Hip-hop artist Tay Grin, real name Limbani Kalirani, has announced his intentions to join mainstream politics and contest for a parliamentary seat in Lilongwe City Centre constituency. Our Arts Editor EDITH GONDWE caught up with him to understand if this means the end of his musical journey and what the future holds for him.
: What motivated you to join mainstream politics?
: I have joined mainstream politics. I am contesting for Lilongwe City Centre in next year’s elections under the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP]. I have always been a DPP member, so I wouldn’t say I have just joined now. My motivation is that I would like to positively change and develop my country. I am young and energetic but most importantly I have a lot of ideas that I want to implement. I want to change the mindset of the youth; they should work hard, follow their dreams and passion, go to school and they can become anything they desire. I would like to leave behind a legacy. I believe Malawi can be great and the change starts with us, changing our mindset and the way we conduct ourselves.
Q: If you win the seat, will you continue recording music?
: I am deeply passionate about music. Music has made a lot of things possible for me. Music has led me to this point. Music will always be part of who I am. I will keep recording music and I would like to assure my fans that I will not stop making music.
Q: If you want to remain an artist, how will you split your time between your music and politics?
: I have always split my time between business, music and philanthropy work. My joining politics is an expansion of my current portfolio to serve my people on that different level. I want to be their voice and servant. To help create an environment where they can thrive and build their communities and lives. My desire is to work closely with the people; I want the youth to be able to speak to me and the elders to advise and send me, to improve their welfare.
Q: Social media is awash with most people criticising you for joining politics. How do you react to this?
: That’s the beauty of democracy because people are free to express their views; it is encouraged. I have taken the time to read most of the comments. Except for a few blatantly hate messages, the majority are positive. My true fans are proud that I have taken a bold step, it’s not just about saying the youth need to assume leadership roles but it’s walking the talk. People know what I can do once I set my mind to it and most people believe I will have a positive impact. My music has an identity and feel that my fans enjoy and stay true to. My personality which is centred on developing our nation has remained the same over many years and those who truly know me will attest to this and vouch for my intentions. My motivation is to help the people develop.
Q: What are your chances in the parlianmentary race?
: I am confident. I believe in what I am doing. I have prayed about it. I feel in my spirit and I have a very good and capable team helping me.
Q: If you make it to Parliament, what motion will you raise to better the arts industry in your country?
: I have been involved in some arts initiatives both local and international and I understand the media landscape on the policy level. What is most important is to understand what kind of legislation we need locally to transform the arts industry. What I would do is not to rush and move a motion but engage the arts stakeholders so that the legislation we would have should encompass the industry in general and not only music.
: Are you happy with the arts industry? If not, where are your concerns?
: The arts industry in Malawi requires massive support. We have the talent but we don’t have the knowledge and equipment. We need to deliberately expose our industry to winning formulas and invest in our people to deliver services and products of world class. We need to secure every artist’s rights. Intellectual property isn’t being respected and artists’ earnings are nowhere near what they should rightfully earn. We need to breed more artists train and perfect their craft. My mission has always been to see more Malawian art on the world stage and this is my mission. n