Paheja Siririka and Strauss Lunyangwe
Local musicians have made their mark on the international scene as far as collaborating with respective foreign musicians is concerned but one wonders whether these alliances have somewhat elevated their careers or are they just stagnant and the ballads produced have become one-hit wonders.
Do you remember Kamaaizemi Hoveka, known as KP Illest featuring Nigeria’s Ice Prince-Energy, Taylor Jaye with Busiswa on their song Sugar Blesser or with Patoranking Chin Chilla, Gazza has worked with Uhuru, DJ Bucks with Shuna and Ambangani Bako with Mtee and Saudi. The latest is of DJ Spuzza with Soek Soek Remix featuring Chester Houseprince, Don Kamati, Mega and Chakie who roped in South Africa’s Kiernan Forbes, popularly known as AKA.
Lazarus Shiimi, otherwise known as Gazza said the benefits of collaborating with international musicians are for the industry and it is more of an investment than a benefit. “The benefit we get is more of an international exposure,” he admitted to Entertainment Now!
He said: “The time Uhuru was hot and happening, one would kind of ride of their waves, they had a different sound which was more appealing and that collaboration started opening me up to the international scene.”
“I woke up one day and decided to liaise with my team so that we can get hold of the guys (Mtee, Saudi, Uhuru) to work on collaborations. You would want people to listen to you for a very long time, so the song has to be impactful and those you are working with need to pull their A-game,” he stated.
Gazza said his favourite collaboration would be with Davido 'Kuna M’kweni' and maybe 'Up Up Away' with Jamaican-American musician Nyanda Janelle Thorbourne from the group Brick n Lace.
“I can’t say the collaboration with Nyanda was my favourite somehow because I was too nervous. I was a nervous wreck. I went to record it in Miami to perfect it. The first version was not properly done so I had to record that song for two days,” enlightened Gazza.
He mentioned that life is a learning curve and he tries to absorb as much as he can from other musicians. “I learn a lot from the way they do their videography, to how they record their songs and promoting their work and timing and how they release their work,” he said.
German-based Namibian kwaito star Erick Sell, known as EES told Entertainment Now! His collaborations with international artists were firstly a major experience, to be in the studio with them and see how they work and it has somehow assisted local musicians.
“I would say it helped a little more in Namibia - as people then really pay attention to your songs as they feature international artists. I also got massive respect in countries like South Africa who then got to know me as an artist and what I stand for to get nominated and winning at the Channel O Music Award. I have to say these international features only work if you do well. Just having an international artist on your track will not automatically push you - the song, the video, the promo - everything around it needs to be proper,” stated and hinted EES.
He said: “International features can be used to push your artist name in your region/country to a next level - and also help get your name out to new territories. However, it is important to financially estimate the return on investment with these features, as some will not benefit you if they are too expensive. Also when making these deals - one should incorporate a promo deal into the feature. Meaning the international artist will have to do an X amount of posts and shout outs to his community, but this will be difficult to deal and will be more expensive - but it could be worth it.”
EES mentioned that the international artists are just featuring artists on the song - it is not their job to make promotion for the song. “They see it just as a once-off deal - get paid - jump on the track and sorted. The international stars come from a very tough music industry - they do not want to push Namibian artists in their markets - they rather want to get more reach in the Namibian market,” he highlighted.
Producer Bosley Keya, popularly known as DJ KBoz said he loves all the collaborations he has heard so far featuring Namibian musicians and hinted on the importance of musicians having their brand on a check before joining forces.
“Before these international artists collaborate with you, they do a background check, so if your social media is not on point and if you don’t have good numbers, they won’t put a lot of consideration,” he said.
For aspiring collaborators, DJ KBoz said the timing is important. “You need to understand when you are going to release it. You have to be careful of the type of song you choose because you would want to choose a song your people relate to. Some of the mistakes musicians make when doing international collaborations are that they try and adapt to the sound of the musician they are featuring but it is sometimes more beneficial when you make that musician jump to your sound from your country,” said DJ KBoz.
He said a perfect example of a musician who has done that is Diamond Platnumz from Tanzania who featured Neyo on a song Marry You. “He (Diamond Platnumz) didn’t jump on an RnB beat, he put Neyo on an afro-beat,” he advised, adding that local musicians should bear in mind to be wary of who they collaborate with.
“The musician you choose to collaborate with should be about their relevance within your country. It doesn’t help to collaborate with someone who is big outside but is not known in your country because if you bring them to your country, people won’t attend the show because they won’t know who he or she is,” concluded DJ KBoz. -firstname.lastname@example.org