When gospel artist Patience Namadingo came onto the music scene a few years ago, Malawians could not help but appreciate his vocal talent.
His silky voice and captivating lyrics got everyone’s attention.
But inside, the young man was suffering. He was juggling too many roles. He was writing his songs, arranging for studio time, imaging himself, arranging for video and photo shoots, taking bookings and promoting his music.
Said Namadingo: “One day I woke up and realised I was draining myself and I was not reaching my full potential. That is when I decided to put a team in place to help me handle my career as an artist.”
That was when Namadingo went back to the drawing board and assembled his management team comprising of Tonderai Jai Banda, Peter Mazunda, Malumbo Sichinga and Levi Msakambewa.
“Ever since I started working with this team, I have moved from one level to another. I couldn’t have done it on my own. The team has been of great help,” said Namadingo.
But another gospel artist who opted for anonymity told Chill that he resolved to manage his own affairs after he was duped by his manager.
“I am not going to have a manager. I was let down by my previous manager who I later discovered was pocketing more from bookings than he was letting on. I would rather do everything myself,” said the artist.
He said managers just go for artists who are famous to take advantage of them adding that is why the majority of artists in Malawi do not have managers.
Another artist who has no manager is Skeffa Chimoto, but he admits that he would like to get one.
“The need is always there for a manager, but I am looking for one who understands my brand as Skeffa not someone who comes in with his theories from school. Being Skeffa is about being people-oriented and I need someone who understands that,” he said.
Chimoto, who is one of the country’s top selling artists, said he would like to be managed in a way that will not alienate him from the people that made him who he is today.
Tay Grin real name Limbani Kalilani, says for him having a manager is crucial.
“I have a management team not just a manager. My team handles the day to day paperwork, contracts, endorsement deals, overall administration work, among others. They make sure my yearly plan is on track and work towards growth of my brand and how we can leverage on all the attention that is there.
“I am usually informed on potential business and ideas and we have meetings to narrow down each one and choose the best way forward. This allows me to focus on my art and become the best artist I can possibly be,” he explained.
Tay Grin, who in the past told Chill that his success is not just about talent but also proper marketing and strategy, said Malawian artists are yet to take advantage of having a management team.
Said Tay Grin: “Malawian artists do need to embrace the spirit of having managers. They need managers to grow their brand and potential, and to find revenue streams beyond stage performances, royalties and music downloads. A manager is there to make you grow and look professional.”
On this aspect, Namadingo chipped in: “Artists in Malawi need to respect managers and the role they play. Some artists I know are unmanageable, their behaviour leaves a lot to be desired. In the end they accuse their managers of all sorts of things, putting their careers on the line while denting the reputation of the managers.”
The artist who has been holding successful shows of late added that if it was not for his management team he never would have been able to become what he is today.
“My management team handles a lot of work on my behalf while I concentrate on the creativity aspect of it,” declared Namadingo.
Malawi media has in the past reported about misunderstandings between managers and artists which at times has resulted in exchange of bitter words and termination of working relationships.
At the same time, the arts industry has seen few artists enjoying flourishing careers including Faith Mussa, Sangie and TNO.
According to ww.media-match.com, an artist managers job include negotiating contracts and fees, finding and booking events and venues that match the artist’s career strategy, advising on publicity and promotion, helping them on career decisions such as which record producer to work with, or which songs to performand managing media relations. n