by Chilee Agunanna
A couple of events held over the past few weeks in Texas: one was the Africa Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL) in Dallas on Saturday, October 15. And the other was the One Africa Music Fest at the massive Toyota Centre, on Saturday, October 22.
Going from the names of the above mentioned events, you would have already deduced that Nigerian artistes made up the bulk of winners and performers at the event. P-Square, 2Face, Flavour, Vector, J-Martins and Tekno all performed at the One Africa Fest.
At AFRIMMA, Basketmouth, who hosted the event came on stage to lament the fact that 60 different artistes were flown in from Africa to grace the awards but that most of them were either “lounging” at their hotels or felt it demeaning to arrive early to the event. He pointed out that 2Face remains an example to others as he arrived the venue long before the event started while much younger and newer acts felt too big to come out.
This writer wouldn’t know who he was talking about but he noticed that Tekno (Augustine Miles Kelechi), who won the Song of the Year with his hit song Duro, never turned up to receive it because he wasn’t in the hall. He however appeared on stage right at the end of the show to prance about during Flavour’s performance which was also the final of the event.
Fast forward to a week later, in Houston, Tekno showed up for his performance but was so uncoordinated that a number of people in the hall noticed and some wondered loudly if he was either high or totally confused. He was prancing about the stage like a malnourished tadpole and shouting hoarse interjections into his own song like a thirsty frog.
There is this cliché in entertainment circles, “believing your own hype”, but this is not actually the case with Tekno, he is doing so well now and his talent is so evident that he is not actually hyping himself, he is worth every hype. But there lies the danger.
Swaying to people screaming your name or your songs when you are on stage is not performance. You might as well not be there. Stage performance requires you to make your presence felt and your fans or audience to notice the difference between listening to your songs privately to watching you live on stage.
Tekno is young and very young fan base who do not really care about what he does or the quality of his performances. Merely seeing him on stage or taking selfies with him is enough to drive them crazy and having already memorized his songs, don’t really need much performance-wise to respond.
Every talented artiste would usually rise to the top, sometimes due to sheer luck, hardwork or as a result of their talent. I don’t know how many of these are involved in Tekno’s rise, but I’m sure of his talent and that’s why he is at the top now with just a handful of songs— Wash, Duro, Pana and a few production credits.
But how long will this last? How long would he need to just show up in order to turn up? How long before many people notice?
There are living examples of A-List contemporary Nigerian artistes who do not have current hits or even current songs but are still booked for every notable show in and outside the country. He was in the hall with some of them that day at the Toyota Centre.
Tekno cannot go far with the sort of attitude and exhibition he put up in the U.S. and a lot of this responsibility falls on his management to set him up to become the kind of artiste his early promise has shown. If they want him to join the bandwagon, then don’t bother about his stage act and art, he is already making good music, but the greatest artists of all times all took their stage acts seriously and remain in demand even when they do not have hits on rotation.
Tekno belongs to the top and he should immediately be programmed to fulfill his enormous potential. This writer would never have noticed him or bothered to write these words if he doesn’t believe so.
SIDENOTE: What’s up with the organisers of the One Africa Music Fest who issued journalists with Press Passes only for them to find out that they couldn’t enter the event hall without purchasing tickets?
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Chilee Agunanna is on Twitter and Instagram: @ChileeChills.