I know most people will call me a liar for this and I also knkw that recording companies will deny and dismiss my words. I am here to show you reality, whether you agree or disagree this truth is disturbing to the comfort of your illusion.
Eyes Wide Open
In the early hours of the morning I couldn’t sleep due to body aches and I turned on my TV, Noeleen’s show 3talk had a guest of honour DON LAKA. He was dressed modestly with a calm aura around him. My heart skipped a beat because he is one of the few legends of Jazz who understand the art of music. In the middle of the interview Mr Laka was asked a why he never entered any awards in South Africa let alone attend the award ceremonies in South Africa; I was expecting an answer that almost every South African musician would give i.e “I didn’t work hard this year” or “I was out of the country that week and couldn’t submit, or the classic one “I submitted late therefore couldn’t qualify. Don Laka simply said “I don’t enter awards in South Africa simply because the awards in this country do not open doors for you internationally, I have to pay a certain amount of money to be nominated and lastly the radio station that nominated me doesn’t even play my music therefore it is absurd for me to accept an award (if won) and yet my music is not played to the masses. That made my eyes pop out with shock.
Check On It
The South African awards were meant to be given to musicians who have worked hard to produced good music that has quality and substance and voted for by the people fairly but after Don Laka’s statement, I questioned as to why the award ceremonies in South Africa practiced such an act of dishonesty. People think that the musicians are nominated by the judges who decide who worked hard and reaped the rewards (which is airplay and etc.). Paying your way into a nomination is simply wrong and dishonest and then we as the community have to vote for you to win! where are ethics in that. This means that most if not all have paid their way to recognition, it is clear, most if not all did not deserve to win because the board did not nominate them but themselves.
As to radio stations in South Africa who play 90% of international music and 10% of local or African music yet have the audacity to give you an award. I would be insulted as an artist because it feels like you are giving me a consolation prize for not giving me airplay and letting people decide for themselves whether or not my music is worth listening to.
if you think that was worse then you haven’t heard nothing yet, winning an award in South Africa will not give you international recognition? SURPRISE! you are not worth a booking in United States, Europe or South America, why is that the case, well to me it seems like the organizers did not add value to these awards and create opportunities for thriving artist to break into the international market. For instance America introduces Lorde, they expose her to the masses nationally and internationally, she won a couple of awards and performed in some of those award ceremonies started travelling outside the USA for shows then finally she lands in South Africa to perform at the dome in front of a huge crowd, the South African media creates an enormous buzz around her to a point that it is part of your daily meal But when it comes to a South African artist like Simphiwe Dana You win an award and that is that; you remain locally with less publicity, less airplay, and a few performances in Africa yet you won an award.
Where Is The Virtue
As for me this industry was never clean and it will never be clean, Just like Don Laka I would rather win a Grammy or MTV award rather than a SAMA (South African Music Award), METRO AWARD OR MTN AWARD because I know I don’t have to pay my way to the awards. Indeed I say my music Is meant to last for years on end and yes it will be remixed and sampled and that for me defines truth in this art of song and rhythm LONGEVITY. Ask yourselves this my fellow South Africans- have we paved our way to success by our God given talents and wisdom or have we paved our way to success by money and short cuts.
I am awarded by the love and support of the masses and I am proud to say that I worked hard to get the kind of recognition I deserve and as I grow in this industry my music will grow along with me, and I will not pay my way into any nomination in South Africa or anywhere in the world. I don’t have to pay a music compiler for my music to be played on air, I will bring my music to the masses in my own way and get paid by the very same people at the end of each experience.
What I am trying to say is that as Africans especially South Africans we don’t have to buy our way into the nominations because we were taught by our parents to work hard and smart. We should thrive to be clean in a dirty unfair industry, we can get international recognition it is not impossible at all. My African musicians are beautiful and they atill have to dig deep in themselves to find the jewel in their gift of which they are intrusted with. And we as the masses should be patriotic about our music just like the Americans and Europeans are