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.

 

 

Advertisements

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!

 

 

.

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.

Dogo Janja’s latest music video: Creative or plain cringy?

Hey!

I know! I know! It’s been quite a while since I posted and much as I would like to use the lame old “I was busy” excuse, I won’t. I should be committed and disciplined enough to write regularly.

That aside, a lot has happened in Africa’s the music scene since I last posted including;  Di’ja giving birth to her second child (can you believe it?), Willy Paul revealed that he had upcoming collaborations with Vanessa Mdee, Harmonize, Ben Pol  and even Morgan Heritage and A.Y married the love of his life.

But that’s not why I’m writing today. Tanzania’s Dogo Janja recently dropped his latest music video, Wayu Wayu and boy has it been stirring some serious controversy!

 

On the video, Dogo plays several roles, which isn’t an issue or anything new, except for the part where he is also his own video vixen. Now this did not sit well with some of his fans, considering he has a wig on,  his face beat for the gods and is dressed as a woman. In an interview, Dogo attributed the video concept to expressing his creative freedom. And you would think that after that explanation people would leave him alone and just enjoy the song, right?….Yeah…not happening. (At least not any time soon)

Think about it though, besides being creative, this could actually be one of the smartest  moves Dogo has made as an artist. The video has been trending in Tanzania since it’s release and everyone is talking about it. Granted, it’s not all positive talk,  but it has created interest and attracted views from people that might have otherwise never known about it’s existence.

One of the most important factors that contribute to success in the creative industry is being different. That’s the only way you get to stand out. It doesn’t matter how talented you are. You have to offer something that no one else in the industry is offering.

I don’t know about you but I’m not mad at Dogo for taking such a huge risk. (Though I don’t know how I would feel about it if i was his wife, but she did his make up herself so who am I to talk…?) We actually need more creatives and especially music artists that will push the boundaries. At the end of the day, it’s not really art if it can’t spark conversations like this.

Let me know on the comments section what you think about the video. Is it creative or plain cringy?

Did Mowzey Radio’s death mark the death of Weasel’s music career?

Radio and Weasel
Goodlyfe Crew- The Late Radio (Left), Weasel (Right) Image source: Web

 

I’m still on that Radiology vibe and I’d like to talk about something that I think many of us have had in mind the minute we learnt about Mowzey Radio’s death. Was he buried along with his Goodlyfe crew partner Weasel’s career? The two have been together for over a decade and while Radio over the recent past before his death was doing a lot of solo projects that music lovers including myself appreciated, there was always a special kind of magic that we experienced when the two worked together. Radio reeled us in through his powerful vocals, while Weasel brought in that dynamic Ragga- Dancehall feel that added umpf to their music.

I have to be honest and admit that I am one of those that thought Weasel’s career had hit a dead end now that Radio is no more. But I have had a change of mind since then. I have been listening to a lot of  Goodlyfe music this past couple of days and realized that I loved their songs not because Radio was on them, but because it was both Radio and Weasel. They were the phenomenal and timeless hits that we knew them for because the duo combined efforts and each brought something unique to the table.

So if you ask me if Weasel has a career ahead of him without Radio, that would be a YES. However,  it will need a lot of re-strategy. Music lovers and particularly Goodlyfe fans have been used to a certain sound for such a long time, with Radio’s voice in it. And while we love Weasel, his is a style that is very niche and one that on his own may lack commercial appeal. Two options; Weasel tones down on the rapping while incorporating more singing into his style (I’m not for this option because it’s more of selling out). The second option, (which is my preferred one) would be to team up with other vocalists (it doesn’t have to be one) for the sake of being able to appeal to the larger masses, as the Goodlyfe Crew did.

Uganda has some of the most talented vocalists that I know from Africa, who would gel well with Weasel’s style including Allan Toniks, Aziz Azion, Michael Ross, and Rabadaba.

It might be hard for people at first to accept the change (whichever strategy he opts for), they might be skeptical about it, especially if Weasel decides to partner with other vocalists. Some may interpret it to mean that Weasel cannot stand on his own as an artist but hard as it may be initially, people will eventually get used to it.

Although Weasel did reveal that he and Radio had songs that could last upto five years from now so hang in there my fellow Mowzey fans. We will still be getting a lot of that “fresh unheard Radio sound”. The Radio might be off but the music keeps playing.

That said, I do wish Weasel nothing but the very best on his new journey. I pray God give him the strength that he needs and that we as Goodlyfe fans continue to support him and shower him with love and encouragement.

 

5 Lessons to learn from the life and death of the late Mowzey Radio.

  1. Every opportunity is a blessing- no matter how big or small it may seem. 

 

Through a TV interview, Radio revealed that he was  a barber when he met Chagga, who was by then working for Jose Chameleon.(He however did switch to manage the Goodlyfe crew until mid last year) ..Chagga would occasionally pass by the shop where Radio worked and the latter would sing for him. Note that Chagga would get his hair cut at a different barber shop other than the one that Mowzey worked at. (And yet still God found a way of making their paths cross!)

Chagga advised Radio to switch from his then English- the likes of R.Kelly inspired style of music,  if at all he wanted to appeal to the local Ugandan audience. With that in mind, Radio took a day and a half to pen down a Luganda song which would be his first, “Jeniffer“. Later on when he saw Chagga,  he sang the song  for him, impressing him and Chagga going ahead to introduce Radio to Chameleon. Upon hearing Radio’s voice, Chameleon told him  to come ready for work the next day, to which he was appointed as Chameleon’s back up singer and driver.  The rest as they say is history.

The older we get, the harder it gets to chase our dreams. Sometimes life happens and we roll with it while shelving those dreams. You might not be where you thought you would be at this time in your life but hang in there, keep working towards your dreams and never give up any opportunity that you get. It might just be a step closer to your dream or even have you meet someone that will take you a step closer to that dream, like Chagga did for Radio.

2. Do the best you can with whatever you can, as long as you can

I know a couple of people that have the most basic of resources that they need to build on their dreams but yet choose to sit back as they wait for the “right time” and perfect conditions to start. News flash- that time is just never going to come and life will never give you the perfect conditions you need to start.

You’ve probably heard that life is too short and if you think it’s cliche then have a look at Radio’s tragic end and tell me if tomorrow’s guaranteed. All you have is today. Make use of it. For someone who died at 35 (unfortunately hitting that 35 mark on his death bed), he sure did achieve more than what the middle aged ordinary person does. It could be that he knew that he did not have much time on his side and made maximum use of whatever time he had breathing  as we have heard, but his legacy at 35 (with over 250 released and 400 written songs) is one that I truly respect and admire.

3. Confidence is everything

If you followed Radio’s career and have watched a couple of his interviews, three things were consistent in all of them. Confidence, charm and a lot of deep knowledge. Sometimes, the confidence came out too strong that it would actually be translated into him being cocky. Truth is, I believed in Mowzey and his talent more because he made me believe in it. He made sentiments that had me convinced to think about him the way he thought about himself and sometimes, even more. Borrow this trait and you will have people thinking you’re the best thing that ever happened to mankind.

4. Part of your legacy is how much you let others share in your gift.

I’m not sure I know an artist from Africa that has helped  and collaborated efforts with fellow artists like Mowzey (and Weasel) did. From the new entrants, to the upcoming, to the well established ones, Radio clearly knew that his gift was meant to be shared, impact others and grow the industry as a whole.

You’d think that for an artist with such a rare and incredible voice that instantly captured an audience’s attention, he would want to work alone and have all the spotlight shine on him. But that wasn’t the case. He knew he’s worth and let others with valuable input to the craft come in and work together for the creation of magic. From Spice Diana, Leila Kayondo, B2C, Ziza Bafana, Allan Toniks to the very well known PJ Powers, Wizkid and Snoop Lion. Is there an artist that Radio hadn’t worked with?

Sometimes we feel like we’re too good to collaborate with others or  or we just don’t want to share in the limelight but yooh! talent is meant to be shared and to bless others, something that Radio clearly understood far too well.

5. Discipline is just as important as talent.

Some of you will hate me for this and think of it as disrespectful to Radio’s legacy but I’m going to speak my truth anyway. Radio was said to be a hot tempered guy that couldn’t hold his liquor and publicly engaged in violence more than once. From throwing a DJ’s laptop into a pool after failing to play Goodlyfe’s tribute song for Ivan Ssemwanga at his vigil, to fighting a traffic cop who arrested him for drunk driving  , to beating up a university student, violence became something that was synonymous with Mowzey.

He was human just like everyone else but Radio’s death was such a senseless kind of death that I  still cannot come to terms with. How can a person that was alive just 2 weeks ago be reported to have engaged in a bar fight, gotten into a comma and then died? How do you make sense of that? The most unfortunate part, he’s not the only one. There are more top Ugandan artists that have been reported to be violent. Heck! Jose Chameleon was fighting at Radio’s vigil.

Forget everything else, if there’s anything at that I would hope would come out of all this is that artists (not just from Uganda) will take away from Radio’s death that discipline and self control are just as important as talent. I hope that they will learn to walk away from situations and people that may provoke them into  a mess that they have nothing to do with. You don’t have to react to everything. Don’t let a pig drag you into a fight in the mud because while you get dirty, the pig will be enjoying itself. And I say this with all due respect to Radio’s memory hoping that we will not have to loose any other talent or even ordinary person in such a a senseless way. That is my prayer.

What other lessons do you think that we can learn from Radio’s life and death?

Drop me a comment below.

 

When it’s time to walk away from that prestigious Sony Music Africa record deal

Happy new week my loved ones!

Unfortunately for me, I’m just not over Radio’s demise. How can the death of someone that you barely even know be so damn painful??…I’m upset, disappointed and broken at the thought of never getting to fully explore that “Radiology potential”. He might have left us with more than enough phenomenal music but it’s just never going to be the same. Mowzey did say that we failed to appreciate the living legends and instead showed love when one was no more. He was right. We did not give him enough credit for his contribution to the music industry and it’s a damn shame. (I’m sorry but this is the only place I get to let out the emotions that I have to deal with following Radio’s death. So please bare with me for the next couple of days, will you?)

 

YCEE
Nigerian Rapper YCEE

 

ION, Nigerian rapper YCEE‘s music label Tinny Entertainment has terminated the artists’s distribution deal with Sony Music Africa .

tinny entertainment

Well, we saw this coming. YCEE was clearly dissatisfied with Sony Music’s Michael Ugwu’s performance as an executive, 10 months into the deal, accusing Ugwu and his team of ripping him off.

I have said this before and I’mma say it again. Think twice and weigh your options before agreeing to a music record deal. I don’t care about it’s potential to take your music career to a whole new level or how badly you think you need it as an artist.  It’s not a life and death kind of situation. It might seem so at first but nothing will take you further than your talent and determination to win. Not even the best music record deal that one could score. Stay woke in these streets people!

Farewell Mowzey Radio!

Mowzey Radio
Mowzey Radio of the Goodlyfe Crew

My heart is shattered into a million pieces! Just about 2 months ago, I was doing my own celebration of 10 years of Radio and Weasel. I was beyond excited to see what more they had to offer the music industry after a decade of nothing but incredible music. And now I have to write about Radio’s sudden demise. Life is funny, huh?

 

I have loved Radio and Weasel since I first heard their song Zuena back in 2008. I’m not even sure how to properly eulogize a legend such as Mowzey. I cannot begin to tell you how much of an influence he has had in my love for urban African music.

Radio was among the very few artists from Africa that I thought were worth listening to back in the early 2000s. He (alongside Weasel) had me learn to appreciate what the continent had to offer in terms of music, at a time when foreign music was the only availed option on mainstream media (and was shoved down our throats- if I’m being honest) .Because of them, I became more open and interested to explore our own music even from other artists from across Africa.

Mowzey had a voice like no other and so much soul in it that always had me blown away. Every time I listened to his music, I was ecstatic about it like it was the first time I had heard it.  I remember sampling Vanessa Mdee’s Scratch My Back from the Money Mondays Album (which features the Goodlyfe) crew and thinking, YES!! This is that untouched novel sound that had me fall in love with Radio and Weasel back in 2008.

When Radio was in hospital, Chameleon had promised to step in for him and perform in his place at all of Goodlyfe’s booked concerts until he was well. Who knows if Weasel and Chameleon will now team up to form a new crew?

PS: Interviewing the Goodlyfe crew was on my list of things to do before I die. I did not know Radio personally, but trust me when I say that I’m greatly pained by his death.

Such a great loss to the African Music Industry,

Rest in Power Legend!