Uganda artists are on a movement to push out West African music from its dominance over our own industry. It is pretty a great patriotic musical gesture. Who would not really love to see our music taking up the top spots on the world stage? Scooping all the awards there could be. Epic! It is a realizable dream but then I never stop questioning.
Like what do they have to offer in place for the music they are pushing out?
We need insane collaborations, mad videos, diversity. All these have been done by West African artists. They have collaborations with top American artists, their videos are competing internationally and they have built brands that put them on an international marketing scale. That is why they could even afford to hold concerts in America and big London venues while we still hold ours in just bars. Look at their videos and the dances in them? Africans are dancers. Very versatile dancers and it is like these guys have tapped into that and fused many of their videos with dances thus leading to an afro storm of different cuisines of dances. From the alqaeeda’s to the bobo’s, shoki and the like. Their dancers are the real deal. So many of us watch videos not because we like the artist but because of the of the dance choreographies involved but here in Uganda, people just get on set and start dancing fwaa. It is like the twerking fever got stuck here. Whichever female dancer gets on set, she instantaneously starts to twerk away. We moved on from that. The world did. May be for concerts and parties but not music videos. That was the same thing that was going to kill Jamaican videos.
Also, you cannot start making noise when your music is only played in Kampala, your videos are hardly understandable and played on only free to air stations. Your collaborations are with your fellow hood mates. Your managers can not even try to get you become a brand ambassador for anything. Some of the other guys have made a lot of money being ambassadors for many projects. The only way a product can make you their brand ambassadors is when they have noticed the power of your work. The influence you wield in and out of your country and these are the kind of people that the end consumer wants to associate with. They have the power and the money to force it down our ears.
You should also not forget the effort and investments you put into your work. It is the effort and perfection you invest in your work that is going to take you places. That is going to make other nations yearn for your work. That is why we cannot simply have all of only you guys flooding our playlists. We need the change. We need to compare notes. How else would you get to know what is better if you do not know what is happening out there? I believe it is because of this that many videographers are now trying their best giving us massive videos after seeing what the West Africans are doing. We cannot have only you on every concert, in the newspapers magazines and newsfeeds because that would be so monotonous of a local artist unless of course if your work cuts out. Would you complain if word came up that your music is driving Nigeria or Ghana crazy? I guess not because then you would know that you are really doing a great job but because you are not and that others are taking you over, you have turned into crybabies.
And lastly, if the biggest event your manager and brand can take you is to only curtain raise on others’ events, high school events and proms or maybe open mic shows in outskirts bars then shut the heck up and get to work because hell yeah, Africa is ready for those who dare to dream big beyond their borders.