Of music artists is Africa redefining their roles; Wasafi Festival and reality show.

I’m not one to gossip but did you see the drama that was between May D and his baby mama? The fact that they decided to air their dirty laundry in public is one thing, but to have their child caught up in their mess is beyond sad. I just thank Jesus that my childhood was experienced at a time when social media was non- existent.

 

That aside, Tanzanian artists keep raising the bar so high in terms of their approach to music as a business, it might be almost impossible for the rest of East Africa to catch up. A few days ago, Diamond Platnumz called for a press briefing, during which he announced that WCB Family would have a reality show, which will be airing on Wasafi TV.  And not just that, he encouraged other artists with content to bring it forth to the station, concluding that the platform is for them all (Tanzanian artists).

I’m totally against an artist having a reality show. Not that my opinion matters, (you choose your own life at the end of the day) but  none the less, I will share it. As an artist,  you’re already in the public eye and a reality show  strips you off the little privacy you have left. Now this is besides the fact that sometimes, you would feel the need to be a bit extra for the sake of keeping your viewers entertained. Come on, who wants to be perceived as boring?………. However……………I am not mad at the unconventional approach to entertainment that has been taking place in Tanzania’s music industry recently.

In addition to the reality show, at the briefing, Platnumz announced that there would be a “Wasafi Festival”, which is basically an event that would last several days, featuring performances by various Wasafi artists. Now before you dismiss the idea as one that has higher chances of failing than succeeding, music festivals in Tanzania are HUGE. Not only do music lovers pay for tickets and turn up in masses to watch their favorite artists perform, but artists look forward to performing at Fiestas like their life depends on it. Once you perform at a Fiesta in Tanzania, then you as an artist my friend have made it. Why? It’s one of the biggest crowds you will ever perform to in Tanzania, with such diverse crowds, thanks to the tours courtesy of the festival that happens across the country’s various regions.

With the kind of crowd that Platnumz and his crew can pull, I simply cannot wait to see how it all turns out. I have said this before, I will say it again. I hope this is motivation enough for more artists to be the change that they want to see in the music industry. It’s about time music artists see and embrace themselves as not just that, but as all round entertainers.

That’s all for now folks!

Do have yourself a great day ahead! (or night, whenever you will be reading this)

 

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Why you should be paying attention to Vanessa Mdee and Jux’ love story and money making moves.

 

Love and money make the world go round and this is also true for Vanessa Mdee and Jux, who yesterday announced an upcoming self promoted tour dubbed,  “In “Love” and Money”. The “In Love” part is a representation of Jux’ upcoming album  (and of course their love story) and the money part representing Vanessa’s “Money Mondays'” album.

The tour is set to take place as from June 30, around 4 different regions in Tanzania, but this could change depending on the fans’ response. A ticket is set to go for Tsh.3000 advance and Tsh.5000 at the gate. According to Vanessa Mdee and Jux, they as artists have to invest so much into their craft, only for promoters to call them for shows with payment that doesn’t match up to the investment put into the music. They also attributed the idea of having and planning their own concert to getting better sound, locations and stage set ups, which in most times is amiss when planned by promoters who are sometimes only concerned about making money.

V.Money and Jux said that they had tried to get sponsors to promote the shows, to which they failed and therefore started saving up and sponsored themselves. The two artists will be performing alongside other artists including Mdee Music’s Mimi MarsHip Hop heavy weights, Weusi and other local and international artists that will be announced later on.

V.Money also revealed that a new video from the Money Mondays album would be dropped at every region they visited. Others in attendance at the press briefing were Mimi Mars and Weusi’s GNako. The tour will also have some students from Tanzania getting scholarships abroad and women being empowered through V.Money’s “Udada Talks” Initiative.

For the longest time, we have had artists complain about various issues concerning the music industry which hinders growth and I am glad that we are finally having artists stepping up to be the change that they want to see. Only a music artist would best understand what ails the music industry and be able to come up with a solution for it. I love that this is not just a progressive approach to doing music shows, but that it also provides an opportunity for empowerment for the youth, who will be attending.

I really hope that this inspires even more artists to be that change that they want to see in the music industry. It shouldn’t stop here. This should be just but the first step towards the youth across Africa seizing even more opportunities.

Be inspired and have yourself a fantastic weekend ahead!

Music labels in Africa leveling up to their Western counterparts. What is the impact?

 

Landing a music record deal could possibly be one of the most life changing events that could happen to an artist’s career. I have however said this before and I will say it again, it could be a life changing affair for an artist in Africa, but sometimes with more cons than pros. Here’s why. As a continent with a music industry that is still at it’s infant stages when compared to that of the Western world and yet still experiencing  such rapid growth by the minute, we are yet to have proper structures with all considerations in place for our kind of market.

You will find that in the Western world especially with major record labels, artists will  have not just their music taken care of,  but their entire image. This could sometimes have them get personal stylists, make up artists hired for them, houses, cars and even daily use money. On the other hand and to which they could not be faulted, a music label in Africa will in most cases only be able to fund an artist’s creative ventures including recording their music, shooting videos, promotion and distribution of their work.

Seems like times are changing though as Tanzania’s Rap goddess Rosa Ree  (previously signed to The Industry) yesterday announced that she had been signed to South Africa’s Dimo Production Record Label. The 3 year contract came with a house in Tanzania worth USD 175K. And not just that, she got a second house in South Africa, for the times that she will be working there. Talk about landing a good deal.

I’m really excited about the fact that we are finally getting to a point where music labels in Africa can take care of music artists in such a huge way. My only concern is what happens after the 3 year contract is done and either parties involved decides not to renew the contract. What happens to the house then? Does the record label take it back? (Rose Ree was asked about it as well but refused to answer the question). I’m worried that if more artists are able to land this kind of deal some would be unable to keep sustaining themselves and their lifestyles when the deal is done.

I hate to be the Debbie Downer in all this but with the assumption that rewards such as houses would be taken away after contract expiration, it would suck for artists to be unable to sustain themselves. There’s also the risk of such artists running into debt trying to keep up with their “perceived lifestyles” and even possible depression.

What do you think?

 

 

 

Traditional African Music concerts V/S Online Music Concerts

I have such great respect for people that are able to keep their business to themselves but the fact that no one knew that Lola Rae and Tekno were pregnant is beyond me.    I knew they were together but damn! Didn’t know it was that serious. Having a baby must be one of the greatest miracles that one could experience in their lifetime so congratulations are in order. (Lola Rae gave birth last Saturday- just in case you still have no idea what the hell I’m talking about).

 

Now let’s talk concerts. Once again, Wizkid made history on Saturday, at the AfroRepublik Concert in London, with 20, 000 tickets sold out days before the event. I streamed bits of the concert and had an epiphany while I was at it.(We will be getting into that in a few).

I LOVE live music, which is what you mostly get at concerts. Keyword, mostly.  I love getting to experience an artist in their raw form,  their uncensored emotions, passion as they sing and hearing their actual voice without any enhancements. Nothing like it.

Now let me tell you what I don’t like about concerts. I hate having to deal with crowds. I hate trying to figure out who to attend the concerts with because I want someone that will get my vibes, dance and sing out of tune with me, rather than look like they’re too cool for that kind of *isht or be staring at their phone all night long or even worse, be recording the entire concert instead of actually being in the moment. I hate having to think about the “what if’s” such as it rains and then figuring out how to get back home safe.

So let’s get back to my epiphany that was actually from streaming Wizkid’s AfroRepublik concert. Imagine having to enjoy such a performance without the hustle of everything  that I  attributed to my reasons for hating concerts. I’m talking about a thoroughly thought through online concert setup with the right kind of lighting in place, well captured live sounds and a stage that an artist  can comfortably move around on.  It just hit me that it would be more or less like Coke Studio  (nothing is new under the sun) but with artists even having self titled concerts.

And while I know that music artists make a huge percentage of their income from concerts, would you be willing to pay a fraction of what you would have to pay for at an actual concert to watch an artist perform online?

Let me know via the comments section below.

 

Do East African artists deserve to be on BET 2018’s nomination list?

I just realized that this is my first post for the month of May and boy am I embarrassed by my own laziness. Well, laziness and a couple of other personal things but mostly laziness. I apologize for that. I promise to try and do better.

That aside, I hope that you have been doing well since we last spoke. A lot has happened since then, including Vanessa Mdee’s Money Mondays Album setting a new record by being  East Africa’s top selling and most played album, according to Boomplay Tanzania.  I’m really happy for this girl considering the kind of work that she’s been putting into her music.

And the for the very first time in history, wait for it…..

BET-Awards-2018-Best-International-Acts
BET Awards 2018, Best International Act Nominees (Image source: WEB)

*drum rolls*……. the Best International Act Award at this year’s BET awards will be presented on the main stage. Can I get an AMEN?!! I never saw the point of having African artists get an “international award”, at some backstage award “ceremony” that only a handful get to hear about. Probably Wizkid and Fuse ODG‘s way of thinking too because they have previously boycotted the ceremony, citing disregard for African artists and the work that they actually put in to even make it to the nomination’s list of such “International awards”. So this is BEYOND HUGE!

This year’s nominees’ list for the Best International Act category has South Africa’s Cassper Nyovest, Distruction Boyz, Nigeria’s Davido and Tiwa Savage, DR Congo’s Fally Ipupa,UK’s Stormzy, Stefflon Don, J Hus and France’s Booba, Dadju and Niska. Quite the list, huh? Until you’re done scrolling and realize that there wasn’t a single artist from East Africa that actually  made it to the list. Out of all African artists putting out good music,only two from Nigeria and two from South Africa were deemed fit to be on the list. *side eye*

While you might be sitting thinking that this should be motivation enough for East African artists and even those from beyond to put in more work in order to make the list next year, child please! We already have enough artists doing more than enough to fly that East African flag high. And before you actually get me started on “awards aren’t the reason why they do what they do,” vibe, I know I’m not crazy to be all up in my feelings for this.  Have y’all been keeping track of Sauti Sol, Khaligraph Jones, Diamond Platnumz Vanessa Mdee, Eddy  Kenzo‘s music careers? Yooh! We have artists that did not come to play!

But then again this could be that wake up call that we badly need to re-evaluate ourselves as music lovers and begin to appreciate our own artists if no one else will. And even if they do get the recognition that they actually deserve in future at such huge platforms, let us by then already have shown appreciation for their contribution instead of having strangers bring to light the value of our very own.What do you think?

 

 

Of African music artists collaborating with bigger artists. What’s the rush?

Guys….I’m a bit (Ok! extremely if I’m being honest) late on this particular post. However, I feel obliged to talk about Willy Paul, who doesn’t seem too happy with Harmonize, who was featured on his “PiliPili” remix.

 

Through a recent Instagram post, Willy Paul implied that Harmonize  wasn’t being supportive enough of their recent music collaboration.

Just a few days ago, Harmonize dropped his own Kwangaru video that features Diamond . Boy have they both been going ham on promoting it on social media! On the other hand, Harmonize has had just 5 posts on his Instagram page promoting the Willy Paul collaboration, which has ultimately been overshadowed by Kwangaru’s promotion.

Based on the Willy Paul Instagram post, if the collaboration was Harmonize’s way of supporting him, then he ought to have helped in getting word out there about the song, way more than he went out of his way to do.

A while back, I did a post on music artists collaborating with bigger stars for the sake of expanding their horizons. Besides having to pay for such collaborations (unless otherwise agreed), very few “big stars” actually go out of their way to promote such music collaborations. Worse even, very few collaborations of this type make for good music.

I’m not sure if it’s an issue of time, which poses a challenge to the artistes or that the “smaller” artists are intimidated, failing to deliver on their part and sometimes having this rub off on the more established artist. Or perhaps the established artist may not  like some of the elements of the song but doesn’t want to come across as a “know it all” and therefore choosing to remain silent and just doing the damn music.

Maybe I am wrong, maybe I haven’t listened to enough good music but (and this is my opinion, do not come for me) I know just a handful of songs by an upcoming or even established artist featuring a bigger artist with a bigger fan base that was actually genuinely incredible music. I’m talking about music that I actually fell in love with because it was good music with a great concept and even better execution, captivating beats, well thought of lyrics and undeniable chemistry between the artists featured. Now this is contrary to me liking the idea of Davido working with Meek Mill  or trying to convince myself that I like Marry You just because I like Diamond and Ne-Yo as artists.

I agree with Willy Paul in the sense that if a bigger artist agrees to collaborate with a less established artist, then they should commit 100% to it.  They may have been paid for the collaboration and think of it as just a business transaction but if you do not believe in the song that you are to be featured in, you might as well  decline to it. Perhaps even ask for a different song with a different feel by the same artist to be featured in. It makes no sense for one to accept to be  featured in a song that they don’t like and therefore decide not to promote it as much as they would their own song or even a song that they like.

However, Kenya does have our very own gospel singers among others Daddy Owen, Mercy Masika, Eunice Njeri and Mr Vee who are beyond talented. And even if collaborations with secular artists,  which seems to be the route that Willy Paul is now taking, there are among others Khaligraph JonesFena Gitu, King Kaka and MDQ to work with, before moving onto collaborating with artists from neighboring countries.

But then again, who said you need a collaboration with a bigger artist or any other artist for that matter to get your name out there? A good jam is a good jam. No one really cares who sings on it.

What do you think?

Let me know via the comments section below.

 

 

Diamond’s Wasafi TV plays Ali Kiba’s Songs. Is it worth talking about?

Diaamond and Ali Kiba
Left: Diamond Platnumz, Right: Ali Kiba (Image source: WEB)

As you have probably already heard, Diamond Platnumz‘  highly anticipated TV station,  Wasafi finally went on air. While it’s such a great milestone especially for the Tanzanian Music Industry, let’s talk about what apparently seems to be the more “pressing issue”, which is Ali Kiba‘s songs being played on the station.

Now just in case you don’t know, for the longest time, Diamond and Ali Kiba have been considered by their fans,  to be “music rivals”, with each claiming the “King of Bongo Flava” title.

During a recent interview on Tanzania’s Times FM , Diamond Platnumz  talked about his relationship with Ali Kiba, clarifying that they did not have any beef, that they were both cool with each other and that if the opportunity arises, he did not mind working with Ali Kiba. Diamond actually attributed the “alleged beef” between him and his fellow artist to fans, who have constantly pit them against each other, despite each of them having a unique style of music and fanbase. According to him, such pitting has sometimes gotten into their heads, creating a rift, but one that really is baseless. Diamond concluded on the issue by saying that he did not stand to gain from beef with Ali Kiba and vice versa.

Something else that should be noted is that Diamond has time and time again stated that his intention of having a TV station was to provide an equal platform for every Tanzanian artist. It’s therefore beyond me that people are shocked that Ali Kiba’s songs are playing on Wasafi TV. (Petty much!!!)

We have such pressing issues in the African Music Industry as a whole and even tougher unique challenges faced by artists in different countries, it’s absurd how obsessed we are with the trivial. Just towards the end of last year, we had about 13 songs by local artists in Tanzania including Diamond’s Hallelujah , Waka  and Jux’ Uzuri Wako  banned over what was described as them “being obscene”. A clear limit if not kill of creativity. In a recent interview, Diamond made clear that his “A Boy from Tandale” album was launched in Nairobi because he lacked an appropriate venue for the launch to take place in Tanzania.

It’s about time we start having discussions around real issues such as these and trying to figure out possible solutions for an even better musical environment for artists to thrive. Anything other than that is meaningless talk.

I applaud Diamond’s gesture and maturity for providing an equal platform for his “competitor” and hope for other artists to be able to learn from him but come on people! There are far much more pressing issues within Africa’s music Industry that we should be trying to find solutions for.

What do you think?

Happy weekend!

New Music Video Alert: Sheebah Karungi- Beera Nange

If you read my blog then you have probably already figured out that I’m a part of Sheebah Karungi‘s notification gang. Not only is she mad talented but nothing impresses me more than the woman’s consistency. And yes! I have said this a million times before. I honestly don’t even know an artist from Africa that puts out as much music as Sheebah has been doing for the past 3 years or so. And not just audio, but accompanying quality videos for each of them. It’s actually mind blowing. Granted, I might not like every song that she puts out there but if she has released 5 songs in a month, then I will probably like at least two. If there’s anything I pray for not only for myself but also other creatives is that we are committed and persistent in our craft the same way that Sheebah is. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of impact that would have on the creative space.

“Beera Nange” which means “Be with me” is a mellow groovy feel good jam, contrary to what I am used to from Sheebah, which is more of up-beat dance songs. Nonetheless, I do love unpredictability. And is it just me or does the melody through the chorus resemble Bracket’s Me & U, only that Sheebah’s version is slower? The video is colorful and playful, until we get to minute 2:33 where I have  Jazmine Sullivan’s  “Bust the windows”  playing in my head as I watch. And yet still,  I remain entertained to the very end.

I am in love with this jam and will definately be having it on my playlist for a long time. What do you think about it?

Let me know on the comments’ section below.

Ugandan music to the world; Eddy Kenzo win at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards 2018.

The Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards  (KCA) 2018 went down this past Saturday in California and as you probably already know, Uganda‘s Eddy Kenzo bagged the Favorite African Star Award. For those of you that might not know, the KCA is an American children’s award ceremony produced by Nickelodeon .  It honors the year’s biggest TV, movie and music acts as voted by the network’s worldwide viewers. On the Favorite African Star category, Eddy Kenzo was up against DavidoDiamond Platnumz, Emmanuella , Cassper Nyovest and Caster Semenya.

For the longest time, music from Nigeria has been deemed to be the biggest in Africa. In a country like Kenya, Nigerian music is actually bigger than our own music. On the other hand, when you talk about the East African Music Industry, without a doubt Tanzania leads the pack. Don’t even get me started on South Africa because it belongs to a planet of it’s own, one that thriving and self sufficient, African artists from other countries (especially non- Nigerians) only dream about making it there.

Discussions on African music industries that are thriving will mainly revolve around Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Ghana. Rarely do we have Uganda come up in such discussions. Not because the country lacks exceptionally talented artists, but because these artists thrive more within their country’s borders, with language barrier being a huge contributor to this aspect. Which is why I am particularly excited about Eddy Kenzo’s win.

Let me be real for a second. After the nominees for the Favorite African Star category were named, I thought that the award would go to Davido,  if not Diamond,  if not Cassper or Emmanuella. The last person that I actually thought would take home this award was Eddy Kenzo. Don’t get it twisted, I’ve been a HUGE Kenzo fan since the days of Stamina , way back before he even enjoyed the kind of fame that he does now. The huge following across Africa and beyond that the rest of the nominees in the same category command, had me think that Kenzo was at a disadvantage. And then bam! He scoops the award.

It’s like that kid in class that everyone thinks has potential but still does not expect so much from. And then the test results are out and they’re at the top of the class, beating even that kid that has had you believe for years that the number one spot was reserved for them.

It’s a massive win for not only Uganda, but East Africa as a whole. Just goes to show that you can compete at whatever level you want to compete at, even when everyone else seems to have an advantage over you. It really doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from and your circumstance, all you need to thrive is within you. Most importantly though, you are your biggest competitor.

I hope that you are inspired to reach out for your dreams as you set out for the week.

Have a blessed one!

 

 

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New Music Video Alert: Diamond Platnumz ft. Omarion- African Beauty

So they’re two versions to this song’s video; a clean and an explicit. I am yet to see a difference between the two. But then again Wasafi TV will be airing content pretty soon so Diamond can have the video playing on it, just in case it’s banned from other local Tanzanian channels.

Don’t get it twisted though, I absolutely love this song; both the audio and the video. I have to admit that I prefer Diamond singing in Swahili, but this is one flawless jam. The lyrics are catchy, the beats out of this world (despite the fact that I think that they sound more like those of Omarion‘s Distance) and speaking of Omarion, he didn’t come to play. Do I even need to talk about the video quality?

This is indeed part of that African beauty that I’m proud to be associated with!

What do you think about the song?

Let me know on the comments section below.