In this current decade, the Nigerian Music Industry has seen an influx of young rising artists dominating the scene both home and internationally, and Wizkid has been a significant force in this.
Wizkid debuted in the music industry during a period when only adults, especially in Nigeria, were allowed to become popular music artists.
That means you had to be at least in your mid-twenties and free of parental influence to make any significant progress as an artist.
Then, For obvious reasons, aspiring to be a musician was not a career choice that most Nigerian parents would encourage or foster in their children.
Legends like Fela Kuti, 2Baba, D’Banj, P-square, and Banky W, whom we have come to admire and love, only began to achieve meaningful success as musicians as grownups.
Wizkid’s entry into the industry in 2010 altered the entire plot and set a new trajectory for future generations.
Wizkid began gaining young admirers with his silky “Holla At Ya Boy,” which would later blossom into the unstoppable Wizkid FC.
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According to his records, Wizkid has over ten years of experience as a professional musician. Wizkid, then 19 years old, signed his first professional recording contract with Empire Mates Entertainment in 2009. (EME).
Prior to EME, he worked with late music producer OJB Jezreel and appeared on M.I Abaga’s ‘Fast Money, Fast Cars.’
There are various glass barriers that Wizkid has smashed so that the next generation of musicians won’t have to struggle with them.
There are young music artists that are making waves in the music scene as adolescents these days; remember, Wizkid was the first. He was Nigeria’s first teenage music sensation to sign a professional recording contract.
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It is now possible for parents to support their young Nigerian child who wants to be a musician. One doesn’t need to be above 25 to make it in the music industry these days.
There are a lot of young artists who are making it big without being stifled by ageism.
He is one of the few artists who has successfully battled their record company with no negative consequences to his career. He went up against Banky W’s EME and triumphed after forcing the label to negotiate.
Few people have managed to win a legal battle with their old record label without jeopardizing their careers. In fact, under his music label, Starboy Entertainment, he only grew bigger.
Ruger in an Interview with media personality, Adesope recounts how Wizkid made him realize that young adults could become stars in the Nigerian Music Industry.
The “Bounce” crooner stated that Wizkid’s rise to fame made it easier for teenagers to make it in the music industry.
According to him, Big Wiz changed the narrative about how only older people should make it big in the industry.
Ruger’s assertion rings true as currently, most Labels in the Nigerian music scene target the juvenile demographics when looking for new talents.
Talents like Fireboy DML, Joeboy, Rema, Tems among others all found fame before they clocked 25 years. Rema especially was 19 when he scored his first big hit, “Dumebi” and was already dominating the International music scene.
With Wizkid at the forefront of the Afrobeat movement which is gaining momentum across the globe, the shine has also indirectly begun to fall on other talented young acts.
For example, after Wizkid’s “Essence” became a global anthem, the song’s co-signee, Tems also found herself becoming an international music sensation resulting in a feature on Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” album, debuting on Billboard Hot 100, becoming Nigerian most streamed female artist on Spotify and amassing a large number of streams on several DSPs.
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The success didn’t end there as Ckay, another rising young star saw his 2019 song, “Love Nwantiti” take off in 2021 and become the second Nigerian Song to debut on Billboard Hot 100.
CKay currently holds the spot for the top Nigerian artist with the highest monthly listeners on Spotify. “Love Nwantiti” has also acquired a large number of streams on streaming platforms.
Spotlight at the O2
Wizkid recently became the first African artist to sell out the O2 thrice; the first time he did this was in 2018.
The previous year, Wizkid sold out the Royal Albert Hall in London and at the end of the show, the singer had promised that his aim for the coming year was to sell out the iconic O2 Arena.
True to his words, barely seven months after, he announced his concert and it was sold out days before the event. There were 20,000 people at the concert.
The show was blessed with performances from the likes of Maleek Berry, Yxng Bane who brought Kojo Funds on stage, Mr Eazi who performed his single, ‘London Town‘ alongside UK rapper, Giggs, Tekno, Not3s, Tiwa Savage.
For most of the artists who performed at the event, this was their first time at the prestigious concert location. However, Wizkid’s conquest of the O2 arena was a blessing for them.
In 2019, when Big Wiz hosted another show at the O2, he gave artists like Runtown, Naira Marley, Olamide, Fireboy DML, Terri, Reekado Banks and the budding Oxlade among others to perform at the event.
This also meant was that there was a lack of star power present back in Lagos, Nigeria.
While Wizkid’s show is undoubtedly a triumph in and of itself, it is bolstered by the affection that exists between him and the various musicians who perform.
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Rather than cultivating a split with his industry peers, he does the exact opposite, sharing his stage with a diverse range of established and emerging artists.
The above fact has even continued into his third O2 headline concert in 2021. Unlike the previous years, by reason of his global fame, he sold out three days, making him the African artist to achieve such a feat.
For his 2021 concert, Big Wiz has given young fast-rising artists like Buju, Bella Shmurda, Lojay, Tems, Blaqbonez the opportunity to make their debut one of the world’s biggest stages.
This constant behaviour shows Wizkid as a man who broke the glass ceilings of the industry as a teenager and is constantly making it easy for other young acts to do.