Editorial: Kizz Daniel played the dare game, and G. Worldwide lost a talent
No collabo, he still dey reign, for this collabo, wahala dey – Baba. That is the sound announcing the return of Kizz Daniels, one of the African best talents.
After so much to deal with late 2017, from the war of branding with his former record label G Worldwide that nearly destabilized Kizz Daniel, of the most talented young stars from Africa, we can confidently say Kizz Daniels has returned to the lime light.
How it all started
In September 2014, a song titled ‘Woju’ an emerging singer, Kiss Daniel, was released online, and instantly, it began to generate rave reviews. The singer, Kiss Daniel, was previously unknown, but his star was evident. Possessing a great vocal delivery, and the looks to match pop music’s physical demands, the record grew. And by December 2017, it was everywhere in Nigeria.
“All Thanks to God almighty, the activation team, big shout out to the Emperor Geezy,” the singer told NL in an interview in January 2015. as part of the press tour to promote the single. “Please note and quote, an artiste is as good as his entire team , it doesn’t just stop at just content making plugins is very important , Brand building , positioning and marketing the song and the content.”
In another interview with Acada, the singer explained the role of Emperor Geezy in ensuring that the record a success.
“We were optimistic when I recorded it but Emperor Geezy my CEO knew the song will ‘blow’,”Kiss said. “He kept saying this is the Jam. He’s always asking DJ Coublon to add this, remove this, giving technical directions on the song. Fiokee played the guitar. For me, I recorded the song on Technical Directions from Emperor Geezy who has good ears for sound. I was optimistic, that’s what I would say because of Geezy’s interest in the sound.”
‘Woju’ became the first step towards profitability for the artist, who signed a deal with G-Worldwide to release 5 albums in 7 years. Kiss Daniel was signed in 2013 on recommendation by his label mate, Sugarboy. According to investigations, the singer was signed to a 360 deal in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Kiss Daniel had just finished from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), in 2013, with a degree in Water Resources Management and Agrometeorology (Water Engineering). While at FUNAAB, he decided to pursue music as a career alongside his studies. According to sources who spoke with Pulse, G-Worldwide founder and CEO, Festus Ehimare popularly known as Emperor Geezy, drove from Lagos to the singer’s home in Abeokuta, where a meeting was held with his parents, who gave their consent to his signing career.
“Everyone was excited. They all knew Kiss Daniel had talent, and even in school we knew he was going to be a star,” an old friend of the singer told Pulse.
According to investigations by Pulse, Kiss Daniel was initially signed to a deal worth 5 albums and 7 years. But between 2013 and 2017, that deal had been revised three times. As the singer grew, and his brand worth increased, he demanded for the deal to be updated with more favourable terms.
Contracts and Problems with G-Worldwide
Kiss Daniel’s problems with G-Worldwide started with the success of ‘Woju’. Investigations reveal that after the song began to gain traction early 2015, the singer demanded for an update on his contract. A close source to the singer and his label revealed that Kiss Daniel approached the management of Emperor Geezy for revised contract to reflect his growth in the music industry.
After negotiations between the legal reps of both parties, his terms were updated starting from the first quarter of 2015.
In the initial deal, the singer was entitled to 30% of all the net profits from his performance fees. The record label was investing heavily at this point to ensure his newfound momentum was sustained. The label provided him with a manager, who until his announcement to depart the firm, was named Louiza Williams. Prior to her employment with G-Worldwide, she had found success managing the Port Harcourt star, Waconzy and also another rising artist, JaneyKrest.
Remember in August 2015, news broke that Kiss Daniel despite all the hits, had only collected a paltry salary of N50,000 monthly. The record label denied the reports. This was not true. According to results of investigations by Pulse, at no point was Kiss Daniel given that sum monthly. Everything was guided by the rules of the legal contract.
The new deal signed in 2015 granted him 40% of all performance profits, the label and management get 60% for reinvestment and management. Kiss was also to receive 30% of all non-performance income.
The first revised contract which kicked off in the second quarter of 2015, and it reduced his expected number of albums from five to four. Kiss Daniel under the new deal was required to record, produce and submit four albums to G-Worldwide. In 2016, the deal was updated, which increased his non-performance benefits to 40% and maintained the 40% performance benefits.
At the moment, he has submitted two albums. His first album “New Era” was released in 2016. Originally scheduled to be released on 1 May 2016, the album was however released on May 14, 2016 through G-Worldwide Entertainment. The album contains hit singles ‘Woju’, ‘Laye’, ‘Good time’ and ‘Mama’.
The bulk of the second album tentatively titled “Evolution”, has been recorded, and a 2018 release date has been planned.
Since his breakout single, Kiss Daniel has only collaborated with Davido and Tiwa Savage on the remix of ‘Woju’, which was released in February 2015. The single extended the life of the record, and further expanded Kiss Daniel’s reach in the music industry. Since then, there has been no external collaborations between the singer and external artists. Although in that time, he has repeatedly collaborated with label-mate, Sugarboy.
There has been a huge public outcry over this issue. General opinion states that the label has prevented Kiss Daniel from collaborating with his colleagues, thereby limiting his rise and success in the Nigerian music industry.
In a 2016 interview with Notjustok he said, “I’m signed to a record label and the management for now only allows me to collaborate with in-house artistes DJ Shabsy and Sugarboy. Maybe later I’ll do songs with other artistes but for now it’s out of it.”
The public outcry and criticism got to G-Worldwide, prompting Emperor Geezy to release a statement which explained it.
“We believe as a company that our artists can work hard enough to put themselves in the spotlight without having to leverage on features and collaborations,” Geezy said.
“We understand that this is a risky move but remain convinced that if this can be achieved, we will be able to take credit for having set the pace in the Nigerian music industry. Granted that collaborations in the industry bring colour and variety to the end product, but our approach at this time is to grow stronger and richer in value as a unit.”
Kiss Daniel was never legally bound to not do collaborations. Investigations reveal that the singer was never expressly banned from collaborating. Instead, as part of the company’s code of conduct, he was to get approval from the firm with prospective collaboration opportunities.
According to a former employee who requested that his name be excluded from this story, the plan for the first album was to explore and deploy Kiss Daniel’s solo records. For the second album, “Evolution”, the planned strategy was to re-introduce Kiss Daniel with the collaborations.
Notable names for the second project of 16 songs include Phyno, Olamide, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, Simi, and more. Plans are already in motion for the remix of ‘Sofa’ to have Jamaican star, Kranium on it. Already, the records with Phyno and Olamide have already concluded, with the final versions ready for release.
Our source further said Kiss Daniel is aware of the plans and expressly consented to all of it. The tentative album tracklist has these collaborations as part of it.
After he declared his exit, Kiss Daniel teased a forthcoming collaboration with Wizkid.
Fifty thousand Naira (N50,000) for a month
release from Kiss Daniel’s legal reps, L & A Consults, contains some shocking information. According to the statement, while at the height of his fame and success from 2015, the singer only received a stipend of N30,000 and later N50,000.
“This is the same Label that was paying Kiss Daniel only 30k and later 50k per month for about two years despite Kiss Daniel’s performing at several shows and making millions of naira for the label within the same period!” the statement read. “Yet, Kiss Daniel never create any noise or scandal. How many Nigerian Artist can tolerate for so long what Kiss Daniel has endured without creating any scandal?”
On May 9, 2017, a few days after his 21 birthday, Kiss Daniel lost his father. The G-Worldwide recording artist, who had just returned from a trip to Kenya, where he had gone to shoot a video and also make appearances at some event went into mourning. But according to the lawyers, his grieving was not respected. He was forced to perform and sell his art.
“This is the same label that forced Kiss Daniel to perform few days after his father’s death and while still in the village trying to give his father a befitting burial. They put money first. They insisted he must interrupt his father burial rites and must perform or they will crush him in the industry,” an excerpt of the statement read.
Part of the statement below.
Kiss Daniel did not walk out of his contract. He only terminated it as he is permitted to do under the contract. Is it now a sin for a party to exercise a right expressly conferred on him by law/contract? Is it the fault of Kiss Daniel that the contract has a termination clause that allows Kiss Daniel to terminate the contract? We should bear in mind that the contract was drafted by G-Worldwide Entertainment. Kiss Daniel scrupulously followed the provision of the contract. It is unfortunate that people are mixing this case up with that of other artists running away from a contract they signed. No! This is different. This is a case of an Artist insisting that the contract signed by the parties must be obeyed and enforced. Kiss Daniel is firm believer in rule of law and due process. This was why it was Kiss Daniel that went to court first. People should not confuse a case of properly terminated contract with cases of ill-advised artists who angrily walked out of their contract without following the laid down procedure under their contracts. Kiss Daniel’s case is a well thought out act. It is an exercise of right granted to him by the contract between him and his label. What do people want from Nigerian artist? If they don’t employ lawyers, people criticize them. Now that Kiss Daniel has employed one of the best I.P. law firm in Nigeria with a Professor of I.P. and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), people are still calling him names for acting in accordance with his contract! When Artist don’t obey or assert their rights under their contracts, people abused them, yet the same people are abusing Kiss Daniel for obeying and enforcing the Termination Clause provided in his contract! Na wa o. This is not a Kiss Daniel’s fight alone. This is a fight for all Nigerian artists except we are saying only artists must obey and comply with contract but record label are free to do as they wish?
Finance: Why is G-Worldwide afraid to grant Kiss Daniel unrestricted access to his account and books as provided by the contract? The whole relationship between a record label and an artist is about making money and sharing it. Finance and money is the crux of the matter. G-Worldwide did not sign Kiss Daniel because they love his face. They signed him because they think he can make money for them. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as they play by the rules. The only offence commented by Kiss Daniel was his effrontery/impudence by daring to ask his record label to render account! Kiss Daniel through his lawyer L & A – Legal Consultant appointed a firm of Chartered Accountant to inspect and audit G-Worldwide Entertainments books and account in respect of Kiss Daniel’s project as provided by the contract between the parties. Immediately the request was made, all hell was let loose. Why will a Record Label be afraid to allow their Artist to inspect their books of record? Especially, when the contract between the parties was drafted by the same record label and the contract contains a clause which specifically provided that the Record Label shall keep all accounts and shall allow the Artist or his representative unrestricted access to inspect and make copies of the records. See clause 7 of the contract between the parties which provide;
Kiss Daniel to Kizz Daniel
The young star who was formerly known as Kiss Daniel was involved in a much publicised contract dispute with former record label, G Worldwide, which resulted in a court case has since moved onto his indie platform, Flyboy Inc.
This has seen him embrace a new lease of life as he has been involved in a series of collaborations with fellow artists.
As part of the change in his statues and brand, the singer through his manager Ubi Franklin confirmed that the artist has officially changed his name and will now be addressed as Kizz Daniel.
SOURCE: Too Exclusive/Pulse Nigeria/Entertain Today/Bella Naija/Linda Ikeji Blog