Music Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Nasboi’s Style of Music Promotion

There’s so much more to music other than the rhythm or melodies that you dance to, or the vocals that have you open-mouthed upon first listens. A lot goes on outside the booth that determines the reach of a song, and how much money that song generates for the artists or the label, either through streaming services or concert bookings. That is the business of music. In the music business, promotion is a BIG factor. Amongst many others, it is the reason some songs do better than others on charts and in popularity contests even when the majority of music consumers have a countering opinion on the ‘better’ song. 

Most of the time, the label takes on the weight of promotion, while the artist is majorly tasked with delivering a catchy jam. For independent artists, they have no choice than to do both themselves, even worse when they have little to no adequate funding to run effective promotions – which is another discussion for another day. An interesting thing about music promotion is artistic licensing, i.e, there’s no one way to go about it. Even though some particular ways prove to be the most effective, anyone is allowed to come up with something new and people will buy it.

Gradually easing into the focus of this piece, as far as promotion is concerned in Nigerian music, two artists stand out; Blaqbonez and Nasboi. These people have managed to put their craft out there in the most creative ways while also delivering good music to match up their energy. Particularly on Nasboi, he gets people talking every time he has a video up. Aside from the genius concept he comes up with for every promotional content, people wonder how he’s able to accrue funds for such promotions, if he’s able to achieve his goal for every project he drops, and what makes him different from others.

Best Music Promoter, AMVCA 2024. Source: X

Who is Nasboi?

Funnily enough, he qualifies as a YouTuber, content creator, skit maker, and an artiste. Born as Lawal Michael Nasiru Bolaji on the 13th of March, 1992, he’s been able to rise up despite the odds to build a brand that resonates with many people all over the world. His roots can be traced back to Osun state although he spent his formative years in Port Harcourt in a Christian home. The Mechanical Engineering graduate, from the University of Uyo, has been able to ride into the spotlight with his comedic genius and inch-perfect imitations. 

Career Genesis

Nasboi’s love for entertainment can be seen in the number of things he’s ventured into, in the industry. The challenges in breaking into the industry seemed like an energy booster for the creative to keep pushing. His breakthrough finally came with the viral video where he imitated the Nigerian entertainment veteran, Davido. Of his regular Instagram short skits, this video stood out, garnered so much attention from the media, and catapulted the young man into limelight. Seeing the pull from the imitation, he doubled down on the creativity around that persona in putting himself out there, and the reception was beautiful.

Transition into Music

For some, transitioning into different spheres of the entertainment industry does not come as a shock anymore due to the overlap of the same creatives in these spheres. For others, it may still come as a shock because they begin to imagine how a skit-maker will sound in the booth or how an artist will do on a movie set. Nasboi releasing Lover Boy, his first single, on the 14th of February, opened Afrobeats consumers to another skit-maker tapping into the music industry. It is, in fact, a timely release because that day commemorates the celebration of lovers through exchange of affection and gifts. Contrary to what many people thought, Nasboi has been into music before he blew up as a skit-maker. In an interview with Ebuka Obi-Uchendu on Rubbin Minds, he explained that he started recording in 2007 and got signed by veteran actress, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde in 2014. A lot of people don’t know about that stage of Nasboi’s rise to fame although he said his location, Port Harcourt at the time, played a role in that – the popular opinion that Lagos is where your chances of fame are the highest in the entertainment industry.

The Uniqueness in Nasboi’s Music Promotion

It’s no debate that Nasboi is atop the list of most creative content creators in the Nigerian entertainment scene. He has the idea that keeps you glued to your screen even at that point your mind is telling you to ‘drop your phone and get to work.’ As expected, this creativity is pumped into the way he promotes his music. Promotion in the music business is very expensive and, if not done with proper planning, can render an artist broke – most especially independent artistes who source for funds themselves. Trying to get into people’s faces and ears, Nasboi understands this and channels the right energy into promotion to the point where people wonder how he’s able to do it so effortlessly. In the same interview with Ebuka, Nasboi admitted to imitating Davido to draw his attention into his music. Gracefully, it worked because he got not only Davido’s attention, but the internet’s attention. He has been able to leverage that in his music journey. Pre and post-release of Lover Boy, Nasboi puts himself out there in numerous videos, telling people about his new single.

In a bid to promote his music, Nasboi leverages relationships with people. This is seen in the promotional videos for Lover Boy, his first single. A particular teaser video released under Eminent Transglobal Sounds Record Limited, ETSRL, featured Sydney, Mr. Macaroni, Sabinus, Brain Jotter, and others. While a lot of money could have gone into creating such content, it was not shot the regular way of having influencers dance to your song while shooting a skit, vlog, or even GRWM videos. The story is written in a way to keep you glued to your screen while trying to figure out why your favorite content creators are in the same video. If he had channeled the effort to paying influencers to ‘tweet their feelings’ about the song, it might not get the same traction as this and the KPI might be underwhelming, who knows? He’s overtime figured out what works and how best to go about it. While this does not discredit the place of influencer campaigning, it only helps the artist connect with people in a different light not often seen in the industry. For his second single, Umbrella featuring Wande Coal, he doubled down on promotions and it was evidently seen on social media platforms and even offline at different cool spots.

Having Black Diamond on your second single is a big step. It, in itself, is a source of PR for up-and-coming artistes. Even at that, Nasboi didn’t relent and left Wande OG’s tax to do the work for him. You should have seen a video of Nasboi with Sydney, Layi Wasabi, D Banj, Don Jazzy, KieKie, Taaooma, and many many more. There are some videos where he had some of them in the same video, swapping their custom skit-wear and miming humorously to the song. These videos don’t just exist on the internet for promotion’s sake. They are reposted everywhere with consistency. He didn’t stop at that; there are other videos where he gathered random people, taught them every line of the first verse and chorus, had them sing after him, and made good content from it. He also created a signature dance where people move their body in a vibratory manner, towards the right and left. These are things that you won’t find a regular up-and-coming artist do. Even if they do, the energy to keep up isn’t always lasting. While there are nuanced conversations about funding, what’s still clear is that there are ideas that won’t require you to break the bank to execute. Speaking to music consumers, some admitted having every line of the song in their head even though they have never searched for it to stream on DSPs. There are some others who later liked the song from constantly hearing it in different places they find themselves.

One would think the ideas he executed for Lover Boy and Umbrella are all there is, until he released Small Money on the 19th of April, 2024. On promotion, he even got more people you would never think of on his videos. Particularly for this, he used the trend of gathering a convoy of cars and having people open doors for each other in the order that is open to multiple interpretations – either by brand of cars or the influence of the creatives in these cars. If you’ve watched this video, you will agree with me that the reason you watched till the end is to see which person comes out of each door, going to open the next. Now, while that is enjoyable, you are indirectly listening to his new music and if you find the video funny enough to play multiple times, you’ve indirectly played the song for the same number of times. That is exactly how the song sticks to your head, sometimes even against your will.  The energy on Small Money really got a lot of people talking and Nasboi, himself, shamelessly hawking his songs contributed so much to the whole process. Again, he’s been able to hack the concept of music promotion in his way which doesn’t solely involve paid campaigns and social media auto-Ads.

Screenshots from a promotional video for Small Money featuring Kanayo O. Kanayo.

As he continues to collaborate and explore the industry with his creativity, it’s only a matter of time before he doesn’t have to do too much before the million streams come in. He’s solidifying his place as one of Nigeria’s most promising talents as he continues to wow people with his unique promotional style that keeps his lyrics in people’s heads even when they don’t actively commit to learning these lyrics.

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