One may think female musicians make it easily in the trade. But that’s an opinion so contrary to reality on the ground. Malawi Heat sent Tuno, real name TunosiweMwakalinga, a questionnaire on Monday 27 March, 2017. The publication wanted to have an insider view on what it takes to make it as a female artiste in the country.
Her response contained a lot of mind-blowing truths Malawians wouldn’t expect. The upcoming RnB diva first describes her journey in just two words: interesting and amazing.
“I’ve gotten to discover myself as an artiste. And I’m still discovering myself ofcourse… and I’ve also gotten to meet and work with amazing people.
“I may have started a while back but my journey is just still beginning and I’m super excited to keep facing the challenge,” Tuno says matter-of-factly.
Oneof numerous challenges female entertainers face is resistance from parents. Most people think ladies in the creative industry are promiscuous and morally loose that they are not even respected by the public.
Tuno is so honest to lament she faced the same challenge: “Honestly, my parents were never happy when I told them I want to become a professional musician. They thought I would be spending all my time and paying attention to music.”
Mwakalinga released a debut single ChikondiChonjoya with another upcoming RnB diva Brendah in 2015. The song has a not-so-impressive downloads statistic of about a handful thousand. She has also been featured on a number of songs by Blantyre’s upcoming rapper and school mate Triple Kay.
On inequality within the Malawian music industry, the Malawi College of Student gives a very disheartening reply. She categorically complains that a diva has to work five times harder than a male counterpart. That is so, she argues, because Malawians still share a misguided general perception that urban music is a genre for men only.
One would think Tuno is just a pessimist and trying to find something to point a finger at. Truth be told, however, a female urban musician gets noticed after working too hard. Malawi’s finest femcee of all time, Lady Pace, real name Mwayi Mphande, faced an uphill task to get accepted by countrymen.
Mphande still remains disappointed the way divas in the game are treated. Keeping that in mind, Malawians need to understand that for a girl to take on a challenging journey in urban music, they are always ready to give their best. We can borrow a leaf or two from the Nigerian music industry which is moving towards achieving the industry’s version of 50-50 campaign.
Inspired by Wendy Harawa here in Malawi and Beyonce, Tamar and Tania Braxton from USA, Tuno has another worry. She complains a lot of people who have listened to her music criciticize her that she is a copycat of American young diva, 2 On’s hit maker Tinashe.
“…and they tell me that I’m just wasting my time…because I ain’tgonna make it to the top… But good thing is I’m strong enough….I’m not giving up. I’m still in this and I’m gonna make it. No matter how much they gonna talk I’m still standing,” she addresses her critics harshly.
The wording of her response clearly shows no one will bring her down. That’s the confidence an individual needs to make it in life as an American motivational speaker Josh Billings once said, “Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing till you get there.”
On why Malawian music videos are yet to start playing on international television channels, Mwakalinga says all the music industry players need is publicity and heavy investment. She advises fellow artistes to always aim for high quality videos.
The diva has just revealed a tip on the ice berg. The country’s music industry is in bad shape. There are no music marketers who can help export the art to other countries, there is no heavy investment and lack of seriousness among artistes themselves. Music in an industry that is so lucrative in other countries and until we start taking it seriously, it will remain a pastime. Here in the Warm Heart of Africa.