Why The Few ‘Collabos’ In The Ugandan Gospel Industry?
A light bulb has probably turned on in your head and now you’re on a train of thought too, like I was. Actually the whole truth is that we don’t have enough collaboration between our gospel artistes here in Uganda.
In my opinion, doing ‘collabos’ is one of the strategies to create quality music; it also eases the promotional issue that we are seriously trying to fix in the industry today because if you have realized, a number of the upcoming artistes are having a hard time reaching out because their music hardly gets air-play. It could be because certain standards for air-play haven’t been met, or that no one is giving them a listening ear because, duh, who is he again? It could also be because they have no idea how to promote and familiarize the audience with their music…very many possible reasons to mention but a few.
Countries with vibrant Gospel music industries like Kenya, Zambia and Nigeria are all well known for collaborations; working together is so vital for any industry and if there is a lot of individualism between the players, we will not record substantial growth. But why do we have few artistes working together?
Speculated reasons could be that some Artistes think the industry is all about competition, so they work alone song after song in an attempt to be the ‘best’. Another reason could be that the more established artistes are not willing to work with the upcoming artistes in an attempt not to undermine their brand because let’s face it; you will all agree with me that a collabo is one sure way for an upcoming artiste to have a chance at stepping up. For example (not to mention any names) recently a young budding hip-hop artiste has this cool song that people have failed, and some, refused to appreciate because hip-hop is to the ear of a special few especially in Uganda. He even hardly got any air-play; then this hip-hop giant recognized this awesome talent and decided to drop a few lines in the song in the making of a remix. Now you cannot imagine how many times that song plays on the media. Plus news got round pretty fast (comes with fame of the giant. People listen) and now at least most of the Christian music lovers have heard about this talented young man. His future is now bright too as media houses might look out for more of his music.
After Mac Elvis [RIP] left, there was a feeling of togetherness that came with the tragic event. The mourning period saw artistes with grudges reconcile, a fellowship where the musicians met to share the word and sharpen each other was started by 104.1 Power Fm. They got inspired with what Mac did in his life time, his love for the kingdom and fellow artistes. They vowed to work together. Unfortunately time went by and the artistes stopped attending the fellowships one by one despite Power FM’s efforts in persistently asking them to attend. It was all for the good of the industry, but what happened? Where did the drive for unity disappear to?
That said, I believe there’s one more reason that makes a lot of sense to me right now; there’s little unity among the artistes hence making it hard for them to work together to lift each other up. Yes. Unity is my point here. We will find out why I think it is a very valid reason for Ugandan artistes especially.
For one, I wonder why it is hard for Artiste A to help push Artiste B’s new song however close they are personally…because a single post on Facebook or a tweet saying “check out Artiste B’s new song” by Artiste A really wouldn’t hurt at all or stain your brand as a musician. I’m not saying they should start doing it for every artiste, (it would be good if they did though) but that’s not what I really mean. But here is an example; the other day Price Love was all over Facebook asking her friends to vote for Richy in the on-going Maisha-superstar contest and Sandra Suubi in the Airtel Trace Music Star competitions. That’s teamwork. Late last year towards Phila’s Faith Walks concert, sincerely speaking, no other artiste helped to promote the concert on and off social media like Kulchah, but guess what, his name wasn’t even on the concert poster. That’s brotherhood. He helped rally the support for the concert when some of those named on the poster did not do much. We need more of such acts and ultimately the togetherness; knowing well we are part of one kingdom, the same team. So please support each other.
Therefore if we have unity between the musicians, we shall definitely see more collaborations and more projects together. Here in detail are my reasons why I think ‘collabos’ are vital and our artistes should change their perception about them:
1. it’s cheap. Most Gospel artistes find it expensive to produce and promote just a single song; collaborations would help divide the burden between the artistes. 2 or 3 artistes promoting just a single song reduces the Chances of it flopping than when it’s just one artiste and in the event of a video shoot, costs are shared again.
2. More exposure. If an already established artiste does a song with an upcoming talented musician, it gives exposure to the upcoming artiste. He or she taps into the fan base of the established artiste and it practically takes away nothing from the established artiste if his fans are comfortable with the song.
3. Unity. It might be the unity that gives birth to the ‘collabo’ but the ‘collabo’ strengthens the unity. It creates an easy passage for future collaborations or help. For example it’s easier for Levixone to invite Dafari all the way from Kenya for his Reggae worship concert than any other artiste who has never worked with him.
4. Fans love collaborations. They know it’s bound to be a hit. If two or three heads come together, the result is always better. It does not matter the different genres the artists collaborating do, the anticipation is always high.
5. More air-play. Musicians complain about being denied airplay, but the fact is some of the music does not deserve to be put out there for ministry’s sake. Joining hands with another artiste (who should be willing) could teach them a thing or two on writing, finding inspiration, get them better production and all. Then which radio will resist that music?
That also said, it would be wonderful if you (the artiste reading this) found the beauty, the efficiency, the growth in working together and taking the gospel industry to places it dreams of every single day and night you spend in the studio.
Will leave you with a message posted by Robinsan on social media recently
“…There’s a lot of panic, pressure and competition in the industry but as Christians we need to act differently. We need to help and support one another not beef them instead…”