I am certainly not a fan of any music award shows out of Nigeria presently, as most of them have been reduced to badly scripted popularity contests at best and a patronage scheme at their worst. I mean, I have seen all sorts of absurdity happen at these awards ceremonies to make me never watch another one for the rest of my life. Yet, I have not laid eyes on one more deserving of an award as Teni who won the Best New Artist award at the Soundcity MVP Awards held last Saturday. Although she had some formidable competition (read Peruzzi) in the category, had Teni not won the award it would have been a shame and a travesty indeed. Therefore, Peruzzi’s tweets suggesting that he was hard done by had me confused, like WTF!
To be sure, I respect Peruzzi’s sublime music talent a great deal, and to deny that or to say that he hasn’t made a mark in the industry since signing on to DMW would be nearly as bad as denying Teni the Best New Artist 2018 award. In fact, signing Peruzzi to the DMW platform was another Davido masterstroke that injected new life into the label and Davido’s career. However, Teni was the most worthy of the two acts in my book in Teni’18 and here’s why:
Teni released quite a few songs in 2018 and all of them were very well received with “Askamaya” and “Case” being outright hits. This is not counting “Uyo meyo” which was the Crossover Night/New year jam for many people and is almost certain to be a classic tune real quick. Meanwhile, Peruzzi had no personal hit song last year; his biggest offerings were all features. So, I think he should come and have this debate when he makes his first hit song this year, which is very much within the realm of possibility. In fact, he may already have made that hit song on his Heartwork EP, but if he doesn’t give us, how can we take??
Social Media Clout
I think Peruzzi, and many other artists, to be fair, can learn a thing or two from Teni’s social media sorcery. Teni has painstakingly built her clout on social media (Instagram in particular), over many months, into a formidable promotion machine for her art. This incredible organic growth was achieved by consistently coming through with amazing content, always being her authentic self, and engaging with her fans like a pro. Although, Peruzzi’s social media numbers are not shabby at all, his SM is not nearly as powerful as Teni’s. So, when Peruzzi said he worked harder than the other nominees I wasn’t buying it. I’m sure Peruzzi worked hard last year but was he strategic? Was he as effective in promoting his art as Teni? No.
Numbers Don’t Lie
Peruzzi, in his twitter rant, mentioned that he had earned more money in the last year than the other artists nominated for the award in question, an assertion that may or may not be factual. Of course, he enjoyed an uptick in bookings after the release of Tubaba’s “Amaka”, still, there’s no way of knowing whether his annual earnings eclipsed Teni’s. One thing I can tell you for a fact, make that two, is that Teni currently commands a higher performance fee than Peruzzi and she definitely was in higher demand last December, and I believe those two indices are better indicators of their current relative value.
In case Peruzzi forgot, he is signed to the best record label in Nigeria today, ably led by one of the biggest acts on the continent and one who is never afraid of putting his artists on! DMW is no small matter and Peruzzi would do well to acknowledge the impact of that relationship on his soaring career. Teni, on the other hand was not put on by any known artist of any import, not even by Niniola, a successful artist in her own rights, whom many still do not know to be Teni’s sister. Teni has gotten to where she is because of her immense talent and by dint of hard work. So, if Peruzzi, standing on the back of a real African giant still couldn’t match Teni’s accomplishment, then the young woman definitely deserves all the accolade.
Now, I’ll advise that Peruzzi focuses on promoting his recently released Heartwork EP, which I think is a very strong offering with some fire tracks like “Did you”, “Craze”, “Majesty”, “Dina” and that freaking “Intro”. Get a solid team and go to work until every Nigerian has heard the amazing music you make, and 2019 just might be the year of Ruzzi. But as far as the year Teni’18 is concerned, Teni owned it.
Obinna Agwu is a compulsive lover of music with over a decade of experience in the Nigerian music industry. He continues to work as a talent manager, A*R exec and Adviser to record labels and artistes in the industry. He is an occasional writer and the author of The Mob’s Take and the Business Of Music (BOM) series.
Follow Obinna on social media @d_angrymob.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija