The Uncaged Journey of Agbutun: Carving Out a Niche in Nigeria’s Music Scene


The Nigerian music industry has evolved significantly, with independent artists finding new ways to sell their music and stay connected to their loyal fans. Thanks to the internet and streaming platforms, artists no longer rely on radio or TV stations for exposure. However, the market is really oversaturated, presenting artists with the daunting task of standing out in an environment where thousands of songs are released daily. Agbutun is one such artist. An Afro-soul and folk musician from Nigeria’s Middle Belt Region, he has cultivated a devoted fan base across Nigeria, especially in Plateau, Nassarawa, and the Federal Capital Territory. While his music might not dominate mainstream radio, Agbutun has built a dedicated following through intimate, soul-stirring performances that often move listeners to tears.

Last December, he released his EP “Uncaged,” which was quickly followed by a tour in Jos and Abuja. These intimate performances, held at exclusive venues with limited tickets, allowed him to connect deeply with his fans. Agbutun’s journey exemplifies the power of authenticity in a rapidly changing industry, a theme he eloquently shares in his story.


Agbutun’s journey as an artist involves introspection and a relentless quest for authenticity. “It’s been a long time coming, filled with trials and errors, mistakes and risks,” he reflects. “However, all of these experiences have been in pursuit of finding myself, which I believe is one of the greatest blessings any artist can receive: ‘finding yourself or your sound.”

This pursuit of a unique sound took some time.  “This new sound I have nurtured for the past 3-4 years has needed time to manifest. I’ve always wanted to do more than sing with a beautiful voice; I’ve yearned to express and share my soul in the deepest and most relatable manner. The first conviction I had to follow the path of ‘carving my niche’ came during my time on Nigerian Idol Season 6.” Amidst the sea of contestants, a pivotal moment occurred when Agbutun asked himself, “What is the sound you’re supposed to be sharing with the world?” This introspection led to a radical transformation, culminating in a style that blends contemporary African folk and soul music, sung in his local dialect, Eggon. With the guidance of mentors Doug Kaze and Eric Limani, Agbutun’s distinct sound was born.

The Vision Behind the “Uncaged Tour”

Agbutun’s “Uncaged Tour” was a sequel to his journey of self-discovery, inspired by his EP “Uncaged,” released at the end of 2023. The tour aimed to create an intimate experience for his audience, allowing them to connect with his music on a deeply personal level. “Uncaged is, simply put, an experience of liberation at every level where there is a perceived need for freedom, with music as the catalyst,” Agbutun explains.

For this reason, the tour took an unconventional format with the setup and performances. To achieve this, he toured with minimal equipment—just his guitar and a dancer—and chose small venues that allowed for close, personal interactions with his fans. “The idea is to ‘set ourselves free,” he says. “I wanted people to feel the real me, to share from the well of my soul in an unfiltered manner.”

Tour Experience and Memorable Moments

The “Uncaged Tour” saw Agbutun performing in cities like Jos and Abuja, where he filled small venues and gave his fans an intimate experience. “Our choice of venues was driven by the heart of the tour: ‘up close and personal,’” he notes. The tour’s reception was overwhelmingly positive, with audiences embracing his music and the personal connection he offered. “Every venue had its unique characteristics, and the reception was beautiful,” he recalls. “Watching them sing along and enjoy the moment has been one of my most memorable experiences.”

One particularly memorable moment occurred in Jos, where Agbutun planned for 50 attendees but performed to over 100 passionate fans. “The energy in that room was incredible,” he remembers. “The thing about connection is that it can’t be faked. All I did was express my heart honestly, and I simply wanted to share my music with people. Seeing so many people connect with my music on such a personal level was deeply moving.”

Agbutun with some fans after his tour stop in Jos. (Credit Gil Dachomo)

Challenges and Overcoming Obstacles

As an independent artist, Agbutun faced significant challenges, particularly in securing funding for the tour. “Financing a tour of this scale proved to be a daunting task,” he admits. Despite personally investing over N1,000,000, financial deficits led to a temporary pause in the tour. Agbutun forged strategic partnerships to overcome these hurdles and adopted a lean approach to logistics and production. Merchandise sales also played a crucial role in funding the tour.

“One strategy involved forging strategic partnerships with individuals and organizations within the music and entertainment industry,” he explains. “These partnerships helped alleviate some of the financial burden by providing access to discounted services, equipment, and venues.”

Staying Connected to His Fans

Agbutun’s ability to build and maintain a loyal fan base stems from his focus on creating personalized experiences for his supporters. “I strive to make each interaction with my fans memorable and meaningful,” he says. Despite taking a social media break, he has leveraged digital platforms to share behind-the-scenes glimpses into his life and connect with his audience. This transparency has helped foster a community of like-minded individuals passionate about his music.

He advises emerging artists to focus on authenticity and connection. “We don’t all have to top the charts, but we all have to make an impact,” he says. “Share your soul with the world. Don’t be afraid to stand out; the world secretly craves uniqueness.”

For most of his career, Agbutun has always entertained his fans in small, intimate gatherings

Creating Niches and Communities

Agbutun believes that independent artists in Nigeria can create and sustain niches and communities by focusing on connecting deeply with a smaller, more engaged audience. “Rather than aiming for mass appeal, we are focusing on connecting deeply with a smaller, more engaged audience, often referred to as the ‘10% or less’ of super fans who are genuinely passionate about our work,” he says. This approach forms the heart of the agenda he and his collaborators are trying to achieve through initiatives like Soul Folk & Chill.

In 2021, Agbutun partnered with Doug Kaze and Eric Limani to host Soul, Folk and Chill. They have been consistent over the years

“Building a sustainable niche and community begins with understanding this dedicated fan base’s unique preferences, tastes, and interests,” he explains. “By providing personalized and immersive experiences, I’ve strengthened the bond with my community and fostered a sense of belonging and loyalty.”

Leveraging digital platforms and social media channels is also instrumental in reaching and engaging niche audiences. “Independent artists need to find a way to use platforms like TikTok, Instagram, X, Facebook, and YouTube to share their content, interact directly with fans, and cultivate an online community around their music. It works!”

Looking Ahead

Agbutun’s aspirations extend beyond Nigeria. He dreams of taking his music global and is exploring avenues for sync licensing and advocating for social justice through his art. “There’s so much I aspire to achieve with and through my music,” he says, “and I’m hopeful that, with the grace of God, I’ll be able to leverage it to make a tangible and meaningful impact on my society and the younger generation.”

He advises emerging artists: “Make more art and less content; this will alleviate unnecessary pressure. Trust in God and trust in the process. Success may come after ten years of hard work for some, while for others, it may take every day of a lifetime. Don’t measure your impact by numbers; gauge it by the testimonies you receive. You may have been sent to this earth to reach just a handful of people, but those individuals should receive an overdose of the message you have for them. When you stay true to yourself, your tribe will inevitably find you. So, trust in the process and keep moving forward.”

Connect with Agbutun

To follow Agbutun’s journey and experience his music, search for “AGBUTUN” on social media or your favourite music streaming platform. You can also reach out via email at

Agbutun’s story powerfully reminds us that authenticity, resilience, and a deep connection with one’s audience can pave the way for success, even in the face of challenges.

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