Months after releasing his first single, Dublin based Malawian singer Mike Akitivi is moving forward with his career as he works on his album.
Akitivi, who has chosen to keep it fully Malawian, in February released his first song Christina which features one of the country’s multitalented artists—singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer, Lulu.
Akitivi sings about an unmarried man who is far away from home where he has found the love of his life and is telling his uncle and relatives back home that he is now ready to settle down after meeting the ideal girl who has captured his heart.
“Dzana ndi lina koma lero ndikumva bwino, Christina wandizula moyo wanga, Dzana ndi lina koma lero ndikumva bwino, Christina ndidzamuone ukalamba wake,” he sings on the chorus of the song that many single young men relate to.
Born on May 15 1986 as Mike Yasini, Akitivi, took music as a career in 2010 after meeting one of the members of the popular duo of Nyembanyemba Boys.
“I have always had passion for music since I was young. I would ask my mom for money to go to live shows back then at community ground by Zembani, Alleluya and stuff. And every time I go to town with my parents, I could ask to get a Balaka cassette and that was late 1990s in my early teenager years. After listening to the cassettes I could memorise and imitate those artists back then around my friends. So, all along, I had that thing in me that one day I will sing.
“But my first experience in the studio came in 2010 when I met Symon Kamlaga of Nyemba nyemba, who we use to hang out a lot. He noticed the interest of music in me and got me to Mwai Kay studio in Area 18 to record my first song.
“We never did rehearse or write on the paper but he was confident that I would record. We did a track called Kulira which never saw the light of the day because we never took it anywhere no radio or bars. But the song was so good to the point that I might include it in my upcoming album,” he explained in an interview from Dublin.
The same year he decided to record again but this time around with Lulu. He recorded a song Nthawi Yoyamba which became a hit at most of the places in Lilongwe.
“We did a video of the song as well but there was no promotion and it never went to the radio I guess due to laziness and not taking music seriously. But the song was enjoying massive airplay in clubs,” he remembers.
Talking about his first album, the 10 track LP will be called Ndapata.
“The album will have a few English songs but 75 percent of the songs will be in Chichewa. The kind of music I do is Malawian music with a touch of Afro pop. It has definitely Malawian touch, but blended in with Afro-pop.
”I have recoded over five new songs now, three with Lulu and two with Ralph Ching’amba. I have just released a video for my single Christina which will be incorporated in Ndapata, which will come out early next year. I could have loved to put the album out as soon as possible but it takes ages to complete even one song as we are working through emails, as I am here and Lulu in Malawi and Ralph in South Africa,” affirmed the artist.
So far, the artist has performed at different events in Dublin as he continues to make a name there.
“I have performed during Malawian Night here on different occasions. I performed with Lulu when he came here for Mr. Malawi Ireland, I was one of the acts to have opened the floor when Tay Grin was here. I would say there is not much to talk about as far as Malawians based in Ireland as musicians are concerned because we are just starting off.
“Apart from Pop Dogg there is no big artist yet but I know a few who have potential to make it. As far as hip hop is concerned, he is doing well. He has been sharing stage with top hip hop artist from around the world and his videos are on point, so yes he is big here. Of course, with a few hip hop guys and some gospel hip hop youngsters and if we push hard really, we can make it here. Mind you Malawians are new here and we will make it one day if we work hard,” stated Akitivi.
Currently studying Bachelors in Business Management, Akitivi got his nickname from friends as he explains “I loved to use the word Akitivi meaning active a lot in all my conversations and someone just said you are active.” n