Radio DJs have a duty to support local music, says Botswana musician One Muscle. Chippa Legodimo writes in Mmegi about the difficulties localÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â musicians have to get audience attention when radio stations don't play their music.
Sometimes one needs luck to make it in music.
One artiste could have loads of talent work hard to produce the type of music that could earn them critical acclaim, but still struggle to penetrate the market and make good bucks. Another musician could just come up with an ensemble of instruments and hastily arrange lyrics and still get a lot of fans behind him and a good living in the process.
Take One Muscle for instance. The tall musician has a creative brain, keeping things simple yet coming up with sophisticated concepts at the end. He has been able to turn his birth name around (One Masele) to come up with a funky stage name One Muscle. His debut album Mokolodi got nomination at the Botswana Musicians Union (BOMU) awards in 2006, just a year after he released it.
The follow-up, Two Wrongs ultimately won him an award last year, something which bears testimony to the Afro-Dance Hall musician's creativity. But only few bother to buy his music or perhaps many are not even aware of his presence or his music.
The question would then be: who voted him to win that award and what were they voting for if they did not know his music? His latest release Hard Target has been nominated for this year's awards. Despite being an award winner, One Muscle is still to have legion of fans behind him let alone make money with his talent. The Kanye-born musician blames local radio presenters for his stalled progress.
He believes that if radio stations were doing enough in promoting artists equitably more superstars would emerge from this country. "People start following you because they heard your song on radio, and if only the same musicianas are played all the time, people end up thinking they are the only ones worth buying and listening to," he complained.
"I call my music Afro Dance Hall because I use local languages and the beats are African, though I do not drift away from the original beats that were made popular by the Jamaicans and I have realised that the few who follow my music like the fact that I use local languages and if television and radio stations were supportive enough, me and other musicians in thi genre would go places," he said. Despite this perceived 'sabotage' One Muscle will not despair. In fact he says, it makes him work harder and find other ways of reaching a larger fan base.
"I have been doing promotions and selling CDs in front of shops every month-end and I won't end there because I am making every effort to reach all parts of the country. Unlike those artistes from high profile stables I have to always double my efforts and I like the challenge because it keeps me on my toes. If things were easier for me I would relax and lose my creative edge," he said.
* This column first appeared in Mmegi on 27 October 2009.