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.
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 Sean Tizzle.
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-hit, ‘Applaudise’.
“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 dancing.
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.