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.

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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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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!

Sauti Sol serving some amazing #AfrikanSauce.

Allow me to officially wish you a happy 2018. It’s been extremely chaotic on my side. Transitioning from the holidays and trying to settle into the new year, laying out my goals and strategies on how to achieve them, dang! I wasn’t ready for this one. Or it wasn’t ready for me!…Yeah! That’s more like it now that I think about it. What I’m trying to say is that the planning stage of everything that you do is just as important as the execution stage, so plan like your life depends on it. No matter how long and how much of your energy it takes up. That said, I’m back here like I never left and I hope that you can stick with me to the very end and me with you.

 

 

Sauti Sol are back at it again, this time with a collaboration with Nigeria’s Tiwa Savage. This is their second video (after Melanin that featured Patoranking)  off their forthcoming collaborations LP, #AfrikanSauce. (A continuation of the Live and Die in Afrika theme). The song was produced by Maleek Berry  and co-written by Kenya’s Fena Gitu.

Nothing stands out to me about this LP like the role that it plays in bringing together various creatives across the spectra. Talk about Nviiri Sande, a Kenyan artist that I did not know about until Melanin, which he co-wrote, Brian Babu who styled Sauti Sol and Jekwuthestylist, who was in charge of Patoranking’s look. And of course Olusegun Adepoju & Yinka Sholola of Capital Dream Pictures.

This is definitely going to be a project that will provide such a huge platform for creatives across Africa, while selling the continent to the world through music, fashion, our beautiful women, our lifestyle. Just everything that is there to be loved about the continent. Buckle up because it is going to be an exciting ride.

 

 

 

Of African artists paying for music collaborations with international stars; Diamond shares his experience

You’ve probably heard that artists pay for collaborations, especially when it’s an upcoming artist (or even one that’s trying to widen their fan base), collaborating with an already established artist. This is because of the value added to a song with the already established artist, who also brings in their wide fan base, adding exposure to the song. What an artist will be paid for a collaboration is dependent on them and how they negotiate for it, but it’s some good money for sure. Now when it’s an African artist collaborating with an international star, the figures could even run into millions. Case in point,it’s alleged that M.I Abaga paid $50, 000 to Nas, for him to deliver a verse (just a verse, not two) on his song.

 

However, during an interview with Dizzim Online, Diamond revealed that he hasn’t paid for any of his collaborations with artists from the U.S. This includes Ne-Yo, Rick Ross  (which is yet to be released officially) and Omarion, (we are also still waiting on this one to drop).

I’ve seen such big stars jumping on a track by a less known artist or even an artist that is already popular but trying to widen their fan base. I have to be real, most are not always the best of works from either of the artists. Most are mere business transactions, where an artist was paid for a collaboration and just has to deliver for the sake of avoiding a lawsuit.

I want to be real for a minute. I loved PSquare. I admired their contribution to Nigeria’s Music industry. However, I wasn’t such a fan of their collaboration with Rick Ross. Not that it was a whack song, some people loved it, but I felt that they had done better songs on their own, just like Rick Ross has as well. I might be wrong, but that’s my honest opinion.

From Diamond, I think we should learn to build our own brands for ourselves, to a point where other artists are able to appreciate our work and even want to work with us at no cost.

Collaborations should be a smart move with intention. I watched an interview on Vanessa Mdee (can’t really remember on which platform), on which she says that she does not charge for international interviews conventionally, but instead has an agreement with an artist to earn royalties for the collaboration.

I hope for a music industry that will not just have artists collaborating for the sake of being associated with big names, but because of adding value to what they already have to offer the music industry.

 

The importance of being an educated artist according to Alikiba

Ali_kiba
Tanzanian artist; Alikiba

According to Alikiba, the knowledge gained over the years by an artist through education is important in determining the content of their music, as revealed during a recent interview.

“As an artist, when you actively engage your mind when creating music, you can come up with better and well thought of ideas. Forget about artists who sing only because they are talented, but with nothing really other than that to offer society. Education is very important in every aspect of life, “he said.

He went ahead to add that when an artist is well informed, they are able to think more critically when coming up with music ideas, which also reflects on their audiences as they listen to their music. This audience according to Alikiba can tell the difference between an artist that actively engages their mind when coming up with content and those that do not.

I agree with Alikiba on education as an important resource for an artist. I however think being “schooled” shouldn’t necessarily be through formal training. Perhaps “informed” would be a better word to use. An artist’s creative ability is expanded when they are well informed. It could be through reading or even being exposed to different perspectives other than their own, by learning about different beliefs and cultures. That I think would help an artist that may sing about an exhausted topic such as love, but with a fresh perspective that their audience may not have necessarily been exposed to before.

Of African music artists helping each other

They may have wanted to have held Skales for ransom for being young and handsome, but definitely not for being rich. At least not during the time when he was doing the video to “Shake Body”. Just in case you live under a rock, this is the video I am talking about….

 

Through a Twitter post, Skales revealed;

This broke period was in 2014, after Skales was let go from EME records due to creative differences between the two parties (he and EME records).

It’s amazing that Skales still acknowledges what Olamide did for him, 3 years on. Very few people actually remember those that help them on their way up. But what’s even more amazing is Olamide’s going the extra mile to actually help, without having anything to gain from it. By that I mean, you would think that he would want to pay for the music video if was featured on the song.

For some weird reason, some of us fail to help others not because it’s beyond us, but because we are afraid that they will eventually beat us at our own game and end up being more successful than we are.

The world would be such a better place if we could all help each other out. But let me narrow it down even more. Imagine an African music industry that would have party players all lifting each other up. It doesn’t have to be in terms of money, it could just be sharing knowledge with someone that is just starting out, providing mentor-ship, being a link between an artist and someone else that could help them get a step closer towards their dream. But not just that, have people that do it because they can and not for the world to see and start talking about how “nice”of they person are.

I hope that in whatever way you can, you will be sunshine to someone out there today.

 

 

5 Lessons to learn from the Creme de la Creme of Kenya’s Entertainment Industry

How-to-flourish-in-the-entertainment-industry-in-Kenya-right-from-scratch
Picture source: Web

 

Last night, Kenyans were treated to one of the most insightful conversations about the entertainment industry in the country, with the Creme de la Creme of the industry. This was on KTN News‘ Bottom Line, hosted by Yusuf Ibrahim. On the panel was Dan Aceda -one of Kenya’s most respected music artists, Sauti Sol‘s manager Marek Fuchs and Laugh Industry‘s Kennedy Waudo.

I took a few notes on what I thought were meaningful lessons worth sharing, especially with music artists.

  1. Music artists need to have a clear business sense of their art in order to be able survive in the industry. Treat music like you would any other type of business you immerse yourself in.
  2. There’s a great opportunity for Kenyan artists to create a unique edge by incorporating our classic Kenyan sounds.
  3. You cannot penetrate an external market such as Nigeria by trying to do what their artists are doing already. Your success in that foreign market is impossible without essential roots, which for your case is the Kenyan culture.
  4. We need more competition in the music industry. That way, people are motivated and challenged enough creatively. So even when it’s that Hip Hop beef between Femi One and Njeri, if that’s what it takes to have artists putting in all that they have for great content that will have them emerge as winners, then so be it. (I’m not sure if I agree on this one though)
  5. In this day and age, you can’t just be an artist. You need to be an all round entertainer. Build that with social media, your performances and general lifestyle.

 

Beyond anything else, aim to satisfy your audience, to a point that they yearn to see more of you. That way, you can negotiate for higher rates. I really hope that this is a first of such conversations and that we can bring in more stake holders for an all rounded conversation that will lead to industry growth.