Sometimes it’s hard being a music artist to choose between a career that has a song that hits globally, having viral songs, being a mainstream artist, or being a progressive or underground artist whose oeuvres remain timeless.
Many artists will wish to have a global hit and be labeled “one-hit wonders” and at other times there are artists who will want to drop songs that go mainstream and after some time disappear while other’s artistry and artistic direction are more mature by the creation of timeless arts to be consumed by generations to come. The last set of people are not pressured into following trends or adapting to the music taste buds of a particular set of people and listeners, they have a well-defined trajectory.
It’s even difficult to please music listeners in recent times because the greater majority make up Generation Z – Gen Z. There’s a certain attachment to the music of the yesteryears of the 90s and nostalgia in consuming old-timers.
That’s why many creatives are sampling everything from fashion and most especially music with modern music trends that agree with an audience. There’s a resurgence of what was consumed by the aging population and TikTok is a great platform where these trends have been going viral and resurfacing old-timers.
For an artist who has created a major hit song, most of the time the tendency is that all the songs that immediately follow after that have a similar vibe or are wired in the same direction. Then you realize a few releases after that you’re in a trap to create another hit song that might be a futile effort.
One-hit wonders usually experience a quick recession in their careers as they experience a decrease in popularity after the hit listing and might never return to the hit listing with other songs or projects throughout their entire music career. However, there are exceptions, some music artist release seasonal viral songs after several years to complement the years of not topping the music radar. Franko is a succinct case study of this musical universe.
It’s important to know that an artist’s signature song is quite different from a one-hit wonder, the signature song is the one song (or, in some cases, one of a few songs) that a popular and well-established recording artist is most closely identified with or best known for. This is generally differentiated from a one-hit wonder in that the artist usually has had success with other songs as well, so it’s like a top-of-mind song, the first song that pops up in your mind when you hear the artist’s name.
Many artists do music and the entire time achieve a signature song without any major hit song, other times some artists oeuvres constantly hit the landmark of mainstream contemporary music which equally go viral.
Ko-c has been labeled a serial hit maker, he’s definitely at the crossroads between doing timeless arts and going just for hit songs. He started his career as a rapper soi-disant “Cameroon’s fastest” and “President of rap Republik” today he’s caught up in the web of switching on different types of sounds and you can’t quite place your finger on the right button that defines his arts. There’s constantly a paradigm shift between Mbolé, Bikutsi, Amapiano, Afrobeat, and a mélange of many other sounds. He’s the kind of artist who will do anything for a hit song, even if it means jumping on trending sounds and rip-offs of other artists’ works. Well, it works for some artists and they’re knocking themselves out! You have to constantly be working the moment you get cold, people easily forget you and move on, and this type of song dies in a short while, except the goal is to be cashing out from the gigs and streams.
It’s tricky being a music artist especially if you don’t know what you believe in you might get trapped in wither universes.
Charlotte Dipanda is more of the timeless arts type of artist, not wired into seducing music listeners by jumping on every vibe, many artists in this universe end up as underground artists or do underground music. Underground music is music with practices perceived as outside, or somehow opposed to, mainstream popular music culture. Underground music is intimately tied to popular music culture as a whole, so there are important tensions within underground music because it appears to both assimilate and resist the forms and processes of popular music culture.
In linking the other music styles it’s not seduced by the commercial appeal it’s creation is an expression of sincerity, intimacy, and freedom of creativity in opposition to those practices deemed formulaic or commercially driven. However, it’s difficult to completely define it as underground music in recent times because even that style has gone mainstream via music digitalization and streaming platforms.
Will you like a Franko with “Coller la petite” [one-hit wonder], A Ko-c with hit songs, or a Charlotte Dipanda with a timeless discography?
Well if you ask me every artist’s art is important and necessary for a myriad of music listeners globally, backbone by their varied purposes and objectives for doing music. There’s always an audience for every type of song, but it’s the wish for every recording artist to be remembered and for a fact, only some particular music styles can make you achieve this.