In a competitive music industry, where everyone is working hard to remain relevant and be on top of the game, it is not easy to maintain a position or recognition especially when there is a new wave of promising artists.
Experts argue that maintaining a name for many years in the music industry requires strategy, innovation and effort.
“Music changes over time and it really requires creativity and strategy to survive. Flexibility is also key to ensure that artists are adapting to the needs of listeners at the particular time. It pays off to move with time to satisfy the needs of people. Otherwise, you may lose steam,” observes Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM) President Chimwemwe Mhango.
He added that taking music as a career also helps artists to strive to remain relevant and marketable in the industry.
Once upon a time, there was Malume Bokosi of the Akuvulalila Mkati fame, Thomas Chibade, Joseph Nkasa, Wycliffe Chimwendo, Lloyd Phiri, Allan Ngumuya, Haxi Momba, Charles Nsaku, Billy Kaunda, San B and Mlaka Maliro of Chikwaya Cha Mangochi. They defined music during their time.
So was the urban music industry.
It had names that defined it such as Biriwiri, Kondwani Bright Simbota, Young Kay, Basement, Nameless, Real Elements, Bleek, Naspa G, and Phyzix who once rocked the industry with their forceful music.
However, their music graph dwindled and paved the way for the new blood to take over.
While the talents of some musicians have either died a natural death or been crashed by stiff competition, 2016 was another year which saw some giant musicians maintain their positions.
The year could be described as a year which saw the revolution of young artists who exalted pressure on established musicians. Their improved stage music productions and stage performance did not scare the established musicians but also compel them to work with them.
Blaze, who soared high with Mwini Zinthu (a collaborative song with Ril B) and Sir Patricks, Faith Mussa, Patience Namadingo, Martse, Miracle Chinga-Moffat and DJ Sonye proved to be on the list of most influential young artists in 2016 who dared the stage with courage and energy. However, despite the pressure from such rising artists old timers such as Giddes Chalamanda, Lucius Banda, Lulu, Favoured Martha, Princess Chitsulo, The Black Missionaries, Tay Grin, Dan Lu, Theo Thomson, Barry One, Nepman and Piksy refused to bow down to pressure as they upped their game.
For example, Dan Lufani was given a huge boost in 2016 when he landed a life-time deal with a South Africa-based recording company called Sisqo Productions. He released songs such as Sweet Banana (featuring Nigerian’s Kcee), which became an instant hit and helped him to organise a number of live shows under the auspices of the song.
Dan Lu had a number of Sweet Banana dubbed shows which were climaxed by the official launch of the powerful single and video on November 6 at Lilongwe Golf Club. The show was attended by Kcee.
Dan also integrated the services of influential youthful musicians such as Blaze and Sir Patricks during some of his shows, including one held at Village House in Manase Township.
While Lucius maintained his unwavering stance by intensifying live shows alongside his Zembani Music Company, Lulu refused to let his prowess go unnoticed in 2016. He officially released his fifth album Mwayenela and took part in a number of live performances including the December 30 Aand 31 gigs alongside Jazz artist Erik Paliani.
Chalamanda beat the record in 2016 having performed in the United States of America (USA) and remained a force to reckon with.
Apart from performing in the US, Chalamanda conquered the stage locally in a series of fundraising shows for his United States tour.
Malawi Broadcasting Corporation’s (MBC) Radio 2 DJ Raymond Sekeni and MIJ FM’s Deus Sandram described Chalamanda’s exploits in 2016 as daring.
Hip hop musicians Barry One proved that he was still around in 2016 when he released a new album Maso Atseguka which was launched on September 10 at Robin’s Park in Blantyre. Another award-winning Afro/R&B artist Theo Thomson resurrected his career in 2016 with his While Elephant album which features popular tracks such as Maybe Tomorrow.
Tay Grin made an impressive comeback in 2016 with such powerful singles as Chipapapa and Kanda which penetrated the global showbiz. n