Advice to musicians

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By Fidelis Manyange

IN addition to being drawn back by the COVID-19 lockdown, artistes have always been crying foul over many ‘obstacles’, which they claim hamper their success.

They ignore important things which matter in their industry while concentrating on minor issues. 

Some have been given funds to record, but produce sub-standard material that does not appeal to the people. 

Some have been lucky to get international shows, but perform dismally because they would not have adequately prepared.

How can we have a musician, who records 15 albums, yet not even a single one is known to the public? 

Listeners will only start hearing about that artiste’s music, the day he/she is interviewed. 

There can only be one thing. 

His/her music is not good. 

Some band members, who are talented in their respective positions are misled perhaps by their fans or friends in the media that they can only be popular if they form their own bands. 

The Macheso rebels consisting Franco Slomo, Noel Nyasanda, Obert Gomba and Jonas Kasamba are an example. 

After leaving prolific sungura star Alick Macheso, they formed the Extra Kwazvose, which turned out to be a flop. 

The rest swallowed their pride and returned to Macheso except Franco Slomo, who is now facing hard times. 

Most upcoming artistes fail to understand that most yesteryear artistes are brand names and creating a brand name is not an overnight thing.

Upcoming artistes have been complaining of being sidelined by promoters and shunned by established musicians who use them as curtain raisers or supporting artistes. 

They must take into consideration how those big artistes acquired those big names and drew large crowds. 

No promoter can take an artiste whose name or music is not popular with music fans. 

The promoter is in business, where money is  involved. 

It’s a gruelling task to create a big and solid fan base and constantly maintain it.

Upcoming artistes, or small artistes as they call themselves, also complain of receiving little-or-no play on the radio waves. However, they must be aware that no radio DJ or presenter likes to be associated with poor music. 

That would be detrimental to his/her reputation as well as of the station. 

Radio stations need to screen music before it is played on radio, throw away rubbish and promote good music, that way it will motivate everybody to pull up their socks. 

Playing ‘rubbish’ on waves encourages laziness  and incompetence amongst artistes therefore shortchanging listeners. 

Artistes, either seasoned or upcoming, should be innovative and ensure their music is good before taking it to radio stations. Currently, radio stations are packed with thousands of CDs which are poorly composed. 

This has led to some artistes bribing DJs to play their music.

Good music ‘plays itself without money’. 

Other than the radio there are so many other avenues which upcoming artistes can use to get to the people. 

We have the likes of Van Choga, who used the Facebook platform to make a name for himself.

His fan base is growing by the day as witnessed by his YouTube followers. 

Other upcoming artistes receiving massive airplay include Baba Harare, Enzo Ishall, Poptain, and Mambo Dhuterere, among others. 

They created their own style, which appeals to the people. 

Indeed artistes must do research and study their fans. 

There are so many ways to launch musical careers. 

Some did it through theatre. 

For example, IYASA, Beatar Mangete, Sandra Ndebele, Freddy ‘Kapfupi’ Manjalima and Safirio Madzikatire, among others. 

Some like Kireni Zulu and Steve Makoni started as solo guitarists, who mixed music with humour and created their fanbase and have maintained it to date.

Innovation is also needed on all genres. 

Sungura, Rhumba and Dancehall, among others must move with the times. 

This is not the time for artistes to rest on their laurels. They must wake up!

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