Many years ago, parents didn’t like children who preferred a career in music to medicine, law or engineering. Musicians were generally regarded as occupying the lowest rung of the social ladder and, so, they were hardly respected.
Although they worked hard at their chosen vocations and sometimes, travelled far beyond these shores, many musicians were hardly seen as useful members of the society. Most of the time, they were dismissed as social misfits.
Unfortunately, time has not completely changed this perception. Nowadays, there appears to be an increase in the number of youths dropping out of school to take up a career in music. While some of them have always said their passion for music was the reason why they quit the classroom for the recording studio, others put the blame on poverty and other challenges.
But a courageous few have managed to resist the temptation to push aside their education and embrace the glamorous life style of music artistes. With some now armed with Master’s degrees in various disciplines, they have emerged as successful and highly respected artistes with a wide fan base across the country.
Olubankole Wellington, aka Banky W, is one of the most popular music artistes in Nigeria today. He was born and educated in the USA. By the time he was eight years old, his musical talent had started to manifest. But his parents wanted him to pay attention to his education first. A few years later, he won a scholarship to attend college in New York and afterwards, bagged a degree in engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic.
While he was at the institution, Banky W kept pushing his dream to become a successful musician someday. Back home in Nigeria, he won the hearts of many music fans with his exceptionally smooth voice and, in due course, succeeded in winning a loyal followership.
Over the past years, the velvet-voiced singer has recorded a number of albums. He founded the Empire Mates Entertainment, a records label, as a platform to promote his music and to get it across to his fans in the country.
Apart from distinguishing himself as a charismatic musician, Banky W is a philanthropist and a civil rights activist. During the last nationwide protests against the removal of fuel subsidy, he played a key role in mobilising the youths to take part in the protest in Lagos.
Somehow, this talented artiste, whose career is on the rise, has managed to keep out of trouble. Till date, he has not been associated with any major scandal.
Tiwa Savage is currently signed on to Mavin Records. She attended Berklee College of Music where she studied Jazz and took a degree in music business. Also, she has a degree in business administration from the University of Kent in the United Kingdom.
She began her music career n the UK, touring as a background singer for the likes of Mary J. Blige, Sting, George Michael, Kelly Clarkson and the Spice Girls. Before then, she had worked briefly as a trainee accountant in a commercial bank in London.
A successful artiste in her own right, Tiwa co-wrote Fantasia Barrino’s ‘Collard Greens and Cornbread’, which was nominated for the American Grammy Award. This is perhaps, one of her most important achievements. Apart from that, she has released two single albums titled Love Me and Kele Kele Love. Last February, she got married to her long time business partner, Tee Billz.
Naetochukwu Chikwe is the son of the Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland, Mrs. Kema Chikwe. He graduated in 2004 from the George Washington University with a Master’s degree in Biology and still nurses the desire to become a medical doctor. In 2008 and 2009, he was named Best New Artist at the MTV Africa Music Awards.
Darey Art-Alade is the son of the legendary Jazz musician, Art Alade. He is what you may call a ‘chip off the old block’. Obviously, he had taken after his father at an early age singing in church choirs and was a member of the National Troupe of Nigeria Choir at a point.
Darey has been a disc jockey, TV presenter, entertainment consultant, voice-over artist and performing/recording artist at different times, before hitting it big on the music scene. His break finally came in 2004 at the Project Fame Academy. He participated in that edition of the reality TV talent hunt show and had the opportunity to perform in front of millions of viewers. He emerged third in the contest.
Unknown to many music fans, this talented artiste graduated from the University of Lagos where he studied Music. In 2011, he was the host of both the Gulder Ultimate Search and Glo Naija Sings reality. So far, he has three albums to his credit.
Apart from music, Peter and Paul Okoye, the twins known as the P-Square, had a burning desire to be educated. They had always made it clear to close friends and associates that they wanted to go back to school. So in 1999, they applied to the University of Abuja to study business administration. Fame and money could not dissuade them from this goal. Just as they continued to hone their skills and to improve on their performances, they were focused on their educational needs.
The group is easily one of the most successful in the country, having won several awards and a huge fan base across Africa. They are listed among the 10 richest musicians in the continent.
From an early age, Dr. Sid (real name is Sidney Esiri), had his heart set on becoming a singer. However, his life took a different course when he graduated from the Nigerian Air Force Secondary School in Lagos and went on to the University of Ibadan to study dental surgery. After graduating from the institution, he joined the defunct Mo’Hits Records.
Oluwatobi Wande Ojosipe, aka Wande Coal, attended Federal Government College, Ijanikin, in Lagos State and the University of Lagos where he studied Curriculum Studies. He got signed to Don Jazzy’s Mo’Hits Records in 2006. He featured on D’banj’s Rundown/Funk you up album on singles like Loke, Tonosibe and Why Me. Being signed to Mo’ Hits Records, he is also a member of the Mo’ Hits Allstars and played a major role in the released CV(Curriculum Vitae) album. His first single of the cv album ololu fe has been described as one of the greatest love songs ever written by a Nigerian.
In an age when most Nigerian artistes pride themselves in leaving the classroom for the entertainment scene, she has managed to complete her degree programme at the University of Lagos. She is, no doubt, one of the youngest educated rap artistes in Nigeria at the moment.