After an amazing arrival in 2012, Lawi and his fusion of Malawian music with contemporary soulful pop has travelled to different corners of the world.
While promoting his talent, he hatched and nurtured the idea for his second album, Sunset in the Sky. Thus, it is a concept born out of the artist’s thoughts about the past as a young boy growing up and then now travelling and conquering the world.
“Sunset in the Sky is influenced by life and the experiences it inspires. In the village, in our culture, we were told the aeroplane is a big bird and that alone got us, as young people, confused and wondering how it felt to be inside it. So, as a young person I promised myself to work very hard in order to one day experience the feeling of being inside a plane.
“I did and so did my band, Under The Mango Tree. We have travelled a lot, but within the travels there were some really long flights that took us into the night and some were quite uncomfortable.
“Traditionally, the idea of a plane being a bird posed questions in my mind as an artist to say most birds that fly at night are associated with bad omen but a plane is different,” said the artist in an interview in March.
This was the time the artist was announcing his second album and the big plans he has with it.
In a typical style of spoiling his fans with what awaits them, the artist, real name Francis Phiri, has dropped a first single, Zonena Kuchuluka.
Arguably, rhythm and sound wise, it is a continuation of Amaona Kuchedwa, the hit that registered him on the local music scene, sending the self-titled debut into phenomenal success.
A typically traditional song with the Allan Namoko touch, Zonena Kuchuluka revolves around the theme of envy in the context of everyday life.
The artist justifies his direction by saying: “Namoko is a legend and his spirit lives on. I believe he inspired contemporary Malawian music and we can carry on where he left off.”
With great composition, delivery and production finesse, the song encourages the great spirit of support.
“Jealousy is a big problem within the African community. This song aims to discourage the ‘Pull Him/Her Down’ syndrome among the people and encourages the spirit of support towards each other.
“In a time when Africa should unite to build its growing economies, it will take a collective effort and a great support to those who initiate good change. ‘Zonenanena’, procrastination is a thief of time,” reads the information about the song.
Meanwhile, an ecstatic Lawi cannot wait to share the whole album with the fans.
“Only the audio is out now and the video is coming up. We are shooting a series of videos of songs from the new album. It may take about four months to complete the chosen songs. In the meantime, may all my fans enjoy Zonena Kuchuluka,” he explained.
While music lovers cannot ignore the irresistible beat, the song has a deeper meaning which can be reflected on through the lyrics.
“Nthenda ya nsanje, imasowa chipatala. Mtima wa nsanje, umakonda zophwasula… Zomera m’munda sizisankha otafuna. Khalidwe laufakampweya limaononga zazikulu…” sings the artist.
According to Lawi, the sophomore album looks at various “issues of life / Nkhani Za Moyo, from spirituality to pain to various ills in our society.”
While maintaining Chichewa as the main language, the 21-track album has a few songs done in English and ethnic languages from other countries.
The album is set to be out by October.
“Meanwhile, we have the release and events. We are looking at October for the release of the album but we will announce the dates once we are set.
“We will begin the launch with a show in Malawi, Lilongwe, then Johannesburg and then others.
“Due to the relationships I have established here in SA over the years and the musicians involved in this project, we have planned to do events in South Africa. For now, we will do Johannesburg Theatre, Cape Town, and East London. We shall announce dates for these events,” stated Lawi.