A Night of Many Ye(s)!

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Burna Boy

Though Burna Boy (and his mum) stole the spotlight at the 2018 Soundcity MVP Awards, Vanessa Obioha writes that the show had other memorable moments

No doubt, Burna Boy was the King of the Night at the recent Soundcity MVP Awards. The singer who emerged refined after a troublesome 2017 proved to his fans and detractors that he still got the burning flame. He took home four awards including Best Song of the Year for his critically acclaimed hit ‘Ye’.

The producer of that successful hit Phantom also went home with the award for the Best Producer of the Year. While the singer was absent at the event, his mother who represented him wore her son’s success proudly like a badge of honour. She danced and made memorable lines such as ‘expect more madness’ which has generated quite a number of memes on the internet while the singer basked in the euphoria of his success.

His fellow artistes like Davido who won the Best Pop Award congratulated the artiste on Twitter, stating that it was Burns’s turn to shine.

Beyond the euphoric aura of Burna Boy’s wins at the show, the Soundcity MVP Awards which was berthed in 2016 had other memorable moments. Now recognised as the Grammy of the Nigerian music industry, the show didn’t gain much traction until last year.

That previous edition was characterised by outstanding performances by musicians and choreographers, accompanied by the loud cheers of the enthusiastic audience who rooted for their favourite artistes to clinch the awards and dared to disagree with some of the results of the night.

Before the unanticipated break, only few music awards existed and some of them grappled with fundings even as they compete fiercely to claim dominance in that space. Gradually, some of these awards either strolled into oblivion or experienced a lull such that their prominence faded into obscurity.

But that was not the case of Soundcity which rode on the consistency of its platforms on the airwaves to sustain the interest of the public. Moreover with a shrewd businessman with a creative mind, Tajudeen Adepetu at its helms, success was bound to happen. Thus, its comeback was a breath of fresh air for the music denizens who had long been starved of an award show that truly represents the industry.

Returning this year, the show capped the plethora of events such as Wizkid VIP Experience, Spice Lifestyle Achievement Honours, Afrobeats Concert on the XChange platform for the festive period. Spearheaded by Adepetu, the events were strategically scheduled to deliver a holistic musical and lifestyle experience throughout the festive period. Though they were notorious for late starting, each of these events signalled a dynamic shift in the events landscape.

The 2018 edition which held at Eko Convention Center of Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos retained some of its elements though it had a calmer crowd. Nevertheless, the show still had its dramatic moments.
Finding the right hosts for the event seems to be a challenge to the organisers.

If last year’s choice of Ebuka Obi-Uchendu was a killjoy, this year’s hosts Moet Abebe and VJ Adams both employees of Consolidated Media Associates, the owners of Soundcity Africa TV and radio channels were vapid.

The duo lacked the charisma to host an award of such magnitude. Abebe was greeted by catcalls and jeers apparently directed to her curvy shape which was very revealing in her outfit of the night. Instead of warming the crowd a bit, she dived right into her speech, trying to keep up with the teleprompter.

Her speed of delivery which ordinarily would have earned her some flattery was lackluster. Her co-host Adams who could have done a better job spent most of the night backstage, interviewing winners.

Having the likes of IK Osakioduwa or Illrymz host the show won’t be a bad idea as these two possess the magnetic appeal required for such shows.

Notwithstanding, the crowd was already charged for the night, having been thrown into a frenzy by the hype god Dotun and the array of artistes who performed in quick succession earlier. By the time the award went into full gear, the mammoth crowd was enthusiastically ready.

One of the notable elements of the Soundcity MVP Awards was the rich and diverse lineup of artistes that brought both the new and established acts on one stage. Last year saw 2Baba, Tiwa Savage, Skales, Kizz Daniel, Iyanya, Cassper Nyovest, M.I. and Sarkodie delivering epic performances accentuated by the colourful mix of dancers
This year’s script however boasts of few A-list acts. There was Patoranking who gave the most brilliant performance of the night, the two Apata sisters, Teni and Niniola; South African AKA and Busiswa, Phyno, as well as Illbliss.

Each of these performers had dancers on stage who effectively delivered their message or lyrics through their dance moves. But unlike last year where the dancers gave a very riveting performance of Skales ‘Booty’ song as well as Iyanya’s ‘Good Vibes’ song, this edition major dance spectacle was from Chinko Ekun whose performance of ‘Able God’ had dancers dressed in flowing white attire, Busiswa and Niniola.

Coming on stage with her fiery persona, The Gqom queen, Busiswa and the choreographers entertained the crowd with striking dance moves including the famous Zanku dance. Her larger-than-life stage presence endeared her to the crowd as she sang, danced and rocked the stage as if it was only meant for her. From the moment she stepped on stage, she got the likes of DJ Spinall up to his feet, dancing to her repetitive hooks and beats.

Rounding off her set, she introduced Niniola who featured her on her ‘Magun’ remix. The duo displayed their dance moves before Busiswa finally bowed out.

Not one to be outdone, Niniola dove into her performance like a super diva, an image she’s been pushing since she released her debut album ‘This is Me’ in 2017. She removed the glittering jacket she wore to reveal a very well-toned body covered in a sexy apparel.

An afro-house goddess and a dancer, she launched into her popular hits such as ‘Maradona’ while displaying her dancing skills, particularly the Zanku moves. Her energy on stage was highly applauded compared to her sister’s Teni who is yet to master her stage presence.

While Teni was adjudged the Breakout Star of 2018, her stage performances are often monotonous. So far, she’s been riding on the acclaimed success of her ‘Case’ song to woo the crowd. There were times she leaned on her projected image of a bad-ass singer to sustain her stagecraft, and when that magic fades, she turned to the crowd for help by pitting competition among them. The formula is still working for her but we hope to see a better hat-trick this year.

It was, however, Patoranking who really displayed brilliant artistry on stage. Last year saw the singer unboxing himself from the reggae dancehall genre while retaining his Patois style. From his house hit ‘Available’ to his global conscious pop hit ‘Heal the world’, the artiste pushed the envelope to reveal his versatility. He did same at the Soundcity MVP Awards stage.

Performing with a live band, he was introduced on stage with the famous Buju Banton’s song ‘Our Father in Zion’.
Dressed in a matching outfit, the singer launched into his ‘Suh Different’ hit followed by ‘Alubarika’. He switched back to another love song ‘Love You Die’ before performing the popular hit ‘Available’.

For this particular act, the backup singers started with a freestyle ‘Kowole’, setting a mellow tone that was quite different from the upbeat rhythm of the song. An orchestra of sounds followed this performance, once again showing that Patoranking has evolved in his artistry. From the guitar, keyboard to the saxophone, Patoranking gave an Afrobeat rendition of his hit, earning him a great applause from the crowd.

The hip hop session saw Illbliss, Phyno and AKA performing. However, it was the latter who got the loudest ovation, particularly his performance of ‘Fela in Versace’ that had the legend name displayed on the stage screens. Quite a few expected Phyno to move the crowd but his laid-back act didn’t quite stir the crowd. Even Illbliss enjoyed a better reception than the ‘Fada’ crooner.

As has been the tradition of the awards, the crowd always want their voice to be heard. There were discordant voices when Wande Coal was announced the winner of Viewers Choice Awards which boasts of other strong contenders like Wizkid. The crowd also booed when Navy Kenzo was announced winner of the Best Group. Their voices were highly pitched when Teni the Entertainer was proclaimed the Best New Artiste of the year in review while they gave a defeating applause as Burna Boy’s ‘Ye’ was declared the Song of the Year.

Other winners of the night included DJ Neptune who took the Best DJ award, Wizkid in the Best Collaboration category for the Starboy family hit ‘Soco’, Busiswa who clinched the Best Female MVP and dedicated it to Tiwa Savage and Yemi Alade and Patoranking who won the Video of the Year award for ‘Heal the World’.