By Rotimi Ijikanmi
Abuja – Okiemute Ighorodje, the winner of MTN Project Fame West Africa, Season 9, has decried the glorification of Afro pop to the detriment of other genres of music.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, the artiste said other music genres including blues, reggae, R&B, jazz, classical and folk were being stereotyped.
She said such stereotype would not give the affected genres and their artistes the opportunity to attain their full potential.
The budding singer whose stage name is also Okiemute, urged relevant stakeholders particularly, music promoters, radio and television stations to place deserving attention to the neglected genres.
“There is need to understand that music is diverse. There should be no deliberate attempt to promote a music genre over the other.
“Afro pop is making a lot of waves over the others because of its promotion, whereas, there are many people that love other music genres.
“They should stop stereotyping other forms of music. Music is music, if it is of good quality and it follows the rules, it should be appreciated,’’ she said.
Okiemute said some radio and television stations, especially the music channels were guilty of this stereotype because of their failure to feature the neglected music genres as afro pop.
“From morning till night, what you hear most on these stations is afro pop music. They do not give the audience the opportunity to make choice.
“Listeners want to wake up in the morning, tune to a radio station, listen to cool music. In the afternoon, they want to listen to midday music, cross over tunes.
“Before late night, they will like to listen to party songs that will make them shake their body and all that.
“If listeners are given the opportunity to listen to other genres, they will start appreciating them and the music will see the light of day,’’ she said.
Speaking on the predominance of vulgar lyrics in contemporary music, Okiemute said artistes must try to strike the balance.
She said many of the artistes being condemned for vulgar lyrics also have songs with lyrics that propagate good values and teach morals.
Okiemute contended that vulgarity could not be totally taken away from music because it has its social functions.
“Our generation wants to party and have fun. We know about the ills in the society, we know about the stress and happenings, but most artistes want to take their listeners out of all these challenges.
“They use what is being regarded as vulgar lyrics to create the illusion for people to forget their sufferings and move on with life.
“You cannot keep using music to remind people of their problems, challenges or reminding people of what to do and what not to do at all times.
“Music must be to entertain and to make people have fun and take listeners out of their challenges and unpleasant state,’’ she said.
Okiemute said the major challenges of upcoming artiste, like her were finance and lack of direction.
“You need funds to produce quality music and video that will stand out for acceptance. You also need money to promote your music which is not easy to come by.
“Most upcoming artiste also do not have direction. It is challenging to really identify the people that really believe in you, buy into your dreams and ready to work with you for your success
“A lot of people will come to you, but they do not really have your interest. They just want to joggle on you, play around and waste your time,’’ she said.
According to the budding musician, it is difficult to strike collaboration deals with Nigeria leading artistes..
She said there was no easy access to these artistes largely because they were also pursuing their careers.
“I have made efforts but it has been to no avail. I therefore want to appeal to them to understand that the sky is big enough for many artistes to shine.
“They should extend hands of help to promising upcoming artistes, may be by featuring them in their songs, building their fan base, signing them or bringing them up on their platform.
“They should not think that when they help an artiste to grow, he or she will take their shine,’’ she said.
The 27-year old Linguistics & Communications graduate from University of Port Harcourt said she had so far dropped two singles, “Good Loving’’ produced with a video and “African Wonder’’.
She said life after winning project fame had been a mixed bag of struggling back and front growing from a live band artiste to the main stream music production.
“Being in the house is quite different of coming out to the real world where you have competition and your audience are expecting a lot from you.
“You have to ensure originality and quality in your production. Keeping up appearances to look good, from your hair, to your shoe and dresses and make up,’’ she said.
On why she chose, “Okiemute’’ as stage name rather than any funky name like many musicians, she said it was unique and meaning; “there is time for everything’’ has always worked for her.
Specifically, she said her breakthroughs in life had come at God’s time, when she least expected and the uniqueness of the name had paved the way for her.
Okiemute appreciated the media for supporting her in promoting her works.