AVR dishes out The Perfect 7 for industry takeover
• Don’t Tweak Creativity of Any Artiste — PMAN President
If seven is truly the number of perfection, then Anthems & Vibes Records (AVR) has started on a good note and is ready to give other labels a run for their money and match them talent for talent.
The record label incorporated in 2020 recently unveiled its 7 acts at Bayroot, Landmark, and Lagos during the Anthems & Vibe Vol. 1 album listening party, a joint effort of the 7 artists. The album was released on April 12, 2023.
Before their unveiling, AVR has been working with the artists since they were little; in fact, some of them came into contact with the president and CEO of the label, Francis Isichei, in 1999, and ever since, he has nurtured and taught them basic things about music.
The artists unveiled at the listening party which witnessed the presence of industry stakeholders are Yusuf Issah, a.k.a Mid3, who has Under G track to his name while Nwankwo Mercy, known by her stage name, June, contributes Jah Jah to the album; Michael Isichei known as Mikeworld produced Volly Rancher ft Shakez Baba; Ndutimi Kei, a.k.a Timi Kei, has Prising The Loard; Indongesit Usoh, a.k.a Sanki, has On God; Akuchi Amadi, a.k.a Akuchi, has Loud and Idiagbor Igboko, a.k.a Esse VDM, has Duro ft Shakez Baba.
Isichei said the album is a way of showcasing the talents that abound in Nigeria and that he’s confident that the world will start hearing their names in the alternative space in the not-too-distant future.
Speaking with The Guardian, Isichei said: “I met the artists in 1999. For example, Mike World started when he was a baby, so, having found out that he has maintained a tempo and love for music, I decided to create a structure around him, which is the record label, and he came up with Akuchi, who is his friend. We slowed down a bit due to COVID, and in 2021, somebody challenged me that I needed to get back up and start pushing my vision, which is to push alternative music artists, and these artists are the result of the efforts.
“This is a record label that has been incorporated to promote mostly alternative music in Nigeria. We love Afrobeats; I witnessed its beginning, and it has taken us far on the global stage. Artists like Burna Boy and Tems have taken Afrobeats to global stages; however, we have so many young talents that need to see the light of day so that we can have many more Tems, and that’s the vision for AVR.
“We have a knack for recognizing good sounds, and the idea is that once an artiste has enough good songs, we look into how we can push him or her forward.
“We have seven tracks in the album; that’s the seven artists. We have relationships with more than seven of them, but these are the ones that made it to the album.”
On what should be expected from the artists after the album, he said: “This is a way of just bringing them out in one album, especially the 360 artistes that I have, which are June, Mid3, and Sanki; they’ve got songs for days. So we’re going to package EPs and albums for them in the coming months.”
President of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Pretty Okafor, said: “I am here to witness talents on display. Ten Strings Music School, which is a partner of AVR, is one of the best in the country. Because we always encourage musicians and make sure that they get the best, that’s why I am here, excited to listen to their work. I am impressed by their work. At this point, we can assess the artists’ work and give them the best advice.
“As a music union, we are doing stuff to groom the younger generations that will take over what we’ve been able to create.”
On managing artists’ character, he said: “When we look at them, we tell their managers that they need to learn the rudiments of music. Portable is very talented, so what he needs is behavioural coaching. There has been conversation restricting what artists can sing about, but my answer has always been, ‘don’t tweak the creativity of any artiste.’ The world will reject what they don’t like, and that’s the beauty of music.”
One of the artists, Timi Kei, said: “I keep pushing; the watchword is consistency; we just keep pushing out music, putting ourselves out there, and being excellent at what we do. I have put out a mixtape, an album, and an EP so far, but the biggest challenge is the lack of effective marketing.”