The 2013 edition of The Headies which held on Thursday December 26, 2013 at the Oriental Hotel Lagos was a night of spectacle, sass, entertainment and some drama. Did Burna Boy leave in a huff? Many asked in hushed tones. More on that soon.
Iyanya Mbuk who gave us the monster hits, Kukere, Your Waist and Lekwa Ukwu went home with the biggest award of the year, Artist of the Year, on a night that looked like he was going to go home empty handed.
The Ayo Animashaun run Smoot Promotions flew in the same group that directed Darey Art Alde’s spectacular show, Love like a Movie and they delivered once again.
Dr. Sidney Esiri was the host with the most, sharing compere duties with label mate, the delectable Ms Tiwa Savage. Together, they moved the award night which began a clear 3 hours late, on well-oiled hinges.
There were a few technical glitches with sound and visuals, but over all, it was a night that promised big and delivered big with performances from Yemi Alade, Sheyi Shay, Nicky Laoye, Zaina, Davido, Olamide, Phyno, Praize and Kwam 1.
Dr Sid was on point; he was funny, sassy and self-deprecating, telling the audience how he had “lobbied for 6 years to host the Headies.”
He came with swag and confidence, showing that he knew what he was on about when he told dstv.com days before the event that “I was born to do this. I will swag it. I don’t have to do any preparations to host the Headies.”
Dr Sid appeared at 10.43 in black pants and shirt with a white tux with black accents alongside his co-host, Tiwa Savage who was dressed in black. Yemi Alade was the first act to perform accompanied by The Headies Dance troupe while Banky W was the first to pick an award that night as Best RnB Act for his Good Good Loving beating off competition from Praiz, Ese Peters and Capital FM.
The 2013 edition of The Headies was all about Olamide, Phyno and Sean Tizzle as well as Davido to a lesser extent. Those 4 stole the night, taking home plaque after plaque and showing that they have taken over the music scene.
Phyno took home the Best Rap Single award for his Man of the Year knocking off Ill bliss, Olamide and Remisnisce.
A quick costume change and Dr. Sid was back now spotting a white and black shirt over black pants. He had on a black jacket to finish it off while Tiwa appeared in a black and shimmering trouser suit.
Olamide was next up on the awards stage taking home the Best Hip Hop artiste award and as he exited the stage, sonorous voiced Praiz came on to thrill.
The Best Recording award went to Jaywon for This Year which was prophetic in a way because it was the year that he seemed to have finally come into his own
The Eja Nla, Dbanj and Naeto C were both absent but their collabo Tony Montana was celebrated with swag by the dance troupe before Olamide and Phyno scooted on stage to pick up the award for the Best Collaboration for Ghost Mode.
Olamide was back in a jiffy to pick up another award, Best Rap album for his phenomenal sophomore album, YBNL pushing aside Ill Bliss and Vector for the prize. Dressed all in black with a red cap, the Yoruba lingo rhymester accepted his prize with thanks and a cocky “Still counting.”
Omo Baba Olowo, Davido Adeleke took home the Best New Artist award in a category that featured Capital Femi, Waje and Ice Prince.
Sheyi Shay shook things up a bit with her sexy performance of Irawo before an absent Mode 9 was announced as winner of “Lyricist on a roll” showing that age and time and heightening competition wasn’t going to make him let go, just yet.
Dr Sid was back on stage after another costume change, a grey waist coat over black pants and he brought Seyi Law and Jumoke James on stage to present the prize for the Producer of the Year. The category was a battle between young cats, beat makers on the rise from Legendary Beats to Leriq, Pheels to Dtunes. At the end it was Dtunes, who cooks up mad beats for Sean Tizzle, who went home with the prize.
TuFace the legendary RnB artiste scooped up the Pop Single of the Year for his infectious Ihe Ne Me in a category that had songs like Wande Coal’s The Kick, DPrince’s Goody Bag and Iyanya’s Your Waist in contention.
For songstress Waje who came dressed all in red, it was fourth time lucky when she picked up the statuette for Best Reggae Song for her hit, I wish. Picking up her award, Waje joked that she would have “gone for cleansing” if she didn’t win after 4 nominations.
Did Burna Boy leave the hall in a rage? Well, we will have to find out but Sean Tizzle was the surprise winner of the much coveted Next Rated award which recognizes the break out star of the year and comes with a Brand New Car showing that the Davido Effect is fully entrenched where an artiste can go from Zero to Hero and achieve A-list status just on the strength of one or two singles. It happened with Davido and we have seen it happen with Burna Boy and Tiwa Savage and May D and Sheyi Shay and now, Sean Tizzle.
Having lost out twice already, Praiz finally had cause to smile when he picked up the statuette for Best vocalist while Davido picked up his second for the night as Hip hop Revelation.
The prize for Best Video Director was a keenly contested one with the heavy hitters all making a showing from Clarence Peters with two nominations to Aje films, Sean and Mr Moe Musa. Clarence won.
Those who say Igbos and Yorubas don’t get along should have seen Phyno and Olamide on stage tearing it up as they performed their hot song, Ghost Mode, proving once again that language poses no barrier to good music.
Harry Songs may not be an A-list artist yet but he won hands down as the Artist with the most downloaded song on MTN caller Tunez with his song tribute to Mandela. It recorded over 2.2million downloads in under one month.
KCee won the Guinness Song of the Year award for his catchy sing along anthem Limpopo beating off other catchy tunes like Your Waist, Duro Soke, Alingo and Sho lee.
Olamide took home the Best Album award while Iyanya finally got luck and went home with Artiste of the Year.
The big losers were clearly Capital Femi, Reminisce, Burna Boy and Timi Dakolo who didn’t get to pick up anything despite multiple nominations.
As guests filed out, it became imperative to ask what the night and awards meant. What does it do beside the glamour and entertainment of one fun filled and exciting evening when music stars, their fans, hangers on and sundry stakeholders play dress up?
In more organized societies, the Headies would be a marker, one that highlights new stars, bankable stars, A-list stars. It would be the gauge by which artistes’ invitations to annual music-fests like Star Mega jam is decided. It will help telecom companies and others decide who to make brand ambassadors using scientific data thus guaranteeing premium ROI. It will also help marketers decide on which Artiste to bet on.
But does it? Do we remember? There have been controversial choices no doubt but the Headies gets it right more than it gets it wrong especially in the Next Rated category despite this year’s controversy and drama.
We will be back again next year and maybe no one will storm of in anger but for now, the Headies matters because it makes us see that Nigerian music, despite its problems, is alive and well and thriving.