Hazel Mak is an award-winning recording artist based in the UK.
She is known for her sensual vocals, catchy Afro house and R‘n’B songs that represent the modern and empowered African woman.
She has represented Malawi on numerous occasions internationally.
Hazel made history in November 2018 when she won the Best African Act in Diaspora Award for her track Jaiva featuring Zambia’s Roberto and Tay Grin.
This was at the All Africa Music Awards (Afrima), becoming the first Malawian to ever win an Afrima.
“Honestly, I have won a few awards, but I am proud of this one because I was the first Malawian to have achieved this. It was also my first international award,” she said.
Hazel started singing at age 11.
Her father noticed her interest in the performing arts and by the time she could read, she was enrolled at a performing arts school in Ivory Coast.
The musician is also the founder of Malawian Girls Rock, a mobile platform that promotes, enables, inspires and connects women.
It spotlights achievements by Malawian women to inspire girls through campaigns and philanthropic work.
Hazel said the platform empowers young women by providing a safe space to discuss child marriages, education and career mentorship.
Malawian Girls Rock is designed to amplify girls and women’s voices through social media and mobile technology.
Hazel’s dream is to create a unique platform comprising skilled team members to showcase women in a positive way.
She wants to dismantle marginalised and oppressive systems that ensure Malawian girls remain vulnerable, oppressed, uneducated and uninspired.
The founder believes that change will only happen if the cycle of dependency is broken through leading.
“I originally created Malawian Girls Rock because I was not accommodated by existing non-governmental organisations. I believe in charity and giving back to my community, but I wasn’t given the chance.
“Instead of feeling sorry for myself over the rejections, I put my big girl pants on and started the organisation. I asked my sisters to help me and they have been helping me since,” she said.
Her organisation has been featured on BBC Focus on Africa.
Hazel also teamed up with Sir Bob Holt— a British business leader, philanthropist and founder of Mears Foundation— and Arsenal Football Club for a youth-led programme.
They donated football equipment to various schools and youth centres in Malawi.
The team also secured an internship programme for young women in Malawi.
Hazel describes herself as a woman who loves other women.
“I struggle with the term feminist because I feel like the mainstream feminist movement hasn’t been — and still isn’t — enough for black women. I say this because I believe black women’s needs are different from what we think of as the mainstream feminist movement.
“Now don’t get me wrong. I am a believer of feminism, but the truth is, black women are more likely to experience violence, more likely to be paid less for their work and more likely to see fewer people who look like them in the media or holding political office. I believe in the inclusiveness of feminism, but I think we have a long way to go in addressing the concerns of black women,” she said.
The musician has two degrees in marketing and music and media management.
She is a mother to Shamiso Dube, a toddler she raises with her partner Alpha Dube.
She has numerous projects with international artists and has shared the stage with Black Motion, Lady Zamar, Price Kaybee, Ammara Brown, Oliver Mtukudzi, Sauti Sol, Micasa and Freshly Ground.
She started a business and entrepreneurship course with the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an African private-sector-led philanthropy in Africa.
During her journey as an artist, Hazel admits to have faced challenges along the way, especially being a female in that field, the most being with fellow women.
“We don’t make it any easier for ourselves. I wish we could all get along and create a healthy environment where we can be watered and grow. I mean, if it’s not men, psychotic social media trolls or society pulling us down, it’s us women doing it to each other,” she said.
“It’s a vicious and tiring cycle, but I guess the only way around this is by working with like-minded people with the same goals and ambition; and also being mindful of the people you allow on the table,” she added.
When asked about what she likes best about her career, Hazel said the freedom to be creative and creating opportunities for herself and others.
“The idea of leaving a door open for others brings me joy. What I like the least is knowing other people aren’t always going to be as supportive or even appreciative enough. It also saddens me when my collaborative efforts are crushed by petty girl issues. We need to be focused on winning collectively,” she said.
The artist is motivated by her son because she wants him to have the best qualities from his father and herself.
“I can only be the best example for him by practising what I teach him, to be tenacious, to be driven, to pursue his passions and talents; and be the best in whatever he chooses in his life,” she said.
Hazel advises young girls to be resilient, bold and assertive.
In her free time, Hazel enjoys listening to music and having cocktails or a glass of wine with the people she holds dear to her.
She has a new Amapiano record dubbed ‘In the Middle’ that has been released on all music platforms, including Malawi music.com.