Tag: Nigeria

You are not entitled

You are not entitled

Dear Artist,

You are not entitled

You are not entitled to anything on the mere basis of talent. Your natural gifts do not afford you the pleasures of life without hardwork, passion and commitment, as well as a good attitude.

It’s sad to see how talented artists in Nigeria waste away because they lack one or all of these things.

Now let’s start by acknowledging a few things that serve as a point of justification and defense. Yes, we know that pursuing a career in the arts is tough and takes forever to pay, yes we know you need the money because times are hard and of course, it is understood that perfomers are not given their true worth but guess what; this happens everywhere in the world, movies have sold you gloss but the truth is, the struggle is real every where.

This doesn’t give you right of passage because you have it tough. Everything good in life comes with huge sacrifices that have to be paid. Those that excel are the ones that understand this, your gift is to be honed, shared and given freely before you can receive. Like a seed sown into the soil, you must wrestle with the sand to bloom like a flower.

Sadly, many an artist want to just become the flower without going through process. ‘Hian!’

If that were the case, everyone ought to have ‘hammered’ by now. But let’s not digress.

Talent is not enough, this can’t be overly emphasized . All talent gives you is a head start, you have to put in the work, go the extra mile to make something of it and succeed. If you claim to have passion for the talent God has freely given to you, then you have to have the discipline to train and hone it to perfection, the humility to learn from others and serve and the patience and commitment towards becoming the best version  of you.

No one can motivate you but you and the people you choose to look up to. Age is not a factor to consider when looking for a teacher or a mentor, experience and expertise is.

You must learn to maximize your strengths and daily grow and learn by outsourcing your weaknesses. Chei! Grammar!

Here’s what I mean: So you think you can dance right, baddest Naija lyrical hiphop dancer ever liveth etc etc but you suck at Naija styles and you know you need to learn. Pick the closest person to you with that skill, swallow a huge drop of humility and learn. Learn till you are as badass as your teacher or good enough to continue on your own. If you believe in value exchange, when you’re done learning, offer to teach your baddest hiphop too. Win, win for all.

Your attitude to work and opportunities determine how far you go as an artist. But first you need to have your priorities in check, if money is your inspiration then this isn’t particularly for you, but if your goal is artistry, mastering your craft, teaching it to people and creating a body of work exportable to any country in the world, then listen up.

You have to pay in time, service and your own funds to grow. Pay for training, volunteer to perform at platforms that will give you the kind of visibility you want and work with people who can move you forward.

READ! Artists seem to hate this word, not all but quite alot. You have to do research to grow, you can’t just rely on what you know. The internet is your friend but are you using it to your advantage?

Attitude. Every human being has an ego. Artists seem to blessed with robes of ego laced with pride and a crown of rudeness. *pauses for effect*

It’s the hard cold truth but we forget that these things do not help us and when displayed, only belittle us and what we have to offer.

People do not patronise pride, it doesn’t pay the bills and it is a bad investment but if that is what comes with your art then you will deprive yourself of greatness. The truth is a bitter pill to swallow but we must see it for what it is, the truth.

As artists we are too sensitive, too quick to take offence or be on the defensive. Too quick to judge but we hate criticism. Creating ‘beef’ that can feed a nation because you don’t want to be told what to do. Here’s my question, ‘ Who E EPP?’ At the end of the day, work is work and play is play, if you can’t tell the difference then, it’s your problem to deal with and nobody else’s.

On a lighter yet serious note, in order to be taken seriously in an industry of this nature, you must respect yourself and work ten times harder than anyone else. Throw your heart and soul into it, fight for what you love. It’s a harsh environment to live in, Nigeria that is, and it isn’t as conducive or structured enough for the arts industry yet but let that not become the excuse to do a sloppy job. Work your butt off and become the best, you may have been unappreciated and treated wrongly but never let it break you but build you.

Your response to your situation determines how far you go in life. So don’t give up, this art will pay if you put in the work and you will never regret pursuing your passion.

This comes from a place of truth, we would never grow without it

Yours,

An artist

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Do not blame Nigeria

Do not blame Nigeria

http:/isysdrain.wordpress.com/nigeria
Nigeria

Do not blame Nigeria, it is nothing but a name forced upon a people yet to find their identity. The name was created as a collective noun, we accepted as a people without embracing it’s true purpose but why blame the white man for naming a country out of convenience?

Before he arrived did we not all co-exist within different regions, aware of each others existence maintaining peaceful harmony? Did we not spar as is normal human nature without his interference but still live together on the same piece of land with no borders? 

The white man saw us as a resource to use to his advantage as we sow seeds that we may reap, why then can we not use ourselves to our own advantage in his absence and learn to build on the things we already had?

I know everyone will jump to defend us as a nation but how many of you truly defend the nation? How many of you see a Nigerian as a nigerian and not a tribal man? We wail about racism but are as bad as the racists we race after for acceptance and acknowledgement but I digress.

Before the white man we had our farms, he came and turned them into plantations, he left and we abandoned our farms to search for the white man and not for growth of the resources he sought that fed us. He came to educate, divide and conquer us, we chose the religion and abandoned the knowledge that could have made us a great entity. We understood trade by barter but exchanged it with hunger for money while the resources it could buy died, leaving us with nothing but greed to survive.

He saw the value in our art and culture and harvested it for exhibitions while we abandoned our pride to become who he was. And we wonder why we are where we are.

 

The road to success is not a straight one, you have to take the stairs but we focused on the results of the white man and not on the work he put in.

We need to look back and ask ourselves ‘what did we have that the white man wanted and how can use it to our advantage?’

Our farms must feed us again, our culture must entertain us once more, our value lies in appreciating who we are. So what if we’re stuck with a word that defines our boundaries and gives us an identity.

Don’t blame Nigeria, it is nothing but a name forced upon a people, yet to understand that their strength lies within .

By Ife Adediran

Editor: Isys Drain

My 2016: Blessing (Einsteinette)

It all started at midnight. On the 31st of December, my mother insisted that she wanted to crossover in church as she always did. We got to church and the usual Abuja Harmattan breeze was freezing. I tried to concentrate but it was not working. I had just had a tired day, in fact,  a tired year.

2015 had beat the hell out of me but it gave me rewards.  I lived on my own,  had a 6 figure monthly salary fresh out of NYSC,  learned more about the rural areas and the abject poverty people were exposed to and had learned more skills than any other year. I was still reminiscing when the pastor noticed people were sleeping and asked the choir to lead the church in Praise.

 

As the habitual yearly crossover took place,  my mind wandered to my goals. I had set them a week before December31, 2015. I was not a big fan of resolutions. I believed change was a journey not a magical wish.  I pondered on ways I had failed in 2015 but resolved to fix those shortcomings.

My thoughts were interrupted by the countdown to 1st of January2016. I joined in and by the stroke of midnight,  we were dancing and screaming. My phone buzzed with text messages, calls and the ever annoying business but deep inside my heart,  I knew there was more to 2016 than all these shenanigans. 

2016 was  the busiest,  riskiest, most adventurous year of my life. I thought 2015 was my biggest teacher but 2016 smashed 2015 like incredible hulk smashed Loki.

My key lessons of 2016 were simple but extremely relevant and guiding:

– independence comes at a price of responsibility.
-as you grow,  you will lose friends because no matter how you try 20 friends cannot play together for 20years. Don’t feel guilty when you can’t keep in touch with everyone. You don’t need the whole world to be friends with you.
– Your network is more valuable than money. Build a strong one and never joke with that network.
– Reading is important.  Knowledge is vital but without action,  you are just a decorative tree that has no fruit. Put your words and knowledge into action and demand of life what you want from it
– your determination and ability to solve people’s problems will take you places. Stop thinking about what people can do for you. Think of what you can do for people.
– social media is vital. Never underestimate its power
– Be financially responsible and work on developing skills and reinventing yourself
– Never be afraid to ask. The worst that can be said is no and it doesn’t kill. Biko follow me on Twitter and Instagram @@ms_einsteinette and I am looking to meet Chimamanda in 2017.If you have a link,  connect me. (I just asked)

-No more free service except reasonable value is in sight. If people want your service,  it means you’re good and should be well compensated financially for it.  

I learned more lessons and I am going into 2017 better than I was 365 days ago. I’d most likely share my 2017 journey with you(with Isys’ permission of course) but hey, be action driven this year.
If you are an entrepreneur my gift to you this season is: the Afropreneur.net
(you’re Welcome).
Own 2017.
Love,

Einsteinette

My 2016: Princess

http:/isysdrain.wordpress.com/my2016
Princess

They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with a step.


My name is Princess and I am from northern Nigerian. I am a dancer,makeup artist,hairstylist and compere/mc in the making hehehehehehehe, I have to sell my market *winks*

Now let’s start with January…

I was not too excited about 2016 at first because I felt it was going to be the same as every other year. I had a minor accident january 2nd and that really confirmed my fears about the year. Work resumed on the 4th and I decided to carefully see how the year would turn out

.

I’ve shuttled between school and work for over 5 years, always on the road, unable to differentiate between weekends and week days, waking up early and sleeping late and commuting from gwagwalada to Abuja town and back.
As if that wasn’t enough to deal with, by April my rent expired and my landlord was breathing down my neck to either pay or move out. I had already been planning to move back to town, the timing just wasn’t right. I ended up moving out and squatting with friends(good friends) for almost 3 months. I finally got a place, though moving became a challenge because I no longer had friends with cars who could help. Eventually, I moved.

By the end of July it was time for final exams. It was rough but the fact that these were the final exams, renewed my strength and made me push harder. A week into my exams, I was taking a power nap so I could stay up to read when I felt something moving on my head and there was a big, dirty looking, black lizard on my head! I jumped off the bed, thinking it was a rat (I’m 100% scared of rats 🙈🙈).

 

3 days later, I was asleep at a friend’s place after a long day at work. I covered myself with a blanket and then there was a scorpion in that same blanket! I was angry but I had to keep going and finally, in August, after 1 year of remedial studies and 5 years of the proposed 4 year course, I was done with school.

I took a step years back and never followed through because I allowed procastination overwhelm me. I wrote down some goals and dumped them somewhere…I never cared to pursue them or give them extra attention. At that time, I unconciously started losing interest in a lot  things. I became depressed and was gradually succumbed to low self esteem. I started seeking attention and advice from people but instead of helping me regain my strength and confidence, I got critcised, discouraged and the “you are not good enough” response.

 

I then decided to pick myself up, I went back to my goals and became my own encouragement, my own competition, to do it myself, to go out of my way to make my goals a reality. I hosted more events, I got more jobs(dance,makeup,hair)travelled to 5 new states in Nigeria, attended more seminars,workshops and trainings,lost old friends but made new and positive minded friends. I even got stronger in decision-making and conquered procastination. I did things more with God than with friends and trust me, it paid off.

I was so excited about 2016 to the point that I wished it was a bit longer*wink*

But growth is inevitable :). My mind is more open now and I am ready to explore some more.

My 2016: Daniel a.k.a Biggie

My 2016: Daniel a.k.a Biggie


I feel a disjointed piece coming on.

In opening, kindly allow me sound Nigerian.
Like play like play, 2016 don finish!
My 2016 below (remember, this piece will be disjointed) played out like a movie, a twisted but interesting one.
Even as I write this, I can remember vividly, what I wore to church on New Year’s eve of 2015. Heck, I still remember what almost everyone wore, heck heck, I still remember going to anchor an event that had no, I repeat, NO attendees that night. I still remember gazing at the organiser in reverent awe at his stupidity when he said, if I did not perform I would not be paid and I was like “to whom shall I perform? The elements?”

I remember thinking I was gonna die in those few hours while I was prepping to make people laugh. I still remember telling myself that I would, die that is. And that is no joke. Crazy innit?

Yet…
I entered 2016 with a flourish.
Finally, the long awaited job that I had sought for 7 years came, and what’s more? I am doing something I was born for, creative writing. Permit me to quickly insert here that my boss must have God Himself as her family member. She is a woman who has aged gracefully and is gracious too.

See, I write books for her, minus quite a number of other things. Once, while we were on a break from our numerous brainstorming sessions, I had an idea for an audiobook after she had voice recorded something for me to transcribe. I loved what I heard. I thought of two other people who had told me that they dream about voice acting and so I quickly penned down their names; Vanessa and Fred, and called them immediately. They loved the idea and were interested in being part of it. I told my boss about it when we resumed. She loved it too and encouraged me to live my dream, and even agreed to be a character if need be. On one condition, I should sha give her some of my time to also help her birth hers.

I must confess, she is one of the best things that happened to me in 2016.

Well, work is tedious, not hard, tedious. And in the line of duty, I have been tested to my limit.
In brief,
I was able to write something in the region of ten books, I mean novels, in half a year, minus compendiums of thoughts and poems, and also create PowerPoint slides for presentations at seminars, meetings, etc.
Impressive, right? I thought so too.

Two computers crashed since I started work, one irreparably. I’ve lost my body of work three times because of this, one of them when I was ten books gone. I say three because the third time I had no computers and so I used a phone, my phone, until the real owner of the phone snatched it right out of my hands while I was working in a cab. Someone may ask “why didn’t you run after the thief?” You’ll soon know why. 

Did I mention that this year I have been involved in more road accidents than I have ever been in all my life? The first happened on my way back from Asaba in March, and up till now, I still don’t understand how no one in the bus received a single scratch. I was bathed in shards of glass, mind you. Except for rivulets of blood on my skin, there was nothing else. I got back to work and told my boss about it. A week later she bought me yards of cloth to celebrate my safety. Yeah, she’s awesome like that.

Fast forward to August and two crashed computers later, I had another accident. This time, my foot stopped a car from hitting a motorised rickshaw, ‘keke’ as we know it here in Nigeria. Now, let me take this time to say to anyone reading this who has had a fracture or has been involved in an accident with injuries to show for it, you are heroes. If you haven’t had any of these, you will never understand.
My foot was so contorted at first; it almost looked like a boomerang when I pulled my shoe off. Long story short, I had no fractures, but my foot bones were shifted out of place. For some strange reason which I’ll share, they’ve gone back to place of their own accord. I simply said “Jesus no, no fractures, I’ve had quite a sh*@ty life so far, I cannot deal with this right now.”  Yes, I cussed while at it. I was in pain yo! And He is sweet and merciful. Sadly though, I’m starting all over again. And my boss, her patience baffles me.
It was while I still had a bandage on my foot that my phone was stolen one rainy night and all I could do was watch the thief race into the bushes. I hobbled after him, mad as can be, pain shooting up my right foot, the thought that the phone was barely three weeks mine all ran through my mind. It was crazy.
I succumbed to depression this year with no one but God to lean on.
And no, I did not see my ‘Orente’ this year, so don’t greet her for me yet.

Now to the sweet news.
I tend to choose passion over safety, and that trend continued this year as I added sound design and engineering and radio production to my repertoire of can-do things, yes sir.
Due to past experiences, I had intended to turn down a pro-bono job for a prominent man of the cloth here in Abuja. It was a for a series. They needed scriptwriters. I asked if there was money involved then I saw pro-bono written boldly. Honestly,I wanted to form not knowing what it meant, pay me or free me. But thankfully, a certain Seun Lottu, my friend and brother prevailed on me and I offered my services.
Heh heh! 
Well, on the team of scriptwriters were two names I have mentioned earlier; Vanessa and Fred.
They also acted… Whoa!!!
I went from being scriptwriter to assisstant director. The director took interest in me and now I have a mentor in the field of sound design and engineering. He’s been connecting me to certain jobs and as I write this, another alert entered. And yes, guess what else he has taught me… how to create audiobooks. This was me saying I won’t do nahtin pro-bono. Someone say God is not involved in my matter and see what I will do to you. Audiobook should be out 2018, woshawt for eet.
And then there was Just Hangin’
What started as a passing comment while my friend and I were lamenting the quality of music last year, gave birth to a monthly poetry, spoken word, jazz and soul music event I host. Through it, I have been able to hone my anchoring skills while granting artistes a platform to express themselves.
Talking about anchoring events, it has been a good year…
There was food expo
There was kick for hope
There was fashion for charity
There were weddings
I’ve lost count.
This was the year I started to really explore and I love what I see about me
Come to think of it, there are so many things I can’t remember, but I know that I have grown, why? I no longer fidget and fret like I used to, worry like I used to, be afraid like I used to. I have only One to thank…
ALL CORRECT SIR!!! YOU HAVE DONE WELL.

Did I mention that I have not seen my Orente? Don’t bother greeting her for me.