A little less than ten years ago, a number of music stars appeared on our horizon, soothing our souls and caressing us into musical orgasm. They came with so much promise and good music that left us yearning for more.
Before they croaked into the microphone, we were already leaping and spinning, wriggling and jiggling our waists and singing along affectionately.
Even without asking, we jumped on their train which we thought was headed on a climactic voyage. But we thought wrong or so it seemed.
Midway, the train began to gurgle and burp and before long, it stopped completely, leaving us high and dry and our musical palates longing, unsated.
Painfully, like a child prodigy that had difficulty in converting virtuosity into impact as an adult, these artistes went AWOL at a time the industry had begun to bless those with genuine talents with financial successes.
In their absence, we were compensated and comforted with the enduring and enthralling music of Tu Face Idibia, 9ice, Asa and D‘banj, Wande Coal and a few others in their category, but we have not quite summoned the courage to obliterate the brief stints of those who came before from our memories. Here are a few of our missing, withering music stars.
Despite his obscure musical talents, Anthony Awotoye or Tony Tetuila as he was more popularly known was one of the earliest stars of the burgeoning hip hop sector in Nigeria. A former member of the Remedies, a defunct mid 90s afro hip hop group comprising Eddy Remedy and Eedris Abdulkareem, Tetuila went solo when the other members of Remedies would not stop rubbing it in his face that he was talentless. But he shocked them, and us, by nicking a commercially successful debut album, Morning Time, which runaway hit, Omode Meta N Sere, became a national anthem.
He went further to stupefy and silence his critics with his sophomore album, My car, with the monstrous hit, You don hit my car. By then, Tetuila had become a household name and music star with all the bona fides.
In Nigeria and beyond, Tetuila dined with the Royals and wined with leaders and newsmakers.
From Maiduguri to Minnesota, Benue to Baltimore, the Oro, Kwara State-born act headlined concerts filled with screaming girls and guests who exhausted adjectives and reinvented more to describe him. It was Tetuila‘s time and he shone like porcelain in the sun.
However, E Go Better, his third album, did not fare too well despite having a few popular tracks and collaborations with top Ghana act, Tic Tac. That was the beginning of the descent.
When Free Soldier, the fourth studio album of the Platinum-haired bombshell as he was also called by fans tanked, everybody seemed to forget that he was once on top.
Then, he left Kennis Music. For the past three years, Tetuila has been in musical oblivion while new generation acts are lapping up, all the fortunes in the industry.
But, E-Punch sources aver that Tetuila, now 35 and with a growing brood, is trying to worm his way back to our hearts. We are waiting.
Pray, at what point did we stop listening to African China? Perhaps, it was at the point when he started speaking through his nose after his return from London where he went for a show and was arrested for sexually assaulting a Briton.
That’s no longer a hot-button issue anyway. Some years before his misadventure abroad, Chinaguorom Onuoha had rechristened himself African China and we gladly accepted him, dreadlocks, earrings and all. His first two albums — Crises and Mr. President — were a study in musical ingenuity, lyrical militancy, profound artistry and street innuendoes.
Though A’China, as he likes to be called now, was not completely off the music radar, his bargaining power waned, his fandom depleted and the demand for his kind of music dwindled.
Not even London Fever which details his ordeal in the hands of the British law enforcement agency was enough to put China back in the hearts of music lovers.
Early this year, the dancehall act released his fourth album, Return of the Legend. This, however, has yet to return him to the zenith of the music chart despite a track off the album, If you Love Somebody, featuring Faze, being a delightful listen.
It‘s funny really that in music, as with every other thing in life, it takes more than mere talent to excel: Accomplishment and success are often the result of commitment and perseverance rather than skill or talent.
There is also the God-factor (for those who believe). Otherwise, Olalekan Fadeyi, the sonorous-voiced singer who we all call Azadus, should be inflaming audiences the world over, commanding performance fees in seven-digits and garnering multi million naira endorsement deals like they were meant only for him.
But what did we see? The former member of Def ‘O‘ Clan, one of Nigeria‘s pioneer hip hop groups, just simply refused to blow. There is not a doubt that his first three albums on the Kennis Music imprint were a relative success; the fourth, U.N.B.O.W.E.D released in 2009, has yet to find its bearing in the mainstream.
In his late 30s, and with a kid and wife, Azadus needs more than a good voice to reap from the bounties of the industry.
Azeezat Allen took a break to refresh and reinvigorate. The break has lasted more than four years. Within that time, a lot of stars have been made; hitherto anonymous singers with scant talent have evolved and are now certified millionaires.
Instead of coming out with an album that would give female artistes the attention they deserve, Mrs. Allen is on a career detour.
Pretty soon, and if all goes according to plan, the Mass Communication graduate of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ogun State would launch her own magazine called Hairvolution.
Apparently, this would cater for her alter egos with a predilection for weird hairdos. Azeezat, who came to limelight during the Girls’ Nite Out organised by Ayo Animashaun, publisher, Hip Hop World magazine in 1999, has two albums to her credit viz; Hold On, and Born to Sing.
The third one, Lovers‘ World is supposedly in the works. Really, it is not that music lovers have missed anything by her absence because her previous albums were not commercial successes in the real sense. But she was a balladeer in her own right.
Had everything gone according to plan, funky juju creator, Gentleman Dele Taiwo, would have been the perfect successor to King Sunny Ade and Sir Shina Peters, probably.
The early 90s were not exactly a good time to emerge on the juju scene because SSP was its synonym while KSA held the genre by the jugular on the global stage.
Notwithstanding, DT emerged, held his own, refused to be browbeaten, created a new cult followership and bit a large chunk off the juju market. It was a blustery move but DT appeared cut out for the big time.
His debut album, Magic Moments, was a career-defining one, but subsequent releases proved to demystify the young man as a flash in the pan after all. A sweet marriage turned sour and 90s recession in the music industry culminating in his temporary relocation to Dublin, Ireland, ensured that DT‘s career remained in the abyss.
He has yet to re-emerge and with the refusal of Shina Peters to reinvent his art, the juju music throne has since remained KSA’s paraphernalia.