After the successes of Nigerian artistes in the United States, the most recent being Wizkid, Tekno may be next in line to fly the flag on American soil, says Billboard.
In addition to garnering about 30 million streams on YouTube and Spotify, his 2016 single, Pana, got him a deal with Columbia.
Imran Majid, senior vice president of A&R at Columbia, said the song caught his attention, hence he signed it and re-released it in December.
That same month, he was featured on Billboard’s list of artistes to watch in 2017.
Tekno gained continental prominence in 2015 after releasing Duro, a song that topped several charts for weeks.
“That was the song that got me a breakthrough. I found my sound; connecting with the ladies. It’s more love songs now than anything else,” Tekno told Billboard.
“The whole of Africa danced to Duro. I started traveling heavy, my fee went up, more girls, more attention.”
Imran Majid, who has spent four years in A&R at Columbia, says the record label intends to raise Tekno’s profile outside his home ground.
“Pana popped on to my radar through a viral video on Facebook of a couple dancing to the song on the beach. I heard it, loved the song, flagged it,” he said.
“It’s a bonus when an artist is coming out of a scene. There’s a network of great artists coming out of West Africa, and this music travels very quickly in the US, Canada, UK, throughout Europe
“Pana has slowly but surely crept into American listeners’ consciousness. You have an audience here that already know the record through the club scene; mixers, DJs.
“Streaming helps because you don’t have to dig, it’s much easier to access. You already have a base, and that helps spread the word of mouth until the mainstream gets it.
“But we have to lead with the song as is. That’s what you want the people to discover. The end of winter is a positive sign for Pana too.
“Warm weather favors records like this. It’s good timing to start it in the mix-show scenes in the cooler months and then take it to the next level come spring and into the summer.
“The luxury that we have is his team is so strong in the African market that they can start other records there. For them, Pana is an old record; they go onto the next one. We can focus on Pana.”
In 2016, Wizkid, who is now signed to RCA, won his first Grammy award for his collaboration with Drake on One Dance.
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