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Tip: Why You Might Never Be Famous

Why is it that some artists catapult to stardom almost instantaneously and stay there while others never seem to get their big break or hover somewhere between being completely unknown and a household name?

There are a number of contributing factors to superstardom in the entertainment industry, talent no doubt is a necessity. Good A&R, management and promo as well, of course.

But, the one thing that separates a superstar from his peers is the X-factor.  The X-factor is not something that can be quantified or explained as a specific thing. It is unique to every individual and believe it or not, everyone has an X-factor, something that makes you unique and special. Something that, no matter how hard anyone tries, they can never duplicate. The key is, channeling that unique edge to the right industry & profession.

The X-factor is what made Wizkid a superstar, it is also what has made Oprah the queen of television and Warren Buffett the king of investing in modern times.

When an artist makes their debut, it’s often easy to tell whether they have “it” or not. This will contribute to the length and extent to which an artist will be successful.

To illustrate, I’ll use a real world example about two artists signed to the same label who started at the same time. One became a mega star, the other eventually faded into obscurity.

In 2005, singers Teairra Mari & Rihanna were signed to Roc-a-Fella Records. Both artists released singles, shot videos & enjoyed much of the same promo and exposure.

At some point, Teairra Mari’s career began to fade & eventually she was dropped from Roc-a-Fella while Rihanna’s career skyrocketed.

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Although there is much speculation and finger pointing as to what happened with Teairra’s career, in my opinion Rihanna had the makings of a star from the beginning, Teairra Mari did not.

Even if the label continued to invest in her, she would never have experienced the same success as Rihanna.

Can you be a successful artist without the X-factor?

Yes, in some cases you can. However, typically this requires a significantly larger investment in other aspects of the artist’s career to make up for their lack of edge. For example, a label can take a lack lustre singer and spend money on their image and looks, hire the best producers and spend tons of money on promo and air play essentially forcing a mediocre artist down our throats. Sometimes this pays off, other times it doesn’t. The most successful example I can think of is Britney Spears.

As for the Nigerian music industry it appears as though some labels sign their artists half-heartedly expecting them to succeed. Often times a label will sign an artiste and it’s up to the artiste to prove that they are worth increased investment even before releasing their first single. It’s almost as though the labels sign their artists as a bet; “if they can make a hit single largely on their own, we’ll increase our investment and commitment. But, if they can’t come up with anything, we’ll just leave them there to continue fending for themselves, whatever we gave them as their initial signing bonus was our loss”.

This is contrary to other music industries that will inject enough of an investment into their artists to see that at least their first and follow up singles are released and well promoted, the artist has a good image and is properly groomed for stardom. If consumers are not receptive to those efforts then they decrease their investment in the artist.

The key point to understand is that in both cases, if an artist has an edge, the x-factor that will catapult them to stardom, they will still be successful and will receive increased investment from their team helping them solidify their superstar status.

A lot of people want to be famous entertainers… singers, rappers, producers, etc. But, the truth is that most of these people will never reach the pinnacle of success they hope for. Indeed, there are many factors contributing to  someone’s success, how much effort they put in, their level of dedication & commitment, how much they invest in improving themselves, etc.

However, lest we forget that the X-factor, or as the French might call it , “je ne sais quoi” is the silent indicator guiding your career in the course of superstardom or obscurity.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Princiano

    June 17, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    What of us way get d talent na dance abi na comedy or for d songs dem way i don write but no money to go studio watin people like me go do naa to voice out at lease 1 track first den when money day i do d rest? I beg i need ona comments o cos money don fall my hands well well i Ned to overcome it by showing d people the talent i got in me

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