Friday, 31 January 2014

Femi outshines peers despite loss at Grammy

Femi Kuti’s progress at the Grammy Awards puts him ahead of other Nigerian artistes taking after their father’s trade, Jayne Augoye writes

During the build-up to the 56th annual Grammy Award ceremony which held on Sunday at the Staples Centre, in Los Angeles, United States, a good number of Nigerians were optimistic that one of their own, Femi Kuti, would bring home the crown.

But this was not to be, as the 50-year-old artiste lost out in the World Music category to South African groups, Gipsy Kings and Ladysmith BlackMambazo. The award was jointly won by both sets of artistes. It was a tie.

Even if Femi did not bag the Grammy in his fourth attempt at the finals,   many Nigerians appear consoled that he got nominated again as this is the life-time dream of many artistes, up-and-coming and established ones alike.

It is also good that it was an excited Femi that, soon after the winners were decided, tweeted, “Congrats to the winners. The nomination already made my year. Not winning won’t spoil it.”

Some industry watchers continue to applaud the singer for further  establishing Nigerian music on the international map. They note that the fact that he continues to earn nominations,  alongside equally brilliant international superstars, suggests that he has won a large following by spreading the gospel of Afro-beat.

Before you may be tempted to say that he is merely riding on the back of his late father, Fela, it is pertinent to note that Femi has earned a voice of his own.

His most recent album, No Place for my Dream, which is his ninth, fetched him his fourth Grammy nod. For children of famous parents, it is often a tall order to outshine their fathers or mothers. Nigeria’s experience has shown that this applies in the entertainment industry too. While there are several artistes that have taken after their musician fathers, not many of them have hit stardom the way Femi has done.

Well, a Darey can be said to have arguably surpassed the fame of his late celebrity father,  Dare Art Alade, who was a consummate entertainer.

Over the years, Darey has distinguished himself as a star in his own right  by expanding beyond the frontiers of his late father’s art.

The entertainer attracted so much buzz for himself in 2013, when he invited American reality TV star, Kim Kardarshian, to co-host the first edition of his Love like a Movie concert, in Lagos. He is planning another edition for February.

When Paul Play launched his way into the Nigerian music scene in 1999, also riding on the success of his late father, IK Dairo, he enjoyed solid patronage. Within a short period, he also earned an independent voice of his own, springing hit singles that include Mosorire, Happy Day and Yes O!

In 2009, however, his career was threatened when he fell ill in South Africa, while shooting some music videos for his last album and had to be rushed to a hospital. Five years after, he has moved on, but has yet to make that big comeback.

For Sunny Adegeye Junior, being the son of the juju legend, King Sunny Ade,  is not enough to make him a big star. Since the release of his debut album, Samba,  in 2011, the hip hop act has yet to become a force to be reckoned with on the Nigerian music scene.

Fuji musician. Wasiu Ayinde, popularly called k1 de Ultimate, has three children already on the scene. Musty, Sultan and Zainab – aka Honey B -  are all on their famous father’s music line. The artistes based in Canada, the US and UK have several singles to their credit. But they have not  attained Femi’s height.

Part of the legacy of the late highlife singer, Oliver De Coque, is that his sons, Oliver Jnr and Darlington, are poised to build a successful music career like their late father. Oliver jnr is attempting to bridge the gap between contemporary highlife and traditional Igbo music, but he has not been able to break even.  Darlington, on the other hand, chose the path of hip hop, but how far he will go in his quest for relevance, only time can tell.

The first lady of songs, Christy Essien-Igbokwe’s son, Kaka, is also into hip hop, while he is also a producer. With a couple of singles and music videos to his credit, fans of his late mother are etching to see him, at least, fill the void his late mother created in the music industry with her demise.

Although a murder scandal threatened to take the shine off the music career of Musiliu, a son of the late apala musician, Haruna Ishola, in 2013, there is still no stopping him.

The artiste whose career has spanned 30 years has remixed several of his late father’s songs and albums, though he is yet to hit the gold.

Interestingly, while the list includes some children of the late Orlando Owo, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister and Ebenezer Obe’s son, Tolu, Femi’s co-artiste brother, Seun, is also waxing stronger – although he seems to be more popular abroad than in Nigeria.

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