Last week I was curious about Zara Gretti aka the artist formerly known as Zara’s, career. This week, another name I have been curious about which popped onto my radar is Sauce Kid aka Sinzu aka SMG. It is interesting to note the progress of Nigerian artists who have left the shores of the USA for greener pastures in Nigeria. How have they fared? If you are an artist in the USA, should you move back to Nigeria for your music career?
I remember wanting to move home so badly to study and take the Nigerian Bar Examination so I could teach comparative constitutional law at one of the country’s leading law schools. I was so restless and it ate at me everyday. This was about 2001 to 2002. I downloaded and read everything I could about the country’s constitutional laws and some of its laws. I researched into taking the bar exam there. I remained this way until I got what I thought was a pretty darn good advice. I was told by someone dear to me to stay here (USA) and build my own Bill Gates/Oprah empire and then I can leverage my power and influence to make a stronger/bigger impact in Nigeria and across Africa.
My advisor told me about Nigerians in the 70s who were in the USA obtained degrees and went back to re-build Nigeria. Nigeria’s economy was doing really great, but almost all of those Nigerians who left for Nigeria returned when things started getting bad in the country.
My advisor went into more details on the connections, contacts, and how the business climate actually worked in Nigeria. It made sense and I followed the advice.
Overtime, I have watched many in the fashion and entertainment industry and non-industry people “pack up their load” and return to a country that they have been absent from, for ages. For half of the people who I know that have returned, they have been extremely successful. They had the right contacts plus the universe aligned just right for them and things worked out just great. The other half have not been as successful. They have lost lots of investment dollars in Nigeria and have been worse off than when they were here in the USA. Some have even returned back to the States to pick up from where they were or rebuild all over again.
So what gives? What does it take to be very successful in Nigeria if you leave the USA to find/strike gold?
Back to Sinzu, let’s see some artists who have been very successful in Nigeria.
Early Returnees- Success stories
Banky W – EME Records
Eldee- Trybe Records
Naeto C- Storm Records 360
The above returned at a time when Nigeria was still trying to find its new music footing to berth a new music revolution. Eldee had already been in Nigeria and understood the rough terrain. Banky W and Naeto C experienced the rough terrain of the starving artists in the USA. They returned to Nigeria and they seem to be flying very very high. Look at Banky W’s recruits? Wizkid is up for an MTV Europe Music Awards and a MOBO Awards. Off da hizzy! Totally out of control y’all! Banky W himself has not done bad.
Later Returnees- Waiting for Even Bigger Success?
This category does not mean these artists are unsuccessful. They have name recognition, they have a fan following and while they might not be raking millions of Naira/thousands of dollars as maybe the above stars, they’ve been able to keep head above water, but success like their counterparts have been quite difficult to come by. Why? Zaragretti and Saucekid fall into this later category.
Why have these second group not been as successful as their counterparts named above? They have the same talents, they are very driven, so what gives? Is it a matter of pure luck? Unlike newbie artists that can’t even get their foot in the door, persons like Sauce and Zara had connections on the highest level. So, why is the reach and extent of their success not matching those of their counterparts?
Obviously, my musings are more on a philosophical theory of the idea of “luck.” There is the whole idea that you work hard, do what you are supposed to do and you will be successful, monetarily, especially. Should that theory be re-evaluated? Is it always prudent to leave the USA to move to Nigeria if you are an artist?
Saucekid is extremely talented but even I, as an observer, have wondered why all of the fan following and base he built before he relocated to Nigeria seemed to have quieted down, considerably?
In any event, Saucekid took a little time out to answer questions for his fans here. During this interview segment, he made a statement that I thought interesting and best captured how I feel with watching his career. Somewhere, somehow, that super confident, silly, goofy, funny and creative artist seem to lose his music identity; and has he points out, he has “taken the back seat” and “watched mediocre artists” make their money, of which he says he is “not mad at them.” “Now, it’s [his] time.”
Saucekid’s legal relationship with Storm Records, according to the statements he made in the video clip, has officially ended. It appears to be an amicable situation and he is ready for the next chapter. But, as he prepares, I think he MUST invest in a great publicist who also understands image branding and packaging. Even when he was in the USA and while in Nigeria, in my opinion, he lacked proper personal branding/presentation.
Saucekid has to find his story angle. What is his story? One of my favorite new rappers X.O Senavoe has an amazing story. He left his high end paying job at one of the top law firms in the USA to go pursue a music career and start from the bottom up, literally. Who does that? That kind of story will get press attention, every time. Plus, as you unveil his story, there is even more for fans and press alike to work with.
To date, I don’t know Sauce Kid’s story. What’s his story? I think he is a very talented artist than can even break through in the USA market because he has had the exposure both in the USA and Africa. Now, let’s get the story angle and repeat it over and over again to fans, media and anyone who will listen. Let’s get the packaging and presentation tight and study both media and Sinzu targeted audience so they can do the work of publicity for him while he continues to refine his art.
PR TIP: Artists, it is not enough to have mad talent and deep swag in your music. The presentation has to be tight also. From head to toe, every thing about you should show you love your fans but you are ’bout it ’bout it about the business of music. Come correct!
Hopefully he gets that department together as he takes on his new journey.
All artists reading this, for termination of music label contracts, read the Kel v. Capital Records case.
Peace! I’m out.
- AML 136: Interview with Cherie Hu, Music Journalist
- AML 135: Artist Manager Bond Stanley Ebigbo on New Book, ‘Grounded Ways to the Music Business.’
- Kenya Music Industry Talks: Life After COVID, What do African Creatives Need to Weather the Impact?
- Nigerian Music Industry Talks: Opportunities for Young Lawyers in the Entertainment Industry
- Nigerian Music Industry Talks: Teemanay, DJ Dee Money, Meaku