In Malawi, to thrive as an artist, especially in music, is not easy. Thus, artists tend to hold multiple jobs to supplement their income but there are some who depend on their artistic careers alone and are doing just fine.
One of such artists is musician Lucius Banda who has come out a success. He said going into music full time was a gamble.
“During the time I chose to take music full-time, it was a gamble because I was not sure if it would…put food on my table and pay my bills, but with time, I realised it is just like any other paying career,” said Banda.
He said it took him much determination and hard work to succeed. However, with the inspiration he got from international artists who have music as their full-time job, he soldiered on.
He said apart from being like any other paying career, music gives him liberty and independence to do whatever he wants at the time he wants it done.
“The good thing about being an artist is that one can work during weekends and use the other time for other things, though, that does not mean there is much idle time,” he said.
However, Davis Njobvu of Edgar ndi Davis duo, who, apart from being an artist, is a lawyer, said he does not do music to complement his earnings or career but as an outlet for relaxation.
“Art is my natural inborn talent. It has always been there before I went to the law school and it is difficult to stop myself as the passion has always been there. As such, though I do not do it to complement my career, I still find time to do it,” said Njobvu.
He said he spends most of his time practising law, but plays music during his free time to wind off stress of work.
Njobvu said sometimes his profession demands a lot that he finds it hard to perform and this calls for a lot of sacrifice as he forgoes other things.
He said being a musician means being invited by friends to perform at different functions in the country and he does that willingly as it is something that is in him.
“The thing about being a lawyer is like doing a social service of some sort as it is all about serving people and it is something I have chosen to do. I have never compromised even when found in tough situations where I have a performance in Lilongwe on a Sunday and a case the following day in Blantyre. I manage to come up with a proper schedule to fit in both,” he said.
In Malawi, most artists hold other jobs apart from their artistic careers.
Dramatist Michael Usi, aka Manganya, works as director of Adventist Relief Agency (Adra). John Nyanga and Eric Mabedi aka Izeki ndi Jakobo have other jobs apart from acting.
Urban artist Piksy (Evance Zangazanga) was working as an accountant before he went back to Malawi College of Accountancy to upgrade his qualifications. And the list is endless.
But the trend is worldwide. A study carried out in the United States showed that seven in 10 artists hold more than one job.
Most artists have multiple jobs. Two-thirds hold at least one job in addition to their artistic practice, while 21 percent hold two or more additional jobs.