Tag Archives: African music

I’m a Nigerian/African export and proud of it!

A lot of people in Nigeria either ask, or imply that I must be big in my own country and get surprised when I say they have absolutely no clue who I am unless they’re especially interested in Afrobeat. That number in Norway is extremely small. Though the Fela tribute concert I went to in Bergen during the Felabrations indicated that if properly promoted, Afrobeat could actually get a fair following here. I noticed names of different bands being noted down on phones all around me to be looked up on Spotify, so maybe one day more than the 15 or so Afrobeat enthusiasts will know the name Lioness Oyinbo, my family and friends not counted.

 

I got discovered by Nigerians and was invited to Nigeria to develop my music. This couldn’t have happened in Norway and possibly not that easily in the UK, where I experienced that being a white Afrobeat artist was just that little bit awkward. So Nigeria was the only place I could really develop.

 

My reply to those people who ask if I’m big back home is that “I’m an African, Nigerian export” and I’m proud to say that I am. Now, I am accepted as the white Afrobeat singer everywhere, simply because I, musically speaking, come from Africa. My music is being played on all continents, but mainly on African outlets. I hope to be played on mainstream radio stations in Europe, America, Asia and Australia one day, but this is something many African artists alongside me are dreaming of. And if I were to choose between one or the other, I’d rather be on an African radio station playlist among the big names that I admire than be on a mainstream station playlist whilst the people of Africa are don’t want anything to do with my music.

 

So there you have it guys. As an artist, I’m one hundred per cent African and proud of it.

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What’s up With this auto-tune?

One thing that really frustrates me about African pop music is the auto-tune. That’s not just used in Africa, but since this is the industry I’m part of, it annoys me more in African music. Auto-tune isn’t necessarily always a bad thing and when used correctly it can create some nice effects. But the way some producers and sound engineers are slapping it on today, you do start to wonder whether a lot of artists are capable of singing at all.

I know I’m harsh. But nothing saddens me more than hearing a great banger of a beat accompanying voices that are so auto-tuned and stripped of personality that they sound like singing screen reading software for the blind. And especially if I like the artist and know they can sing. Why do they accept sounding like that?

I don’t know how many times I switch off songs half way through because the auto-tune is making my ears hurt and how many times I’ve been on YouTube looking for accappella and acoustic performances of A-listers to see whether they actually can sing.

I have always admired African singers for their strong powerful voices and I myself learned a lot of good singing techniques when I sang with a majority black choir.

I know I’m not alone in my opinion of auto-tune. Gramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage is saying that “Auto-tune is destroying black African artists”. And apparently Jay Z has said that it destroys creativity…

Everyone who’s making music is responsible for the good sound. Artists who cannot sing have no business in the industry for starters. And if someone can sing well, it’s the producers and sound engineers job to make them sound as organic as possible. Or is it a whole trend that needs to change?

I’m not sure. But I really pray auto-tune usage, as heavy as it is today, will turn into a non-trend. Let’s instead focus on vocal training for artists and get those beautiful organic voices out there!