Nigerian artistes are a big force to be reckoned with globally although most of the lyrics are vacuous as most people are just interested in the beats. There is no substitute for good and inspiring lyrics which are missing in Nigerian songs which can be attributed to lack of songwriters in Nigeria. In this piece ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM writes on the imperativeness of hiring good songwriters.
The concept of ghost writers or songwriters is alien to Nigerian music. In this part of the world, an artiste in trying to save cost usually write his songs. It is instructive to note that ghost writing is when a writer (“ghostwriter”) is hired to create a piece of content for a company or individual, who will then publish the work as their own. On the other hand, a songwriter is a professional that writes lyrics and composes musical compositions for songs. In Nigeria, many top musicians don’t know the importance of a ghost writer, hence the release of songs which cannot make the cut in international market. In the United States and United Kingdom because of the pressure of churning out award winning songs, the artiste in most cases hires a song writer.
Little wonder many international artistes have continued to wax stronger and made it to the world Billboard chat with the help of song writers. Babyface is one big international star who has written for top musicians and is still writing for others. He literally wrote all the songs for Toni Braxton’s debut album and Boys 2 Men owe their success to the song writing prowess of Babyface. Babyface also wrote Madonna’s hit song ‘Take A Bow’ and also Beyonce’s ‘Irreplaceable’ song. Arguably, the greatest artiste of all time, Michael Jackson, hired song writers for most of his hit songs. Jackson’s game changing song ‘Thriller’ was written by Rod Temperton. He also wrote “Off The Wall” and ‘Rock With You’ songs for Michael Jackson.
Teddy Riley also co-wrote his hit song, ‘Remember The Time’. When Nick Cannon released his debut self-titled album in 2003 with the hit single “Gigolo”, a collaboration with singer R. Kelly, little did people know he was the writer of the song. Also, rap artistes are not left out of this. Sauce Money took ghostwriting efforts to new heights when the crafty wordsmith won a Grammy for penning Diddy’s tribute to his fallen friend, B.I.G, “We’ll Be Missing You. Jay-Z’s ‘96 debut, ‘Reasonable Doubt’ may not have struck platinum until much later, but he earned a plaque that same year for his writing contributions to Foxy Brown’s Ill Na Na. He’d previously written for Fox on RD’s “Ain’t No Nigga” and penned Memphis Bleek’s verse on “Coming of Age.” He arguably topped himself when he ghostwrote Dr. Dre’s ‘Still Dre’ three years later. NAS is another famous writer on the rap scene. He has put in writing duties for Smith on the Tinsel Town titan’s Big Willie Style album, contributing “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It, ‘Miami’ and more. He also put in work for Dr. Dre (‘Watcher’), Diddy (‘I Need A Girl’), Foxy Brown and Jermaine Dupri.
While many artistes have succeeded in achieving a lot from ghost writers and songwriters, others are still basking in the euphoria that they are song writers and musicians, dropping songs that fail to meet the minimum requirement of quality and acceptability. Consequently, Nigerian artistes can benefit from this if they can seek the help of professional song writers to write their songs. Most Nigerian artistes are the butt of jokes rom comedians because of their shallow lyrics. Vacuity is an understatement when you listen to what is called songs in Nigeria. Most artistes including the grade A ones are also guilty of these as they concentrate mostly on the beats. This is because in Nigeria once your beats are accepted and song is played in a club, you are on your way to stardom. Recall Davido once said someone wrote his hit song ‘Gobe’ . There is still controversy on who wrote Tubaba’s ‘African Queen’. The sooner Nigerian artistes begin to employ the services of good song writers, the better for all of us.