WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE ZAMBIAN MUSIC INDUSTRY?

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Hello everyone, long time no blogging, but izzz okay I am back for now. Thanks to all of you that have kicked me out of the comfort zone. It is because of you that I keep going. Recently I have been carried away by lots of things. Some of you already know that I got elected union president for my university so you can only imagine the kind of pressure I am going through. I think after this post, I still have two more posts before we wrap up this year.

So this week twitter has been blazing with enormous pettiness, but thankfully not entirely. There has been attempts to air solutions to the Zambian Music Industry stagnation. I think stagnation for lack of a better description. Also there was extreme bashing of the industry, So I decided to do a post yet again about the Zed music industry.

I guess everything stemmed from the FILL UP FNB STADIUM tour by Cassper Nyovest where 68000 people in South Africa showed up for a concert not to see Chris Brown. Cassper is getting a reputation for doing this sort of thing, as he previously filled the dome. He was congratulated by so many of his fellow musicians who do admit the 28 year old has really shifted the level to greater heights.

So the aftermath of this historical occurrence among some Zambians on twitter was how it is that none of our artists ever came close to such a milestone, how it is that we are lagging behind compared to other African countries. First of all, I wish to state that comparison is the thief of joy. We can’t suddenly wish our own artists or demand them to do something that took years to build. Because Cassper filled a stadium doesn’t necessarily mean Chefy or Jay Rox should accept a challenge.  Secondly, Cassper should not set the trend for our artists.

What I think we should do is accept that our industry is an infant for now and if we keep comparing it to The Nigerian or South African ones, we may only end up disrespecting the very artists that make us dance every Friday night at the Lounge. We can’t overlook the potential that has recently resurfaced in Zambia. Have you seen Dizmo? Lol! The future is bright. We should give it more time and the system will resolve itself. I truly doubt if anything will suddenly change, maybe two or more generations to come and we could be there. I am the most optimistic person so trust me, i am only being realistic.

You know I wish I could take my own advice, but it is kinda hard because  every  day  I am on YouTube, I see a new immaculate video from maybe Diamond, Run Town or Tekno and involuntarily I am craving and demanding  to see a similar video by a Zambian.  I guess it is what fuels our anger when we wish our own people could be that good and they kind of aren’t. I guess the frustration isn’t entirely aimed at pissing off our musicians, but to actually push them to do better. It is so upsetting to see many African musicians making global musical history and none of ours is on the  list. We can justify our comparison as some level of nationalism.

So what is really wrong with our industry?

  1. THE INDUSTRY LACKS A FINANCIAL MUSCLE. Trust me, if a tremendous amount of money was injected into it, a huge difference would be made. Musicians don’t have enough money to do incredible videos. They lack sponsors and most importantly themselves are not wiling to invest their own money into the craft. If they keep waiting for sponsors, they will wait forever.  Anyway, what they do isn’t considered very valuable and so how do we expect them to make a living or rather be competitive? Very few people are willing to pay for albums or pay for shows over K100.
  2. POOR PLANNING, MARKETING. How many management agencies do we have in Zambia? Do we have real music promoters with actual contacts to the outside world? Anyway, before we go to the outside world, how well do our artists market themselves locally? Some artists are only famous in Lusaka. There are some songs that you will only hear in Mufulira and nowhere else in Zambia. Most artists just release a song and hope it blows, not realizing investing in marketing would make such a difference. This is why so many good songs remain underground.  After the song is done, the best most do is throw it on on one of the music blogs hoping, accidentally, it will be downloaded by thousands and become a country hit. what are the odds? Artists also fail to brand themselves. How will your fans respect you when they dress better than you? How will they respect you when you drink from the same spot as them? Artists fail to create themselves into a symbol of public admiration.
  3. THE INDUSTRY ISN’T AN OPEN MARKET. In one way or the other, I feel our industry is regulated, not by the government, but by the players themselves. Radio DJs already know whose new song they will play for free. What about the population of poor underground artists? If our industry was truly a free market, so many artists would have made it to the top and replaced the Mugabes. For years now, the top artists continue to be the same. Is it because they are truly the best? How many new artists have come through in the US since 2010?  Look at how many new Nigerian artists we have seen of late. Is P.Square still running the game? There is clearly no room for rotation here because the system is regulated.
  4. INCONSISTENCY: Lots of new artists lack a level of consistency. They really need to learn something from Roberto, Slap D, Chef 187, Ruff Kaida, Macky 2 etc. Its like some artists were born to be one hit wonders and exit. Like they just wanted to taste a bit of fame and that was it. They fail to keep up with the trends, they fail to study their fans and some times lack discipline and are not humble enough to learn from legends. Of course nothing is way to easy, but if others can manage to be consistent, so can they.
  5. ORIGINALITY: How could it miss the list? Zambians sound like everyone else not Zambian these days. I do not know how and why we have failed to brand Zambian music and sell it to the world. There are a number of hit songs we have, and for respect of the singers, I won’t name them ,whose concept was stolen from foreign songs. A lot of songs done after 2010 are devoid of that great Zambian substantial touch.
  6. CREATIVITY: Truly, we can not overlook the enhancement in the creativity, but some of us are just hard to please with the little exposure we have as music connoisseurs. Poor lyrics, poor beats, production. I think we need a music school. People need a level of education, to help them analyse, focus and predict situations. I believe when you spend more time on something, you create quality. Some people can create a masterpiece in a night, but not everyone. I personally see a lot of intellect in Pompi’s lyrics. I see great production from KB, Magg 44, T. Sean, Shenky, Jazzy boy, Stash, Magician, Ricore and Reverb. They can still go a little further to change the game, by introducing a newly defined  level of Zambian music production. Evolution is everything. The idea of stealing beats, concepts and songs should remain in 2017. Also with creativity, everything is possible. You don’t need to feature Wizkid to sell. I mean look at Roberto.
  7. CAVALIER ATTITUDE OF FANS: If it comes to being indifferent to something, Zambians win. Zambian fans don’t give a sh*t. You really believe with this current attitude anyone in the world stands a chance to fill a stadium? You can’t blame them anyway for not finding music valuable. I mean they are loyal to politics and football. Only H.E Mr Edgar Lungu and Chipolopolo fill the stadium. This means if music is well marketed, things could change.
  8. LACK OF GOVERNMENT POLICY. I think the government should enforce some play local only laws.
  9. DEMOGRAPHICS: How do you expect a million views on a Zambian video when only a minute percentage of the population have access to the internet? I can just imagine how many views would be on YouTube had it not been for the Zambians in the diaspora. How do you expect people to buy a ticket/album for K100, when they live under the poverty line? How do you expect to make money off a population that don’t appreciate your craft?

I still believe Zambia has done good so far, just that because other industries are moving at a faster pace, we tend to think we not doing enough.Any way this just a subjective perspective, everyone is entitled to their own opinion really.

 

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Zambian Twitter- The Evolution

 

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The last couple of years to 2010 saw an escalation in internet accessibility and consequently a rapid increase in the number of Facebook sign ups. This was a trend common among so many youths especially those in high school and college. However, the twitter field was more less a desert. Enthusiasm levels were not so high for sign-ups.

There was a very minimal number of Zambians on twitter. The majority of these were in the diaspora and had benefited from early exposure to the social network because of the countries they lived in like the US and the UK. Many locals had not heard about twitter and even a few of those who signed up wished it came with a manual.

However, the population has come to grow. The arrival of the Blackberry Smart Phone saw more people sign up because the smart phone allowed them to use the app which proved more convenient and easier to use than the web version.  As the smartphone became more and more affordable more people signed up. With an affordable data plan, the blackberry was convenient for the most urban users.

In no time was some news of some Zambian users attaining verification. Crisis Mr Swagger, a Zambian rapper was the first to announce an official verification. More Zambians, musicians mostly, followed after him in obtaining verified accounts.

Zambians were also beginning to get together to discuss issues. Insaka became a popular Zambian twitter platform of discussion. Every evening, Zambians on twitter would hold discussions under the hashtag INSAKA.

By the years, Insaka lost popularity as people discovered other ways to utilise their twitter. South African twitter has been known to be so open where Sex is discussed openly and freely by users and this spread to a few young Zambians. A lot of female users claimed to be feminists suddenly and many political commentators sprung up.  Pan-African traits of Zimbabwean twitter also spread to the Zambian side.

Currently is an account called Zed Curate where each week, a new Zambian shares with other Zambians their experiences and directs topics for Zambians to discuss. Politics, the economy and social life are discussed mainly.

Of late, myriads have crossed over from Facebook. It is possible to hear stories of users who left Facebook for twitter. Some think it is all because the new audience is more mature, but Chansa Kapapula, a prominent blogger and Zambian twitter pioneer thinks people are just choosing to embrace a new social network.

Many youths have used twitter to raise awareness of social and political irregularities. Disliked politicians are usually bashed on the platform and some view this as a form of entertainment. But not only politicians are humiliated, in an environment with self-imposed, Grammar ‘correctors’, fashion police, everything is possible.

Zambian twitter remains an interesting community to be a part of.

 

NB: You can Interact with me on twitter here

SONG REVIEW: MIXXY’S PA EASY ft AFUNIKA

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Micaiah Ng’onga ‘Mixxy‘ is a third year Survey major student at the Copperbelt University. He is one of the Zambian upcoming artists on fire. He  has  done  a  couple of  other  songs  that  have  received  airplay on  some radio stations  and  clubs in  Lusaka. He has worked with Royal Prince and Mari fro­m  Cabin records. On  this  new  jam, he  features the king of New Version of Kalindula, Afunika.

Pa easy is a song that reminds us of how speed kills. Mixxy is advising us to take it easy because the consequences of speed is crushing.

The  proverbial being that  ‘life  ain’t  no  crystal stair‘ limits the shocks of  the  results  of  shortcuts taken  to succeed. Many people  take  shortcuts to  improve  their  lives  or  decide  to  create   a  dangerous or risky definition of  pleasure.

These  days  young  girls and boys tend  to  become  regular club partakers  which  is  really cool if  they  think  about  it, but  the  thing  is  they  have  yet  to  go  to  university,  but they  are  exposing  themselves  to wrong  people and  creating  a  wrong  impression as  they  become  alcoholics at  a  tender  age. They  begin  to engage  in  adult  activities and  as  Afunika sings in  the  chorus, Ichalo ichi Chilalya  (The  world eats), a bemba saying symbolic of   death. There is HIV and other consequences through such behavior which again results to death. Mixxy urges young youths to wake up and take  it  easy because everything  has  it’s  own  time.

To terminate suffering or because of  envy of people acquiring possession, people  seek  shortcuts to  get  money  or  get  rich. People  tend   to  take  part  in  illegal activities like  corruption and  theft. Eventually the  crimes  catch up  with you and  you  are  put  behind bars. Before this  happens to  you, Mixxy reminds  you  to  take  it  easy.

There  are  plenty  other  situations or  examples where  we  can’t  take  it  easy  and   so   whenever  we  try  to rush let  us  be  able to  think  of  the  consequences and  eventually refrain from  such an  action.

You  can  have  a  listen/download of  PA  EASY HERE. Please  remember to support MIXXY and share. You  can  also drop your  views of  the  song  in  the  comment box  below.

Macky 2- Slap D:Kings of Zambian Hip-Hop or Kings of Zambian Music?

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First of all, compliments of the season, friends and Merry Christmas to all of you that are celebrating Christmas.  Secondly, I want to talk about what I will call the funniest and most unnecessary entertainment show of this year. Yes you are right, I am talking about yesterday’s Macky and Slap show.

Oh no don’t perceive me wrong, I will be happy to be labeled a critic rather than a hater, because in truth, I  appreciate the works done by these two artistes, the paths they have cleared for a few artistes and the legends they are. I actually slam their jams almost every week, especially Macky 2 who I actually prefer to the other.

Now is Macky 2 a better rapper than Slap? A flat NO from me.  Despite Slap sounding like he wants to cry, he is one guy with those lines that will leave you and your friends saying, “hoooooooo”. I think everyone knows Slap is the better rapper and that is one reason I found that show so unnecessary and a waste of time. A strategy to suck funds from fans? yes, most likely.

I think a fitting title would have been who is the King of Zambian Music, who is the bigger artist, who is the better entertainer? You know? Personally, I feel Macky 2 is the bigger artiste and better entertainer.

I also feel the two MCs are overrated when it comes to the Genre. If I was given a chance to present a similar show to Zambia, I would have three artists in mind to vie for the position. I know you already have Chef 187 in mind. Then of course I would add Bobby East and Stevo to the list. The fire that these three dragons spit is enough hell for the game.  It is just in people’s minds that Macky 2 and Slap are heavy weights, but in all fairness we have overlooked artistes that probably overtook these two dudes.

You just won’t allow Bobby East on your song or he will go ‘Kendrick Control’ on you. Stevo will decapitate or cremate, Chefy, ahhhh you already know.

Lol Okay, too much about these dudes, but my point is yes Slap and Macky 2 are big, but none of them is the king of Zed Hip-hop, maybe in the past, but not anymore. We should not confuse having myriads of fans behind someone as a prerequisite for the best rapper. That’s just like saying,in RnB,that Justin Bieber is a better singer than Chris Brown. We should evaluate what exactly defines a top MC.

Shout out Camster, Kritic, Tonny Grammz, Tiye P, Swish, Dope G, Cleo Ice Queen, and a lot more others that keep bringing the fire, but are somehow under-appreciated.

Wish you all a prosperous 2016, be safe and look forward to great works coming from our talents next year.

Muzo Alphonso Calls out Alpha on a Slap Dee song?

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When I listened to what seemed like the  most shared song yesterday: Somone, I was like “Oh My Word ”  Yes I was.

I had recently imagined Muzo Alphonso joining XYZ or atleast working with King Dizzo. I must have tweeted that before. 

I mean what other option did the kid have? His Utopia at Alpha entertainments was really shortlived and with a huge talent he had to chose between making it on his own (which is extremely hard) or walk with another big cat. 

I was afraid his Career was hitting a downward shift. Slap actually agrees with me whe he says, “I resurrected Muzo”. Most recent works I have come across of Muzo have been features on somewhat underground artists’ songs who leave so much to be desired and so when I found a download link on BBM from DJ Nyuri, I couldn’t hesitate, but grab the song and boy did Muzo sound like Muzo.

Slap Dee is a heavyweight who will go down in History as being one of the best that ever did it on the Zed scene or Africa once he works harder. Muzo is smart enough to work with Slap, but is he trying to Frustrate his former team?

I have always believed XYZ and ALPHA are still on it. Surely we could have seen Macky 2 and Slap work with each other- not in an advert that paid them both coercing them to work together.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not insinuating that Muzo has been or will  signed by XYZ, but if your ex begins to walk with your competitor, what message are they trying to send to you?

Besides hinting he’s trying to send a message he has somethings to say that somehow  clear the air. “Bambi nangu baibika pamulu kuwayawaya fye” (Some people attaching themselves to the top is just in vain). We all know someone who once called Himself Zed Hiphop.

Slap as well uses this opportunity to tell everyone he’s the top man. “I am the only King outchea here”. He goes on claiming the throne with a cooler line  “Looking like King Mswati only with the Nike airs”

“Opowaila ifi tusansamusha Tenimbo ni soccer fye”  (Ever since you left, it’s nolonger Music, but Soccer to bring us joy). Muzo claims his fans or maybe some friends actually miss his fire as they can’t enjoy what is left. Is he trying to say he was better than everyone at Alpha?  It is important to note, Muzo has claimed to be Zambia’s number 1 rapper on a couple of songs.

I am personally yet to see a rapper who after having a falling out with his former team or friend will  be the bigger man to just  move on.There is more to shed light on as a rapper than washing dirty linen in public. I am sure there is a lot Muzo has to thank Alpha for. They gave him such a good headstart.

Anyway, Zambian Hip-hop continues to be more exciting as fans are always eager to hear a reply.

Somone is a hot jam either way, this is the first time I have heard Mumba Yachi work with popular Zambian artists. He is a very gifted artist who I think needs to expose himsef a lot more to Zambians.

If you haven’t heard the song, get it here Here.

Follow me on twitter @aqui_cuteboi_

THE ZAMBIAN MUSIC AWARDS 2015: REVIEW

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A stupendous stage beaming with magnificence, beauty and massive talent was the sun that gave light to a national audience left in elation and satisfaction last Saturday night. It was visible that a concrete rehearsal had been put in place as the events proceeded smoothly. The Zambian Music awards, thanks to Zambian Breweries, allowed no room for being mundane

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While many award ceremonies choose to have a comedian host, the #ZMA2015 took a different route with Chishala Chitoshi Jr, keeping it cool, but managing to have no monotony written anywhere on him. Kutemba Sakuhuka was an equal match and I would suggest Sulu hosts the next awards.

Dilish and Cleo Ice queen presenters of best club DJ

Dilish and Cleo Ice queen presenters of best club DJ

Having Dilish Peya Mathews as one of the guest presenters was a great string to pull. It represented an international evolution showing how eminent and serious these awards have become as the Industry stretches across borders.Also Legends handing over awards was very necessary. Nasty D, Mc Wabwino and Mweembe Chulu stepping on stage reminded us of how far we have come even as we saw new artists like Kantu perform incredibly.

Talking of performances, it will be impossible to overlook Izrael and Nalu’s. What really set this one apart was the fact that Izrael was able to perform different pieces in a new way, but coupled with great coordination.We had a feel of his timeline as he led us from Exile into Izrael. The beautifully voiced Nalu later joining him led to the climax of their performance.

Willz and Wezi perform Toliwe

Willz and Wezi perform Toliwe

I like to think Urban hype made up for Willz’s overdone performance. They took it so easy, while Willz left me thinking he has been watching too many BET awards lately when he kept running on stage while screaming “Turn up” among many other uncoordinated sounds as Wezi and the backup singers tried to deliver. In a nutshell, Toliwe as a heavyweight jam, left much to be desired.

millz performs

millz performs

Performances of genres like Kalindula added the ‘real Zambian’ flavour to the flow and reggae represented by Milz was electrifying. The Northmead Mega choir left fans on twitter tweeting they would be in Bishop Banda’s church the following day. Their performance not only had us feeling religious, but also carried an inspirational message to empower Zambians: “Shine, now is your time”.

Tsean and Scarlet perform a tribute to the Late P.Jay

Tsean and Scarlet perform a tribute to the Late P.Jay

Tell me. What was more fitting and thoughtful than a great tribute to P.Jay? Tsean,Scarlet and Starn delivered an angelic performance and that’s not because they were clad in white. They resurrected Brian as they performed his pieces.

Before I get to the awards, I would like to comment on the Fashion. I don’t need to be a connoisseur, but the ladies’ dressing would do no discredit to western award shows. We were left wondering what designers they went to as Zambia saw unique dresses on the Stage. Coming to the guys, Chefy was a gentleman, Abel Chungu was still in the Easter Jesus play,Tsean was a Nigerian, Wilz was Kanye west and Macky 2 learnt from his big brother exposure. I’m joking, but seriously most of the attendees were on point. I just hope local designers will be supported more in the future.‘Local is lacka’ yeah?

11149122_936082206425880_1308130654382933755_nOh yeah. Finally, the awards. Like I tweeted on twitter on the very night, I believe these awards have rewarded nothing, but the best and deserving. I find nothing wrong and I am not left skeptical (nor do I expect anyone else to be) that Abel Chungu and Chef 187 collected that many awards. It is evident from what these two individuals produced last year that they really deserved the cake.Wilz deserved the Best New Artist Award. We felt his grand entrance into the game and gave him a pass through our votes. He is really talented and a natural entertainer as we saw. It is sad Kantu had to come at the same time because she equally deserved the award.

Among other tightly contested awards was the Song of the year. All three songs had made so much noise in the country, but the fans chose Mama Rebecca, a very unique song that echoed a mixture of Hip-hop and Kalindula. So many categories were visited giving an opportunity to myriads of artists.

Looking for the flaws in these awards isn’t really the way to go. I believe it took a lot of resources and personal sacrifices to keep them going and most of all, we have a clear picture of how music is evolving in the county. One step at a time, we will soon be there. Well done Zambia and congratulations to all the nominees and most of all congratulations to the winners.

Feel free to interact with me on twitter @aqui_cuteboi_

PHOTOS COURTESY OF ZAMBIAN MUSIC AWARDS FACEBOOK PAGE. VISIT IT FOR MORE PICS AND DETAILS OF WINNERS.