Over the years, Nigerian music reality TV shows have become a popular way for unknown talents to go from ordinary, everyday people to household stars. I remember shows like “Idols West Africa”, “Nigerian Idols” and MTN’s “Project Fame” dominating the TV screens in the early ‘00s, creating many opportunities for young musicians to follow their dreams.
Perks of these shows include showcasing talent to millions of viewers as well as the mouth-watering prizes given to the winner. This not only motivates the contestants but also ensures that they are well equipped to achieve icon status. Artists such as Darey Art Alade, Timi Dakolo, Omawunmi, Chidinma, Niniola, Praiz, Iyanya, Chidinma and Johnny Drille are products of some of my favourite music reality shows.
With the steady increase in the global appreciation for Nigerian music, local artistes such as Burnaboy, Davido, Wizkid have achieved international acclaim, collaborating with their foreign counterparts. Beyonce’s The Lion King album and featured six Nigerian artistes, Davido scored an exciting collaboration with pop star; Chris Brown whom some have likened to Michael Jackson. Yemi Alade scored an international collaboration of her own with RickRoss, Tems and Davido with Khalid. Last year, Burna Boy also got nominated for the Grammys which was a major win for the industry at large!.
Nigerian artistes are taking over and the world is patiently watching and listening. With this spotlight on the industry, it has become a matter of urgency for talent discovery shows to produce even more well-rounded artists who can survive on a global scale. Cash prizes, fancy cars and a record deal are often not enough to guarantee success. I believe that if reality music talent shows incorporate capacity building into the show structure, these artists will be better equipped to thrive in the music industry.
With even more shows such as The Voice Nigeria and MTN Y’ello Star coming back to the screens soon, I took timeout to analyze the grand prizes from each show and what stood out for me was the enrollment in the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts; and the Henley Business School for the winner of Y’ello Star. Leveraging these opportunities will go a long way in increasing the winner’s chances of attaining and maintaining stardorm in the global music industry.
Adebimpe Sanusi writes from Lagos