[The Music Blog] What makes a person a One Hit Wonder? | The curious case of Morachi, Gino and Klever Jay

The Summer of 2007 brought with it the super catchy and super sexual Hapuya like that. Released by industry newcomer Morachi, the song was expected to launch the musician into the big leagues. He released one more song; No Dull and did a remix with Sauce Kid and Gino but that was the end of him in the Nigerian music scene. He recently resurfaced a few weeks ago with Fire Down; a song with a sound that Nigerians have outgrown.

Gino released No be God? in 2006 and it was arguably Nigeria’s best rap song for a long while. The talented rapper released an album later, but his musical career went to waste.

Same with Bigiano. He released Shayo and disappeared.

Same with Klever Jay. Igboro Ti Daru featured Eedris Abdulkareem and went on to become a summer anthem, but the musician did not make a showing after that.

Released in 2008, Collabo by Deebee was one of the most talked about singles in the streets as well as on the turntables of Deejays all around Nigeria.

So, what really makes people One Hit Wonders? How do these people enter the public spotlight and subsequently disappear?

I think it’s the record labels. They get an artist that seems likeable, pay for a couple of studio sessions and then push the resulting singles out to the public. They then use Payola to push the music out for Nigerians to consume.

Payola, in the music industry, is the illegal practice of payment or other inducements by record companies for the broadcast of recordings on commercial radio in which the song is presented as being part of the normal day’s broadcast. Under U.S. law, a radio station can play a specific song in exchange for money, but this must be disclosed on the air as being sponsored airtime, and that play of the song should not be counted as a “regular airplay”.

The term has come to refer to any secret payment made to cast a product in a favourable light (such as obtaining positive reviews).

Some radio stations report spins of the newest and most popular songs to industry publications. The number of times the songs are played can influence the perceived popularity of a song.

The term payola is a combination of “pay” and “-ola” a common suffix of product names in the early 20th century, such as Pianola, Victrola, Amberola, Crayola, Rock-Ola or brands such as the radio equipment manufacturer Motorola. Payola has come to mean the payment of a bribe in commerce and in law to say or do a certain thing against the rules of law, but more specifically a commercial bribe. – Source, Wikipedia

When the agreements between artist and record label end or artist couldn’t pay to push out hits like they did the first time, they died down as a brand. In the absence of quality lyrics or personal mystery, every other musician sounds the same. Music and media in Nigeria has been designed in a way where out of sight means out of mind.

Or maybe they got lazy. They got all the fame, they got all the glory and they just slowed down. Either way, E go be.

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