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When was the last time Iyanya gave us
something so rich and destroying the charts?
You could rewind back to 2008 when the singer
beat contestants to lift the crown at the MTN
Project Fame West Africa. He was heralded as
our next R&B savior, and his song, ‘Love truly’,
had a buzz. That success created an R&B genre
specific album that tanked commercially. The
album failed to make sales on the open
market, and the singer had to rethink his style.
Pop influences and the dance culture
appeared, and Iyanya opened himself up to it.
The resultant work was a great commercial hit
album, “Iyanya Vs Desire”, which was released
in February 2013. That album took Iyanya to
the height of Nigerian music and blew his
name around the continent. To date, his best
songs reside on that album which had ‘Kukere’,
‘Sexy mama’, and many others. But the singer
split ways with his go-to producer, D’Tunes,
and went solo. D’Tunes would later find joy in
Two albums have come after that. The 2014
compilation album “The Evolution”, and the
2015 failed LP, “Applaudise”, have only
produced one hit song, ‘Oreo’, and a sleeper-
“Applaudise” album failed to generate a hit
song and reduced Iyanya’s stock in Nigeria.
Industry competition is at an all-time high, and
to stand still, is to fall behind.
“The thing is, it’s a general thing in the
Nigerian entertainment industry.”Iyanya’s
manager, Ubi Franklin said. People respect
singles more than the full album. And people
only go for songs they have actually seen a
video for. “People love the album, but for
them to properly sit on the album, we need to
give them videos.”
“When you put an album out in Nigeria, and
want people to play it back to back. They want
to play it, but only when they see visuals to it.
That’s what we are trying to push basically.”
All of these in place was not enough. Iyanya
clicked a reset on his career. He looked back
on his glory days and found the light from the
past shining into his future. He made a U-turn,
returned to D’Tunes, with the aim of
recreating his past successes. His R&B side,
which fans have been screaming for a return,
is currently being reinvigorated. Iyanya has a
joint R&B album with Banky W planned for
release this year. And to set things rolling, he
has dropped a new single ‘Type of woman’,
which was produced by Mystro. Iyanya is
creating a future for himself. One in which his
past plays a major role.
But as his powers decline, a new force has
risen from his record label. His name is
Tekno, and he is currently one of the best pop
acts right now in the country.
The young singer was signed at the height of
Iyanya’s fame in 2013, after impressing with
‘Oyenekwu’ and the Davido-assisted ‘Holiday’,
the singer, producer and dancer was snapped
up by the record label. He had just released
his song ‘Dance’, with very little promotion.
Fate sought him out, and his star began to rise.
‘Dance’ grew quickly, eclipsing songs with
bigger budgets, and convincing the powers at
MMMG to get it a video.
Last year was a prolific one for him. Tekno
made the nation stand still with ‘Duro’, before
going one better with ‘Wash’. These songs
cemented his position as one of the stars of
the year, shot up his stock, and also changed
his fees. Where he was commanded peanuts,
now his fees make you go nuts. That was
quickly followed by the 2016 where which is
just beginning to catch on.
Why has Iyanya stalled and Tekno accelerated?
Because unlike Iyanya, Tekno possesses
something that cannot be bought; he is new.
And everybody loves new. Iyanya holds the
grounds as the more matured and
experienced man who also manages the label.
Tekno is an employee who has a chokehold on
pop music right now, with his
incomprehensible and often crude lyrics
combining with mid-tempo beats to inspire
The fortunes of both artistes are not tied by
music. Rather it is business that binds them
together and creates a juxtaposition which
further throws more light on the plight of
Iyanya. Where Tekno has risen, Iyanya has
found difficulty in growing, and pop culture is
ruthless in kicking out stars as quick as they
are made. Attention span is fickle, and as
Iyanya has lost ours, Tekno has found it, and
he is keeping it for now.
TEKNO – WHERE