Thriving as an Indie artist… the Boy Adequate story
When Adaji Odiri Endurance started nursing the dream of pursuing music professionally, he knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task. Then a high school student in Benin, he aspired to join the league of Nigeria’s top music stars and determined in his heart to pay whatever price it required.
However, what he didn’t expect was that his dream would take him a lot of efforts, requiring him to stretch way beyond his comfort zone so as to make his mark in an already saturated industry; an industry that is known to produce new stars almost every day.
Endurance, who is now known by the stage name, Boy Adequate, had to make a critical choice early in his career: it was either he launched his career as an independent artiste and brace the difficult terrain that came with the decision or continue to pursue his dream on the side, albeit on a small scale and wait for a major label to discover his talent and sign him as their artiste or give up on his dream entirely to do something else.
After giving it much thought, the Edo-born musician decided to go for the first option and has been doggedly following the path in the past two years. Despite recording small wins such as releasing fairly successful singles and building his own little but strong fanbase, Boy Adequate admits that being an independent artiste is difficult and if he had his way, he prefers to be signed under a major label.
Like every other creative, Boy Adequate is driven by passion; a passion to create excellent music that resonates with his audience. It is this passion that has motivated him to face head-on the challenges that comes with doing music in Nigeria. However, he gets to face a different set of challenges for pursuing his dream as an independent artist.
Unlike other artistes who are sponsored by major record labels, Adequate has to do it all alone. From spending his own money to record his music to promoting it by himself, Adequate has his hands filled with a lot of activities, which are in a way slowing his ascent in the industry. Despite this, the talented musician is unrelenting in his pursuit, as he displays a great deal of grit. For him, the journey so far has been a rollercoaster ride, one that he happily takes part in.
“I would be lying if I said that it has been easy but I have to admit that it’s been an exciting journey – because I get to practice what I love doing daily,” he said.
The Nigerian music game is a hard terrain, and it’s why many critics expected him to call it quits after some time, but the young man seems to have a spirit that is a mix of resilience and tenacity.
According to the gifted music act, giving up would mean that he was wrong about how he felt about music all along. Creating music is more than a love affair to Adequate; and more of breathing in and exhaling oxygen every second, as he admits that music takes the center place in his thoughts process.
“You can’t expect me to just give up like that. It’s not as easy as you think. The love for music isn’t just in my heart, it also flows through my veins. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I ponder on before dozing off everyday.”
Whilst Boy Adequate has chosen not to wait for a pleasant weather before setting sail on the ship of his music ambitions, he is still unyielding in his plans for a good home. A good home to budding musician is a record label that would provide the needed support for his dreams to blossom quicker.
As much as he enjoys doing his thing alone, he would appreciate a helping hand.
“The biggest challenge so far of my music journey is doing it independently. It has been a very stressful experience – as I have to do the work of 3-5 persons. Other artistes can afford to have a team, but I can’t. I am my own team.”
Although he has a manager, Adequate has had to take up other tasks, which should normally be handled by other persons, who have better knowledge and skill in the area. Being forced to be a Jack-of-all-trades hasn’t made him jump at any record label that shows interest in signing him. The young man is intentional about the kind of brands (music labels) he wants to work with, turning the down contracts that he feel might affect his dream in the long run, and looking out for brands whose ideals and work ethics align with his philosophy.
For the man who has been described as the coolest Afropop sound in Nigeria, the big picture is very important. He isn’t concerned about the now alone and is always looking ahead to what might happen in the future.
“I won’t deny the fact that I want to ‘blow’ quickly, but I don’t want to engage myself in a contract or music deal that would make me a short-lived success. Being a one hit-one wonder isn’t part of my plan.”
Though the allure of enjoying the fruits of division of labour in the industry is inviting, Adequate is ready to forgo it, if it’s going to truncate his dream of being a superstar in the game for a long while.
The 26 year old Deltan doesn’t consider it all pain to being pursuing music independently, and has opined that there are a couple of blessings as you taking the difficult route. Beyond spending hours in the recording studio to put together a good song and expending more hours on visits to media houses to promote the song, he has been able to gain skills such as being disciplined and diligent, a good communicator and better manager of time.
“I might not be the best artiste in the industry, but I can assure you that only few people can rival my work ethic. Because it’s a 10/10 at any point.”
This impressive work ethic is the reason why he has been able to move quickly from underground artiste status to one of the rising music acts in the industry. Being alone has been a blessing to Adequate, making him more knowledge about the industry and giving him an edge over his contemporaries.
From taking up roles in A&R to music promotion to learning more about artiste management and creative direction, he has become a versatile artiste, which has made it easy for him to solve challenges.
Overall, the whole experience is teaching Adequate patience; he is growing in the virtue on a daily basis. As much as he is interested in hitting it big in the industry soon, he believes that his time is yet to arrive and that when it does, he would be more than prepared for the long stay on the top. With the mantra, ‘Slow and Steady Wins The Race,’ tucked between his lips and in his heart, Adaji Endurance is poised to shine anytime soon.