Afrobeat musician who is the son of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, Seun Kuti says most “real artistes” are not financially successfully and are hardly known.In an interview with U.S-based Revolt TV, Kuti noted that there’s a difference between entertainers and artistes, saying the latter owe a responsibility to their community to pass meaningful messages through their art.
Entertainers on the other hand, he believes, have no depth as they are packaged for mainstream media as art. “Well, I think all my albums have been socially and politically charged. I don’t think I’ve written a song that didn’t have some kind of political meaning ever in my life. Maybe one song, ‘Fire dance’. Probably in my first record. I didn’t want to come off as too serious so I was like ‘let’s put a song about nothing’ but since then I haven’t been able to bring myself to write that kind of song again.
“For me, it’s not just about making an album, it’s about the responsibility of art to the society. Art has a responsibility. Most people forget that. They think ‘oh, I’m an artist’. Well, to be honest, most real artists are not even famous, most real artists are not successful financially, commercially. “Most people that are called artistes are really just entertainers. There’s no depth to them. They are just entertainers, people write their songs for them, and they are packaged like a product and are sold to people on mainstream media as art. But there is really no depth, and when there is no depth, it can’t be art. So I believe that true artists know that they owe a responsibility to their community.
Seun Kuti said Nigerian artistes are afraid to compete with their foreign counterparts doing pop music, hence, they seek refuge under the umbrella of Afrobeat.“But they are afraid to compete with American pop musicians, try to come as if ‘oh, we’re different’ but it’s all pop music. So I won’t be surprised if Wizkid is able to make it to Billboard because it is pop music and it will relate. They are making the same mistake trying to pander. They are talented, have good music, have catchy lyrics, so sell yourself based on your strength.