On May 13, 2020, Nigerian singer Tekno was meant to appear on MTVBase Africa for an Instagram Live chat. The stage was set with the glitz and glamour – fans were also expectant. I mean, it’s Tekno, right?
Well, at the appointed time for the interview, MTVBase looked like Richard Gere‘s character in Runaway Bride – they stood alone at the altar as the bride – not so much a Julia Roberts – didn’t show up for the occasion.
When Tekno finally decided to respond to his absenteeism, he took to his Twitter to write the following, “I’m so sorry I over slept… pls how do u make up for it ?” Word on the street claims this is a pattern. That same word claims that some days prior to that, Tekno did the same to SoundCity – he did not go live when he was supposed to.
Like SoundCity, the audience of MTVBase was disappointed – they hoped on the power of that major interview during these trying times. Since the start of COVID-19, media outlets have had to get creative in order to still inform and retain their audience. Instagram Live sessions have become the order of the day to maintain safety while still conducting interviews to get juicy details.
At Pulse Nigeria, impromptu provisions have been made for equipment and other things. The world is changing and we must adapt or risk oblivion as a people.
On the other hand, artists also need the traction and visibility. Even though they are still releasing music, they can’t go on radio rounds. Common sense says that new releases require PR and amplification. That’s where media comes in for the artist. In the case of Tekno, he released a single titled, ‘Sudden’ just eight days before the interview with MTVBase was set to happen.
But interestingly, he slept off at an important time. Pulse Nigeria reached out to MTVBase for a comment, but that has no response yet. When it does, this article will be updated.
A lack of professionalism
First things first, professionals understand the concept of appointments. This goes beyond respect for human beings or organizations – which we will get to later. This goes to respect for time and the concept of work. If you have a work ethic, you would not miss two Instagram Live sessions in the space of days.
If making an already set interview means you might stab your sleep, professionals will stab the sleep. This is not a case of mistake – professionals might come late to appointments, but they never miss appointments. This brings up the point of whether Tekno would have overslept if it was an appointment with Joe Budden Podcast or one with The Breakfast Club.
Nigerian artists and a lack of respect for Nigerian media
The case of a lack of respect from Nigerian artists towards Nigerian media is well-documented. It goes from small issues of unnecessary postponement of interviews to a terrible attitude during interviews. If that’s not bad enough, Nigerian artists will honour interviews and then find it hard to retweet or repost those interviews once published.
On the other hand, when they get remotely covered by foreign media – even if it’s negative, they retweet, say thank you and even lie down to get trains run over them. I assure any reader of this article that Tekno would not have overslept if it was an Instagram Live chat with Jimmy Kimmel. He would have stayed up and even drank caffeine, if needs be.
What happened yesterday was yet another instance of wanton disregard for Nigerian media by yet another Nigerian artists who does not understand the rudiments of what Nigerian media offers. One hopes Nigerian artists understand that ‘Afrobeats to the world’ is just a wave and have some sense of idealism.
However, experience teaches us that such hopes and dreams belong in the pipe. While we might deem the disrespect for Nigerian media as a human flaw of simply looking forward to things and places that have not yet been conquered, a lot of Nigerian artists also have a severe case of military loyalty to disrespect.
You need us, we don’t need you
The cliche Nigerian media always says is; foreign media can’t cover you and won’t stay loyal to covering you like Nigerian media will. Be that as it may, we are way past that and such sentiments are not necessary anymore. The truth is as is the case with any form of media or audience anywhere, artists need media and audiences, media and audiences don’t need artists.
If one artist refuses to tell his story, there will always be another artist who wants his stories to be told. It’s just sad that a lot of Nigerian media outlets too have become sycophants who do anything for an artist’s attention. And no, I’m not talking about celebrating – with – artists when needs be. I’m talking unnecessary sycophancy.
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One of the problems the Nigerian entertainment industry faces is one of terrible documentation – we have little to no points of reference because traditional media didn’t transition properly. A few months ago, I read a 1976 article on the New York Times – our traditional media channels have not done that. That’s why a lot of Nigerian artists have fickle legacies.
Yet, Nigerian artists remain to toy with their legacies because they want to feel like divas and prom queens. The blatant truth is that artists like Tekno need media more than ever, they just don’t realize it yet. For Tekno, the wheels have hit a rot and media coverage is one way to amplify quality music.
Tekno might still be Tekno, but due to the unfortunate occurrence of his illness which sadly hit his career at the worst possible time, he has a lot of catching up to do. He might still have healthy numbers and still be making money, but the hits have slowly dried up. As a friend noted to me this morning, ‘Skeletun‘ might have been bigger if Tekno had promoted it well.
He didn’t, yet the song has over 12 million views on YouTube. Imagine if he had promoted it with the power of media. The mistake Nigerian artists make is overrated the influence of star power as utility missile to conceive quality music, deliver quality and then promote quality music all by itself. It might work in certain cases, but it won’t work in all cases.
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Tekno released ‘Sudden’ more than eight days ago, nobody is talking about it now. Yet, he is missing media dates to get his name out there. There is only one loser in this game long run and it’s not any Nigerian media outlet. Nonetheless, Tekno might not understand the reality of this statement yet because he is still making money and having healthy streams.
Sadly, good things don’t suddenly dry up for stars – it’s a process and one way to get yourself in that atari is to make excessive assumptions of your star power and hope it gets you through everything. If Tekno will ever get back to being a superstar, he needs media more than he ever needs to. You can fool foreign media, but not for too long.
These days, Tekno has become a young man in the earliest stages of his veteran days. He can’t afford these moments. He needs to be intentional with his moves with amplification and media coverage. Else, he will just wake up one day and a lot of things would have changed.
The sad part of all of this my lamba is that numerous Nigerian media channels will continue aiding bad behaviour from Nigerian artists. While we can’t blame these media channels because they need traction, there should also be a place for understanding your power.