“In the music business, there’s no ‘almighty formula’ to ‘blow’ its an industry where 1 + 1 will NEVER give you 2” – Legendary Hustler, 2015.
With this in mind, we all know that anything goes and anyone can blow at any time with any method, but no one with a proper understanding of how the Nigerian music industry works would have anticipated the ‘unprecedented’ success of Ogun State born singer, Habeeb Okikiola otherwise known as ‘Portable Olalomi’ or ‘Dr Zeh’ who was a totally unknown name in the music industry, in Nigeria, In Africa and in the world until 12th of December 2021 when a video went viral on Instagram showing Portable on his knees thanking rapper, Olamide for blessing him with a verse on a song that would take the world by storm even before its official release.
From that moment on, the phrase ‘Zaazuu Zeeehhh’ became a thing and as they say, the rest is history.
But how did this history come about exactly? Who had the vision to release a song from this seeming ‘diamond in the rough’ without following ‘due process’.
No Due Process
By ‘due process’, I mean, till date, there’s no well written biography of Portable Olalomi, no photoshoot, no EP, no record of him spending time with producers to work on his sound, no known stylist, no official photographer, never granted an interview on radio, tv or even Instagram live, absolutely nothing, just vibes and insha Allah.
Despite all these, Portable in a space of 10 days became the hottest viral sensation, got a number 1 song in the country, in just a few days he was on stage performing with the biggest acts on the African continent – Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Olamide and Tiwa Savage – a feat that hundreds before him who have spent years in the industry can not boast of.
Any reasonable record label or industry consultant with all the requisite music business knowledge definitely would not have released a debut song for Portable Olalomi in December. There’s data to show that it’s difficult if not totally impossible for a new song let alone a new artist to ‘blow’ in the month of December – for obvious reasons – but ‘Zazzuu’ did it.
A record label would surely not have released a song for Portable Olalomi in his ‘rough’ state, with no proper skin care routine in place, feeding, making him look good, getting a stylist on board to define his looks and getting professional photos to make him look appealing and presentable, but again, ‘Zazzuu’ did it without all these.
Like the known Mavin Records model that applied to superstars like Rema, Ruger and Ayra Starr, get them in a studio, groom them and have them spend time with different producers for about 6-months to prepare them for the journey ahead. None of these applied to Portable Olalomi and if he had gone this route, he surely would not have ‘Blown’. His success was embedded in the raw, ugly and uncut version of his persona, any attempt to refine and package him would have ended in premium ‘tears’ for the investor.
Sustaining The Momentum
Now that he’s here, special shout out has to go to rapper Olamide for taking the chance to feature on his song and a bigger shout out has to go to his manager and promoter, Quadri Taoreed, also known as Kogbagidi who saw the vision and went with his guts.
As expected, the intellectual industry experts are already predicting doom and an early demise for Portable Olalomi’s career and rightly so. But for someone that has defied all the odds and logic that got him to this point, it is only expected that his team will now take this as a serious business and begin the process of refining him, plugging him into the right collaborations and strategies that will ensure longevity for him. Vibes and insha Allah can only get you so far, sustaining the momentum is no easy feat and if he wants to be relevant for a long time, then there’s need for serious introspection and a proper structure.