In 2007, a new voice introduced itself on the music scene. It was that of Patience Namadingo. The then Lilongwe-based artist had just released his debut album Goseni.
The album had no market impact neither did the songs earn any notable prominence in various media outlets. And just like that the effort from the 17-year old singer then went almost to naught.
But he was not one to be discouraged, trading as an all gospel singer then, Namadingo returned in 2010 with another album, Mtendere. It was after this effort that the world stopped and took notice of his presence.
Since then, the musician saw his star rise. He has toured Europe and worked with some of the biggest names in the region plus releasing several chart-topping hits along the way. But his artistic path hasn’t been short of controversy.
In 2019, he surprised his followers when he announced that he was not a gospel musician as many believed, but rather a moral artist.
“I am more of a moral artist. That does not mean that I will not talk about Jesus in my songs. I will still talk about Jesus and I love talking about Jesus. My album can get about 30 percent gospel music, but that does not make me a gospel artist,” he said in an interview then.
Though his pronounced stance then appeared to have divided opinion, the artist has continued to receive overwhelming support in his subsequent music projects. He carefully managed to rise above the gospel/secular music debate.
Since then, Namadingo has created music touching on almost all themes, with love being central in most of the projects.
But on Friday evening, the artist appeared to be walking back a bit. The gospel Namadingo of old reappeared through his new single Wazgolenge.
And out of his recent projects, Wazgolenge appears to be the song that has received an overwhelming response.
Blessings De-Pittry wrote: “For the first time let me confess, this song has been well done. I love everything about it.”
Arts and culture commentator Wonderful Mkhutche said the gospel theme card has won it for him as it has reminded people of his days doing strictly gospel music. He said the easy beat has also worked well for him as he is used to deliver on such smooth beats.
He said: “People are used to him giving out gospel messages. Although he went into love and societal songs, listeners were adjusting to him. Now he has gone back to what we knew him for.
“It has been easy for people to fall for this song. This is the Namadingo they can easily relate to.”
But the artist himself has ruled out any effects of nostalgia, saying he was just expressing himself like he does in all his compositions.
“If you look at the first verse, it is talking about the qualities of God. And the second verse is almost a reflection of some of the realities that are going on around. This is something that people themselves are seeing and can identify with,” he said.
Recently, Namadingo received public wrath when he said he was relocating to Zambia for perceived hate here at home. But in Wazgolenge video, he hoisted and wrapped himself in a Malawian flag.
He said of the stunt: “It is something that I have been doing for years. Even when I toured Europe, I made sure that I always had the Malawian flag wrapped on my guitar.
“Recently, I saw a publication from Botswana refer to me as a Zambian artist. This is a move to clear such misconceptions. I want everyone out there who sees me to know that I am Malawian.”
The artist also moved in to clear what appeared to be bad blood between himself and his fans, calling it ‘all part of the entertainment package.’
“This is show business. Entertainment is not just the music. What is said out there doesn’t have an effect on me. They know me as a musician and what they expect is for me to give them music and that’s what I will do,” he said.
Wazgolenge has been produced by OBK at his studio in Blantyre and the video has been done by Vincent Kamlanje of Viny Visuals brand.
Maybe Wazgolenge may just be the answer that Namadingo needed to help mend his strained relationship with his fans.