By Kehinde Ajose
1. Am I epic or simply average?
Average performers don’t go too far in this industry. We’ve heard half-baked songs, we’ve seen mediocre movies, laughable jokes, weak punchlines; all in a quest to be in the faces of people. You must shun mediocrity and embrace excellence in all your presentations. The secret behind Psquare’s constant hits and beautiful music videos is simply their commitment to excellence. A lot of entertainers don’t take their time to release materials. Don’t be in a hurry to push your product into the market if is not going to wow us. Be willing to use the best hands if you desire to make epic presentations. It’s not always about the money; it’s more a function of a paradigm shift. Make up your mind to ditch mediocrity and be epic.
2. Can I withstand criticism?
This is a major challenge I have with Nigerian artistes. They hate to taste the bitter pill of criticism but its needed for growth. The scenario often plays out this way: A blogger does an honest review of an artiste’s song, the artiste takes it personal, refuses to see the critique as a feedback and the grudge is taken to the ‘battle ground’ of twitter where the artiste’s fans will rain abuses on the writer most definitely calling the writer an hater. When correctly given criticisms can help to improve job performance. I am privileged to know a particular popular R n B artiste in Nigeria though not totally on the mainstream page, but he’s going to make the headlines with his attitude towards feedbacks .What I like about him is that he is open to criticisms of his songs. Whenever we meet, he is always quick to sample my opinions about his current offerings. The way to the top is being teachable. Can you handle criticism?
Today in Nigeria’s entertainment landscape, we find often that the majority are doing things, copying a particular style or trend because others are doing it. They are constantly seeking to belong rather than creating their own path and becoming a person of their own. Belonging is simply copying the crowd and imitating what’s in vogue. According to Ubong Essien, “To belong is easy but to become is hard. To become you must be willing to step up a notch. You must become the maker that the belonging crew will one day seek to be part of.”
When you simply release another regular movie, another average book, another ordinary song, you are simply signing up with the belonging crew. Always ask yourself: Am I in this industry to belong or to become? The likes of Tunde Kelani, Lagbaja, Emem Isong, Modenine, Sound Sultan, M.I, Asa are individuals who have carved a niche for themselves .They don’t belong, they become and stick to their uniqueness.
4. What is my purpose?
After all is said and done your purpose is the force that drives you. Getting your purpose wrong will set you up for failure. Purpose is essentially why you do what you; Are you into you do entertainment just because you desire to be rich and famous? Or you do it because of the passion you have for it.
In the words of Fola Folayan of #Dearartiste.com: “There’s a paradox that many young musicians must come to grips with, especially those who want to make a living at it…If you want to be successful as a musician, you can’t be doing it for the money.”
That’s right. The best way to make money doing music is not to care whether you’re making money or not. No matter how broke or hungry you might be at the moment. If you see music strictly as a money-making venture, then you’ll base most (if not all) your decisions on whether money is involved. You’ll likely turn down low-paying or free gigs that might give you some good exposure to fans, for example. And if the money gets tight, or if some wise-ass venue screws you over (which happens from time to time), or something else starts affecting the money, it’s much easier to get a bad attitude–and that will affect your creativity and inspiration, the very things that make your music worth listening to. You’re also more apt to start trying to power-sell your music to your fans, trying to pressure them to support you financially–and that’s a huge turn-off. The more the money is an issue, the worse this cycle can become. It’s kind of like trying to run an engine without motor oil–it gets hotter and hotter until it burns out.’
When you do what you do because you enjoy it, the money will inevitably follow. Clarity of purpose is a key determining factor in how far you will go.
Dear entertainer, the showbiz business is a visual business; therefore you have to see yourself as a product competing for shelf space in the entertainment terrain. The way you package yourself is important to your perception management. As an entertainer, you are brand, a commodity; people will judge you by the way you look. In this part of the world a lot of entertainers throw caution to the wind by underestimating the power of their personal image. We are tired of seeing our entertainers looking unkempt on the red carpet. If need be, get a stylist to work with you and upgrade your appearance. Remember packaging enhances value.
6. Am I social media savvy?
The social media is an important tool you need to maximize in order to be on top of your game. Being social media savvy is simply about knowing how the social media works and how to use it to push your works. Social media for the entertainer should have a game plan of turning new followers into fans and then consumers of your product. If this is not your final goal then you are wasting your time. If you are a musician, it is all about the number of impressions you make which may attract endorsement deals, fans, booking agents, venues, and sales for labels. For other types of entertainment you should know at least the basics to help develop a social media-marketing plan that will work for you.
Your Social media marketing campaigns should be constant and consistent.
7. Do I have integrity?
Regardless of how you choose to brand yourself, you should build your brand on integrity. Telling us you just built your own house when you are still a tenant is not good for your brand. Be true to yourself. A lie does more harm to your character than an explosion set off by Boko Haram. Always be honest in your dealings with clients, the media, and your partners. We live in a ‘generator’ generation where things are done hastily, but cutting corners shouldn’t be your own personal mantra. As a role model, honesty should be your greatest asset. Play this game with integrity. Don’t tell us what you are not.
Kehinde Ajose is a sought after talent development strategist and publicist.
He can be followed on twitter via @splendidkenny