Some of the best songs that the music industry has offered the consumers have culminated from joint forces of different artists – sometimes of different genres and competences – that have pursued common projects.
Thus, the industry has been a melting pot when it comes to such collaborations that have not only come to band together their respective talents but in some instances pooling resources in order to invest in one song or the whole album.
This working together has at best involved a wide range of artists including those that perform solo or as a duet. Sometimes groups of varying musical pursuits have worked in partnership to simply enhance each other’s artistic abilities. Others have cooperated with each other for marketing purposes.
What is clear, however, is that collaborations have become an essential part of music production including the local music industry.
While Malawi local collaborations are as common as they can be, crossing the border to join forces with international artists has raised questions if this brings any good to the industry.
This is solicited on the back of the benefit analysis especially on whether the artists involved improve each other or they simply do it for the sake of it.
Malawi’s hip hop star Tay Grin is one of the few local artists to have engaged several international artists in collaborations. From Buffalo soldier to Nigeria’s Two Baba aka Two Face, Tay Grin has done it all.
So what is his motivation behind such collaborations?
“My music is on top charts in so many places around Africa and all this is happening due to the fact that I am working with different artists who are well respected in their territories,” said Tay Grin real name Limbani Kalilani. “The growth of my music has been tremendous now that I get communications from places like Switzerland, Malaysia and Canada about how wonderful the music is.”
He added that apart from being appreciated in other countries, international collaborations are financially rewarding.
Said Tay Grin: “One key thing is the more the music is played the more the royalties one gets. Tola is also being sold online and for long it has been the most sold song.”
He did this track with Tanzania’s Vanessa Mdee. Some of the collaborations that Tay Grin has done include the track Chipapapa with Nigeria’s Two Face.
Another local artist who basks in the glory of collaborating with international artists is Skeffa Chimoto. He has collaborated twice with Zambia’s Daliso.
Said Skeffa: “My association with Daliso has helped me to reach out to his Zambian fans. I also introduced him to my local fan base. So collaborating with an international artist is very beneficial to us both.”
Chimoto, who plans more international collaborations in future, said he encourages any artist to try their hands at international collaborations because of the experience he had in collaborating with Daliso.
Music promoter Jai Banda said he admires artists who have taken the leap of faith to collaborate with foreign reputable artists.
He said such collaborations are what Malawian artists need if they are to make it on the international scene.
“Artists like Dan Lu and Tay Grin are now internationally visible because they collaborated with artists with names out there,” said Banda.
Despite this achievement, it is clear that many local artists are not into collaborations with international artists.
Banda explained that this is because local artists do not push for that when artists from abroad come to perform in the country.
“These things need someone to initiate and in this case it is our artists that need the exposure hence the ones responsible to do the pushing,” insisted Banda.
He pointed out that artists such as Morgan Heritage, Luciano, Kenyatta Hill, Diamond Platnumz have been in the country and have ever expressed interest to work with local artists.
However, Banda said at times these international artists just say they want to work with local artists as a media ploy to look good to the Malawian audience.
“At times they are cornered by the media to say if they are interested to work with a local artist and they just say yes in order to get the media off their back,” reflects Banda.
In view of Tay Grin “Music is connection and vibe. If it doesn’t exist between artists sometimes it’s hard to work together”.
In his case it only happens if he meets an artist whose music blows him away and brings him a feeling that they can create good work.
Tay Grin, who is on tour in Europe and United States of America, said exposure is also critical for artists to know who to work with, to be noticed by other artists.
The trend of collaborations in Africa has reached a peak. Some of the major collaborations among African artists include Kidogo by Diamond Platnumz featuring Nigerian duo, P Square, Number One by Diamond Platnumz featuring another Nigerian star Davido. In Colours of Africa, South Africa’s Mafikizolo features Diamond Platnumz.n