Do you want to know about Nigerian Artists that started their music career from school? School isn’t just a place for intellectual excellence alone. A school is a great place for character formation. It’s also a place where every kid is meant to discover who he or she really is, and what he or she is good at. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of Nigerian artists that started music in school. Brace up! The list below will blow your mind.
1. Fela Anikulapo Kuti
In 1958, Fela was sent to the United Kingdom by his parents to study law. However, he enrolled in Trinity School of Music to study music instead. In the course of his studies, he decided upon taking up the trumpet as his main musical instrument. According to Lindsay Barrett in Fela Kuti: Chronicle of a Life Foretold, “it was the discovery of Miles Davis’s early recordings with Charlie Parker that strengthened his commitment to the instrument when he began studying in London”. Eventually, Fela joined a group of dedicated Nigerian musicians in the UK, performing in venues frequented by African students.
The Nigerian artists returned to Nigeria after his studies with a musical style that was second to none. He called his style the afrobeat, and this would eventually become an African signature genre that continues to influence the voices and styles of contemporary Nigerian artists.
Davido was a first-year student at Oakwood University, Alabama, when he met Jaymo, an American student whose influence swerved his attention fully to music. He invested $500 of his pocket money into purchasing musical instruments, with the assistance of Jaymo, and he began making beats. He dropped out and eventually continued his education in Nigeria at Babcock University, where he graduated in 2015 with a degree in music.
3. M. I. Abaga
I. was schooled in Business and Economics at Calvin College, Michigan, U. S. A. During his stay in the college, he initially delved into poetry in the course of self-discovery. He began to rap and to freestyle eventually, and performed frequently in school social gatherings. In 2003, he entered into a campus competition called HipHopera, and his impressive rap performance earned him a 3rd place finish. Today, the Nigerian artists has carved out for himself a covetable niche in the Nigerian music industry as a prolific songwriter, singer, badass rapper and producer.
4. Banky W
Banky W is one of the most popular Nigerian Artists, He was schooled in Industrial Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, on a scholarship. From his first year in school, the R&B artiste immediately began nurturing the musical passion he had developed a few years ago when he sang in his local church choir. He began writing songs, going to the studio, producing and singing for patrons at salons for a fee. He won Albany Idol, a music competition, and co-founded a record label called Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) in 2002. After his studies in New York, he returned to Nigeria and established E.M.E in Lagos in 2008.
Darey was schooled in music at the University of Lagos State (UNILAG). He also spent some time learning at the Music Society of Nigeria (MUSON). While he was in UNILAG, he spent many of his nights performing in night clubs in Lagos and at some other cities in the South-West. On one of such nights, an Executive at Cool FM was present in his performance venue. The Executive was thrilled by the vocal appeal of Darey and offered him a job at Cool FM. Darey grabbed the opportunity and worked there as a radio presenter while studying in UNILAG.
6. Timi Dakolo
Timi Dakolo was schooled in Communication Studies at the University of Port Harcourt. During his years in school, he auditioned for a number of talent hunt shows, eager to succeed with his singing abilities. In 2006, the Nigerian artists auditioned for the inaugural edition of Idols West Africa, which is the West African version of the Idol series franchise. The audition judges raved about his rendition of Lemar’s Time to Grow and Commissioned More Than I. He eventually made it into the competition and brilliantly bagged the award.
Falz studied law at the University of Reading, United Kingdom, where he graduated with an LLB Honors degree. He revealed in an interview that “the passion for music started building when I was in secondary school. Though the passion was there, I never thought it was something I was going to give serious attention until towards the end of my university days. By then the music I was making appeared to be on a different level, assuming something of professional status. Then I realized I could make it a profession”.
8. Chinko Ekun
The Nigerian artists graduated with a degree in Law from Obafemi Awolowo University. The growth of his musical career was greatly enhanced while he was in school. He performed on campus and got quite a number of followers. His revelation of how he came about his stage name is quite interesting: “Chinko; someone said I looked like a Chinese in my Pre-degree days. Ekun was my first official track”.
9. Korede Bello
The Nigerian artists wrote his first song while he was in primary school. He continued expressing his passion when he got to secondary school, where he began professional music by recording his songs in the studio and releasing his first single Forever. His parents were supportive. His dad paid for his first studio sessions and even got him a guitar. However, he faced stern opposition from his mom when he began to stay out late, recording or hanging around in the studio. She was worried about the academic consequences that could result from such development, especially since Korede Bello was about to sit for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination.
Korede Bello went on to study Mass Communication at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism and holds a Higher National Diploma Certificate.
10. Fireboy DML
Fireboy graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in the English Language. In his second year in school, 2012, the Nigerian artists developed a keen interest in music and went into songwriting. He sang on campus and became popular among students. However, even though he was serious with music at that time, he admitted that he only found his voice in the latter years of his days in school when he accepted to do music for the rest of his life. At first, his parents were disappointed with his decision to be Nigerian artists, but they eventually became his biggest fans.
Which other Nigerian artists is missing from the list? Kindly add them in the comment section.