I believe we have a choice in this world about how to tell stories. On the one hand, we can sugarcoat it and make it look all nice and sweet the way they do in the media and entertainment industries, where nothing is too messed up that can’t be fixed, or where an average artist is hyped beyond measure and painted as beautiful and talented but in reality they are just average. On the other hand, we can choose to give little attention to real talents, associate all sorts of negativity into their stories, or probably underrate them just because they come from a lowly place. Whatever choice we make, a story will always be a story and people will listen to it regardless of how it is told, and that brings me to my point – if the stories we tell are for the public, then shouldn’t we be worried about how they (the public) perceive them and understand them? Here’s an unpopular opinion – we can tell them exactly the way they are, regardless of who is involved or who should be involved. The story about one of Nigeria’s Afro Pop singers, Kizz Daniel, has been one of a debate since he came into limelight in 2015. While many believe that he is a fine young man with a lot of talent, they are yet to come to terms with the fact that he is good enough and probably the best thing to happen to Africa in recent years. Normally, a person’s worth and value is measured through their works and not through a beautiful picture so painted by the media. While Kizz Daniel is not yet the king of African music (which he should already have been), he does make a strong case with his work and artistry. The countless debates on and off social media as to who should truly be crowned with that title have all but proved useless in many cases after the result swung in favor of an artist with the highest buzz in that year, and that can be attributed to the fact that there is power in the way stories are told. So again, what is the best way to tell a story and get it right?
NO BAD SONGS IN “NO BAD SONGZ”
If a king is going to be crowned in African music, certain factors like talent, consistency and acceptance have to be given special consideration. To get the story right, then it has to be told exactly the way it is. While many African artists possess these qualities, Kizz Daniel’s case is one of a wonder. Now he is not the only one with talent, who is consistent or whose music is accepted across Africa and other parts of the world. However, his case comes with special interest. Having signed to a relatively small record label, G-Worldwide Entertainment in 2013, finance definitely was a very big issue. Therefore, to get things right and working, there were clauses put in place by his label. He couldn’t feature any other artist outside his label, and of course there were problems with the distribution of his music. This was as against other artists who had a freer deal with their labels, who could collaborate with other artists in and outside Africa, have their songs distributed in these regions with ease. Of course, one could argue that that is not enough reason to give special interest to his story and that would be right. But the wonder is that even though Kizz Daniel had these limitations, his music soared and achieved the same results those of his peers achieved, sometimes even surpassing theirs. Take for example his two albums so far in the industry. Like the name implies, there are no bad songs in Kizz Daniel’s sophomore album No Bad Songz, a feat he achieved as well with his debut album New Era in 2016. These are both long playlists (LP) with 22 and 20 tracks respectively. He always goes for the long haul and each time he delivers, not one song or two, or maybe a few tracks, but all the tracks turn out to be hit songs right from the beginning to the end. It could have been considered to be just luck when this was the case with his debut album which stayed and continued relevant even after that music year was over, but he repeated it with his sophomore album and as if it was all a plan he titled it No Bad Songz, which simply means that there are no bad songs in that body of work.
ONLY TIME AND SERIES OF STORIES TOLD RIGHT HAVE THE ANSWER
Almost always it is difficult to find all the songs in an extended playlist (EP) which most times contains between five to ten songs interesting, but to do it repeatedly with two long playlists (LP) of 20 and 22 songs each is definitely a wonder. It is not common, and it shows how much Kizz Daniel’s music is appreciated in Africa and other parts of the world. It shows he has real talent, is very consistent and his music is widely accepted and consumed by music lovers across the world, factors usually considered worthy of a king in African music. Now Kizz Daniel has his own record label, Flyboy Inc. which definitely gives him more freedom to collaborate with other artists and which saw him deliver a banger alongside Davido in “One Ticket” which continues to resonate with music lovers. He also has collaborated with Diplo in “Ikwe”, Sarkodie in “Kojo”, Philkeyz in “Nesesari”, DJ Xclusive in “Somebody Dey”, Wretch 32 in “Bad”, Nasty C in “Ghetto” and Diamond Platinumz in “Tere”, so he has really done well for himself to spread his tentacles. This means that more and more people are getting to know him and his music. However, finance is still a major problem. The story of Kizz Daniel cannot be told without mentioning these facts, but even though these facts are mentioned, facts good enough to make him a wonder to behold, is he by any means perceived to be the king of African music? Hardly! The media continues to shine its torch on artists with a lot of buzz and connections instead of those with real talent and depth and that is very unfortunate. Right now, Kizz Daniel may not be Africa’s top boy but he’s got great vibes and his album No Bad Songz proves it. Will he eventually be seen as Africa’s top boy in the future? Only time and series of stories told right will tell.