Zimbabwe’s Arts Industry Is Full of Lost Souls

I call it the arts industry but I am not sure I should call it one. Because there simply is no ecosystem.

I am just saying.

One of the reason it doesnt work is because artists rarely give the people what they want. Or they give people too much of what they think they want. Think of the time when there was an old school craze. Everyone did that shit. Every freaking club and cover singer obsessed about old school.

And now it is reggae. Every other artist with a band is riding on that wave.

Fact of the matter is the industry is a mess cause most artists have no idea who they are. Not even a sodding clue. They know that they sing or rap or dj but they have no idea where their place in the whole game is. Branding for them is a word that sounds like brandy so most of the time they don’t get it.

So if you don’t get who you are, why do you think anyone else will get you. It is like walking into a room and asking everyone to guess your name. You get upset because they don’t get it, but here is the catch. You don’t know your name!

A lot of them talk about the art but life is art. And art is life. So if there is a disconnect between you and your audience then you’re screwed. Then it is just artistic masturbation. It is not all about being creative. It is about making sure the masses get it. Cause if they don’t get, don’t up-middle-finger at them if they don’t come to your shows.

Then artsists blame the promoters. Noone likes them. I don’t even think promoters like promoters. I don’t think a promoters’s kids like the promoter but maybe are compelled to do so because that is where food comes from. That said, you have to understand that these sharks have to make money. Just like you want to make money, they want to make money. Just because they are called promoters, they are not there to promote you. Don’t get it twisted. They promote their events and they look for an artist who makes it attractive. You have to remember that they put in their own money up front here. This ain’t a hobby. Like them yardies would say, this is no joke business.

And that is it. Most of these artists want to be taken seriously when they are not serious themselves. If they want to be handled like Fat Joe, in high regard and all, then they need to take themselves seriously like he does. As an artist, make sure that you are not only good at what you do, because talent is not enough.  Know your worth, and the rest of the world  will take you seriously. And the way to do that is not a state secret. It is in a book somewhere or if you try using google instead of facebook to get information, you might actually get somewhere.

And getting back to that talent and application issue, I know people who say they sing but have no idea what vocal practice is all about. And in effect some don’t even know their talent. And worse still, some don’t realise that they are not artists. They are just forcing the issue. Their talents may lie in management and so forth but because they love the limelight they wont’t let it slide.

Now I am not saying the system is good. But all artists make the system. And I am talking to radio DJ’s as well. Most of them don’t know enough about the music they play. And a few really show that certain songs are part of a station playlist and not that they actually want to play the music. And if a song is bad, call it bad, please.

Finally, some believe their hype a bit too much. They have a few friends saying how good they are and they believe it. They attend an open mic session and they get an applause and they suddenly think they have made it. They DJ for a few friends and they are told that they are good at it and they suddenly think they are the bees knees. A song on radio and they want to go to town about it.

Now in all of this there are those that know what’s up but the system is screwing them over. I say work hard. Jay-Z was rapping in 1988 and only blew up in 1996. It is not easy even in structured ecosystems like the United States. Be humble, roll your sleeves up and get on the grind. As long as you are hungry and smart you will get there.

  • Sharon

    This is so true i don’t even need to add, having two fans doesn’t mean you can compete on the International or local market. Get your act right and the rest will follow in good time, with good work…