5 sure-fire reasons why your music career will fai
Talent is crucial but not enough.

Okay guys I’m about to drop a bombshell today. You are not going to find this piece exciting if your mind is a strong head. But I implore you to stick around if you are serious about your music career because the intent behind this bitter truth isn’t to discourage you but rather to take you out of mediocre habits that are self-sabotaging to your budding new career.

As humans, none of us is immune to mistakes. However, some mistakes are avoidable. Failure to avoid such avoidable mistakes due to gross negligence from our side tends to affect our lives negatively in the long run.

As a music artist with a burning desire occasioned by the crude talent inside of you, it’s easy to fall victim to certain practices that are quite detrimental to your career and life in general.

Truth, they say hurts. But because I mean very well for your career, I’m sorry this truth might hurt you. But if you read with an open and receptive mind, you’d only be rewarding yourself after all – saving our promising career from kissing oblivion. (You don’t want that).

The musician lifestyle is unarguably a lucrative and rewarding one: good money, fame, influence, and authority.  But they say nothing good comes easy and the cliché is still valid in this case. Building a career in this highly coveted and competitive industry needs extraordinary work and strategic planning

There are no scientific ways or formulae that guarantee success in the entertainment industry.  

The focus of this article is on UPCOMING ARTISTES and to make my position clear enough I’ll first of all be clarifying the concept of “upcoming artiste” which has been a highly contending and misconstrued term by music lovers, creators, music critics, bloggers, and the general public.  

There is no one holistic definition of who an upcoming artist is or what “SUCCESS” is either. So, in this article, we’re going to adopt this definition by MOTOLANI ALAKE of PulseNg who defines an upcoming artist as “an artist who hasn’t been a memorable, consistent fixture of mainstream consciousness for more than 2-4 years with the requisite discography (optional), a recognizable brand and the commercial clout”.

This conception of Upcoming artists resonates with our discussion because it captures the essence of this 

SUCCESS in this case means “A situation in which an artist has a significant number of fans and followers over some time, and through which the artist has monetized and is making a living”.  The concept of success, especially in music is highly relative but the minimum threshold that qualifies you as a successful artist is when you make a fortune off your music. (My relative opinion).

 In this case, it doesn’t matter how huge your fan base is, where you live, or how popular you are.  The emphasis here is that to be regarded as a successful artist, you must have a loyal fan base and influence, at least in your local community, and of course, you must be living an average lifestyle selling your music. Yes, that’s what success in music entails.

Having clarified the concept of upcoming artists, I’ll now proceed to highlight some, among many proven reasons why as an upcoming artist your music career might fail to achieve the desired success.    


  • Zero business mindset
  • Get-Rich-quick- Syndrome
  • Pride
  • Too much hunger for fame
  • Smoke, Drugs

  1. 1


“Not every businessman is a musician,

but all musicians are businessmen/women”.

We live in a capitalist world- meaning the target of everyone working out there is to make a profit for themselves.  The number one reason why your music career might be a failure is largely because you have zero knowledge of what it means to be a business person. Not every businessman is a musician, but all musicians are businessmen/women. 

Let’s face it! 

Your utmost desire is to make it big (become successful) by doing what you love, which is music. How then is that possible if you fail to think like every other businessman or woman? To succeed in your career, you must cultivate the mindset of a typical business person. This means that you must adopt a business plan and a business model. You must understand the music industry ecosystem. Failure to adopt and implement the nitty-gritty of business ethics means your career is dead on arrival. If you observe, you’ll realize that every established musician treats their craft as purely business. 

You play free gigs (though some free gigs are great opportunities where upcoming artists showcase their talents and build their fan base). But making it a habit of jumping from one stage to another in the name of building a fan base is a red flag for your career success.

Nigeria is blessed with so many talented artists scattered all over the land, but a brief evaluation reveals how difficult it is for an average talent to scale through the stiff competition. I might not be 100% correct but 85% of upcoming artists in Nigeria do not make it to success, and that’s why most people do not believe in an average up-comer.

To beat the competition ahead of you, it’s crucial that you up your business skills. To achieve this, you, must, first of all, understand that doing music is a child’s play. You must alter your perspective-take out time every day to analyze your life and look closely at your vision and mission. Ask yourself these critical questions:

 “How talented am I? 

What kind of music should I create? 

Where will my career be in the coming year? 

How do I promote my next single and how much money will I need to do that?

 Do I have a manager? If not, is it important or necessary to get one? 

 When you start asking yourself these important career questions, you’re surely going to get impressive results in your next project. Remember, every average musician hires the services of DJs, producers, PR/A&R, a manager, and bloggers, among other industry service providers who help in branding them up.  Identify with an established musician or record label and learn from them and I bet you success will come calling.

No. 2


You are on your way to experiencing the greatest failure of your life if your mind is preoccupied with irrational money talks. We all want to make money and big money at that. However, when you become too anxious and desperate about making money with your music then you might land yourself into unprecedented trouble. The pressure to make it big and quick is one of the primary reasons why most upcoming artists go off track quickly. The following statements are common among Nigerian upcoming artists:

 “I go blow very soon”, 

“We go make this music money by fire by force”.

  Evocative statements like the ones above and many other inciting clichés could alter your focus and accelerate your impatience. People who venture into business only for the profit prospects it promises never stay long in it because a lack of passion and purpose pushes them down and they lose everything in the end. If making fast money, fast cars, and living a fast life is the only enticing and motivating factor when you start making music then I bet you’d be heavily disappointed (very soon).

Music isn’t a Ponzi scheme so you must be willing to invest, nurture, and grow your career through thick and thin. That’s why you need to take up a full-day job to fund your music career. Easy come easy go.



“Pride will cost you everything but leaves you with nothing”

Over the years I’ve watched talented upcoming music artists come with fresh sounds and style but lost in extinction like the wind because of excessive pride. To succeed in life generally, one must be humble. Humility is a social etiquette you must learn to incorporate into your life as an upcoming artist. Pride is detrimental to your music career because it makes you shift your focus from the business to yourself.   Most uprising acts see themselves as celebrities; they walk into every scene with their shoulders raised high above their heads. They disrespect industry leaders: DJs, MCs, Show promoters, their fellow artists… 

The consequence of this foul play is that it blocks you from creating a mutual and long-lasting relationship that could be of immense benefit to your career. 

Pride could come in the form of one feeling of Overconfidence in their talent or abilities, self-supremacy over peers; or the unnecessary need to feel too important. You’re prideful if you feel that people (your fans) must not see you doing dirty jobs or even walking on the street. Pride pushes you to create an unrealistic view of yourself, making you detach yourself from the community.


As a young talented musician who is trying to climb this thorny ladder, you must do away with every form of pride in you because it will destroy your promising career.

  1. 4


One good advantage of being a musician is that it brings fame to an individual. That’s why they’re fondly referred to as celebrities. This undeniable fact underscores one of the reasons why people, (in this case upcoming artists operate with a grasping desire for fame against their long-term goals. In this age of social media driven by high communication technology, a minor scandal can bring fame but it won’t last longer than a few hours or at most a few days. Popularity or fame to an artist is a very essential asset but it doesn’t just come – you must earn it.

Upcoming artists get carried away by the pursuit of fame, forgetting that fame is borne out of ingenuity, skills, extraordinary work, and in rare cases, luck.

If you want to attain success in your music career, you must refrain from coveting fame and focus on the grind. 

No. 5


Drugs are a waste “Drugs are a waste of time.

They destroy your memory and your self-respect

 and everything that goes along with your self-esteem.”

– Kurt Cobain

It’s no secret that weed and drugs remain part and parcel of pop culture. Smoking is synonymous with entertainers, especially musicians. Drug consumption has, from time immemorial, been the bane of Nigerian music and musicians. It is an affliction that didn’t just start yesterday; it has dragged many notable Nigerian musicians down the drain in their scores.

Today, an uncountable number of musicians; emerging stars, and upcoming alike, are trapped in a waltz of drugs. Their excuse is that it enhances their performances. They however fail to understand these facts: one, that you could perform without drugs, and second, drugs could cut your life short at the prime of your career. 

History is saturated with countless cases of musicians’ blossoming careers being destroyed BY DRUGS. 

It is the tragedy of the life of Brenda Fassie, a highly talented South African singer, so 

 In Nigeria, multiple award-winning reggae legend, Majek Fashek is one of the perfect examples. 

In the early 90s, Fashek was a huge music export in Nigeria. However, his obduracy

  in drug consumption destroyed his beautiful career; leaving him a ragtag who suffered in obscurity for a long before he eventually died of a long time.

Prioritizing drugs as an upcoming musician is dangerous because it won’t be long before you become a shadow of yourself.

 There you have it.

The five reasons why your music career might fail.

Several factors contribute to success and failure in music, however, the five mentioned above have been proven to be the most occurring ones.

As an up-and-coming music artiste, you owe yourself the duty to work hard, plan, be consistent, patient, and a nice all-stay-off-drugs.

To your success,


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