This article will help an upcoming artiste to understand the factors to consider when writing Afropop songs.
As an upcoming artiste, your aim and target should be on how to make the kind of songs, that top artists in your genre are making.
One of the measures you can take to do this is downloading both the audio and lyrics of a popular song in your genre.
Then listen to it, as well as study the format or structure of the song.
However, formatting or structuring your songs like a top artiste in your genre is not the only trick to implement, if you want to make similar music to theirs.
There are several other factors to consider before you can have the same, or something close to that kind of song.
That is why, after taking the time to show you how to compose Afro-Pop songs in my last article.
I immediately return with this one, as a follow-up, with the hope that you consider these basic factors while getting down to the composing of your Afro-Pop songs.
And without much Ado, let’s jump into examining those factors.
What makes a song Afropop?
A song can only be recognized as Afropop through it’s composition, that is to say, the way it is written; below are the things that make a song Afropop.
- The topic of the song.
- Song Title Matters A Lot
- Your song must be Repetitive And Reciteable
- Make Your Chorus (Hook) Catchy
- Without The Beat
1. The topic of the song.
Before you start composing Afro-Pop songs or any kind of music, the first thing you must consider is the topic of your song.
Although Fela, and many others who excelled in AfroBeats, concentrated on topics that were socially conscious.
Such as; corruption by leaders, injustice in courts, police brutalities, etc.
Modern Afro-Pop artists tend to focus their topics on what makes life more easy and good.
For example; making and spending so much money, hanging out with beautiful girls, being happy with family and friends, falling in and out of love, the general beauty, and style of people in society, etc.
Now if you study the topic of songs made by modern Afro-Pop singers, you will realize that they tend to concentrate more on creating a positive view of life for the people of Africa.
Who before now were considered to be living a primitive pattern of life.
And so, when this positive nature of African existence is spotted by the African masses, who love music both at home and diaspora, it in turn creates a global recognition for Afro-Pop singers to continue selling millions of their songs.
While continuing to perform in big cities of the world in view of, not only African people but even those from other continents who are in love with music.
So, therefore, before you start to write Afro-Pop songs, make sure you are mindful of the topic you settle for.
I think concentrating on that positive aspect of the African way of life should be the best choice.
2. Song Title Matters A Lot
After choosing the best topic for your song, the next step you should take is giving a title to that topic.
Your main target should be settling for a title that will make your song, more attractive and appealing to what is ongoing in society.
You must by all means avoid song titles that are too long and hard to pronounce.
For instance, instead of titling your song “I love Jane but her sister is the one I want” title it “two sisters”.
Now the first title will complicate a lot of issues for that song.
Firstly, it will make it hard for the graphics designer to make wonders out of the title in your cover design.
Secondly, fans will not be patient enough to read the whole title before they listen or buy.
They are likely to scroll over to another artiste in the list whose title is shorter, or abandon the post and move to another.
Thirdly, the first title has already explained your song in detail.
Whereas the second title will create suspense that makes people eager to know, what really happened to the two sisters in your song.
Also, songs with long titles always make it hard for radio DJs, to introduce a song to their listeners quickly catch.
Having said enough on this topic, let me refer you to an article in this blog that will shed more light on the effects of song titles.
3. Your song must be Repetitive And Reciteable
Songs that became popular have been known to be highly repetitive, which makes them easy to recite.
Normally, an Afro-Pop song should traditionally last for about 3 minutes to 3 minutes 30 seconds
But most of the Afro-Pop songs that breach this sacred rule, have been those ones that people could recite because of their repeated lines.
As I said in the last article, avoid making songs that are too lengthy at all costs.
Don’t say so much about one Afro-Pop song.
Rather save up your lyrics for another composition, and tactfully find where to bring back certain words or phrases you are using in your song every now and then.
Segments of the song you should repeat include the Pre-Chorus and Chorus. And in the traditional sense, your Afro-Pop song must not exceed 2 verses.
The third verse should be taken as a bridge which usually does not exceed 2 or 4 lines.
4. Make Your Chorus (Hook) Catchy
Most of the catchiest Afro-Pop songs have Been known to blow because of how outstanding their choruses are.
One of the ways to do this is to find a part of your chorus where you can fix a short repetitive harmony.
Think about how Davido harmonizes “Aye…Aye”, in his Pre-Chorus before he picks up the phrase on his hook “She no want designer”.
The secret here is to find a part of your hook that will have your fans singing along once it comes through.
And also how and where to tactfully place that part at least 4 or 5 times before your song fades or finishes.
Once you are able to have a song that is easy for people to sing along to, you will be amazed when you go to Public places and hear people already singing your song.
Again while you perform it on stage, you will be surprised to hear everybody in the house singing along with you.
That in essence is how every superstar in the world has blown.
Another key point is to find a slang phrase or catchy language you can use in your song.
Even if you can’t lay hands on any street term trending at the time, you can borrow catchy phrases from other popular songs.
But be careful at this point to avoid copyright rules.
For instance, you cannot use ‘Marlians’ in your song because it is already copyrighted to Naira Marley.
The trick here is to find a phrase in a song that is popular but is not a trademark of an artiste.
You can study how Davido sampled Joe’s “I don’t wanna be a player no more” in his song “Fall” to know how best to use this trick.
It is therefore not a crime to borrow popular phrases and ideas from other artists from other cultures.
5. Without The Beat
Now you are done with following the 4 steps to composing Afro-Pop songs that have all the elements to make it blow.
The last thing you need now is a beat that will make that song come out professionally as it should.
It might interest you to know that so many well-composed Afro-Pop songs have failed to blow, because of poor studio recording or production.
My candid advice here is to go for a big producer.
But knowing that it costs so much to do so (A-List artiste charges upcoming artists around 150,000 to 250,000 Naira per song).
If you have the knowledge of what your Afro-Pop song should sound like. That is the beat that should go well with it, you can use that knowledge base to make a choice of an upcoming producer.
Yes! there are so many good upcoming producers out there who have been properly trained in the art of beats making, and they are looking to make a name for themselves by charging upcoming artists affordable amounts, with the hope that one of them would blow and put them on the list of the big producers.
Now if you listen to Afro-Pop songs, you will realize that all of them have that driving and groovy rhythm which is made outstanding by the presence of a percussive instrument called “Clave”.
It is this very rhythm that tends to make every Afro-Pop song danceable or inspire the same.
And other percussive instruments, bassline, keyboard or drum machine, guitars, pianos, trumpets, saxophones, samples, and effects are blended intensively with the clave and properly mixed to finally create an Afro-Pop song that fans cannot resist listening to as well as dancing to.
You must therefore use this knowledge base as a guide to search for a producer who has the tech-know-how of what it takes to create an Afro-Pop beat as well as mix and master it to achieve a professional Afro-Pop song that will increase your chances of blowing into the music industry.
One of the tricks of achieving this is to get that producer to playback songs, he has already produced, for you to listen to.
And if you don’t have good ears for music, get him to give you those tracks and find a music expert to listen to and rate that producer, before you ever pay him any fees you will regret in the end.
But I still maintain my candid advice, which is for you to settle for a big producer who has all the skills and experience, to give you a beat that will make your Afro-Pop songs meet up with the required industry standard.
All the same good luck.