Image courtesy of the artist.

How Nigeria’s Emerging Acts Are Navigating the Pivot to Virtual Spaces

The pandemic presents a unique challenge for non-mainstream artists who rely on physical engagement with fans, but there may be benefits to adapting to the new normal.

It was the 28th of March, two days before Nigeria's lockdown order would go into effect. The singer Dwin The Stoic was playing a live session on Instagram for the Afrocentric fashion brand Juju, which he represents as a brand-ambassador. The session was a peculiar one for the folk-fusion artist, as he was performing without his instrumentalist, which almost never happened. Instead, he played the instrumentals through his speakers. Dwin remembers watching people popping in on the live session and telling him how happy they were to be a part of the virtual show and this—the quick feedback—made the stress of setting up all by himself, worth it.

He was aware, as the existing COVID-19 information suggested, that live sessions on social media apps, mostly Instagram, would come to be the new normal. They would be the only way to keep in touch with his fans, at least before some degree of physical contact is deemed safe enough to begin again.

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