Sometime last week, one of the country’s most followed entertainment and art online pages, Mikozi Network, announced an upcoming introduction of a budding young artist.
The age, sex and local genre of music associated with the up-and-coming artist ignited interest among many music followers. For many, it was probably the first time they were hearing the name AmakaMusiq.
Music lovers waited with bated breaths to sample the dancehall compositions from the unknown 16-year-old girl from Lilongwe. And true to their word, at exactly 8pm the same day, the platform premiered Amaka’s video of the song Allergic To Haters.
Everything that she did in the song seemed to defy her status. The zeal on her face revealed an artist who is dedicated and focused on her trade. Her deep voice told a story of someone who knows what she is doing and how to achieve it.
It was with little surprise that within the first 12 hours the video had achieved over 10 000 online views. Music fans were drooling over the artistic tenacity that AmakaMusiq had displayed in her song.
Sam Chibambo wrote: “That is great work. She is a natural talent. Big up!”
Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) radio producer Alice Msangambe simply said: “Wow! She is so good.”
Music artist Bree Ice from CoolPro wrote: “Talent at its best. She is singing like Koffi from Jamaica. Let us put jealousy aside, the girl will go far with music. Go girl, you have the potential. Hatta Fyah.”
With almost close to a week since the video was uploaded on the page, music lovers continue to flood her with compliments.
But who is AmakaMusiq?
In an interview with On The Arts, Amaka, real name Amaka Duru, says her music journey started last year during a school music competition in which she emerged among the top performers.
“There was an open cypher competition at our school while I was in Form Three. They said everyone who was interested could join. It turned out that about 16 boys enrolled for the competition and no female. I decided to step up and join the competition as the only female,” she said.
She says her performance in the cypher competition compelled the coordinator of the competition producer JKWarrior to offer her a chance to record her first three singles for free. What followed was the production and subsequent release of her first singles Good Lover, Allergic To Haters and Party To The Top.
That marked the start of her promising music career and the budding artist, who is currently doing her Form Four at Bwaila Secondary School in Lilongwe, says she feels at home in her new artistic robes.
She says: “I love music and I want to do music the whole of my life. I want to make a career out of it and earn something through my talent.”
The artist says she is being discouraged by some quarters who believe her request to achieve status will expose her to ill behaviours. But she says that will not derail her focus and long-term goals.
“I am not discouraged in any way. I am motivated by the word of God and I know who I am. And besides, I only do music during school holidays,” she said.
Amaka says her mother, Tiza Gondwe, is her manager who sponsored the production of her video. As a protective mother, she handles all her interview schedules. Even this reporter had to go through her to be granted this interview.
Gondwe said she first noticed her daughter’s singing potential when she was nine years old when she led her friends in an event musical performance. She said her performance on the day left many people amazed. Until now, nothing seems to have changed.
Gondwe said: “Since her breakthrough, it has been overwhelming. We get calls from people expressing their appreciation on a daily basis. Some people ask if they can work with her on their music projects.”
She says she sees to it that she is balancing her time between academic work and her music ambitions perfectly. She says she would love to see her achieve her artistic dream.
“School remains paramount out of all the things she does. I gave her the go-ahead to record these songs because during this time she is just home because of the coronavirus pandemic. After attending her online classes, she had some time to tend to her music dreams,” she said.
Amaka, who professed to be a big fan of dancehall music, says locally she idolises fellow female reggae dancehall artist Sangie while on the international scene she takes her hat off to Rihanna.