By all standards, Yemi Alade and Tiwa Savage, Nigerian singers, have each had a sterling and eventful year — thus far.
Not only have they signed significant music/endorsement deals, they have also performed on some of the biggest stages around the world.
Hence, they were both deserving of being nominated in the ‘Best Female Artiste’ category at the recently concluded MTV Africa Music Awards.
But on the night of the awards, only one of them emerged the winner — and that was Yemi Alade.
To some fans and commentators, it was a travesty for her to win the award for the second year running.
One fan said;
Tiwa’s Standing Ovation is way bigger than those average songs Yemi Alade released in thelast one year #MTVMAMA2016Advertisement
— Amosun Dolapo #ADP (@Its_Dolypizo) October 23, 2016
True or not, here are three reasons why she pipped Tiwa Savage to clinch the award.
The ‘Effyzzie Music’ factor
Ever since the Taiye Aliyu-led Effyzzie Music took charge of Yemi Alade’s career, things have repeatedly fallen into place for the singer.
The record label has relentlessly pushed her music and brand to every part of Africa, taking her on continental tours even when she only had one major hit single.
Winning the MAMA awards is achieved by securing the highest number of votes and since Yemi Alade is the only nominated artiste from Effyzzie Music, it’s a no-brainer that the label’s hands-on approach and willingness to get things done, were crucial in getting people to vote for the singer.
The ‘Mama Africa’ brand
Even when Omawumi personified everyone’s expectation of a ‘Mama Africa’, Yemi Alade, basking in the euphoria of the ‘Johnny’ single, claimed the title for herself.
To whomever chose to listen or pay attention, Yemi announced herself as ‘Mama Africa’ as she scoured the continent with frenetic pace.
Her brand identity, hairdo, and styling — at the point and until now — gives her the appearance of the ultimate African singer and this has connected her with the core African audience, far more than her peers.
Strategic songs and ‘Shell’ deal
After releasing her debut ‘King of Queens’ album in 2014, Yemi Alade’s follow-up album was aptly titled ‘Mama Africa’.
On the Mama Africa album, songs like Koffi Anan, Africa, and Mama Oyoyo were accepted in many African countries other than Nigeria, owing to their continental appeal.
This undeniably increased her fan base and increased the value of her brand — which ultimately earned her a deal with Shell, a multinational oil corporation.
Yemi alongside Jennifer Hudson, Steve Aoki, Pixie Lott, Luan Santana, and Tan WeiWei, collaborated on ‘Best Day of My Life’.
The song was recorded to showcase energy ideas which came to life as a result of Shell’s collaboration with young energy entrepreneurs.
Yemi Alade was the only African artiste on the project, and to the award-voting fans and music lovers across the continent, that was an endorsement of her hard work, skill, and talent.
And since visibility matters and humans tend to only remember the most recent events, when the time came for whom to vote for, Yemi Alade trumped all others — even Tiwa Savage.
Additional reporting by Olufemi Oguntamu from South Africa
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