Afro-pop musician Lawi is the only Malawian that has made the grade for this year’s All Africa Music Awards (Afrima).
Lawi, who shot to fame with the hit Amawona Kuchedwa, has been nominated in the Best Male Artiste category for The Whistling Song.
In the category, Lawi will battle it out with continental heavyweights Zimbabwean Cindy Munyavi, Mozambicans Dama Do Bling and Lizah James, South African divas Lira and Zahara and Zambia’s Mampi.
And in an interview yesterday, Lawi, whose real name is Francis Phiri, said he is both excited and humbled by the nomination.
“I only hoped we could make the list well knowing it’s a stiff competition with the whole continent taking part,” he said.
The musician explained that he submitted The Whistling Song for the awards due to its universal appeal.
“I thought of The Whistling Song because I knew it would appeal to a wider audience; everyone can relate,” he said.
To win the award, Lawi will have to amass massive votes, mostly from Malawi. He thus called upon mobile phone companies to help him bring the award home.
“It would be nice to work with mobile network operators to get people to vote and even raise awareness. I know that together we can bring this home,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nigerian artist Davido and South African musicians Mafikizolo and Uhuru received the highest number of nominations at the All Africa Music Awards according to the list released on Wednesday in Lagos.
Davido and Mafikizolo got six nominations each while Uhuru got five nominations.
Mi Casa (South Africa) and TemiDollFace (Nigeria) got four nominations each while Zahara (South Africa) and Wiyaala (Ghana) got three nominations each.
Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania), Amr Diab (Egypt), Angelique Kidjo (Benin Republic), Tiwa Savage (Nigeria), Patoranking (Nigeria) and Noura Mint Seymale (Mauritania) all had two nominations each.
Giving details of the criteria through which the nominees list emerged, a juror, Matlou Tsotetsi, explained that the jury panel adhered strictly to the entry submission requirements and were transparent.
Thirty of the 32 award categories will be opened for voting by the public and Afrima Academy of Voters.
However, the Afrima Legend Award and the Africa Entertainment/Music Journalist Award will be decided by the International Committee of Afrima and announced at the main awards ceremony on Sunday, November 9.
Mike Dada, the executive producer of the awards said that the Afrima voting online platform will open on yesterday for the five-week voting process.
Afrima opened entries on May 15 and closed the submission of entries on July 21 and received 2 025 works for assessment.