Music Review; Shuga- Mimi Mars

Marianne Mdee popularly referred to as Mimi Mars is a TV presenter at  Tanzania’s TV1 and an MC. This is besides running a web- series titled A Day with Mimi, that gives exclusive access to her life, career and the person that she is. Mimi who is also Vanessa Mdee‘s younger sister is currently signed to the latter’s label, Mdee Music.

“Shuga” which is Mimi’s debut song  is a soulful RNB track produced by HighTable sounds, which is Tanzanian singer Barnaba’s . The audio that is 2 minutes and 58 seconds captures the high that is of being in love without exhausting us with unnecessary details, (considering how love as a topic in music can easily be cliche).

 The beats start of on a mellow note, but picks up as we head to the hook to a faster  danceable tempo, which basically explains how we get into love. It’s all mellow as we start out; we are still getting to know the other person and are uncertain about what to expect, only for it to pick up once we are comfortable with each other. Mimi’s vocals are soulful and richly harmonized, with a convincing tone that would have anyone that cares to listen want to experience the kind of love she is singing about. You can tell that she was aiming for a hit song, with the simple and easily memorable lyrics.

The video was shot in Dar es SalaamTanzania by Hascana who is a leading video director in Tanzania. An outdoor setting by the beach side with the right use of color which besides making the video a pleasant watch compliments the message of love. Mimi’s day make up for the video is subtle, balancing the expressive blonde bob, before transiting to the bold glittered lip with long purple hair that works well with night party life setting. Her different outfits and accessories used for the entire video are chic, expressing her dynamic style and individuality. She certainly has got that star look that would have people interested in her even when she is not releasing music, which is a winning star’s quality.

I personally like the story at the beginning of the song’s video that shows how Mimi and her love interest are concerned and take care of each other, which compliments the song’s message. I would have however preferred to have the personalized story line between her and her love interest progress through the entire video. Probably her noticing her love interest at a corner by himself after a long  day of preparing food for entire party, walking up to him and offering him a massage and food, (I am no music director though). Way better than the party set up that has all these other people unnecessarily whining. (My thoughts though and as I said, I am no music director).

However, as I watched this video,  I could not help but think of Vanessa Mdee’s Closer ( well, not the entire video but conceptually speaking, Mimi has her friends hanging out at night by the beach after which her and her love interest separate themselves for some alone time…see what I mean?).

That said, I absolutely this is a winning song, both the audio and video. The message is  relate able especially if you are or have been in love, you understand what it’s like to care about someone and for them to reciprocate it and the happiness that comes with it all- real Shuga. Plus, it’s a great way to make a debut into the music industry and I will be expecting so much more from Mimi after this high note that she has started on.

I have to say though that the unfair truth is that people are going to be comparing Mimi to her to sister Vanessa Mdee, considering just how much the latter has done in the music industry for the short span that she has been around. Also, because Vanessa is her mentor. Though I also think that Mimi has what it takes to make a name for herself without having to hang onto her sister’s shadow.

What do you think about this particular song?

Drop me a comment below.

Also, if there is any other song you would like me to review, you have my contacts.

 

 

Update your playlist; Latest African Music Videos 2017

Hey!

It’s been a while since I shared the latest African music videos so now that we are almost done with February this would be a perfect time to  have you update your playlist as we start off a new month. (I know! I know! One more day to March but because I can…why not?)These ones are the ones that I am currently obsessing on (videos to be precise…some of these audios I am still not so sure about). Be sure to check them out and then let me know what you think about them.

Yemi Alade, Mi Casa- Get Through This

 

When two power houses such as Yemi and Mi Casa come together you know it’s explosive, which is exactly what this jam is, just in a mellow way and I am perfectly OK with that.

Mimi Mars- Shuga

I will be doing an entire review of this particular song and video so for now, I won’t say much but watch out for that to know what exactly I think about this song.

Rosa Ree- Up in the air

I unfortunately decided to watch this video as soon as it dropped on my phone next to my 10 year old niece and now I just wish I was more patient in life especially because the video is already titled “Explicit”. That said, Tanzania is one of those countries in Africa that has such heavy weight Hip Hop artists that in my opinion are unshakeable but I can tell you for sure that they need to watch out for this girl.(You can quote me)

P.S: Am I the only one who thinks that Rosa Ree is such a soft name for such a hard core   type of artist?

Eddy Kenzo- Jubilation

I love the fact that I could be in the worst of moods but listen to an Eddy Kenzo song and then find myself smiling right after. Also, if you are a Ugandan artist or if you know any, thank this guy for paving the way for you.

Eugy- don Corleone

 

I could listen to Eugy all the day long- always fresh and his voice!….Good Lawd! *sighs*  Plus how good does this video look?…

Maleek Berry- 4 Me

 

There’s something about music producers turned artists that gives them an edge over every other artist out there. Probably because they have an understanding of the different dynamics of music and if you still don’t get I mean, Maleek Berry, Tekno Miles and Nahreel are just a few perfect examples of what I’m talking about.

GNAKO Ft Jux- Go Low

 

Each day, I fall in love more with Luffa ‘s work.This isn’t your average Bongo kind of song and I like an unpredictable tune that keeps things fresh and interesting.

 

 

3 African artists to watch out for in 2017

Happy New Year!

I know! I know! 18 days late but have you heard of Holiday Blues?…as real as hell people. Anyway, I am back now, more energized than ever and ready to get this wheel rolling.

So how about we talk about the 3 artists that you should look out for in the year 2017?

3. Sheebah Karungi

Sheebah (Image courtesy of bigeye.ug)
Sheebah Karungi (Image courtesy of chimpreports.com)

If there’s an artist I know that invested in having as much content out there as possible in 2016, it had to be Sheebah. I might not have liked everything she put out, but it was clear that she had one goal; to ensure that her audience doesn’t forget about her. And now having conquered Uganda, I am hoping that this would be the year where Sheebah starts broadening her horizons because the rest of Africa is certainly ready for her.

2. Patty Monroe

patty-monroe-hf-image-courtesy-of-koolout-co-za
Patty Monroe (Image courtesy of girlzwiki.com)

Patty Monroe has redefined Hip Hop Music, reminding us of the importance of personalized style that has now become almost rare, in Africa’s Music Scene. For this particular reason, you should watch out for her this year as she builds a timeless brand that will keep you interested for the long haul.

1. Nyashinski

nyash-image-courtesy-of-kiss
Nyashinski (Image courtesy of kiss100.com)

You only leave the music scene for about eight years and comeback with an unimaginable bang  if you are Nyash. And just like wine, as he ages (musically speaking), he only gets better. There is noted growth in his sound, song writing skills and creativity and if he keeps it up, he might just overthrow the reigning kings (or has he done that already)?

Which other artists do you think we should look out for in 2017?

 

 

4 African songs that were written for other artists

Have you ever listened to a particular artist’s song and thought that they have such amazing talent but would do much better if they had someone else write their songs for them?..Well, so have I. Truth is, there are two types of artists; those who sing like a bird and those that write exceptionally well- rarely does one get both combined. While the concept of artists writing for others artists is common abroad, with the likes of Ne- YoSia, Pharrel Williams and Gaga being among A-List song writers that have penned down some of the most iconic songs in the world’s history, only a handful of African artists have embraced the idea.So here we go, the very few bold enough artists from the continent that have maximized on other artist’s strength and then combined that with their own, to have a masterpiece.

Mwema & Nikupendeze- Written by Mr. Vee, Performed by Mercy Masika

I have to admit that Mr. Vee is one of the best writers that I know; thanks to  his precise composition with lyrics that are clearly well thought through. A song writer with impact, it is easy to tell that Mr. Vee does not just strive to sound “musically correct” or have a hit,  but have his audience reflect on certain issues, long after listening to his compositions, which rarely happens with today’s modern day artists.

 

Yule dem- Written by Amileena, Performed by Avril

For a song that celebrates the woman and having to think about Avril‘s mark in the music world, her acting skills, role in the world of beauty, she would definitely have anyone believing in the shift in the modern woman’s place in society, showing strength in character and undisputed courage.

Kucheza- Written by Vanessa Mdee, Kly and  The Duo, Perfomed by Mafikizolo

The only song on my list that has been written by more than one artist and yet still, none of which performed this song. Written by Vanessa Mdee, Kly and the Duo, this is as VMoney’s prediction, a SMASH HIT!!! (that had me feeling some typa way and hoping for more collaborations like this around the continent.)

 

Which other songs do you know that have been written for other African artists?…..Do let me know

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latest African Jams, 2016

Hey There!

Just before we say good bye to November and hello to December aka the festive season (you have no idea how excited I am for that), I thought I could get you up to speed with the latest African Jams. Because if I don’t, who will?….Without further ado, here is the list.

P.S: The list is too long for me to give my opinion about each of the songs.So how about you check them out then let me know via the comments section or my social media pages which songs you are feeling and which ones you ain’t.Sounds good?…Here we go..

Micasa Sucasa- Khaligraph Jones Ft. Cashy

If you follow my blog you know that I am not a Hip Hop head. But I do know when I listen to good music and this one, is one of those.

 

Omutima- AllanToniks

 

U don’t know- Justine Skye Ft. Wizkid

 

Masheesha-  H_Art The  Band Ft Bensoul

 

Coolest Kid in Africa- Davido Ft. Nasty C

 

Usiende- Gilad & Wendy

 

Muziki- Darassa Ft. Ben Pol

This has got to be one of the illest beats dropped in 2016, and rightfully so. Besides the song being produced by  not one but 3 top Tanzanian producers, ask any girl, Darassa’s voice is the isht!- all day, everyday.

Kcee Ft. Tekno- Tender

 

Vivian Ft. Jose Chameleon- Charm

 

Rich Mavoko Ft. Diamond Platnumz- Kokoro

 

Biko- Lola Rae Ft. Davido

Have you read the YouTube comments on this video?….. So Lola Rae is accused of over using auto tune. However, if you have listened to this girl’s voice as she talks, then you know that she does have a naturally auto- tuned voice (seriously).  Now allow me to love this song in peace…

Love You- Elani

 

Dume Suruali- MwanaFA Ft. Vanessa Mdee

 

It’s about time we had a phenomenal collaboration like this, (Keep ’em coming Vanessa, keep ’em coming). But for real though, are there girls who insult men right on the face because they are financially challenged?……..Lol! Whatever happened to good old love?..I however have to admit that  MwanaFA’s  clap- back got me good…(Nihonge na nunua nini, kwanini yaani, kuna kipi nisicho kijua, ina TV ndani?)…Jamani! I will leave it here.

For my non-Swahili speaking audience; (Why would I bribe, what am I buying and why would I, is there anything that I don’t know? Does it have a TV set inside)….(Ok, I’mma need you to hit up my social media pages for a full translation of what the song means)

Do like that- Korede Bello

 

Feel Good- Navy Kenzo Ft. Wilad

 

Upon Me- Kiss Daniel Ft. Sugarboy

 

Sowemo- Di’ja

 

Also, stalk me on Snap- gram. If I am lip syncing any of these songs, then you know it’s a HIT!

The latest African songs you should be sampling

Hey Loves!

First things first, Happy New Month, hope you are loving October already. As for me well…I couldn’t be more thankful for life. Down to business and I thought I could fill you in on the latest African Jams that have just dropped and then you get to decide which ones we spin and which ones we bin.

Feza Kezzy- Walete

Most Tanzanian artists have recently been opting to have South African directors working on their music videos. However, watching Hascana’s input to this particular video might just be that hmmmh moment when artists can finally entrust local video directors with  their music videos. And am I the only one who thinks Feza Kessy looks like Jacqueline Wolper especially when they are both rocking a short blonde hair do?

Gbagbe Oshi- Davido

FINALLY! His record label allowed him to release a video. (Don’t sign record deals with International Companies people- It’s a trap) .That said, it’s good to have Davido back and active in the music industry and thankfully, he is still on top of his game (musically speaking)

Lady Jaydee- Sawa Na Wao

If there’s anything I love about Jaydee is that she has remained consistent and yet futuristic enough to evolve with the times and compete with emerging artists in a competitive industry.

Patoranking/ Phyno- Money

With the number of collaborations that Patoranking has been doing in the past year or so, it’s hard to imagine what a song that he does all alone would sound like. All the same, Patoranking never disappoints so I really can’t fault him for that.

Baraka Da Prince & Ali Kiba- Nisamehe

Ali Kiba does seem set on collaborating with up- coming stars, providing them a plat form for growth, which is rather rare in the music industry. But maybe other artists could learn from Kiba and pick up the same?..just maybe?

Stonebwoy- Problem

He might be a “Dance Hall King”, but Stonebwoy surely knows how to tune his music in a way that will attract even an audience that may not necessarily like this genre of music.

So which of these songs are you feeling and which ones are you not?… Also, do tell why you like or do not like them.

P.S: I was thinking I could do this more regularly (that is, share the latest African Jams with you), perhaps every Monday or new month, (not decided yet). But would you like that?…Do let me know.

Have a blessed week ahead!

TOP THREE MUST HAVE SONGS ON YOUR PLAYLIST THIS WEEK

Every two weeks, I update my playlist. I know! I know! People do more mature things like listing down goals and strategies of how to get there. I do that too, but listen….life can be hard, and you do need good music to get you through it. Avoid boring yourself to death by listening to the same songs over and over again, by adding this top three must have tunes to your playlist. (You’re welcome)

  1. Gudi Gudi- Evalast, Naiboi and Kristoff

 

Never have I heard such corny lyrics that are equally amusing. Think about it…Cheki mwanaume nimekula sembe, juu mpaka chini nikona zigwembe. (So sorry to my non Swahili/Slang speaking folks, this one is quite hard to translate and would only make sense if you are Kenyan).

Kwa keja yetu viti zina makitambaa, na mother hatakangi niletee wasichana, so baby twende tupitie routi panya.

Il stop myself before I end up writing the entire lyrics to the song, but before I do, get your dancing shoes on…ain’t no better way to enjoy this one.

  1. Wivu- Jux

 

Confession…I am a hopeless romantic. The type that will put up with a series that I may not necessarily like until the final episode when an acting couple that was fighting finally gets back together. Anything on romance does it for me and if you love yourself some laid back RnB, then this is definitely it.

3. Bad- Tiwa Savage and Wizkid

 

I feel so  “BAD” every time I listen to this song and want to drive around town in a classic Volkswagen with music pumped all the way up.  Very few songs have the ability to take you to a whole new world as you listen to them and for that particular reason, this is a must have.

 

Black Coffee’s win was more about having the best songs as opposed to hit songs; Rapper Fid Q weighs in.

BET 2016  Best International Act Africa Nominees (Image courtesy of genevieveng.com)
BET 2016 Best International Act Africa Awards Nominees (Image courtesy of genevieveng.com)

Yes!Yes! I know that the 2016 BET Awards are long gone but just one more conversation to go. So while we all thought that the Best International Act award would be bagged by Wizkid, considering how big a brand he has become..(with his recent collaboration with Tinie Tempah, tour with Chris Brown,  topping UK charts along with Drake for 11 straight weeks…what were these people looking for?….seriously), life slapped us right in the face with one among its many surprises and instead had Black Coffee scoop the award.

Whether you knew Black Coffee or not prior to the BET nomination, Tanzanian Rapper Fid Q during a recent interview had the records set straight as to why the South African DJ won over every other nominee under the same category (that for some reason seemed way popular than him).

According to  Fid Q, most people expected big wigs Wizkid, Diamond or AKA to bring  the title home but  these expectations were not met due to the difference between  having “hit songs” and “best songs”, a concept that most artists rarely think about.

Fid Q pointed out that most award ceremonies focus to reward artists with the best songs as opposed to hit songs. The rapper also went ahead to explain that Black Coffee may not be well known due to his unique style of music  that would rarely pass for “hit songs”, but that the South African star receives wider recognition than it may seem like it, getting heavy rotation in South African Clubs as well as other parts of the world.

Truth be told, I hadn’t really thought much about what Fid Q said until he did and then I had to start thinking if at all our modern artists have any best songs. (Because at the end of the day, you want a song that will be in high rotation and have everyone talking about you….which unfortunately means a hit song would work more as compared to a best song)

So what exactly is the difference between a hit song and a best song?…(*clears throat*)… According to Wikipedia, a hit song is a recorded single that is popular, gets repeated air play and makes it to an official music chart. Most hit songs are seasonal, getting an audience excited for a short period such as a month or two, after which they get phased out. On the other hand, a best song is a timeless song carefully thought through and put together with great structure, creativity and with the ability to impact. A good example of a hit song could be Koo Koo by Elani, while a best song that wasn’t  necessarily a hit song is Hapo Zamani (I use the same band so that it make more sense).

Is it possible to merge the two?…(i.e.  To have a best song that can pass for a hit song?)…I am not an artist (do not quote me) but I think that it is. You just have to be creative enough and ensure that you meet your target audience’s demands.

What do you think?…..Do you agree with Fid Q or not?

 

The Business of Artist Management

Wanjiku Kimani is an artist manager under RedRepulik managing some of Kenya’s top artists;  the Kansoul, Timmy Tdat, Majik Mike and Ndegz. Previously an events manager at Bernsoft Interactive Limited, she was approached by Madtraxx to manage his music career for a year, after which he was to review her performance and decide whether to keep her or not. Wanjiku has since proved efficient, signing various artists under her label and even employing other artist managers, to help manage her fast growing brand. She shares her experience as an artist manager.

Janet Wanjiku Kimani (Image courtesy of nairobiwire.com)
Wanjiku Kimani (Image courtesy of smartkenya.co.uk)

What’s a typical day like for you?

I am at the office from 9 AM to 5 PM. If my artists have shows or appearances to make, I have to work through the night. My day to day job is mainly publicity. Different days, different artists, getting to know them better and where they see their brand. My work is to ensure that they prosper in their careers and to implement strategies based on where my artists see themselves. My artists give me their vision, I execute it.

Creating a balance between what and artist wants and what is right for them…

We work as a team along with other artist managers under my label.  We always have an opinion poll that we use to take a vote before we decide to work on something. The artist’s opinion counts but their main focus is on making good music and giving their audience good performances while on stage.  Decision making depending on the artist’s vision therefore largely lies on artist managers, who are more concerned about the business aspect of an artist’s career.

Challenges experienced as an artist manager….

Being in a male dominated industry as a female, promoters will sometimes only give you a chance because you are a woman and they want something from you in return. Secondly, my artists rightfully have egos, which I have to know how to manage in a way that will not bruise them. It is also quite a challenge to maintain a professional relationship with them, considering that they were my friends first and should remain to be my friends for a better working relationship, but then again to ensure that business remains to be business.

Changes you would like to see in Artist Management as a profession in Kenya….

It is about time that artist management is treated with the seriousness it deserves. Had I taken a course on artist management or had someone in the industry mentor me, I would have taken my artists further. Unfortunately, we do not have any institutions in the country training artist managers, meaning you have to learn on the job which is costly, both for you as an artist manager and for your artist.

If an up- coming artist wants you to manage them, what are the requirements?

There are no requirements really; all I need to see is your effort and determination, that’s it. Everything else, we can work on it together.

On payment; monthly salary or commission..

I was initially paid on a monthly basis but that was not very sustainable. I am now paid on commission basis. I am therefore ever on my toes to ensure that I have food on my table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The end of a phenomenal Hip Hop Era

keko
Ugandan Rapper Keko (Image Courtesy of http://www.billboard306.com)

Hear that? (Yeah!…The sound of my heart breaking) after learning that Keko was done  recording music. Just how does one among the best Femcees Africa has ever had quit music  few years into the game?..There go my dreams of her collaboration with STL..and..wait for it, AKA. It may take me the longest time to stop yearning for more of this musical geniuses prowess.  Meanwhile, I will seize this opportunity to high light what I thought were the most outstanding achievements of Keko during her five years (or so) in the music industry.

Venturing into a male dominated industry

It’s one thing to be bold enough to venture into the unknown, its another to be so good that you take over and make everything else seem like child play. Keko has constantly proven to be amongst the  best rappers of Uganda, raising the standards of a previously unrecognized sector of the industry and putting her country’s music on a global map,  something that very few Ugandan artists have managed to do.

Signing with Sony Music

Tell me how many  African artists  have managed to get a record deal with a music label that manages top international artists such as Alicia Keys, Pink, Usher and Christina Aguilera? Still trying to think of someone? Well..Keko was one amongst thousands of artists to have Sony Music Label believe in her great talent and invest in her brand. (Now that’s how you know you are an A- List artist)

Awards

Keko has received recognition for her music through various awards including the Pearl of Africa Music Awards; Best Hip Hop Act of 2011, Buzz Award Winner; Best Female artist in three consecutive years, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and the most notable 2011 Channel O Most Gifted East African Video.

Talent

Keko is one amongst the very few artists with sick bars and can sing too.I know..SUPER WOMAN. But yes, diversity never gets old. People appreciate good music and great talent, just don’t serve them with the same food that they like over and over again, which they  eventually are guaranteed to get tired of. Keko had already figured this out and every meal (musically speaking) was different.

I leave you with one among my favorite songs from Keko.