[MUST READ] Why Nigerian Artistes Need To Take Voice Training Serious

Now the international music industry is taking note of Nigerian music industry- Adeboye Adefolalu, vocal coach Adeboye Adefolalu, better known in the entertainment industry as Uncle Ade the Vocal Coach, is a world famous Voice Trainer.

His clientele who primarily come from the United Kingdom include: Seyi-Shay, Kele Le Roc, Isaiah Dyer, Sha-Sha, Angel Williams, Allyson Browne and more.

Having been in the music industry for over 25 years, Uncle Ade has acquired a great deal of knowledge and experience as a Music Manager, Independent Label Owner, University Lecturer, Voice Coach, Singer/song writer and Recording Artist.

In this chat with newsmen, he shares his success story as well as reasons music artistes need to have their voices trained by a professional.

Why the choice of voice coaching?

First of all, I have a great respect for voices that touch souls. And grew up in an era of some of the most blessed and gifted singers.

When I decided to take my singing seriously, I knew I needed to know everything there was to know about how my voice worked, and what I needed to learn, in order to get anywhere near to the level of the greats.

And my studies took me so deep into the disciplines that I ended up with a really deep knowledge, deeper respect, and a deeper passion for the voice.

The knowledge I acquired set me free artistically. And I developed a burning desire to teach others, so that they might also be set free.

Was it something you had always planned to take up as a career?

Actually initially no. However, I had 3 or 4 quite uninformative teachers myself, and I was paying a lot of money without getting anywhere.

Then I was introduced to a teacher (Rafe), who really focused on technique in a way that I experienced tangible development and real value for money.

His passion and approach really inspired me to dive into teaching, because he set the benchmark at ‘Excellence’. And that was the only benchmark I have ever aimed for.

Once I began experiencing the satisfaction of hearing my students grow as singers, I began teaching performance, then business fundamentals. And then spent 15 years teaching Singing, Performance, and Business at university.

How many national and international artistes have you trained?

My clientele has primarily come from the UK. However, some of my clients have experienced national and international success.

These include: Seyi-Shay – Female Afrobeats Artist, Kele Le Roc – MOBO Award winning singer, Isaiah Dyer – Lead singer of MOBO, DOVE, UMA and GMA award winning Gospel group Raymond & Co, Sha-Sha – Touring backing singer with Eric Clapton,

Angel Williams – Touring Backing Vocalist with Jess Glynn, Charlie Kay – Zimba Award Winning Afrobeats artist, Allyson Browne – MOBO Award winner and Lead singer (Angelica schuyler) in West End production of Hamilton Nataylia Roni – Lead singer (Nala) in West End production of Lion King and Andy Abrahams – Finalist on X-Factor

Do you think Nigerian artistes are well trained vocally?

I have spent some time observing some of the more successful Nigerian Afrobeat artist, and (generally) there vocal ability (mostly self-taught) is good on record.

However having seen several of these artist perform live, I am of the opinion that they might not yet have the experience (generally speaking) to perform live, at the standard of the best performers in the world.

On a grass roots level though, I believe there is a real lack of resource available to educate and inform Nigeria singers about how their voices work.

And what they need to do to develop voices that can help them to compete in a very difficult profession. A resource that is VERY much needed.

What are the importances of voice training for a music artiste?

This is the 20 million dollar question, and I have seen singing coaches try for years to answer this question!

The level of dependency on vocal training, depends on the level that an artist is at (technically and mentally), and the level they want to compete at. If a singer is just starting out, and doesn’t have a lot of ‘natural talent’.

Then the chances are that they would be more dependent on a tutor to help advise on, analyse, and guide their vocal development.

This will take months or even years to get to the level of a voice that touches souls.
If a singer has a lot of ‘natural talent’; They may be able to progress with their voices for some time without ever taking a lesson.

They may find answers to vocal problems, and see sufficient improvement in their voice. This will also probably take months or years for them to get to the level of a voice that touches souls.

If the singer with little ‘natural talent’ decides not to take lessons. They will significantly decrease their chances of reaching the desired level of a voice that touches souls.

Conversely, if a singer with lots of ‘natural talent’ decided to employ the services of a ‘Good’ voice coach, then you can pretty much guarantee that they would develop their vocals to a higher standard. And in a much shorter space of time!

What’s your general view of Nigerian music industry?

Wow!!! What a loaded question. That honestly can’t be answered comprehensively without speaking on how Nigeria is being led as a country.

But I will try my best, without being too political!

On the one hand the industry is in really good shape internationally. Fela Kuti put Nigeria on the map in a serious way in the 80’s/90’s. And Davido has overseen its resurgence. In between we’ve had Doctor Alban and D’banj to remind us of our international relevance.

But now I am seeing real progress in the way that the international music industry is taking note of the Nigerian music industry as a whole!

Midem has sent a delegate to Nigeria 2 years running, which is HUGE! This puts Nigeria in pole position to become the capital of the music industry for the whole of Africa!

Soon we could be seeing music industry professions from right across the world, coming to the Nigerian Music week for trading in all things music and entertainment.

As well as this Billboard magazine just announced that uduX just inked a big licensing deal with Universal Music Group. This is a massive indication of the acknowledgment of the potential for Afrobeats on a global scale.

However, currently there is no collection society, or legislation in place for the development of intellectual property in the music industry value chain of Nigeria.

Essentially that value chain simply doesn’t exist! How can the content creators survive, or the industry grow the way it can, without proper legislation being put in place to protect the creators from exploitation?

What can be done better?

My last paragraph above is a start point for improvement. But we also need better education across the board. Music Business Education (for managers record companies, publishers etc), Creative education (for producers, writers, singers, musicians, visuals etc).

Resources are an essential component for improvement, and can greatly improve productivity in terms of both quantity AND quality!

Investment is without doubt the single most important piece of the puzzle. The UK music industry is one the most valuable sectors for export, and contributes close to 3 Billion to the UK economy annually.

The Nigerian music sector has the potential to dwarf this figure many times over. But only with the right investment!

You just came back to Nigeria after 30 years, what did you miss about your country?

This is without doubt the most loaded question in this interview. And would take a few chapters of a book to answer properly! First of all it’s actually 40 years!

I was last here in 1977 right at the end of FESTAC. I didn’t grow up with my parents, or with any of my relatives. And was parented by a white foster mother.

However, I have always known who I am culturally (thanks to Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life), but my fortunes have never afforded me the opportunity to come home.

Because I was so young, and was only here for 10 days, I didn’t really experience anything to ‘miss’.

However, on my trip my eyes have been opened to everything I missed experiencing!

I spent real quality time with my 2 younger brothers (one of them for the first time ever). And I realized that even though we have spent our entire lives apart, we are so much alike!!!

I visited my Mother (and Step-father) at their home in Ikeja, and realised that I missed (the experience of) growing up on these streets, going to school here, hanging out with my siblings, having Nigerian school friends, developing a palate for Okra, Yam, Ground Rice and Eba!

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