By Jide Taiwo
2017 was the best year for Nigerian music in a long time. Long, long time. Nigerian artistes took the baton and ran away with him. Apart from Wizkid and Davido, other acts found their voices and became stars in their own rights. Elsewhere on the continent, records were broken and new ones set. However, there was no celebration of these feats and stars- until SoundCity’s MVP Awards last Friday.
By design or accident, the awards ceremony was scheduled for the second week of the new year, unlike during the yuletide period the previous one was done. That left the year bare of an awards show as the Headies too was postponed to the first quarter of 2018. Those two are the most respectable awards platform in this part of the world and neither of them seemed like it was going to capture the zeitgeist of Nigerian music that year.
Until Friday 12th January.
SoundCity promised pomp and pageantry with the second edition of its MVP Awards. It delivered on that count: the event was well planned and executed. Fans had complained bitterly about the ‘table phenomenon’ of Nigerian events that puts VIP seats by the stage side. It often distracts the performers and as we’ve seen in recent times, artistes often ask people in the regular section- the elevated seating section- to crash the VIP area, leading mostly to chaos.
At the MVP’s there were no tables- the stage area was left for regular attendees who rocked with the line up of performers time and time again. VIP seating was on a couple of bleacher row seats, elevated enough to have a vantage view of the stage but detached enough not to cause an encumbrance- to create an amphitheatre type of ambience. Yoi seihin…
The performances were everything fans wanted to see: Small Doctor, Kiss Daniels, Tiwa Savage, Yemi Alade, Maleek Berry, Iyanya, 2Baba, Mayorkun, Seyi Shay, Skales and Davido all gave electrifying performances. Perhaps the most iconic set of performances were the sequence of African rappers Cassper Nyovest, Sarkodie, Emtee and MI Abaga. The popular refrain that Nigerian’s appreciate hip-hop would be forgotten in the twenty-minute set that saw the rappers go back to back to back, seamlessly with the same dancers.
But away from the performances, the fourteen categories up for contention covered the important individuals and songs, and they were not excessive. Twenty or so categories would have stretched it further that it needed to have been.
Nor can one disagree too much with the choice of winners. It would have been hard to imagine that any other song apart from Davido’s IF could have won ‘Song of The Year’. Again it was moot that Olamide’s Wo! would win any category that had anything to do Listener’s Choice. The only contentious award was the Best Male MVP category which Tanzanian singer Diamond Platinumz won ahead of crowd favourite Davido. But with African Artiste of the Year going to him, O.B.O and his fans had very little to complain about.
All in all, SoundCity MVP Awards 2017 showed that Nigerian entertainers- and their fans- deserve a platform on which they can be publicly rewarded. Even away from the events hall, the conversations online went of after the curtains had fallen on the night after Davido’s closing performance.
Speaking of Davido, his joy at winning African Artiste of The Year was evident for all to see. As he thanked fans for the support he got during the year, he gleamed and beamed. It was a kodak moment- validation that he did succeed in 2017. That joy should never be denied any Nigerian artiste. They deserve it.
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