-Diamond, Vusi Nova recount experiences
It was a resourceful week for multiple award-winning singers, D’Banj, Femi Kuti, Omawumi, Diamond and other African stars as they launched the campaign jingle, Cocoa Na Chocolate for ONE’s Do Agric campaign. The song, produced by Cobhams Asuquo, was put together to create awareness for agriculture and the need for people to go back to farming.
Other African stars who featured in the project include Vusi from South Africa, Dama do Bling from Mozambique. They were in Lagos two weeks ago for a unique cultural experience. Dr. Sipho Moyo, the ONE.org Africa Executive Director was also part of the historic trip.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with them…
‘My current form made the organiser invite me for the project’- Tanzanian Hip-hop star, DIAMOND
Diamond Platinumz also known as Naseeb Abdul is a Bongo Flava artiste from Tanzania. Diamond is a very influential and popular artiste in Tanzania and the East Africa, which is one of the reasons he was one of the artistes on the One.org Do Agric, It Pays project. In 2013, he was reported to be the highest selling Tanzanian artiste of ringtones by mobile phone companies, and with his recent collabo with Davido, his popularity is soaring. He was in Lagos during the launch of Cocoa na chocolate.
Let’s talk about your rise on the African continent?
Yes, I’m doing pretty good. And that’s one of the reasons I was selected for the One.org project, because I think my status is on the rise especially within the East African region, and I can influence people to do positive things. I have a huge fan base across the African continent, and that’s why I can advocate the message of agriculture through one.org. So, for me I believe it’s one step at a time, because I still have a long way to go.
How would you describe your kind of music?
It’s called Bongo Flavour, from Tanzania. It’s a mixture of afro-pop and RnB.
Why did you pick Davido to be on your song, Number One (remix)?
When I was recording that song, my mind just told me that Davido had to be on the song. But at the initial stage I was busy and Davido was busy as well, so we couldn’t do it. So I had to release the original version without him, and then when Davido came to Tanzania for a concert, we hooked up and I got him on the remix of the song. Even though some people felt I should have done a new song entirely with Davido, because the song was already doing good in East Africa, I felt having Davido on the remix would make it cross borders and that’s exactly what it has done.
Who else have you worked with apart from Davido?
Last week, I just recorded a new song entitled Bum Bum with Iyanya, and trust me it’s a super lovely song. Don’t forget I have two albums out already, and there are quite a number of powerful collabos on them.
As an African artiste, what kind of challenges do you face in music?
As the saying goes, nothing good ever comes easy, so you just have to work hard. And in the middle of working hard, people would criticize you. It’s unfortunate that the more you do good, the more you get more haters. So for me, I think if only we could show a little more love, African music would grow faster.
‘Working with D’Banj, Fally Ipupa, others was a great experience’ – South Africa’s RnB star, VUSI NOVA
Vusi Nova is one of the finest music stars in South Africa. The RnB singer, whose single, I’d rather go blind rocked the airwaves in 2013 is one of the artistes that featured in the continent’s biggest collaboration ever, Cocoa na Chocolate. The Without You crooner spoke about his involvement in Do Agric, It Pays project, and his impression about Nigerian music.
How does it feel to be part of this?
It feels great. I think the organisers have done a great job by bringing together 19 great artistes across Africa. It’s a project that is meant to encourage Africans to invest more in agriculture so as to end poverty in Africa. We all support it because it’s a good cause. We, Africans, need to start farming, so that we can feed ourselves and by extension, the world.
How was the experience working with other African artistes?
It was great working with them, especially D’Banj, Femi Kuti, Fally Ipupa, and Tikey Jah Fakoly, among others. All we are saying, through music, is that we should go back to Agriculture, to end poverty.
What message are you passing across?
I delivered in my native dialect, but the meaning is to encourage people to go back to farming, because our fore-fathers started with farming, and they succeeded.
Do you sing only in your native dialect?
No. I sing in English as well, but I just love singing in my dialect. In fact, I can sing in five languages, that’s why I am versatile.
Do you think the song will change the perception of people?
Why not? I am very sure, it will. Music is a powerful tool that can reach everyone.
What is the level of acceptability of Nigerian music in South Africa?
I think Nigerian musicians are in a league of their own. In South Africa, we are doing well, our industry is growing but it cannot be compared with Nigeria’s. Basically if you want to be relevant in the African music scene you have to come to Nigeria first. I mean, Nigeria has the highest number of international collaborations. That counts for something. I know for a fact that we listen to Nigerian music more in South Africa.
Which of the Nigerian artiste do you love to do collaboration with?
I would love to do a collaboration with Omawumi because she has great vocals. Her vocals are very lovely and wonderful and I believe that if we do a song together it would become a global hit song. I am doing a song with D’Banj, and hopefully Davido.
‘I am proud we’re doing it with One voice’- D’BANJ
As African musicians, agriculture is the single most important cause we could champion together and I am proud to say we are doing it with ONE voice. Here in Nigeria alone, while 70 percent of Nigerians depend on agriculture for their livelihood, the federal agriculture budget has been trending downwards, and is now at just 1.47 percent. This is a serious concern, because Nigeria spends billions of naira importing food every year.
Through this song, we are calling on youths to go online and join ONE.org, to get more involved in agriculture, and to ask our governments to step up and improve agriculture investments, so that the youths can have a better chance of succeeding in it.
These artists are joining ONE.org to show the current generation of young people that not only can agriculture be cool, but it is also a great way to earn a living. But without strong political will and public support for agriculture, African youths will not be able to take advantage of the potential that agriculture presents.
– RASHEED ABUBAKAR