I am resting on my bed, looking at my ceiling like I would usually do when I am thinking, analyzing why gospel artistes don’t have ‘active’ follower-ship on social media, a fanbase, and most importantly, active followers to ministrations!
Kirk Franklin, Donnie, Kim Burrell, and other international artistes have made THE EXPERIENCE by House On The Rock what it has become, and not on the strength of our local artistes. Why? Or maybe you should be asking why I am saying this?
Let’s look at the major concerts done by our local artistes, the biggest was probably the one done by Midnight Crew at the Unilag Auditorium several years ago. Delta Yadah – foreign influence. The Frank Edwards one in Port Harcourt back then was a flop. The Sammie Okposo’s concert was not only local artistes, and Deitrick Haddon was the pull. I hear Marvin Sapp is coming for a concert in July to support a local artist. My African Music Minister’s Conference in 2013 and the New Wine concert in 2014 had the influence of Kim Burrell and Kevin Gray respectively. All the Christ Embassy concerts are pushed by the church structure and NOT by the local artistes themselves, so that doesn’t count. Almost all the other concerts have been flops, attended by friend and family.
So, please help me find a concert done by a local Nigerian gospel Artist, where the artist on his own name, pulled a crowd of 5,000 outside his church? Look around at the so called ‘Gospel Superstars’. Which one of them, male or female has that capacity as we speak? Yet we call them superstars, especially when they have had 10 to 30 years in the gospel music industry!
Michael W Smith, Kirk Franklin alone fills stadiums in multiple nations around the world. Mentioning other names may just be degrading, so let me focus on my point.
Take a look at the social media follower-ship of our 30 biggest gospel artistes in Nigeria. How many ‘active’ followers do they have? Do these artistes relate with their fans regularly? When you release a single, how many of this your fans actually download your music, or even try to get others to do the same? Yet, you think if you want to host an event, these same ‘virtual fans’ who you don’t have a relationship with, who don’t download your music, who do help promote your songs, will then want to burn and spend their time for you? Who are you kidding!
Pastors invite you for their programs because they occasionally like your song, or maybe you are the next trend in the industry, so you sing, shout, jump and go home with a token that they manage to pay you! But really are you adding value to them or their ministries? Ministries see increased followers in their church as value, yet your invitation to minister DIDN’T BRING ONE NEW FACE OR SOUL! If the church is concerned about growing their congregation size, why have you the gospel artist been so stupid not to grow your own fanbase? Why do you think it’s your right to leverage on the work only the church has done? Why do you go to a MEGA church of 10,000 people and complain that they gave you a honourarium of 50k. Did you build the congregation (fan base) for them?
If for instance, we had a great gospel artistes like the phenomenal KUNLE KENNY, ODUNAYO ABODERIN, ERNIEOLA, TOSIN BEE, etc, individually coming to a church with a normal congregation of 500 people, and a crowd of 1,000 turn-up, won’t you be able to name your price the next time you are invited!
For the gospel artist that then knows how to grow and relate with his or her fans, it is essential that you are also versatile in your music and choice of songs. Why would I come to church one, two and three with you, and have to endure listening to the same songs and arrangements? Why? Why would I follow you about? Being dynamic and having a repertoire of songs is such an essential tool to keeping your fans interested.
I don’t know if these my thoughts will speak to someone today, but just thought to share me as usual.
I have to go now! The Belgium and Republic of Island game is on.
God, Bless somebody out there today and always. Amen.