Opinion: Dear Beautiful Nubia, step up your game and stop complaining

by Onyinye Muomah

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So, Mr. Nubia, if your songs, despite their great messages are not getting general acceptance, do not flog the media, either you change genre, or accept that you are before or after your time.

There is really nothing like bad or good music, music finds its audience. I know this because there are times I have been on a bus or walking on the street, and heard music that made me want to plug my ears with tar. Yet, just beside me is someone singing along and obviously feeling the artiste.

I have also observed that the more refined or “original” your music is, the fewer your audience or more aptly, the less commercial success you would have. There are exceptions of course: Asa, Fela, MI (when he first came out). It’s very difficult for people who choose to be different to make it at first. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t make it at all, especially if you are persistent.

I say all this because I recently read an interview featuring Beautiful Nubia, the contemporary folk musician. In the interview, he blamed the media for what he considered the proliferation of bad music. Obviously, in his opinion, his music which doesn’t get as much air time as let’s say a Timaya song, is good music.

Now truth be told, if you asked me, despite the lofty message in his songs, I do not necessarily consider Beautiful Nubia a good musician. I understand what he’s trying to do music wise and I respect it and actually love some of his songs. However, there are times when his lyrics sound too “freestyle-y” and his backup singers way too shrill to be taken seriously. Still, there are some people, maybe because of the proverbs he weaves into his lyrics, who swear by Beautiful Nubia and consider him a great artiste.

And I say: to each, his own.

Going by his words in the interview, it would seem that what Mr. Nubia considers good music is music that speaks “on honesty, hard work, good neighbourliness, sincerity, love and protecting one another all for the society to change.” He however insisted that he had no problem with musicians whose music primarily dwelled on women and love since it provided them an income, but added that some sanity had to come into play. He accepts that these “lyrically empty” songs (my words) are what the public wants, but there is no impact on the society through what they are singing.

Who said?

Sincerely, in this very difficult country of ours where hundreds are dying in the North East, trouble is often brewing under the surface in the Niger Delta and Lagos traffic just drains your soul – telling someone to relax, sip some Rose and shake bum-bum in the club, might just be the best and nicest advice that you would give the person.

With a very corrupt government that does not seem to want to budge and the burden of our horrible economy so depressing that it almost squashes and entrepreneurial spirit, who does not need a little “making noise and jumping about” (like Mr. Nubia calls it) to revive the soul. These songs, despite what Beautiful Nubia argues, actually impact positively in the life of some of some people; if not the lyrics then the hard dance beats. They move you to dance away that negative energy and then tomorrow, tomorrow face the day with a tougher come-at-me stance.

Of course, if a musician was asking the audience to shoot and kill people, rape a woman, a pose a vilent problem to the society – no matter how great the beats – then that would be bad music indeed.

Another issue I had with the Beautiful Nubia interview was where he asked the media to dictate the music we listen to.

Seriously?

Well, to an extent, the media does dictate the music we listen to – more like the media suggests or offers us what it thinks we may like. How long we listen to a song before switching the station, all depends on us. The audience is not passive; which is why smart entrepreneurs have come up with dedicated stations: sports stations, those that play only old school songs or offer programming strictly in pidging English. With time, we may have stations that play only afrobeat or afropop or fuji or even contemporary folk songs. But till then, if radio stations owners want to be able to pay their staff as well as feed their family, they have to go with mass appeal.

They can’t dictate to us, else, music like the ones by Beautiful Nubia which are strong on message would be all we would be listening to – thankfully, for some people.

Another thing, the music of a generation speaks of the lifetime of that generation. In the late eighties/early nineties, our radios were awash with freedom fighting songs as musicians, to make money and get recognition, joined the band-wagon of the anti-apartheid movement. If I think back now, it seemed that there was no commercial artiste of note who did not sing a song seeking the freedom of Nelson Mandela or praising, Winnie – Majek Fashek, Onyeka Onwenu, Sonny Okosun and even child-star, Chi-chi of Africa.

These days, post nine-eleven, with the rise of terrorist organisations’ and in the wake of failed Arab springs, people are looking for an escape from reality. They find it on TV, with more sex driven shows and in dance music that invites you to forget your worries just for a few minutes.

Let me leave you with this: after Iyanya won Project Fame, he produced an album of what Nigerians call ‘slow music,’ mostly love songs. Back then, on Project Fame, he had the moniker of ‘Ladies Man’ bestowed on him. But no matter how much the ladies loved him, or how smooth and deep his album was, he couldn’t sell enough or get enough airtime or radio to headline shows. And believe me, he tried.

According to what he told me during an interview, he was practically forced/ deceived by his manager to record Kukere, a commercial hit. Now, Iyanya says, he sings what the people want. “If the people say they want afro-pop, I’ll sing it; reggae, whatever.” Anything to remain relevant and make that money.

So, Mr. Nubia, if your songs, despite their great messages are not getting general acceptance, do not flog the media, either you change genre, or accept that you are before or after your time.

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This post was published with permission from TelegraphNg.com

 Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (3)

  1. Dear Onyinye,

    Have you ever attended one of BN's concert? You need to, my dear. It's a lifetime experience you shouldn't miss. How soothing it is to walk out of a concert and wish you were just a mile away from heaven.

    Have you ever attended one of the concerts of the secular artistes you 'so madly' defend? An event populated by people with low virtues and ignoble values. Well let's leave that part…

    Do you know Youssou N'dour? Do you know he is one of the richest African musicians? Do you know that his songs are not also as appealing as the watery, secular songs that dictate your relief, fun & happiness?

    Did you even take your time to do a proper research on what's called good music? Hope you were not under the influence when you wrote this? Going by your song references, you seem to be in your twenties – if truly you are, then am disappointed by this intellectual abortion which you have purged in your article.

    We are all music adulterers, even my own music playlist consists of reggae, country music, foreign & local pop songs, gospel, and what have you. I switch them to suit my mood & purpose. Key words: mood & purpose. That's the whole idea in music, my dear, stop buffering!

    I have been listening to BN's songs for close to a decade, and I can tell you he is an enigma, and we are proud to have him in our own generation. (I know you didn't mean to insult him in your last paragraph.) And please don't dictate how BN's music should sound, we fans are not complaining. And if he says something you don't like via the media, just respect his opinion, and stop acting like a 'downer'.

    "Treat every child like your own, for every child no matter the circumstances of his birth, is a beacon to this glorious future" – Beautiful Nubia in OHUN OJU NRI

    BONUS: You can contact BN via BBM here; 26EAC6D7

  2. Dear Onyinye,

    Have you ever attended one of BN's concert? You need to, my dear. It's a lifetime experience you shouldn't miss. How soothing it is to walk out of a concert and wish you were just a mile away from heaven.

    Have you ever attended one of the concerts of the secular artistes you 'so madly' defend? An event populated by people with low virtues and ignoble values. Well let's leave that part…

    Do you know Youssou N'dour? Do you know he is one of the richest African musicians? Do you know that his songs are not also as appealing as the watery, secular songs that dictate your relief, fun & happiness?

    Did you even take your time to do a proper research on what's called good music? Hope you were not under the influence when you wrote this? Going by your song references, you seem to be in your twenties – if truly you are, then am disappointed by this intellectual abortion which you have purged in your article.

    We are all music adulterers, even my own music playlist consists of reggae, country music, foreign & local pop songs, gospel, and what have you. I switch them to suit my mood & purpose. Key words: mood & purpose. That's the whole idea in music, my dear, stop buffering!

    I have been listening to BN's songs for close to a decade, and I can tell you he is an enigma, and we are proud to have him in our own generation. (I know you didn't mean to insult him in your last paragraph.) And please don't dictate how BN's music should sound, we fans are not complaining. And if he says something you don't like via the media, just respect his opinion, and stop acting like a 'downer'.

    "Treat every child like your own, for every child no matter the circumstances of his birth, is a beacon to this glorious future" – Beautiful Nubia in OHUN OJU NRI

    BONUS: You can contact BN via BBM here; 26EAC6D7

  3. Dear Onyinye,

    Have you ever attended one of BN's concert? You need to, my dear. It's a lifetime experience you shouldn't miss. How soothing it is to walk out of a concert and wish you were just a mile away from heaven.

    Have you ever attended one of the concerts of the secular artistes you 'so madly' defend? An event populated by people with low virtues and ignoble values. Well let's leave that part…

    Do you know Youssou N'dour? Do you know he is one of the richest African musicians? Do you know that his songs are not also as appealing as the watery, secular songs that dictate your relief, fun & happiness?

    Did you even take your time to do a proper research on what's called good music? Hope you were not under the influence when you wrote this? Going by your song references, you seem to be in your twenties – if truly you are, then am disappointed by this intellectual abortion which you have purged in your article.

    We are all music adulterers, even my own music playlist consists of reggae, country music, foreign & local pop songs, gospel, and what have you. I switch them to suit my mood & purpose. Key words: mood & purpose. That's the whole idea in music, my dear, stop buffering!

    I have been listening to BN's songs for close to a decade, and I can tell you he is an enigma, and we are proud to have him in our own generation. (I know you didn't mean to insult him in your last paragraph.) And please don't dictate how BN's music should sound, we fans are not complaining. And if he says something you don't like via the media, just respect his opinion, and stop acting like a 'downer'.

    "Treat every child like your own, for every child no matter the circumstances of his birth, is a beacon to this glorious future" – Beautiful Nubia in OHUN OJU NRI

    BONUS: You can contact BN via BBM here; 26EAC6D7

  4. Dear Onyinye,

    Have you ever attended one of BN's concert? You need to, my dear. It's a lifetime experience you shouldn't miss. How soothing it is to walk out of a concert and wish you were just a mile away from heaven.

    Have you ever attended one of the concerts of the secular artistes you 'so madly' defend? An event populated by people with low virtues and ignoble values. Well let's leave that part…

    Do you know Youssou N'dour? Do you know he is one of the richest African musicians? Do you know that his songs are not also as appealing as the watery, secular songs that dictate your relief, fun & happiness?

    Did you even take your time to do a proper research on what's called good music? Hope you were not under the influence when you wrote this? Going by your song references, you seem to be in your twenties – if truly you are, then am disappointed by this intellectual abortion which you have purged in your article.

    We are all music adulterers, even my own music playlist consists of reggae, country music, foreign & local pop songs, gospel, and what have you. I switch them to suit my mood & purpose. Key words: mood & purpose. That's the whole idea in music, my dear, stop buffering!

    I have been listening to BN's songs for close to a decade, and I can tell you he is an enigma, and we are proud to have him in our own generation. (I know you didn't mean to insult him in your last paragraph.) And please don't dictate how BN's music should sound, we fans are not complaining. And if he says something you don't like via the media, just respect his opinion, and stop acting like a 'downer'.

    "Treat every child like your own, for every child no matter the circumstances of his birth, is a beacon to this glorious future" – Beautiful Nubia in OHUN OJU NRI

    BONUS: You can contact BN via BBM here; 26EAC6D7

  5. My friend u don't know what u are saying if u say there is notting like gud & bad music.4m dat statement it shows u know notting about music & not qualified 2 score any.

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cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail