Overtime Mjeez found himself integrating into the Nigerian music scene, understanding their sounds and why the people are so attached to it. This motivated him to integrate his culture into his writing and arrangement skills; however this was not an easy task as he found his music switching from one genre to another in other to satisfy the general market. In the year 2011 he released his first song that was planned on national radio such as Eko FM, Beat FM, and more.
The song titled Oyibobo featured Skales who was signed to EME (Empire music entertainment), from there henceforth Mjeez graced all the major events in the country, mounted all the major stage. In the year 2012 he moved forward to release his first debut album which was distributed through while he toured alongside his band. The singer went on to discover his own recording company called Men of Art Empire to manage his music and brand while he travelled to acquire a Masters degree in business administration. On returning back home Mjeez released another song where he featured Jaywon “Ginika”. His passion and drive has kept him going, working to create a global brand in Africa.
AQUILA RECORDS presents the newest addition to her roster; Nigerian-Irish artiste BEEZY. Real names Abiodun Usman Azeez, BEEZY was born in Ibadan, Oyo State, and moved to Dublin, Ireland at a young age. While residing in Dublin, he studied and achieved a dual degree in Mechanical Engineering and Business Management. While also entrenching himself in music, and making a name for himself within the Dublin community.
With very deep passion and a huge dream, BEEZY moved back to his homeland Nigeria in May 2017, in order to take his career to the next level and build his audience with the people he loves. In search of musical support, BEEZY wrote a freestyle detailing his experiences in the industry, dropping names in an open letter to the world and in typical Muhammed Ali style, prophesizing that he’d get signed by Aquila Group Chairman, SHINA PELLER, to his AQUILA RECORDS imprint. This freestyle caught SHINA PELLER’s attention. Impressed by BEEZY’s effort, he reposted the video on his Instagram handle @shinapeller and asked if he should be signed to the label. Within hours the post received thousands of comments, including comments from Nollywood superstar Toyin Abraham (formerly Toyin Aimakhu) and Fuji icon PASUMA, all asking that SHINA PELLER signs this very talented and charismatic act to his label.
BEEZY was therefore invited to the Aquila Studio to work with the team and prove himself. In that space of time, BEEZY was able to convince all and sundry through his hard-work, dedication and general drive that he deserves a spot on the team; hence his signing.
BEEZY presently has numerous tracks to his name. His latest freestyle visual, “Life” features South African act Kaptain Whyte and premiered at his unveiling party at Club Quilox on 30 th August.
BEEZY is already a multiple awards winner; IAMA (Ireland African Music Awards) Best New Artiste ’13, IAMA Best Single Of The Year ’13, Ta’Azor Lee Foundation Recognition Award ’15 (for his contribution to the growth of Afrobeats in Ireland).
The young man hopes to win more accolades, while also changing the music scene in Nigeria and continuing to expand Nigeria’s fine music heritage to the international market.
Princess Egbobawaye Blessing is from the royal home of the Benin kingdom, she is a descendant of Oba Ovoranwmen in Edo state Uhunwonde local government area in Nigeria. She is the first out of six siblings to parents Mr victor Egbobawaye and Mrs Theresa's Egbobawaye.
Blessing Viktor is a Gospel singer/ songwriter, she was born and raised in a Christian home and she joined the choir at the age of 8. Her debut single ‘Nobody’ is a gospel song in which she communicates with her inner most potential and the Holy Spirit. Nobody was recorded and produced at Giant Beats Studios by Kaydee (MusicMonstar).
Blessing’s greatest desire is for the song to bless the hearts and souls of each and every person who listens to it and help change the lives of people by getting them closer to God. She truly believes that there is absolutely Nobody that can change our lives in a twinkle of an eye but the Almighty God so her song encourages people to seek only God.
Watch this space for more to come.
Adenike Hanifat Adenike Also known as 'Nikky Orobo', is a Nigerian independent recording artist, performer and entertainer from Irepodun Local government in Kwara state, Nigeria.
Nikky is the second of two siblings and was raised by her mother having lost her father quite early. Her childhood was filled with music as she recalls singing and dancing to old school records played by her parents.
A graduate of Accounting from the prestigious University of Ado Ekiti, Nikky picked interest in music while in the university and was mentored by an award winning nollywood Director Steve Abiola Taylor who showed her the ropes and put her on the path to success. Nikky started her career recording voice overs and commercials for nollywood movies before she started singing professionally.
Nikky is passionate about Music and will stop at nothing to see her dreams of becoming a renowned Afro-Hiphop/ Afro-pop Super star come to life. She had a little set back that held her down for six years but that was still not enough to stop her.
Her first official single OROBO which was produced By Kaydee music monster is due to be released on Feb 20, 2017 which happens to be her birthday.
Watch this space for more updates.
Album Of The Year
Song Of The Year
Best Rap Album
Chance The Rapper, Coloring Book
Best Urban Contemporary Album
Best Country Solo Performance
Maren Morris, "My Church"
Best Rock Song
David Bowie, "Blackstar"
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Twenty One Pilots, "Stressed Out"
Best New Artist
Chance The Rapper
Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
Best Pop Vocal Album
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Willie Nelson, Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin
Best Pop Solo Performance
Best Musical Theater Album
The Color Purple
Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
Miles Ahead (Miles Davis and various artists)
Best Metal Performance
Best Rap Song
Drake, “Hotline Bling”
Best Rap/Sung Performance
Drake, “Hotline Bling”
Best Rap Performance
Chance the Rapper, “No Problem” [featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz]
Best R&B Album
Lalah Hathaway - Lalah Hathaway Live
Best Comedy Album
Patton Oswalt, Talking for Clapping
Best Reggae Album
Ziggy Marley, Ziggy Marley
Best Regional Roots Music Album
Kalani Pe'a, E Walea
Best Folk Album
Sarah Jarosz, Undercurrent
Best Contemporary Blues Album
Fantastic Negrito, The Last Days of Oakland
Best Traditional Blues Album
Bobby Rush, Porcupine Meat
Best Bluegrass Album
O'Connor Band With Mark O'Connor, Coming Home
Best Americana Album
William Bell, This Is Where I Live
Best American Roots Song
Vince Gill, songwriter (The Time Jumpers), “Kid Sister”
Best American Roots Performance
Sarah Jarosz, “House of Mercy”
Best Tropical Latin Album
Jose Lugo & Guasábara Combo, Donde Están?
Best Regional Mexican Music Album
Vicente Fernández - Un Azteca En El Azteca, Vol. 1 (En Vivo)
Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album
Best Latin Pop Album
Jesse & Joy, Un Besito Mas
Best Country Album
Sturgill Simpson, A Sailor's Guide to Earth
Best Country Song
Lori McKenna, songwriter (Tim McGraw) - “Humble and Kind”
Best Country Duo/Group Performance
Pentatonix - “Jolene” [featuring Dolly Parton]
Best Roots Gospel Album
Joey+Rory - Hymns
Best Latin Jazz Album
Chucho Valdés, Tribute to Irakere: Live in Marciac
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
Ted Nash Big Band, Presidential Suite: Eight Variations on Freedom
Best Jazz Instrumental Album
John Scofield, Country for Old Men
Best Jazz Vocal Album
Gregory Porter, Take Me to the Alley
Best Improvised Jazz Solo
John Scofield, soloist, “I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry”
Snarky Puppy, Culcha Vulcha
Best Dance Recording
The Chainsmokers, “Don't Let Me Down” [ft. Daya]
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
Dorothea Röschmann; Mitsuko Uchida, accompanist - Schmann & Berg (tie)
Ian Bostridge; Antonio Pappano, accompanist (Michael Collins, Elizabeth Kenny, Lawrence Power & Adam Walker), Shakespeare Songs (tie)
Best Classical Compendium
Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Tim Handley, producer - Daugherty: Tales Of Hemingway; American Gothic; Once Upon A Castle
Best Classical Instrumental Solo
Zuill Bailey; Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor (Nashville Symphony) - Daugherty: Tales Of Hemingway
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
Best Choral Performance
Krzysztof Penderecki, conductor; Henryk Wojnarowski, choir director (Nikolay Didenko, Agnieszka Rehlis & Johanna Rusanen; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Warsaw Philharmonic Choir) - Penderecki Conducts Penderecki, Volume 1
Best Opera Recording
James Conlon, conductor; Joshua Guerrero, Christopher Maltman, Lucas Meachem, Patricia Racette, Lucy Schaufer & Guanqun Yu; Blanton Alspaugh, producer (LA Opera Orchestra; LA Opera Chorus) - Corigliano: The Ghosts Of Versailles
Best Orchestra Performance
Andris Nelsons, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra) - Shostakovich: Under Stalin's Shadow - Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9
Music, Digitization and Mediation (MusDig)' was a five-year research programme engaged in mapping and analyzing the far-reaching changes to music and musical practices by digitization and digital media. Directed by Professor Georgina Born at the University of Oxford from 2010 to 2015, MusDig set out to investigate the ways in which developments in the realm of digital technology have affected and continue to affect music and musical practices across the world.
This article is an extract from research by Andrew J. Eisenberg on the digitisation of the recording industry in Kenya. “My core aim, developed in dialogue with Professor Born and other MusDig researchers, was to examine how the advent and rapid development of digital technologies of musical production and distribution have impacted the sounds and economics of commercially recorded popular music in Kenya,” the researcher writes in his introductory remarks.
Nairobi as a music production hub
In the decades following World War II, Nairobi emerged as a regional hub for commercial popular music production. By the late-1970s, the city boasted a large community of talented musicians from across the region, a world-class recording studio owned by CBS Records (now Sony Music Entertainment), and a profitable record pressing plant owned by PolyGram (now part of the Universal Music Group).
While this dynamic African recording industry produced a great variety of music during the 1960s and 1970s, sales dropped precipitously in the 1980s, leading to a virtual collapse of an industry that must have seemed unstoppable just a decade earlier. By the end of the 1980s, CBS and the other multinational record companies that had begun to set up shop in Nairobi had pulled up stakes and left, studios were no longer being built or upgraded and PolyGram’s record pressing plant was in mothballs.
The advent of the audio cassette, which enabled large-scale piracy and informal sharing (‘cassetting’) while "flooding the market with cheap copies of Western, soul, disco, rock and reggae records", is often named as the sole cause of the downfall of Nairobi’s recording industry. But other economic and political factors also came into play. One seed of the collapse was planted in the 1970s, when ‘Africanization’ policies forced a transfer of ownership in the thriving music production and distribution companies in Nairobi’s downtown River Road
The once internationally marketable Nairobi sound began to go stale, suffering from an acute lack of originality whereby "one melody was taken and flogged to death". Meanwhile, Nairobi’s recording industry was also hit by a general economic slowdown and stifling import, visa and foreign exchange restrictions. Commercial music recording in Nairobi remained in a severe slump for much of the 1980s and early 1990s. The sole bright spot was the continued viability of independent producers.
There was nothing surprising about River Road’s resilience. The neighbourhood had already become known for services and products related to music production and distribution (such as printing, electronics, instrument sales, etc.). As the beating heart of Nairobi’s informal economy, however, it was also the centre of the media piracy industry.
Whether or not they themselves were involved in pirating music, River Road producers had an intimate knowledge of ‘the pirates’ and how they worked, enabling them to clamp down on the unlicensed distribution of their own material or find ways to adequately compete with it. They became famous for getting their music to market with great efficiency, using strategies like selling phonograms off the back of a lorry fitted with loudspeakers. Even now, in the second decade of the 21st century, they manage to sell tens of thousands of copies of their new releases by keeping prices low and bringing products directly to consumers.
The opening up of Kenya's airwaves
Kenya’s first privately owned FM radio station, Capital FM, went live in 1996, ending half a century of government control of the airwaves. As a result, in the words of pioneering Kenyan urban producer Tedd Josiah, "When the FM stations came, the music they were playing was just hip-hop, R&B, rock - everything apart from Kenyan music". Entrepreneurial Kenyan musicians like Josiah saw an opportunity in this radical transformation of the Kenyan media landscape and responded.
Though catalyzed by the new media landscape, the urban youth music genres of Kenya’s millennial music boom must be understood as products of a longer history of urban Kenyans’ engagements with foreign (specifically American and Jamaican) popular music.
While small digital recording studios played an important role in the early days of the new music boom, the first local, self-consciously ‘urban’ productions to achieve significant airplay on Kenyan FM radio came out of studios stocked with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of digital and analogue equipment, mastered and pressed on CD to international standards in Europe. In 1996, the year that the first private radio stations came on the air, Bruce Odhiambo, an experienced musician and recording engineer who had taken up a job in the advertising industry, produced an album for the R&B vocal group Five Alive using his company’s Apple Mac-based recording studio. The album received considerable airplay on FM radio, and was heavily promoted on Kenya’s first private television station, KTN, by music show host Jimmy Gathu.
A new sound for a new industry
Around the same time, Tedd Josiah, who had made a name for himself as a member of the Christian R&B vocal group Hart, was working with young Kenyan hip hop and dancehall artists at Sync Sounds Studio, a MIDI-equipped facility set up by members of Mombasa Roots, a successful Kenyan band formerly on Polygram. His aim, as he often stated, was to nurture the distinctly Kenyan urban youth sound that he saw as emerging organically from the artists he and his collaborators discovered. These artists included dancehall singer Hardstone, who could mix Kikuyu and Jamaican patois, and the rap group Kalamashaka, who came with a raw, Sheng’-inflected style of Swahili rap developed on the streets of Dandora slum. After a couple of years, Josiah moved to another studio, Audio Vault, set up by Mike Rabar of the DJ outfit Homeboyz and David Muriithi, an accountant with experience DJing and managing bands in Manchester, England.
Audio Vault’s activities as a record label demonstrated both the challenges and the potential for success facing the emerging new recording industry. The company made money through sales (mainly audio cassettes) - but only by working directly with the ‘pirates’ on River Road due to the lack of a working legitimate system of distribution. This was a tenuous system of distribution and arguably unsustainable for the larger industry. But Audio Vault also realized other ways of generating revenue from recorded music - ways particularly suited to its location in a regional economic hub that hosts foreign embassies, United Nations departments and a large NGO sector. Positioning their artists as purveyors of urban youth culture, Josiah, Muriithi and Rabar secured event and endorsement deals with deep-pocketed organizations like the UN and British American Tobacco. At the same time, they leveraged Josiah’s reputation to bring in commercial audio work (such as radio advertisements and television scores).
By the time Audio Vault began operations, it was clear that a new recording industry had emerged in Nairobi. Almost two decades later, observers in Nairobi described this industry as a set of multifarious and shifting networks, strategies and practices that might someday stabilize into something more "structured", but which is yet to do so. For instance, one successful producer opined that Nairobi’s new recording industry "is not quite an industry as it lacks managers, publicists or promoters. There’s all these things that are still missing, and it all comes to not having enough money to employ these people to do it". But others also frequently emphasized the dynamism that stems from the industry’s underdetermined, improvised character. As always in urban Kenya, where the notion of jua kali (informal economic activity) permeates everything from official government policy to everyday discourses of survival, lack is a problem (even a pathology) but does not equal blight. Rather, it inaugurates a context in which rapid change (indeed development) can take place, precisely because very little is prefigured and everything is negotiable.
One factor that does grant Nairobi’s new recording industry a sense of coherence is the persistence of the old recording industry as a relatively distinct geographical and institutional entity. Artists and producers in Nairobi’s new recording industry look to River Road as both a positive and negative example in constituting their own aesthetic and entrepreneurial approaches.
The shift from compact discs to online sales
The establishment of the CD as a common medium for music in Kenya in the early 2000s initially offered local music entrepreneurs some hope that legal distribution might be revived. The shiny new medium appealed to consumers of Kenya’s new youth-oriented music genres (hip-hop, R&B and rock) and its wholesale cost was low. But hope quickly evaporated as the CD proved an even better medium for piracy than the analogue cassette. Even the pioneering Kenyan crew Ogopa DJs, whose catalogue played constantly on Kenyan radio around the turn of the 21st century, failed to bring in significant revenue from CD album sales, with a 'successful’ Ogopa album typically only selling around 3000 units.
The popularity of 'Kenyan madness' drove some local entrepreneurs to become interested in testing out whether Kenyans abroad might actually pay for access to Kenyan music online. In 2003, talent manager Fakii Liwali teamed up with a young computer programmer named Bernard Kioko, who would later make his own mark as founder and CEO of the digital content provider Bernsoft, to create an Internet platform for Kenyan music called MyMusic. The project was short-lived due to a shake-up within the company to which they had sold a large number of shares. But Liwali maintains that it was successful enough to prove that Kenyans at home and abroad were willing to pay for Kenyan music online.
By 2012, Kenya’s largest mobile network operator, Safaricom was running three separate music portals, each geared toward a different type of service. The most profitable was Skiza, a subscription service offering caller ring back music at five Kenyan Shillings per song per week. With around 4 million subscribers, it was grossing at least $10 million per year (probably more), the vast majority of which (85% before VAT) was going to Safaricom.
The move to talent management
Significantly, Safaricom and a number of digital content providers were moving into talent management, an area that had not seen a great deal of growth or entrepreneurial activity since the millennium youth music boom. MTech East Africa is an example of this. A subsidiary of MTech Nigeria that was then headed by Ikechukwu Anoke, the company was turned into a talent management agency specializing in connecting Kenyan music artists with Nigerian collaborators (primarily video producers and artists). This move was attributed to the increasingly competitive business environment. In light of the entrance of Indian firms like Spice into the digital content market, content providers needed to have something special to offer to artists. For MTech, this was a connection to the Nigerian industry and market, and a CEO who could personally attend to an artist’s needs.
Intellectual property law
Just as m-commerce (commercial transactions conducted electronically by mobile phone) was exploding onto the Kenyan scene, Nairobi’s recording industry was beginning to feel the impact of yet another transformative global process: the international harmonization of intellectual property (IP) law. Proponents of intellectual property law reform in Kenya maintain that it will ultimately serve to eliminate the lingering structural problems of the music recording industry. Whether or not this turns out to be the case, such “formalization” will take years. In the meantime, as new IP laws, regulations, procedures and institutions are introduced, ideas about musical authorship and ownership shift and change along with, and in relation to, the industry’s dynamic systems of production and distribution.
Research title: 'Digital Technology and the Music Recording Industry in Nairobi, Kenya'
Publication: Music, Digitization and Mediation (MusDig)
Author: Andrew J. Eisenberg
Reggae sensation Pupayannis has dropped an 8 tracks EP tattled "Excellency" from his forthcoming album Special Mission. According to Pupayannis, he said he released the EP due to high demand from fans and friends, so he decided to come up with this 8 track EP.
Pupayannis is also working on the video for ‘Change’ which is a piano based song where he sings about the state of the Nation and how things could get better in Nigeria. He also revealed that the album features a host of A list entertainers and only mentioned Eedris Abdulkareem.
Watch this space for more updates.