Rema’s journey in the music industry is one story that would certainly motivate people even from other fields in life. At the tender age of 19 years, Rema (whose real name is Divine Ikubor) has taken the Nigerian music scene and the world by storm so much that one of his hit tracks ‘Iron Man’, made it to Barack Obama’s Summer playlist last year.
Within a year and some months, the teenager has already become a household name and has also been compared to some of the giants in Nigerian music. He seemingly came out of nowhere, almost instantly impressing millions with a unique style of Afrobeat. This article is centered on the music star’s journey in the music business and how his versatility will help him globally.
When Don Jazzy announced on the 22nd of March, 2019, that he had just signed a new artiste, social media, of course, went into FBI mode and dug out what they could find about the singer. What they found wasn’t what they were expecting. Why would Don Jazzy who under his record label established the likes of Tiwa Savage, Dr Sid, D’Banj and Reekado Banks, sign a tiny little kid? Don Jazzy didn’t have to reveal too much because we immediately felt what he saw in Rema.
Not many people know that Rema was actually signed to the label a year before he made his debut. After getting the attention of D’Prince by doing a cover of his “Gucci Gang” track, Don Jazzy & D’Prince swung into action to groom him for stardom. Rema then made his debut when Afrobeats finally stayed receiving the international success it deserves. The Nigerian music scene has not recorded the fast rise of an artiste in his teens topping charts as well as receiving nationwide, continental and global approval since 2010/2011 with Wizkid and Davido dubbing ‘Holla At Your Boy’ and ‘Dami Duro’ respectively.
How did he stand out?
As a music enthusiast or someone who happens to listen to Nigerian music occasionally, you may wonder, how did a teenager go from doing weird freestyles in a car to becoming one of the hottest artistes Nigeria and even Africa has seen in years? This answer is quite simple and actually evident. Versatility.
Every artiste has that uniqueness that makes them stand out and no doubt many artistes are versatile but Rema’s versatility is very much unique and rare. The cool kid came with a vibe Nigerians haven’t really experienced before. The singer tapped into all genres ranging from rap, Trap, Afropop and even tapped from the Indians.
Initially, he was called a Wizkid wannabe after the release of “Dumebi” but the young lad has proved that he is something much more than that. Rema is not scared to try out something new and so far, he hasn’t flopped. He has released three EPs since he made his debut and all projects contain different sounds.
Nigerians also gave a negative response because of his Indian sound with “Iron Man” and “Corny” but he keeps on coming back with something new and fresh. I believe Rema is a chameleon- hasn’t shown his full colours and this is one characteristic of Rema that has helped him, within a short time garner so many fans and streams. He makes sure to keep fans on their toes when he is about to release something new and he did that again with the release of his latest tracks “Beamer” & “Rainbow”
Speaking on international collaborations, he already has International acts vibing/jumping on his 2019 hit “Dumebi”. Rema’s sound and energy has also been likened to that of Lil Baby, Quavo and 21 Savage in terms of Trap and Drake and others in Rap. All collaborations so far have been nothing but hits and this had further increased his fan bases in places one would expect. A few days ago Canadain rapper, Drake revealed that he has some explosive hits with Rema. How would that sound like? We kind of know what to expect from Drake but working with Rema might make the “God’s Plan” rapper do something fresh and exciting. Bad Girl Riri also testified to the young act’s sound (his unique Afrofusion vibe).
On an ending note, It may be argued that Rema’s success is because he is backed by a very powerful record label and is naturally a good looking innocent faced Edo dude but may we never forget that he was discovered for the most important thing – his talent & Versatility. This is what would continue to push Rema globally ahead of his peers. He can Pop and also Trap at the same time, earning him larger fan base than others.