Monday, 31 December 2018


2018 has been a super eventful year for the Nigerian music industry and particularly so for two talented artists who are both favourites of mine. Adekunle Gold & Kizz Daniel.

In a year where Kizz Daniel had quite an impressive run of hit songs including features, his brand equity only made marginal gains. Whereas, with scarcely any major hit song (besides IRE) to his name in the year under review, Adekunle Gold was able to parlay his new album to create tremendous wins and leaps for his brand.

The fact is, although Kizz Daniel’s pen game and general music sense is universes away from his peers, his brand has not kept pace with his insane talent over the years, leaving great room for improvement. On the other hand, Adekunle Gold’s brand has been the most innovative Nigerian music brand in the last 12 months, in my books, and I think KD will do well to borrow a leaf or two from the ‘Gold standard' for a high impact 2019.

Some areas of focus would include:
Communication & Fan engagement: the KD brand can definitely learn something from AG’s communication style to improve his current aloof and impersonal communication on social media. Getting out reasoned responses to genuine enquiries or promptly addressing little PR hiccups appear to be a chore for the KD camp, and is not a good look. AG’s communication, however, is generally cordial, heartfelt, personal, reasoned and confident, and so his message is always well received by his audience. KD will do well to retool his team to communicate better in 2019.

Brand Identity: Adekunle Gold has gone to great lengths in the course of this year to refine and elaborate on his brand persona. So, who is Adekunle Gold? He is a Nigerian urban-highlife musician and performer who makes music with meaning marrying the English language and Yoruba in a unique way to pass his message. He has an amazing band called the 79th element and together they have consistently owned many stages with their exhilarating performances and quality entertainment his fans have come to expect as standard. His personal style is cool and unassuming, but on stage, he is a rock star through and through with his contemporary take on traditional outfits and fabrics.
Who is Kizz Daniel? He is an inordinately gifted afropop hit maker also known as Vado who gave us hits like 4dayz, One ticket, and Baba in the last 12 months and…. Unlike AG, KD's personal style is at best confusing and could do with a little style intervention.

Strategy: Where AG has been intentional and strategic with his moves this year, KD has been anything but. Nothing highlights this difference in approach like the roll out of both artists' albums. “About 30” had a well planned, perfectly executed roll out where AG treated fans and industry heads to an album listening exhibition that lasted a couple of days and plenty of promotion on diverse platforms and mediums. While KD's “No bad songs” 20 track album was basically just dumped on us. To the same point, it is instructive that in a year where everyone and their grandmas put up their own end of year shows, KD and his team were unable to put together a show for their teeming fans in Lagos this December. Of course, AG successfully held a 3-day residency at Terra Kulture this December, a first among his contemporaries.

Performance: AG has made significant and consistent improvements in the nature and quality of his performances. This is no mere coincidence but a testament to a deep respect and appreciation for his fans and a commitment to reciprocate the love by delivering quality entertainment . AG unveiled his 79th element band in May 2017 and has since had a fine run of incredible performances with them. I’m not saying that KD should have a band, but he has not shown any real commitment to improving his performance craft in like forever, making him one of the most underwhelming performers in the industry. I see a real opportunity for growth and world domination here.

I see absolutely no reason why KD cannot win 2019 if he applies himself and carefully retools his management team with top talent not industry jobbers and vultures who are probably circling already. Anything short of a top 3 finish atop the Afropop scene in 2019 would be unacceptable. I'm tired of seeing him so talented and yet so underrated, even overlooked sometimes.

So, cheers to a supernova 2019 for two of my faves!!!

PS: AG is my talent manager and brand strategist of the year.

Obinna Agwu