Songwriting Tips for Musicians in the 21st century 3

Two weeks ago, I started this series on Songwriting tips for musicians in the 21st century. And so far, I have given 3 essentials tips that will help you become a better songwriter. Last week, for instance, I shared with you that your songs need to have a central theme/ idea and that you need to arrange your song lyrics in such a way that your listeners understand the main idea/ theme of the song clearly. Today, I have another tip to share with you, which is:

Be a little poetic

Now, I don’t mean you should hire a poet to write you a poem and then you add melody to it and call it a song. That’s going overboard. What I want you to understand is that music is an art. And so, as much as your lyrics should have a central theme/ idea that they are communicating to your listeners (clearly), they should also be artistic. Even if the melody of your song is removed and the lyrics are just read, they should still be pleasing to the ears.

Poets are known to paint beautiful pictures with words. That’s what you should aim at with the lyrics of your songs. Also, poets are known to say a lot of things with just few words. As a songwriter in the 21st century, you need to master that craft. You should be able to pass across to your listeners, the entire message you have for them in just 3 to 4 minutes of your song; the same message a preacher would take an hour to preach.

Even though this should be very obvious, I think it is worth mentioning here (because of some of the songs I’ve heard in the past) that part of being poetic includes rhyming the words of your song. Now, it’s not every line in the song that must necessarily rhyme, but it sure makes your lyrics sound more pleasing to the ears if you do this. Remember, YOU ARE A SONGWRITER, NOT A PREACHER. Your song is a piece of art, not a sermon. So, as much as the message is important, the words of the song must also be written in a manner that they are pleasing to the ears.

I know some artists have taken this to the extreme by just stringing words that rhyme together, attaching a sweet melody and calling it a song (with no message to communicate). But that’s not what I’m talking about here. That’s why I took the pain to recap last week’s tips at the beginning of today’s article. Have a central theme or message, but take time to choose the words you use to pass that message across in your song, in such a way that it would be sweet to the ears.

No matter where you got your inspiration from (even if an angel gave the song to you in your dreams), take time and re-arrange the words. Use synonyms that portray the same message but sound better in the ears. I’m tired of hearing songs from Bible verses that are sang word-for-word, the way it is in the verse (especially King James Version), when the words could be substituted with synonyms that would have been much better. I’ll say this again, “You’re a songwriter, not a preacher” so write songs, not sermons.

This is where I’ll stop on today’s songwriting tips for musicians in the 21st century. Before I go, I’ll like to inform you that we’re are offering a 50% discount on all deals at Jeplune Music studio as part of our Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. This offer ends on 1st December, 2021 and think you should take advantage of it while it lasts.

Alright, that’s it. Bye!

My Struggle With Depression

One of the things I had in mind when I started this blog was to share my life experiences with other (mostly younger) musicians in such a way that they can learn from them and be better. Today, I will be sharing my struggle with depression. Last week I apologized for my inability to publish any article for three consecutive weeks. That was partly because I was really depressed.

I know as musicians, we give hope to people with our songs, we encourage, teach, create mind shifts, entertain, and even uplift people’s spirits. We do all these and, many times, people don’t realise we have our own problems, that we are human too, that we ourselves need to be uplifted. I guess that’s why we’ve had several cases of musicians (even famous ones) who committed suicide.

Now, back to my story. A few weeks ago, I started being dissatisfied with my life. Nothing made sense to me. I lost my sense of worth and purpose; no drive, no zeal, no excitement about anything, I was just ‘going through the motions’. I would say the prevailing circumstances in Nigeria at the time, especially the state I reside in triggered it, but then a whole lot of things added to it. There were things I needed to do that had lingered for so long, then there was the thought of how my music career seemed to have been stagnant. It grew to the point that I started to doubt if any of the things I currently do is relevant at all, to anyone. I’m sure many of you reading this right now can relate because you probably had been there before.

So, how did I overcome? At least that’s the main point of this article, right? Well, my Christian faith played a big role in helping me get back to my feet.

First, I prayed to God earnestly. And I’m not talking about routine prayers here. I mean that kind of prayer where you just bare your heart out to God. I told Him if He doesn’t send help quickly, I don’t know how much longer I can hold on. Then I told my wife and two of my very close friends who started praying for me.

But one very helpful thing I did was that I went to see one of my mentors. And I think we all need people in our lives whom we can always go to seek advice from. It doesn’t even matter whether they know anything about music or not; just the fact that they have more knowledge and experience in life and they care about you is enough. It was talking to my mentor that began the process of healing for me. And here I am telling you the story today.

So, I just shared my struggle with depression and how I overcame. But I know quite a number of you have struggled with depression too and have gotten over it. I would also like to hear from you. As a matter of fact, I’m carrying out a very short survey on ‘Depression among Musicians’ and I would need you to help out by answering these questions. I would publish the results of the survey here when I’m done. Thanks in advance for your help and contributions.

Once again, here is the link to answer the survey questions on Depression among musicians.

I look forward to having your contributions.

An Interview With Surgeon


This week on Musicians’ Corner, I will be featuring an interview I had with Surgeon, one of the well known music producers in Jos city. Surgeon, whose birth name is Pankyes Istifanus, is Rapper, A Music Producer, an Audio Engineer, Coach and a Businessman. He is the brain behind ‘Talent Help’, and the founder of ‘Skool of soundz’. He is also a husband and father. In 2007, Surgeon won ‘The King Of The Mic’ a rap battle. He has also won two JOGAMA Awards as ‘Producer of The Year’ and ‘Best Afro- Hip pop Song of The Year’, respectively. You cannot talk about Hip pop in the city of Jos, Nigeria without mentioning Surgeon. So let’s get to the interview:


Spirit: For how long have you been in the music industry?

Surgeon: I have been in the industry since 2003

Spirit: So what inspired you to go into music?

Surgeon: Actually, I was inspired by a talent- based group for Young Christian guys back then in Jos. They were known as ‘Armageddon Soldiers’.

Spirit: What challenges did you encounter in your early days in the music industry?

Surgeon: Basically, my biggest challenge back then was Finances. It took us close to 1 year to get our first demo, because we had no money and no financial support from anyone. Also, there was the challenge of having very few platforms for Rappers, back in the days. Another challenge I had was that my parents were not really fully in support of what I was doing then, mainly because of the level of exposure they had as of then.

Spirit: So, how did you scale through those challenges?

Surgeon: One word; Persistence! I have to admit it was not easy, but I persisted.

Spirit: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far from all your years of experience in music?

Surgeon: One of the great lessons I’ve learnt over the years is that hard work, persistence and consistent training coupled with the right knowledge will eventually yield great positive results.

Spirit: What do you still hope to achieve using your music in future?

Surgeon: I still hope to inspire and influence a great community of young talents in the future.

Spirit: If you were to advise an upcoming artist/producer, what one thing would you tell them?

Surgeon: Be patient, committed, persistent, plan, strategize, set goals, train, seek new knowledge, and have mentors.


Ok that’s it. I hope you learnt a thing or two from the interview. You can follow Surgeon on Instagram @surgeondabizguy . I’d love to get feedbacks from you too. Please drop your comments below. Thanks.

You’re Not Worthless

woman who knows she is not worthless

Today, I’m not writing any article, I just want to tell you that you’re not worthless. And no, this not one of those motivational speeches either.

I know sometimes, you ask yourself, “does anyone even value the things I’m putting out?” Is it worth the efforts I put in? If I quit right now, would anything go wrong? Is my music (or whatever content I put out) even important? Does it impact anyone positively? Am I even worth anything to anyone?

I know these questions bug your mind from time to time and you wish you had the answers. I know when these thoughts come, you sometimes feel worthless and you feel like giving up. How do I know all these? Because I feel the same way too. In fact, as I write these words right now, that’s exactly how I feel.

Today, I just want to tell you that you’re not worthless. You might not have found your (rightful) audience yet. The people within your current circle might not appreciate what you do. It might seem as if nobody needs to hear you or no one cares about what you do. But don’t let those thoughts or realities cripple you. Someday, you will find your audience and they would appreciate you. Someday, you will hear testimonies of people you positively affected their lives through the things you’re currently doing. In the meanwhile, keep up the good work you’re already doing.

I learnt something from David today. In 1Samuel 30:6, when everyone around turned against him, he found strength in God and encouraged himself. So, if everyone around you turns against you, or care less about what you do, find strength in your God and encourage yourself. You’re not worthless.

You can also read previous articles on Musicians’ Corner here.

Don’t Give Up

Today, I feel strongly in my heart to just encourage you; please don’t give up. This wasn’t the topic I originally planned to write on this week, but I felt, this morning, that someone needs to hear this today.

We live in very difficult times. The news we hear everyday is depressing. So much insecurity, and uncertainty in the air. People are just struggling to survive. So many people live on just one meal per day and even that one meal is a big struggle. Musicians are not left out of this struggle too.

In fact, despite all of these common struggles, musicians still have to deal with writing meaningful songs, putting the words into beautiful melody, paying for studio sessions to record their songs, promoting the songs, etc. Someone could put in these amount of work, yet their efforts might not even be noticed, let alone appreciated. This is enough reason to get you discouraged as a musician. You ask yourself, “is it worth the troubles? Does anyone really care whether or not I do music? Is anyone even listening to me?”

This is a situation I recently found myself in. I was asking myself those questions and I felt like giving up. Then it dawned on me that there might be other musicians out there who might be feeling the same way, right now. And that they need someone to encourage them.

You see, the truth is that you have a message to share to the world. It might seem as though nobody is listening to you and your work is not appreciated, but trust me, someone out there needs to hear your message. So please, don’t give up. Pick up your pen and paper and write that song in your head. Sing it to your friends and family members. If you get invited to sing anywhere, sing those songs. Yes, you might not have money for another studio session right now, but don’t let that stop you. Record yourself singing, with your phone camera, and post it on social media. Keep on doing the good work you are doing and don’t give up. In the end, you’ll realise that it was all worth it.

You can read other interesting articles on Musicians’ Corner here.

Two important accounts every musician should have

Last week, I showed you 3 important things you probably ignore while uploading YouTube videos. Today, I’m going to share with you, two of the most important accounts every musician should have.

Before the release of my first single in 2013, I spent the last five months in 2012 reading and learning about the music industry, around the globe and in Nigeria. I learnt a lot of things that helped me (and still helps me) in my music. Things like accounts I needed to open, songwriting tips, promotion tips, etc. I just didn’t have money to implement a lot of the things I learnt. Now, I know a lot has changed/ evolved in the music industry since then, but some things have remained unchanged. So, here are two accounts you should have as a musician.

  1. An account with a video streaming site.

In the era that we live in, visuals is everything. As an artist, it is not enough to have songs released in audio format, you need to release visual content for your listeners/ fans as well. And to do that, you need to have an account with a video streaming site.

Even though there are many video streaming sites today, YouTube remains the most popular. In fact, I originally titled this first point as “You need a YouTube account”, but I decided to change it just before I uploaded.

You see, YouTube is the largest video streaming site in the world, with over 2 billion logged-in users monthly, and more than 500 hours of video content uploaded per minute. YouTube remains where millions of people discover new music daily. But beyond being the largest video streaming site, another reason you should consider having a YouTube account is that YouTube is owned by Google, the biggest search engine in the world. So, having your video on YouTube increases your chances of popping up on google search (well, there are other things involved, but that’s an article for another day).

So, you see, it is absolutely essential that you have an account with a video streaming site, especially Youtube.


  1. An account with an audio streaming site.

Today, unlike 15 years ago, there are several audio streaming sites, some of which include Spotify, Apple music, YouTube music, Soundcloud, Audiomack, Boomplay, etc. The list is endless. It is true that Spotify has become number 1 music streaming site in the world, but considering how difficult it is to get your music on Spotify (actually you need a third- party music distributor to do that) and the fact that Apple music only works on Iphones, Soundcloud still remains a great option especially for us over here in Africa. In fact, labels and industry executives would still ask for your Soundcloud link if they want to know what you sound like. Another advantage of Soundcloud is that it enables you to place widget on any site, such that your song can be played directly from the site. This could be helpful when you finally build a website for your music.

Yes, you can upload your songs on different sites for the sake of promotion, but you should still have all your songs (at least your best songs) on a widely accepted music streaming site like Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Music, etc. That way anyone could google your name and find your songs in one place. Untill you are able to build a website for your music, this is next best option you have to appear professional. And it is absolutely essential that you do so.


Now you may ask, what about Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok, Snapchat and the likes… I didn’t include those because I assume you are already on two or more of those platforms. Those platforms are general for everyone and you can use those to promote your music and drive traffic to where you have all your music. My focus on this article are the sites you need, specifically, as musician.


I’d like to know what you think, so please leave a comment below.

Three Important Things You Probably Ignore While Uploading YouTube Videos

Uploading YouTube videos

Today, I’m going to show you three important things you probably ignore while uploading YouTube videos. One of the services we offer, at Jeplune Music Studios, is lyric videos for music artists. But over time, I observed, as I check the YouTube links that some of our clients share after we make videos them, that most of them ignore some very important details while uploading. This is why I decided to dedicate today’s article to educate you guys on this. I also made a video to demonstrate this, you can watch the video below

  1. Title

Even though this should be very obvious, but some of you upload videos and leave the title the same as the title the video editor gave the video while rendering. This is a very bad practice. Your title is the major thing people see when you share links for them to go watch the video. Video editors do not owe it to you to name/title your videos. So, the first thing you should do as soon as upload starts is to edit the title to what you want it to be.

  1. Description

A lot of artists upload videos without a proper description, some without any description at all. This is also wrong. Your description is what people see under the title of your video. It is what would determine whether or not they would click on that link to watch the video. So, make sure you adequately describe your video. It doesn’t have to be too long, but it should adequately describe the content of the video.

  1. Thumbnails

I see a lot of people allow YouTube to automatically select the Thumbnails for their videos. This is also not professional. Usually, YouTube would generate three picture frames from within your video to choose from. Make sure you select the one that most accurately describes the remaining content of your video. Alternatively, you could upload your own custom image and use as Thumbnail for the video. This could be your best option, especially if the ones automatically generated by YouTube do not accurately represent your video.


The good news is that now that you know these things, you can still go back to your previously uploaded videos and edit these details to reflect the video more accurately. They don’t have to remain the way they are now, looking very unprofessional.

So that’s it. Those are important things which I’ve seen a lot of artists ignore while uploading videos on YouTube. I hope you have learnt something new today. Let me know, in the comments below, which of these you have been ignoring for a while now. You can also read some of my previous articles on Musicians’ Corner.

Find The Balance

musician finding the balance between music and family

Today, I’m going to conclude the series on Essential qualities you need as a musician, with this very important advice; find the balance.

I started this series two weeks ago. In the first part of the series, I told you that you need to be patient, original and persistent as a musician in the 21st century. In the second part, I told you that you need genuine care for your audience, focus and consistency. However, I feel this last one is so important that it deserves to be a topic of its own and that’s why I saved it for last.

Passion is good

As musicians, we are usually very passionate about our art. And that is a good thing. You that passion to keep you going even when things aren’t going smoothly. It’s passion that makes you go hungry, or eat once a day so you could save money to buy that guitar. It’s passion that makes you walk for an hour to get to the venue you were invited to perform.

But you need to strike a balance

Sometimes, we could be so passionate about our music that we neglect family responsibilities. We feel succeeding in our music career is all that matters. This could be very dangerous. Many musicians have wrecked their families because of this. Some have had to quit music to save their family. Some others find they can’t cope with family so they divorce. I believe the main reason we find many musicians afraid to get married, is that they don’t know how to strike a balance between the time they give their music and loved ones.

You need to start now

I started learning this after I got married. In my case, both my wife and I are musicians. We had to consciously, though painfully, begin to adjust our lives so as to make time for family as well as music. But you don’t have to wait till you get married before you start finding a balance. In fact, I think it is best you do that before marriage. If you do, it wouldn’t be a big deal when you get married.

First, you have to recognize that family is as important as your music. And then, you need to consciously create time for family. Create time to visit, especially if you live somewhere else. Spend some time with your family together. Do some things around the house for them. Remember you are still a member of that family and so you have responsibilities. Join them for special occasions like weddings or burials, etc. If you have some money, no matter how little, contribute to the payment of bills in the house. Be responsible. You will find that gradually, this becomes a part of you. And when you eventually get married, maintaining such balance wouldn’t be a struggle.

It’s not too late

Even if you are already married, this is still something you can achieve. You can set rules for yourself so you could have time for your spouse and kids. For instance, you could set a rule that you have to home before family dinner every week day and that you all must eat together. And let everyone know about this rule, so they can keep you accountable. You could mark days in your calendar strictly for family and reject any invitations that fall on that day, no matter what. Learn to say “No” when it is necessary.

Success in your career as a musician is very important, but it doesn’t have to come at the detriment of your family. It’s possible to grow your music career and still keep up with your family responsibilities; find the balance.

Three Inexpensive Things You Need To Promote Your Song In the 21st Century

inexpensive things you need to promote your song

Last week, I encouraged us not to allow what we don’t yet have stop us from using what we already have. And I feel it’s logical to share with you guys, today, three inexpensive things you need to promote your song in the 21st Century.

First of all, it is worthy to note that prior to promotion, you must have produced good music. This is very important, because no matter how much you promote crab, people will not love it, except you have a huge budget for promotion. But my guess is that you are reading this article because you don’t have millions of Naira (or whatever currency you use in your country) kept specifically for promoting your music, so you have to work extra hard to bring out good stuff. I might probably dedicate another article later to write on this. But for now, let’s focus on the inexpensive things you need for promoting your song.

The first thing you need is quality graphic designs.

Let’s face it, the first thing anyone would see before they hit the link to listen to your song is your cover art. It’s your cover art that would determine whether or not they would hit that link. So, you really need to invest in getting a quality and attractive design for your cover art. Don’t just think you can do it yourself, except you’re a graphic designer. Thankfully, getting a professional design is not expensive. It would not even cost up to one-fifth of what you spent to produce the song. Katapult Design is one of the design firms that makes amazing designs and at affordable rates.

The second thing you need is a lyric video.

We live in an era where visuals is everything. Having something visual to accompany your song is very essential for promotion these days. And since my focus in this article is inexpensive things you need for promotion, lyric videos are effective alternatives to the more expensive music videos. In a later article, I will explain what a lyric video is and the advantages of having lyric videos. But for now, know that having a lyric video is essential for promoting your song. Jeplune Music Studios is one place you can get professional lyric videos at affordable rates.

The third thing you need, which in actual sense is not really a ‘thing’, is friends.

Yeah, you cannot effectively promote your song alone. You need your friends to help you. This is especially necessary since you might not have the budget to pay digital marketers/ bloggers. Even if you have the huge budget to pay bloggers/ digital marketers, you still need friends. Get your friends to post about your song, share the link and the (awesome) cover art on their social media outlets at the same time (if possible). This usually has a huge impact on people when they see the same design on three or more people’s story or timeline or status (whatever). You can also plead with them to do short videos with their phones singing along to your song, and make sure you repost as they upload such videos.

Finally, these things I mentioned in this article are not all it takes to promote your song, if you have a moderate or higher budget for promotion, there are a whole lot of things you can still do to get your music to a wider range of audience from across the world. This article was specifically focused on how to promote your song in the 21st century using three inexpensive things/ resources you already have. This is my own way of encouraging you to use what you have.

People are not ‘just people’.

treat people nicely

Last week I wrote on the need to ‘Plant Your Own Mango Tree’. Today, I’m going to emphasize something we all know already; that people are not ‘just people’ and so we ought to value them.

Why am I writing this?

Two days ago, I was talking with a very good friend of mine and it was that discussion that inspired me to write this. He talked about his former place of work, the experience he gained, the exposure he got and the lessons he learnt, but he lamented about his former boss’ attitude towards his creative ideas. Well, he left there and established his own company. Today, his former place of work seeks and pays for professional services from him. Towards the end of our discussion, he said to me, “Spirit, treat others nicely. If my former boss had treated me well, I would most likely still be working there, today.”

Case study of Hans Zimmer

Now, I know this is not the first time you have heard that statement or something similar, but I would like you to know that it is true. To succeed in your career (and I dare to say in life generally), you need others. The most successful musicians have always been the most collaborative ones. Recently, I watched a documentary on the great film composer, Hans Zimmer. Hans Zimmer has composed music for over 150 films, including ‘The Lion King’, ‘The Pirates Of The Caribbean series’, The Dark Knight Trilogy, ‘Mission Impossible 2’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and many more. The Daily Telegraph ranks him in the list of Top 100 living Genuises. I could go on about his accomplishments, but that’s not what this article is about (you can google his name to find out more about him). I learnt from the documentary that Hans Zimmer has collaborated with a whole lot of  other musicians and composers in his musical compositions, some of them he met during the early years of his career and had maintained relationships with them for over 40 years.

You can’t do everything yourself

Sometimes, we tend to only treat people nicely when we are currently benefitting from them, and we tend to forget people who we think we don’t need anymore. As musicians, especially, upcoming musicians, we are tempted to see other musicians as competition and then try to do everything ourselves rather than collaborate. But this kind of thinking/ attitude would not do anyone good in their career and certainly not in life. We all need other people to succeed in our careers and to work with people for a long time, we need to learn to value them more.

Learn from Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer’s relationship with his music buddies for over four decades is a popular and contemporary example of the importance of valuing relationships with people around. Working with a variety of musicians (with different skills) over a long period of time and maintaining such relationships is one of his secrets of great success. He knew he could not do everything, so he collaborated with people who could do what he couldn’t in order to get things done. This is exactly what you should be doing as an upcoming musician. Find people who can do what you can’t and work with them. Collaboration is the key to moving forward as a musician in this competitive industry. If you rap, for example, and can’t sing, don’t try to sing the choruses in your songs by yourself, collaborate with a singer.

And while you collaborate with other people, treat them well. Don’t treat people as if they are tools to achieve your goals. They are not ‘just people’, you need them as much as they need you, so value them. Treat them with respect and as much as possible, maintain good relationship with them. You might need their help again in the future, so don’t just cut relationships for no reason. Remember, people are not ‘just people’; value them.