4 Traits You Need To Make It As A Musician In Nigeria

Being a musician is tough because of the many hurdles, problems, setbacks and obstacles one has to face before he/she can make it. For every success story in the Nigerian music industry, there’s been years and years of failure, sweat and probably tears. However, they all had the 4 traits below and now they are ruling the entertainment industry while also smiling to the bank.

So you too, make sure you have the 4 traits below also because you’ll need it if you want to make it in the industry.


D’banj is a music icon in Nigeria, but his road to fame was long and difficult. He once had to chase down a record label owner in traffic begging him to listen to his CD, but the man told him to go and drop the CD in his office and drove off. Well, look at D’Banj now! There are many artistes who sold things in traffic, had hustles that were sadder than yours but are among the top dawgs in the industry now. Many artistes had to hustle to get money for studio sessions but now, many producers are begging them to work with them for free. They all had one thing in common; perseverance!

It’s a known fact that perseverance will take you far in life in any and everything you do. Just trust the process and keep on going through the good times and bad. Make sure you have that goal in your mind and keep on pushing to achieve it.

2. Confidence

Confidence is a drug – a very addictive drug – that almost always gives the desired effects. When you believe with every cell in your body that you are the best, will make it and get to the top, then you definitely will.

Artistes like M.I usually boasts of how he’s the best in his songs, other artistes usually say in interviews about how they are better than everyone else. Davido said that he is better than all the legends in the industry in his popular song “All of You.” Wizkid talks about how he’s the one putting Nigeria on the international map. Even artistes like Beyonce, Kanye West, Rihanna, and Jay Z all exhume confidence in almost everything they do.

“I have an authentic, God-given talent, drive, and longevity that will always separate me from everyone else,” says Beyonce in an interview with Complex.

Kanye West told BBC Radio 1, “I’m the number one rock star on the planet.”

Jay-Z told Rap Radar, “This is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity.”

These quotes could be taken as them being cocky, but they also speak of an underlying confidence that helps each musician maintain their success.

Musicians live in the limelight and put their hearts and souls into their careers for everyone to see.  They can’t show weakness. They can’t stand in front of thousands of people shaking with fear.

If you don’t have this kind of confidence, figure out how to get it or give up now.

3. Willingness to Learn

If you are not willing to learn, then you are definitely in the wrong industry. You can’t be a creative and not learn new things and tricks. Artistes like Banky W started singing and are now producing songs and directing music videos. There are a lot of musicians who now produce songs. Even Wizkid was rumoured to have co-produced Drake’s “One Dance.” Don Jazzy who is arguably Nigeria’s foremost music producer usually sings and does vocals as well.

Ben Folds says, “Know how people did it before you. Play covers and have respect for the mastery of what came before.  It will make you suck for a while.”

“Any gains you make as a musician, especially technically generally have the side effect of rendering you unfocused for a short period of time. Basically, you can expect to play and write like a goober for a while when digesting concepts.  Then it sinks in and you come out of the haze, stronger with a broader palette, sharper pen and more confidence.”

If you don’t take criticism well, then what are you doing being in the creative industry?

4. Be True to Yourself

Ashanti once said in a Parade Magazine interview, “‘Be a Lion’ is my favourite [song]. I relate to its message about needing the courage to be true to yourself.”

The late Prince also expressed the importance of standing up for what you believe in and not getting sucked into the lifestyle.  “Self-reflection is so important; sadly, in a society where ‘celebrity lite’ is the order of the day and people seem to have attention spans of a flea, rarely looking beyond the surface or questioning anything at all, it’s sorely missing,” Prince once said. “The world would be a better place if we would all think for ourselves and question what’s around us.”

But devoting your life to a music career takes more than just a good voice or being a great musical instrument player.  Reflect on your best traits and be ready for everything this career choice will throw at you.



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