On The Road To Greatness: Korede Bello
Korede Bello is not your average Nigerian R&B or hip-hop artist. With a lot of help from within, in my opinion, he has not lived to the hype that heralded his arrival in the Nigerian entertainment space, especially after his monster hit, Godwin. During the just concluded MTV Video Music Awards, while Drake presented Rihanna with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, he said something that rings true about most artists – that is the inability to be themselves through the fame and time in the spotlight.
Responsible for hit tracks like God Win, Mr. Romantic with Tiwa Savage and Somebody Great with Asa, Korede Bello seems like an artist who is doing well in spite of his relatively new career. Within a short time frame, he has joined the league of what I call the next generation of musicians, but some of the musicians in this generation seem to have lost their way in the bid to compromise their standard for what music has become in Nigeria: a lot of Jollof music with no substance. They are lost and have no desire to find their voice. “What would you have an artist do?”, you might ask. Be true to yourself. We have a number of artists that have refused to compromise their skills for trends that are somewhat subpar. Names like Timi Dakolo, Cobhams Asuquo, Omawumni, Adekunle Gold and Simi come to mind.
After the release of his first single 4eva which brought him to the attention of Don Jazzy, the Mavin signee Korede Bello embraced the opportunity that came with working with arguably the best producer in Nigeria. But his initial hunger to maximize the platform granted him to transform his talent may have fizzled out. I reckon not because he had run out of ideas to create more hits, perhaps, because fame has sold him a fake sense of reality; that he can continue being a star without much hard work to retain his followership.
Regardless of all this, I am looking forward to what this youngster is going to put out towards the end of the year, definitely not another Mungo Park, an easily forgettable effort. Songs like that make you question the process through which he selects the single to put out. Thus far, in his career, his songs seem to be straddling the line between great and not-great-at-all, and in between what Nigerians might see as an alternative or mainstream music. This begs the question: “what kind of artist is Korede Bello truly?”.
I believe he has not successfully carved a niche for his music and brand. He needs to answer the question above as an artist before he kills the term of his career with a brand his fans and audience are not endeared to.
Although it might seem hard to believe, this is one musician I have high hopes for. He can do better if he stays true to the artist inside him. We have seen this with a couple of his songs. Although the industry would fight so hard to bend you to its will, the artists that leave their footprints in the sands of time are the artists that stay true to themselves. There is more to the artist than his wink, his curls and that pretty smile, I just hope he pushes from within to share that artist with us.
Photo Credit: Obi Somto