This article will help an upcoming artiste to understand the, factors to consider when composing afro-pop songs.
As an upcoming artiste, your aim and target should be on how to make the kind of songs, top artiste in your genre are making.
One of the measures you can take to do this is downloading both the audio and lyrics of a popular song in your genre.
Then listen to it, as well as study the format or structure of the song.
However, formatting or structuring your songs like top artiste in your genre is not the only trick to implement, if you want to make a similar music like theirs.
There are several other factors to consider before you can have the same, or something close to those kind of songs.
That is why, after taking the time to show you how to compose Afro-Pop songs in my last article.
I immediately return with this one, as a follow up, with the hope that, you consider this basic factors while getting down to the composing of your Afro-Pop songs.
And without much Ado, let’s jump into examining those factors.
1.Be Mindful Of Your Topic
Before you start writing an Afro-Pop or any kind of music.
The first thing you must consider is the topic of your song.
Although Fela, and many others who excelled in AfroBeats, concentrated on topics that were socially conscious.
Such as; corruption by leaders, injustice in courts, police brutalities etc.
The modern Afro-Pop artistes tends to focus their topics on what makes life more easy and good.
For example; making and spending so much money, hanging out with beautiful girls, being happy with family and friends, falling in and out of love, the general beauty and style of people in the society etc.
Now if you study the topic of songs made by the modern Afro-Pop singers, you will realize that, they tend to concentrate more on creating a positive view of life for the people of Africa.
Who before now were considered to be living the primitive pattern of life.
And so, when this positive nature of African existence are spotted by the African masses, who love music both in home and diaspora, it in turn creates a global recognition for Afro-Pop singers to continue selling millions of their songs.
While continuing to perform in big cities of the world in view of their, not only African people, but even those from other continents who are in love with music.
So therefore, before you start to compose an Afro-Pop song, make sure you are mindful of the topic you settle for.
I think concentrating on those positive aspect of the African way of life should be the best choice.
2. Song Title Matters A Lot
After choosing the best topic for your song, the next step you should take is giving a title to that topic.
Your main target should be settling for a title that will make your song, more attractive and appealing to what is ongoing in the society.
You must by all means avoid song titles that are too long and hard to pronounce.
For instance, instead of titling your song “I love Jane but her sister is the one I want” title it “two sisters”.
Now the first title will complicate a lot of issues for that song.
Firstly, it will make it hard for the graphics designer to make wonders out of the title in your cover design.
Secondly, fans will not be patient enough to read the whole title before they listen or buy.
They are likely to scroll over to another artiste in the list whose title is shorter, or abandon the post and move to another.
Thirdly, the first title has already explained your song in details.
Whereas the second title will create a suspense that makes people eager to know, what really happened to the two sisters in your song.
Also songs with long titles always makes it hard for radio DJs, to introduce a song to their listeners quick catch.
Having said enough on this topic, let me refer you to an article in this blog that will shed more light on the effects of song titles.
3. Make Your Song Repitative And Reciteable
Songs that became popular has been known to be highly repititive, which makes them reciteable.
Normally, an Afro-Pop song should traditionally last for about 3 minutes to 3 minutes 30 seconds
But most of the Afro-Pop songs that breach this sacred rule, have been those ones that people could recite because of their repeated lines.
As I said in the last article, avoid making songs that are too lenghty at all cost.
Don’t say so much on one Afro-Pop song.
Rather save up your lyrics for another composition, and tactfully find where to bring back certain words or phrases you are using in your song every now and then.
Segments of the song you should repeat includes the Pre-Chorus and Chorus. And in the traditional sense, your Afro-Pop song must not exceed 2 verses.
The third verse should be taken as a bridge which usually do not exceed 2 or 4 lines.
4. Make Your Chorus (Hook) Catchy
Most of the catchiest Afro-Pop songs have Been known to blow because of how outstanding their choruses are.
One of the ways to do this is to find a part of your chorus where you can fix a short repititive harmony.
Think about how Davido harmonizes “Aye…Aye”, in his Pre-Chorus before he picks up the phrase on his hook “She no want designer”.
The secret here is to find a part of your hook that will have your fans singing along once it comes through.
And also how and where to tactfully place that part at least 4 or 5 times before your song fades or finishes.
Once you are able to have a song that is easy for people to sing along to, you will be amazed when you go to Public places and hear people already singing your song.
Again while you perform it on stage, you will be surprise to hear everybody in the house singing along with you.
That in essence is how every super star in the world have blown.
Another key point is to find a slang phrase or catchy language you can use in your song.
Even if you can’t lay hands on any street term trending at the time, you can borrow catchy phrases from other popular songs.
But be careful at this point to avoid copyright rules.
For instance, you cannot use ‘Marlians’ in your song because it is already copyrighted to Naira Marley.
The trick here is to find a phrase in a song that is popular but is not a trademark of an artiste.
You can study how Davido sampled Joe’s “I don’t wanna be a player no more” in his song “Fall” to know how best to use this trick.
It is therefore not a crime to borrow popular phrases and ideas from other artistes from other cultures.
5. Without The Beat
Now you are done with following the 4 steps to compose an Afro-Pop song that has all the elements to make it blow.
The last thing you need now is a beat that will make that song come out professionally as it should.
It might interest you to know that so many well composed Afro-Pop songs have failed to blow, because of poor studio recording or production.
My candid advise here is to go for a big producer.
But knowing that it costs so much to do so (A-List artiste charges upcoming artiste around 150,000 to 250,000 Naira per song).
If you have the knowledge of what your Afro-Pop song should sound like. That is the beat that should go well with it, you can use that knowledge base to make a choice of an upcoming producer.
Yes! there are so many good upcoming producers out there who have been properly trained in the art of beats making, and they are looking to make a name for themselves by charging upcoming artiste affordable amount, with the hope that one of them would blow and put them on the list of the big producers.
Now if you listen to Afro-Pop songs, you will realize that all of them has that driving and groovy rhythm which is made outstanding by the presence of a percussive instrument called “Clave”.
It is this very ryhthm that tends to make every Afro-Pop song danceable or inspires same.
And other percussive instruments, bassline, keyboard or drum machine, guitars, pianos, trumpets, saxophones, samples and effects are blended intensively with the clave and properly mixed to finally create an Afro-Pop song that fans cannot resist listening as well as dancing to.
You must therefore use this knowledge base as a guide to search for a producer who has the tech-know-how of what it takes to create an Afro-Pop beat as well as mix and master it to achieve a professional Afro-Pop song that will increase your chances of blowing into the music industry.
One of the trick of achieving this is to get that producer to playback songs, he has already produced, for you to listen to.
And if you don’t have good ears for music, get him to give you those tracks and find a music expert to listen to and rate that producer, before you ever pay him any fees you will regret at the end.
But I still maintain my candid advise, which is for you to settle for a big producer who has all the skills and experience, to give you a beat that will make your Afro-Pop song meet up with the required industry standard.
All the same goodluck.
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