The future of blossoming My Soul Acapella hangs in the balance as the group has been forced to rethink its place in mainstream music.
Members from their church have led a bandwagon of critics who are accusing the choral group of compromising their Christian values by performing on secular platforms and associating with betting firms.
The group rose to prominence since it started performing as a backing act on the entertainment online platform Mikozi Studio Live. The choral group has impressed with performances during appearances of acts such as Joseph Nkasa, Rashley, Leslie and Kell Kay.
But in a statement, the group said they have been forced to withdraw their association with the online platform, resulting in forfeiting their ambitions to go commercial.
“Last year, we approached Mikozi Studio Live to give us a chance to perform with artists that come to their studio so we can make a name and earn some bookings. We were willing to pay to perform, but instead they used to pay us through their sponsors,” reads the statement in part.
According to the group’s leader Glory Frank Muotcha, they started in 2011 with Mudi Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church as their base. Over the years they were joined other members from different SDA churches and right now the group comprise of nine members.
She said: “The treatment we have received is unfair. These people have no idea what they have done to our music ambitions.
“We invested in our talent and this is our career. No one works in our group and the money we were getting was enough to support ourselves.”
Muotcha said unless a sponsor and another platform comes forward, the prospects of continuing with their career looks slim.
For every set on Mikozi Studio Live, the group was earning between K350 000 and K500 000.
Mikozi Online lead Bright Excess Chiligo said they have respected the choral group’s decision and they look back with pride on the contribution they made to their growth.
“We aim at promoting art by not just exposing it, but also monetising it. While some gospel artists want to serve souls using their music, some also want to make a living out of it. That is where the conflict arises,” he said.
Art commentator Wonderful Mkutche said the line between secular and gospel music is blurred as Malawians mostly do spiritual, gospel or societal music which strives to bring the good out of people.
He said: “It is not fair to accuse artists of performing on wrong platforms. No one owns the Christian message. All we have are versions or perceptions of Christianity. There is a tendency for people to control others through their worldviews. This stifles creativity.”