Waje is the subject of conversation on social media but sadly this time it is not for her beautiful music but a desire to give it all up.
Over the weekend of March 24, 2019 singer Waje was a trending topic on social media platform, Twitter after a viral video of her emotional outburst at the reception of her music by her ‘fans’ surfaced online.
In the video, a documentary titled ”Music is not for me”, Waje is seen reacting to online comments and complaining to two of her friends [including her manager] that she had grown tired of investing so much in the music which yielded quite little in return and was on the verge of giving it all up, in her words, ”I don tire” [I am tired].
This has sparked a major conversation online ranging from lack of support for what is termed as good music [primarily music deemed not to be Pop] to how female musicians are being treated in an industry dominated by men and the lack of appreciation from the fans.
Waje – Music is not for me
Indeed there is enough blame to go round, but the major blame should however, go to the industry or what we have of it and the lack of structure that has not allowed for genres outside the dominating pop sound to flourish or talents who have a niche audience to be able to adequately tap into their numbers.
While Waje’s anguish can be explained and her pains felt even from the screens, the quest to attaining mainstream success in an industry like ours where even trending and pop inclined sounds struggle to result into sales provides a long path to any form of commercial success for other genres that can be likened to that of Mandela’s walk for freedom.
Like every other field where creativity is deployed, talent is never enough and Waje’s cries are not peculiar to her.
Waje and Omawumi during a recent visit to the Pulse office [PULSE]
It is an industry where only the big name artists are constantly rotated at major concerts or have a sniff at endorsement deals, it is an industry where the female artist no matter her status is a prey, hence in the past few months, we have seen the rising Bella Alubo in a series of Twitter rant complain while the more established Tiwa Savage who has enjoyed greater success has also added her voice to how female musicians are treated in the industry.
The industry has been unfair and everyone has been a victim of its failings, only that it is been served in different measures.
While the Nigerian music industry needs to do better, it has become more important for female musicians, now more than ever, to see the importance of working together to form a more united front and make a movement out of their collaboration.
The place of the niche audience must also never be neglected, it is near impossible to appeal to everyone, so are you constantly satisfying the loyal ones or more concerned about adding those whose taste in music changes depending on their mood.
What is needed at this point?
Fans who crave for ‘good music’ should not just pay lip service to it or only claim it when it is cool to, but be willing to actually support it by buying or streaming the music and attending the concerts.
Also, for all the cynicism and nose sniffing that trails the mention of record labels today, they still play an important role in making life a bit easier for the artist as Waje has independently pushed her own career from Day one, shouldering every expenses which makes her successes look minor when tallied against her investments.
Finding a label who make their moves easier, one willing to support, finance and help introduce their music to a larger audience while giving them room to make the type of music they have always chosen to will also go a long way.
Over a decade ago, Waje made a major entrance unto the scene as she emerged as the glorious vocals on P-Square‘s hit anthem ‘Do Me’ in 2007.
She subsequently released her debut album, the self titled ”W.A.J.E” in 2013 and at that point, the Uber talented vocalist possibly dreamt of making money as high as her vocal range and possibly becoming one of the biggest names beyond the continent as long as she continues to deliver on the technical side, which is delivering good music. But reality has soon taken over ‘La La Land’ casting a dark cloud on her projections and draining all of the energy that has kept her going over the years.
She however, cannot just give it all up, she has put so much into this to turn her back on it.
Like her friend was seen telling her in the video, even if it is for the sake of her hundreds of loyal fans who have helped her through the minor successes that may have come in her endorsement deal with the major telecommunications brand or several major stages that she has shared.
The industry may have failed her but Waje cannot afford to fail those who inspired her into going to the studio to record her sophomore album, ”Red Velvet”, a beautifully delivered thematic body of work after a long five years wait.
Waje Red Velvet Album Cover [iTunes/Waje]
Like her name translates to, ‘Words Aren’t Just Enough,’ and at this time, she may actually need more than words but that is all we have as fans and I hope these ones prove to be more than adequate.
For artists the likes of Waje, Bez, Brymo and more, they invest majorly into maintaining a standard of excellence and their originality hoping that it translates into success but the industry has proven that there is more to breaking through the competitive ceiling than that and yes it can be exhausting.
Becoming a proper star in the industry is a rat race, a dirty one attimes, but one needs to then define what success means to them at the scale at which their fan base commands.
And for the young artists looking at the industry from outside and thinking it to be all glossy, this industry can break you, so it is important that you are clear about the reasons why you are taking this journey so as not to end up facing depression or being deemed as a failure many years after if it is not making sense.
Find a purpose that is far bigger than all the allures that the industry represent and then will you be able to leave a lasting legacy.