22-year-old singer, Remy Baggins sat in our meeting room watching Dave Chappelle do his thing on Netflix. He had come way earlier than expected for our Divin' Deep session, which holds every last Friday of the month. For every joke Dave cracked, Remy didn't laugh out loud; he readjusted himself on the couch and maybe laughed a controlled laughter to himself instead. You have heard about how exclusive advertising agencies are, so our own agency decided to start opening up. When we wrote to Remy, he answered us and that's how we got him to sit with us over a few hours, sharing industry and audience insights.
First of all, Remy Baggins is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, producer and songwriter. He is one of the first set of Nigerian creatives to use the streaming platform, SoundCloud, to crack a frontier audience — which has now morphed into the "Alté" movement. The platform became a springboard for Remy to mount a challenge for other more rewarding streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, uprooting his older audience and situating them on new (paying) platforms, where he continues his audience acquisition efforts.
In the past few years, the youngster has seen success. He has produced for the Alté poster boy - Odunsi, Jinmi Abduls, Tems, Dami Oniru and a lot more. His foot-marks are also on the projects of artists who have seen mainstream success, most notable of them being M.I. Abaga, Ice Prince, and recently, Burna Boy. For him, success is marked by several checkpoints; after succeeding at one, he keeps looking for newer challenges to conquer.
However, while pushing to reach the pinnacle of his career, Remy must deal with the outcome of his dissent. He had left university simply because he just couldn't take it any longer. University was wearing him out and when he finally decided he wasn't doing it again, his parents withdrew their support. He sings about this on "B'ori pe" off his collaborative EP with Eri-Ife, YLLW.
As Remy narrated his story to us at the beginning of his session, what strikes us the most is his desire to chase his dream; to be a strong force in music. We couldn't help but wonder how much more young people out there were able to take their own stand to be who they want to be, despite fierce parental and familial pressures. Remy Baggins was emphatic when he mentioned that there "are more like me. This is how we are". Our conclusion after his remark was: If there are more people like this, this means when we are creating campaigns and other marketing solutions, especially for this class of people, we must be willing to go all out. After all, if our target audience are so bold and unapologetic about who they are, why then should we create timid solutions for them?
Music is a key element in many radio and television commercials. It didn't just get there for aesthetics sake. We asked Remy what is the right way to use music in advertising. He told us for every song that's used in a commercial, those songs must be properly cleared. You can do this by obtaining a sync and master licencing agreement from the publishers (mostly record labels) that owns the work. If the owner of the work doesn't have a record label, the owner can be a self-publisher. Just make sure the work is cleared. On how much it'd take to get that done, Remy Baggins said there's no standard fee; it's a jungle out there. Although, there are criteria such as the popularity of the song, the calibre of producer; the pocket of the potential advertiser etc.
However, if you're thinking of working with him on your movie score, commercial music etc., negotiation starts from ₦6 million.
We have seen artists come together on a ditty because they feel each other's vibe. Sometimes, it's for accessibility; you simply collaborate with people within your reach. Remy Baggins collaborates for tangible and tactical reasons. It is his own audience acquisition hack. The artist understands that working with other artists enables him to get the attention of those audiences he ordinarily wouldn't be able to reach. And by joining forces with others, he raises his chances of acquiring a new audience. Remy Baggins cited his collaboration with Ibadan-based artist, Eri-Ife as an example. He explained how that paved his way into the Ibadan airwaves.
"They're playing my songs on the radio in Ibadan. I can tell you that if I say I want to do a show there today I'm sure that over 200 people will come, guaranteed. But in Lagos? They'll tell you they'll come but on that day, they won't," Remy said.
In fact, Remy said he's learnt to never take the word of people's words for it, especially those who promise him they'd show up.
For the past few years, advertisers have erroneously believed that the audience are loathe to advertising messages. While this has forced agencies and advertisers to look for more creative forms (experiential, music etc.) of getting the intended sales messages across, time and again, it has been proven that the audience will listen or watch what they think is interesting. Advertising messages inclusive. In essence, what the audience truly loathe is drab, boring messages. These days, too many interesting things are competing for audience attention. The problem facing the audience is now how to distribute their limited time to consume as much interesting materials as possible.
It's an attention war now and Remy noted that music is not exempted from this battle for audience attention. "If you notice now, songs are getting shorter," he said.
One of the things about taking a less taken path is that on your way there, you will find others who are also on that path and become like them. As a result of this, many soon realise that in their effort to not be like a particular set of group, they are becoming a part of another. But as an individual, you have to keep reinventing yourself and remain ever so fluid. This is the Alté mindset. Remy, as much as he'd not outrightly call himself Alté, understands the Alté mindset. It's in him; it's in his approach to life; in the music he creates; the places he likes to hangout. Remy Baggins doesn't want to be known as the Alté guy. He just wants to be known as a creative doing his own thing; pushing boundaries; exploring old things in new forms. The most exciting thing about this is the multi-talented artist's commitment to that cause.
We ended the August session of Divin' Deep with The Hook Creative Agency and Remy Baggins in a way that's different from how it started. From Remy trying to comport himself in the meeting room as Dave Chappelle belted out humorous lines to now rounding off a very insightful and lit 1 hour 50 minutes session and all we can say is Remy is made for greatness and he knows his shit! We watched as he took us through his rollout plans for his new project, hentai, which we think is a dope project btw.
Before he stepped out of our office, Remy tells us he has suspended his personal projects. He is now working on other people's project and he would be doing so throughout the year.