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Tekno talks about 'Pana', his career-defining earworm

culture
Nigerian artist Tekno (real name Augustine Miles Kelechi) spoke to Billboard about his serendipitous discovery of the beat by Krizbeatz that later became Pana, his career-defining earworm.

Apparently made for someone else, the beat was given to Tekno because it reminded him of his earlier hit Duro.

“I went upstairs and ate the beat up,” he said.

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“The feeling I had when I recorded that? I fell in love with my own song like it wasn’t mine.”

Pana then caught the attention of Imran Majid, senior vice-president of A&R at Columbia, who watched a couple dance to the song on Instagram.

“I heard it, loved the song, flagged it,” he said.

Majid later got his man and has released the record in the US. Tekno, for his part, got an increased following across the Atlantic and a deal with Columbia.

“I found my sound: connecting with the ladies,” he said.

“It’s more love songs now than anything else.”

Despite the success of Pana, Tekno claims 2015’s Duro as his breakout song.

After Duro, he said: “I started travelling heavy, my fee went up, more girls, more attention."

The singer has held onto the method. He has released Diana, Rara and Yawa, all in the Pana mould, though Rara is a more political song that the others.

He has also worked on a similar sound as producer of If, the new single released by Davido, whom he credits for “helping him earn recognition in Nigeria by contributing a verse to Holiday”, an early Tekno tune released in 2013.

Tekno’s habit of sticking to a tried-and-tested formula has been pointed out in a review on Music in Africa as consisting of a “single-word title, funny/silly love lines, goofy dance, propulsive drum-based beat, simple singalong chorus (and) killer hook – all wrapped in a mild Igbo accent”.

Last year, the apparent novelty of his style led to award nominations in categories reserved for newbies, such as the next rated category at the Headies last year.

Considering himself past the category, he responded to the nomination by saying via Instagram: “Next rated after how many years! Let’s be honest pls."

He was eventually disqualified from the award for failing to take part in the “mandatory activities” required by its organisers.

The success of Tekno’s formula has, however, been proven.

Duro was song of the year at last year's edition of the African Muzik Magazine Awards, and Tekno was the winner of the Breakthrough Act at the 2016 MTV Africa Music Awards.

He is due to perform in the SSE Arena in Wembley, London UK, at the One Africa Music Festival on May 13.

The audience can expect him to sing any or all of his love songs.

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