance and performance fees, brand
engagements and more. Their celebrity status is
unrivalled at the moment.
But just when the signs of boredom and
complacency began to creep in, then came the
international spotlight. Nigerian music is currently
enjoying more recognition than ever, and there is
a strong feeling that this will be the legacy that
these stars will have. For all their success, Wizkid
and Davido have done nothing new. They have
simply ran along with the template that had
already been crafted by their predecessors and
made it more lucrative. Their works, to date, have
not created a new path, neither can they hold on
to the works of their hands and compare it to
other African greats.
But they have a new opportunity to break past
that and become gods and heroes. This year
Nigerian music is expanding, crossing the
continent into new spheres. The creative section
of the industry is undergoing a growth, the global
music consumers become more aware of
Nigeria’s sounds and the novelty of consuming it.
Wizkid’s ‘One Dance’ collaboration with Drake
and Kyla, topped the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for
10 weeks, and transformed him into a desired
player in the international community. Davido’s
African dominance has been rewarded by a
chance to break replicate it on a wider scale, with
Sony Music Entertainment throwing in money and
the resources to make that a reality. His debut EP
will be out in September. Seyi Shay is playing the
UK leagues with Universal Island Records
handling her distribution. Ayo Jay, another
Nigerian is on Sony’s books too, releasing his
work in the US via their flagship record label, RCA
Records, home to Usher, Alicia Keys and more.
For the international stars, the infusion of African
sounds, drums and elements is going
mainstream, and more collaboration is being done
with Nigerians. Drake’s writing on “Views” album
has been rumored to have more Nigerian
influences than he lets on. Young Thug has three
recorded songs with everyone. Swizz Beatz has a
song with MC Galaxy, and has recorded with
Wizkid. Alicia Keys’ ‘In common’ hit song, will sit
comfortable on any African playlist. Jidenna, the
man once vilified for his description of the
Nigerian societal dangers, has brought his music
closer home, dancing the shoki, speaking the
Nigerian Pidgin English, and appropriating the
drum kicks on ‘Little Bit More’. Previously, prior
to this explosion, he was content to have his
dressing bear testament of his origins. Now, he
embraces it, and makes his art a fusion of both
worlds.
Wizkid and Davido are fully involved in all of this,
and would need to bear the responsibility of
leading Nigerian music to achieve more
penetration. They have the powers for this. Wizkid
has already been on this path for a longer time,
touring the world, and collaborating with
numerous international stars. His list of
announced collaborations are lengthy, one of them
manifesting as the super hit song ‘One Dance’.
There’s still more to go for the star, as he has a
full set up to manage the process.
Davido’s earlier deal with Sony Music had the
advantage on paper to be more structured.
Signed on an album-dependent deal, the singer is
faced with the opportunity to push our music into
mainstream America, Europe and beyond. The
resources of Sony Music are behind him, with
management, sales, publishing and developmental
systems in place for the star to shine brighter and
expand his influence. If this succeeds, he would
successfully break the Nigerian sound into distant
areas of the globe, thereby offering our sounds
more growth.
Wizkid now has the same deal, only with more
money allocated to his side of the dotted lines.
Both stars have come under the same umbrella to
work and grow their art. They have the same
resources, their contracts are similar, and what’s
left now is for their hustle and talent to shine
forth.
The competition that they have avoided all
through their careers have brought them under
the same roof and they now have to do business
in the same company. They can’t avoid the
competition now, as their different careers have
been joined in the hip by Sony Music. Call this
fate, brand it Force Majure, try to see the Hand of
God at work, and you won’t be wrong. Wizkid and
Davido are competitors now that it is official. May
the better team win.

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